Senior Prom honors senior adults

Fairview MB Church celebrates, recognizes those over 60

The Chamberlain middle school choiir performs during Fariview (Okla.) MB Church's Senior Prom, which is hosted by the deacons for adult seniors. Photo: FMBC

Spring is in the air and with it the anticipation of prom. But for one Oklahoma church, senior prom is not a celebration for high school students but an event to recognize an older generation.

Each spring, deacons at Fairview (Okla.) MB Church host Senior Prom, formerly the Golden Age Banquet, to honor those in the church and community over the age of 60 with classy and fun dining, entertainment and fellowship.

To focus on their guests, Sheri Martens, a senior deacon, says each deacon couple is assigned a table to decorate in a spring or Easter theme and to sit at to get to know guests and make sure everyone feels included.

Deacons decorate tables for Senior Prom in a spring or Easter theme. Photo: FMBC

“Our purpose is to honor the senior citizens in the church and community by giving them a night they can come and be served,” Martens says. “We invite those who are still working, retired or are at the fellowship home and say, ‘If you feel you belong, please come.’”

Phil Eitzen, deacon chair, says they renamed the event in 2023 to try to engage younger seniors to attend. Though each year features various musicians, speakers or other entertainment and different menus prepared and served by the deacons, Eitzen says the purpose of the event remains the same.

“For over 40 years the deacon board has put on this event to honor the senior citizens in our community and give them a special night they can look forward to,” Eitzen says. “We bus guests back and forth from the fellowship home in town and invite seniors from outside our church to treat and honor them and share the Gospel.”

Elder chair Slim Unruh is one of the 80 to 100 guests that usually attends the senior prom.

“It’s an encouragement to people to have an event to go to where they feel truly welcome,” Unruh says.

Terry Ratzlaff, former deacon, says in his years of serving and attending he has seen the senior prom be a means of impacting people.

“I’ve heard reports of it being the highlight of people’s year,” Ratzlaff says. “It really is a very special time that makes guests feel very loved and special and cared for. Having peers to meet and see again every year is like a family reunion and really does feel that way because of the environment the church creates.”

As one might imagine, the guests are not the only ones impacted by senior prom.

“My wife used to say that when you give a hug, you’re also being blessed by a hug and that’s exactly how senior prom feels,” Ratzlaff says. “The deacons and church volunteers often end the night feeling like they are the ones who have been blessed not only to see guests who have come for years or the first time, but also to have the opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus and see him work.”


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