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Senior Olympics Helps Improve Health and Ministry

Brenda Frelsi 

Pastor Brenda Frelsi

Our Grace Lutheran Church
Casper, Wyoming
August 2013

This past spring, I challenged members of my church, Our Grace Lutheran, who are age 50 and older, to participate in this summer’s Wyoming Senior Olympics. We also invited other churches of Casper to compete against them in the Wyoming Sr. Olympics this past July. The hope was that we would all be healthier physically by getting ready for competition, and that we could make new friends, possibly leading to expanded ecumenical ministry.

On Aug. 4, those who entered the competition gathered at Grace to celebrate the winning of medals, to share pictures and stories and to see which congregation won the traveling award. After a delicious meal, the medal count was finalized and it was clear that the Mighty Methodists, with 25 medals, were the winners. They will be the guardians of the traveling trophy until this time next year, when the Proud Presbyterians have sworn to take it away from them. Coming in a distant second with 14 medals were the Lanky Lutherans, whose team was decimated in the final two weeks because of an emergency surgery, illness and one team member who just chickened out!

Third were the Energetic Episcopals, with seven medals. They were thrilled and are already working to convince their priest that he needs to be a participant next summer. Rumor has it that the Presbyterians might have earned enough medals to beat the Episcopals, but they miscommunicated, so no one knows their true results. They will have to wait till next year to receive their honors, which they hope will be first place.

Other congregations receiving medals were Paradise Valley Christian with six, the Brave Baha'i's with four, and the Courageous Catholics with one. Four other congregations participated, but were without medals.

The agreement of the group that gathered to celebrate earning medals was that we were all winners just because we competed and had a lot of fun. Those who competed cheered for all the other competitors, whether they placed high in the standings or not. It was a wonderful experience with the possibility that increased health just might mean more energy for ministry, and increased friendship between denominations might lead to more ecumenical collaboration within the community. Plus, those that competed are already recruiting more team members for next year, so this just might be a competition that leads to a healthier Casper!

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Pastor Brenda Frelsi


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