By Cindy Solomon

Several years ago, Madison Street UMC (Clarksville) member Aleeta Christian applied for a grant from the Golden Cross Foundation (GCF). Money from the $7,500 grant helped fund iPads, accessories, Wi-Fi connections, and a TV and conference tables used during training. The iPads and training were provided to 12 interested older adults in the congregation.

The idea for the iPad project came to Christian after she realized that many older adults did not have access to or the skill to use electronic devices. Some members also lacked the funds to purchase devices due to living on fixed incomes.

“In today’s world, the ‘electronic train’ is chugging full steam ahead, and those who can’t get on are often left behind,” said Christian. “Older adults were becoming isolated because many church communications — newsletters, schedules, and other church information — are distributed electronically. The iPad Pilot Project was an innovative way for older adults to get on board and learn and fellowship together.”

When the pandemic forced churches to close in 2020, Madison’s senior adult iPad users didn’t miss a beat. They viewed Madison UMC’s services on YouTube, received weekly church enewsletters, and participated in Bible studies and other church meetings via Zoom.

Made possible in part by a GCF grant, the iPad ministry is just one example of how GCF grants are making long-lasting differences in senior adults’ lives — both within and outside the walls of Tennessee Conference churches.

Because GCF receives no conference-apportioned funds, churches — particularly churches that have received foundation grants — are encouraged to participate in the annual Golden Cross Sunday Special Offering. Proceeds from the special offering are a source of funding for GCF’s older adult initiatives and grants.

This year, Golden Cross Sunday is September 12. Thanks to an anonymous donor, all gifts given from now until December 31 will be matched dollar-for-dollar, up to $25,000. For more information about Golden Cross Sunday as well as print and digital bulletin inserts, visit