January 2015

Spirit logo

A newsletter from the
California Lutheran Homes and Sunny View
Centers for Spirituality and Aging
The Importance of Connections
A friend helping me with the 6th International Conference, unbeknownst to her, put me in touch with someone who it turns out worked with my sister in another city on an encore career project involving libraries.   My travels last year took me to Ohio where I reconnected with a friend after more than 30 years of not seeing one another.  A brief conversation with the man at the car rental station on January 1, in Portland led to the discovery that he'd played in the 1965 Rose Bowl game; the game my brother traveled many miles to see and then slept through once he finally got there. 

These kind of serendipitous connections make us smile and remind us of the importance of connections throughout our life.  The definition of spirituality that I've been working from here at the Center is: 

Spirituality is the aspect of humanity that refers to the way individuals seek and express meaning and purpose and the way they experience their connectedness to the moment, to self, to others, to nature and to the significant or sacred.

Connecting is a major theme of the programs and events the Center is offering this year.  We begin in February with "Enhancing Vital Connections as We Age." In April as part of our 15th Anniversary celebration we will explore the importance of congregations in supporting the spiritual journey of aging and hear from Wendy Lustbader, in "Beyond Care: The Glorious Adventure of the Spirit." In this workshop she will explore the importance of naming and sharing the griefs of our lives and how being known in that way deepens our connectedness with ourselves and others. 

In October when we host the 6th International Conference on Ageing and Spirituality, we will be fostering connections among the tribe of those who feel that supporting the spiritual is the key to vital aging.  And the Wingspread 2015 event in Chicago is a great opportunity for those who support older adults to connect and gather around the issue of Alzheimer's disease.

I hope you can join us for one of these great connecting events.  And please help us spread the word.  If you have friends or colleagues who you think would enjoy any of these events, please forward them this email and let them know you're thinking of them!
Register Now for This Event
February 19 (Cupertino) and February 26 (Anaheim)

 This practical, experiential workshop by the authors of Vital Connections in Long-Term Care will highlight the spirituality of relational connections in the aging process and provide practical ways of strengthening connections in the settings where care for the aging occurs, whether that be in a home, in a congregation, or residential care. Topics addressed are:
  • Recognizing and expanding of resources present in a home to meet the spiritual needs of both caregivers and care receivers.
  • Managing transitions as lives and needs change in ways that foster and sustain meaningful connections.
  • Meeting the diverse needs of staff through innovative programming and acknowledging their individual gifts.
  • Discovering how the arts foster inner connections and bring vitality to culturally diverse communities.
  • Exploring a vision for how supporting spirituality in caring for the aging transforms lives and communities of care.
Our three presenters, Julie Barton (MA, Counseling Psychology), Ron Zielske (MDiv) and Marita Grudzen (MHS) are the joint authors of Vital Connections in Long-Term Care: Spiritual Resources for Staff and Residents (Health Professions Press, 2003). They have collaborated for over twenty-five years in teaching at Santa Clara University, the Graduate Theological Union (Berkeley), and at professional conferences. Julie is a founder of a respite care program and teacher of poetry to the aging; Ron is an ordained Lutheran pastor and served as CEO of Sunny View Manor, now Sunny View Retirement Community; Marita is Deputy Director of the Stanford Geriatric Education Center.

This workshop will be offered on Thursday, February 19, 2015, at Sunny View Retirement Community in Cupertino and on Thursday, February 26, 2015, at Walnut Village in Anaheim.  Register now using the links below!

The CLH Center's 15th Birthday Celebration - April 13 & 14
We're celebrating 15 years of service to the aging community with a two-day event, April 13 and April 14 at Walnut Village in Anaheim, CA.  Day one will celebrate congregational ministry to the aging.  On day two we feature Wendy Lustbader presenting a workshop titled,  "Beyond Care: Exploring the Glorious Adventure of the Spirit."  Wendy was one of the first presenters when the Center opened in 2000, and it's an honor to be able to have her come back.  Stay tuned for more about this two-part event.
A Spirituality and Aging Event in Chicago - March 25, 2015
Wingspread is an event that brings the expertise of presenters at the annual Aging in America conference to practitioners in the community. 

Running from 4:00 - 9:00 p.m. at Fourth Presbyterian Church, the first part of the program will feature the Rev. John and Susan McFadden, PhD, co-authors of Aging Together: Dementia, Friendship and Flourishing Communities. They will examine our cultural narratives of fear and anxiety around dementia, and propose a new story that congregations can live out: a story based on providing vital connections and community for all our members, not based on cognitive ability but on creative programs and services that support the flourishing of all in our community, including those with dementia and their care-partners.


After a chance for networking, seeing the resources of the exhibitors while enjoying a light supper, we will be privileged to see the play, The Forgetting and the Forgiving. This play explores the story of two siblings, coming with different experiences with their mother, as they seek to care for her as Alzheimer's disease impacts all their lives. There is humor, music, some teaching moments, and transformation as the siblings walk this path. The playwright is the Rev. Dr. Jade Angelica, who has also authored, Where Two Worlds Touch: A Spiritual Journey through Alzheimer's Disease.


If you live in Chicago or you have connections with folks who live in Chicago, please help us spread the word.  And if you're participating in the AiA conference, you are invited to come to the evening performance of the play.  You can register for the whole event or just the play using the link below. 


Wingspread in Chicago, March 25, 2015 


The Call for Proposals is Now Open!

This is the first time this conference has been held in the United States.  Visit the Conference website to learn more about the speakers and events planned.  Use this link to submit a proposal to present a workshop, talk, or poster.    Sign-up here to receive updates about the conference as it continues to take shape.  Please pass along information about the conference in any way that you are able.  To help you do that, here is flier that you can distribute far and wide!
In addition to all these events, I am looking forward to connecting with those of you who will be attending the Aging in America conference in Chicago in March.  The Forum on Religion, Spirituality and Aging special program day on Wednesday, March 25 is "The Spiritual Journey of Dementia." If you're at the conference you won't want to miss it.

Let's keep connected.  Many blessings!

Nancy Gordon, Director
California Lutheran Homes and Sunny View Centers for Spirituality and Aging


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Nancy Gordon, Director
CLH and Sunny View Centers for Spirituality and Aging
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