By Cindy Solomon

ENCORE Ministry, the official older adult ministry of the Tennessee-Western Kentucky Conference of The United Methodist Church (TWK), awarded $205,502 to 26 churches and organizations in 2022. Grant money helped fund a variety of projects benefitting older adults throughout the conference.

Among the projects and ministries funded were a group providing support to dementia caregivers, a home building project for seniors whose homes were destroyed by flooding, and church projects such as transforming a storm-damaged room into workout area for senior adults and parking lot repaving to improve church accessibility.

The grants, which ranged from $1,000 to $60,000, were:

Algood UMC$4,775Upgrade their AV capabilities to broadcast and record services
Appalachian Service Project$60,000Help build four houses for seniors in Waverly, Tennessee, after flood
Beersheba Springs Assembly$10,000Remodel two rooms for single occupants
Belle Meade UMC$2,000Older adult financial aid for counseling center services
Bon Air UMC$10,000Meals delivered to older adults
Brush Creek UMC$1,500Storm damage repairs
East End UMC, Savannah TN$4,332Wheelchair ramp and safety rails
Elder’s Chapel UMC$2,400Food for food pantry
Epworth UMC$8,000Replace HVAC system
First UMC Murfreesboro$10,000Support for family caregivers of persons with dementia/Alzheimer’s disease
Glendale UMC$5,983Power assisted door installation
Gordon Memorial UMC$10,000Best Year’s Club for older adults
Homestead UMC$1,000Add ramp to improve accessibility
Key Stewart UMC$2,500Generation of Grace Ministry for older adults
Kynett UMC$4,100Upgraded sanctuary audio system
LaVergne First UMC$10,000Correct flooding issue so elevator can be installed
McMinnville First UMC$10,000Install exit ramp
Millington UMC$2,000Purchase two AED devices and train people how to use them
Mountain T.O.P.$20,000Help fund summer staff overseeing community outreach programs
Mt. Pleasant First UMC$1,000Start senior adult ministry
Mt. Union UMC$5,917Replace deteriorating ramp
Sparta First UMC$9,729Sanctuary system sound upgrade
St. John’s UMC$1,000Start senior adult ministry
St. Marks UMC$1,000Help fund activities and supplies for Senior Serenity program
St. Matthew’s  (Memphis) UMC$7,250Transform storm-damaged room into workout area for senior adults
Wesley Heights UMC$1,016Replace obsolete fire alarm control system

ENCORE Ministry’s mission is to support older adult ministry in the TWK Conference by providing consultation, training and support, advocacy, resources, networking opportunities, and grant funding to equip church leaders in the conference for intentional ministry by, with, and for older adults.

“From the start, I’ve always said the foundation exists to give money away,” said ENCORE Ministry Executive Director Kent McNish. “This year, as in previous years, board members will review and approve grant requests from UM churches and organizations throughout the TWK Conference. These grants will support older adult ministries that benefit senior adults in spiritual fellowship, food security, access to healthcare, affordable housing, transportation, and church building accessibility.”

Since 2014, almost $923,000 in grant money has been awarded to 81 churches and organizations. ENCORE Ministry operates exclusively from gifts and grants from generous donors. It does not receive apportionment dollars from the TWK Conference.

ENCORE Ministry Director, Dr. Richard Gentzler, said, “Many congregations in the Tennessee-Western Kentucky Conference are aging, especially rural communities, with fewer and fewer young people. ENCORE Ministry engages in advocacy on behalf of aging and older adult concerns; serves as a catalyst for jump-starting and sustaining intentional ministry by, with, and for older adults; and provides training, support, and resources for church leaders.”

2023 promises to be another productive and fruitful year for ENCORE Ministry and the constituents it serves.

“Word continues to spread about ENCORE Ministry grants, resources, leader training, and church consultations and the positive impact they are making in older adults’ lives,” said ENCORE Ministry Board Chairman, Charles W. Hewgley III. “If your church wants to start or expand an older adult ministry or you want to retrofit your building to make it more accessible, safe, and welcoming, we encourage you to contact us.”

More Information

  • Grant applications are accepted all year and reviewed at quarterly board meetings. For grants or funding information, contact Kent McNish at or 615-479-6175. For an online grant application, click here or visit
  • For more information about resources, leader training, and church consultations by, with, and for older adults, contact Gentzler at or at 615-400-0539.
  • To receive ENCORE Ministry Connection, a free monthly enewsletter highlighting recent grant recipients and offering a wealth of articles and tips on ministry and resources for older adults, contact