Church throws birthday party for oldest members

90 AND OLDER ONLY

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Just a few years before they were born, the Wright brothers took their first flight.

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Guy Fiebiger talks about the 90th birthday party his son, Mark, and daughter-in-law, Barbara (right), held last year. There were more than a dozen guests of honor at Sunday's party, most of them women.  JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
Guy Fiebiger talks about the 90th birthday party his son, Mark, and daughter-in-law, Barbara (right), held last year. There were more than a dozen guests of honor at Sunday's party, most of them women.

They were kids when the first talkie made its way to the big screen.

Their generation witnessed the advent of traffic signals, the Band-Aid and the zipper.

A group of 90-somethings at Trin­ity on the Hill United Methodist Church were honored Sunday with a special birthday party for the church’s oldest members, ages 90 and older.

More than 200 people came to celebrate with cupcakes and swing music.

“This is the generation that built this church,” said the Rev. Mike Cash, the church’s pastor. “We’re standing on their shoulders.”

The idea came from lay members of the church.

“A neighbor remarked to me just how many members over 90 we have,” said Nancy Surles, a longtime member of the church who planned the party.

There were more than a dozen guests of honor Sunday. The oldest was 98-year-old Frances Miller.

Her secret to staying young?

“I believe in taking my vitamins and working at the church,” said Miller, who volunteers at the church every Tuesday.

Churches can be so focused on reaching out to youth that they forget older members, said the Rev. Greg Hatfield, the senior adult ministries pastor, who led family and friends as they sang Happy Birthday To You.

“This is a growing population. People are living longer,” Hatfield said. “The love of God knows no age. Sometimes these people are forgotten.”

There was a special round of applause for the handful of men in the predominantly female group of honorees.

“It caught me completely off guard,” Guy Fiebiger, 90, said of the party. “I thought it was a nice thing for them to do.”

Cash joked that he caught a few 70-year-olds trying to sneak into the party.

Though the church has an active senior program, this is the first time it’s held an event like this.

“The senior ministry here is wonderful. We meet once a month. We have wonderful programs,” said Laura Adams, who turns 91 in July. She invited her Sunday school class, children and grandchildren to the party to celebrate.

The church, Adams said, has helped keep her young.

“My faith and depending in God for all I do is what has kept me,” she said. “I try to be a happy person. I think that’s what keeps you young, to be happy and love people. That’s the way to health.”

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