Pat Baker served as POAMN’s president from 2020 through 2023. During POAMN’s 2023 membership meeting in December, when Pat inquired about “other business”, a “thank you” session burst forth!
Here is that tribute.
Rev. Steve Aschmann / Asheville, NC
This evening, on behalf of everyone who is part of the POAMN community, I want to express a special, genuine word of thanks to Pat Baker who is completing her tenure as our POAMN president. Pat you have shared yourself with us and blessed us with you gifts. You not only have been our President, but you have been our shepherd.
What many on this Zoom may not be aware of is that Pat’s service to senior adults and older adult ministry is now spanning five decades. Pat was “in the room,” 42+ years ago, when POAMN was conceived. She has always had a heart for this ministry. After retiring from work with state and federal senior adult programs, Pat indicated that she might have more time to accept leadership roles with us. We did not hesitate; we grabbed her. Pat, I read one of your biographical statements where you said, “My dream in retirement was to return to Older Adult Ministry.” Pat, I hope that you will look back on your tenure with us as that dream come true, and that it has not been a nightmare. Because I do know that we have been blessed by your dreams! You have been a gift of God’s grace to us.
It has been a time of transition and change. Pat, you will always be remembered as our president in the time of COVID. Even if we did not want to do new things or adopt new ways, truth be told – we had to. From your first day as president, you never enjoyed a “business as usual” moment. But like the shepherd in the 23rd Psalm who led the flock through the dark valley, Pat, you have brought us through.
Jan McGilliard / Blacksburg, VA
Others have already covered much of what I wanted to say.
Pat studied issues of aging as an undergraduate at St. Andrews College and spent a month in Ireland collaborating with those interested in the evolution of retirement communities, which were much more prevalent in the U.S. She continued in the field of aging her entire career. Pat served a number of government-funded programs in Texas, Oklahoma, and Georgia. While in Oklahoma, she spearheaded a very successful conference on aging for the Native American population. Pat has always loved her work. In fact, you could say her hobby is her work! So it was with great enthusiasm that we traveled together to Scotland last year for a retreat on the Island of Iona with John Philip Newell. It provided us both with a much-needed break.
In the early 80’s, Pat was involved (as was I and the late Helen Morrison) in the first older adult and older adult leadership conferences at Montreat. Even though Pat was working professionally with state-funded programs, she continued to be a member of POAMN and to apply its mission to local congregations, especially in the area of caregiving. What a joy it was when Pat retired from a long career and agreed to become POAMN’s president. Working with its membership, the board, the certificate program, and the Collective has been both challenging and rewarding. Her MS in Organizational Development and Leadership (2015) has come in handy as she directed the way forward for POAMN.
Pat and Arch Baker have made a great team, always supporting each other as new goals and opportunities presented themselves over the years. We wish them well in their respective retirement endeavors.
In short, Pat has helped us ’walk in new shoes,’ and because of that, the future of POAMN looks bright!