July 2015

Spirit logo

A newsletter from the
California Lutheran Homes and Sunny View
Centers for Spirituality and Aging
A Big Anniversary Year

The big news in this 15th anniversary year for the CLH Center for Spirituality and Aging is the upcoming 6th International Conference on Ageing and Spirituality  we're hosting October 4-7.  It's hard to believe it is less than three months away.


This conference features plenary speakers and leaders for seminars, lectures, and workshops  from all over the world.  In addition there are fabulous evening events that take advantage of our LA setting. 


Come to the first International Conference to be held in the United States, to meet a great array of persons with a passion for supporting the spiritual journey of aging, and to be renewed and refreshed in your own aging journey as well as in the work you do serving elders.


Take a look at the conference website to learn all about it, to sign up for the conference newsletter, and to register!  Register now as the event will be capped at 250 participants.  I hope that one of them will by you! 


And please help spread the word about this great event by forwarding this newsletter to your friends and by passing out fliers when  you have the opportunity.  Use this link to get a flier.  If you would like to be mailed fliers to distribute, please contact me.

Successful Colloquium on Older Adult Ministry
As part of our 15th anniversary celebration, the CLH Center hosted the "Colloquium on Older Adult Ministry" on Monday, June 15.  The Rev. Donald Koepke, director emeritus, led us off with some of the concepts he taught in the Center's Elder Ministry in the Congregation program.  Three congregations who participated in Don's training shared how they incorporated what they learned into their ongoing older adult ministries.  The Rev. Nancy Gordon, present director, closed the day with a presentation on "Visions for Older Adult Ministry: Flourishing, Growing, Producing Fruit and Full of Sap."

The Anniversary Celebration Continues:
"The Glorious Adventure of the Spirit" Coming in 2016

Our anniversary event with Wendy Lustbader "Beyond Care: Exploring the Glorious Adventure of the Spirit" has been rescheduled from its original April date to February 2, 2016.  Wendy was one of the first presenters for the Center in its beginning days and it's an honor to have her return. 


This day-long workshop reflects Wendy's deep experience in the field of aging and invites us to potentially life-changing growth and self-discovery in later life.  She uses as an example Carter Catlett Williams' quest as an elder to excavate a grief from childhood, using excerpts from recorded interviews and from portions of Williams' book, Glorious Adventure.


In the first part of the workshop she leads participants in exploring our own lives, making real for us the many ways the soul enlarges when we move through explorations that may have seemed daunting previously.  And through this we experience for ourselves how grief and vulnerability can become doorways to spiritual wellbeing.  In the second part of the workshop we learn how to apply these personal learnings in our work with older adults.  Doing our own enlarging soul work enables us to journey more deeply and meaningfully with the elders we serve.  As we experience the healing and transformation that comes from participating in this journey, we are able to invite others to embark on the "Glorious Adventure" with an open hearts and a readiness for discovery. 


It's not too soon to register! Use this link.

The Center's webpage has been graced with two guest blogs in recent weeks and we invite you to check them out.  

The Rev. Michael Bell writes of the power of a farewell ritual in Facilitating Farewell with Rites of Remembrance for a Home.

Patty Trevor reflects on aging with grace in her blog post Zest, Grace, and the Beautiful Red Envelope .

Second Forgetting; Remembering the Power of the Gospel During Alzheimer's Disease by Benjamin Mast, Ph.D. (Zondervan, 2014)

This book is aimed primarily at Christian churches who have members dealing with the Alzheimer's disease - this description includes all churches.  "The second forgetting" refers to the forgetting  experienced by sufferers and their families and caregivers by the church and their larger communities.  Mast calls on both those who suffer from the disease and their caregivers and spiritual community to remember together God's remembering of us all, and to live in both hope and in actions taken in that remembrance.   Mast's reflection on the Biblical truth of God's remembrance and the power of the gospel provides a context for both living with the disease and accompanying those on that journey.   


Baby Boomers and Beyond: Tapping the Ministry Talents and Passions of Adults over 50 by Amy Hanson (Jossey-Bass, 2010) 

This book is directed at the "new old," healthy, active boomers (50- 70) who may be dealing with retirement, grandchildren, and caring for parents. It deals with the rapidly-discredited myths of aging, particular concerns of the baby boomer generation, extended life spans and the need for this group to deal with new realities of retirement and what comes after.  Hanson touches on the fact that over-50s can grow spiritually and the need for churches to give these older adults the opportunity to minister in ways that might not fall into stereotypical or customary categories.


Jewish Wisdom for Growing Older; Finding Your Grit and Grace Beyond Midlife by Rabbi Dayle Friedman (Jewish Light Publishing, 2015)  

The theme of the book is "Growing Whole as We Grow Older," and provides wisdom from the author's Jewish tradition and her thirty years of experience in serving older adults.  In her introduction the author says, "It is unlikely that we will face unadulterated disability and decline, as many of us fear.  It is just as doubtful that we will have only triumphs, adventures, and joys." This book is to provide all of us in mid-life or beyond, "guidance to find our way with resilience, courage, and blessings - to develop grace and grit in facing what lies before us."


Seasons of Caring; Meditations for Alzheimer's and Dementia Caregivers edited by Daniel Potts, Lynda Everman, Steven Glazer, Richard Morgan, Max Wallack (Clergy Against Alzheimer's Network, 2014)

A seasonally-themed (Spring, Summer, Transitions, Fall, Winter) book of meditations for caregivers authored by clergy of various faiths, including Jade Angelica, Jane Thibault, Richard Morgan, Jamal Rahman, and many others. Each meditation uses as a focus (or foci) passages from the Old and New Testament, Talmud, Quran, and other sacred texts, and many integrate personal anecdote and experience. The book features paintings by Lester E. Potts, father of the editor-in-chief Daniel Potts, that he painted while he was a client at an Caring Days Adult Dementia Daycare Center.   
Social Media

If you "like" the CLH Center's Facebook Page you will find inspirational stories and great information on your feed periodically.  Here are examples of recent posts.


For almost 10 years, the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in Boca Raton, Fla., has offered strolls for wellbeing for people living with loss and illness, grieving widows, exhausted caregivers, and people living with Alzheimer's.


Bob Lowry went to prison when he retired. "I couldn't have predicted that this desire to work with society's outcasts would grab me so completely. But it happened because I took a big step out of my comfort zone, and my life will never be the same. I have truly found my retirement passion: making a difference to others."


Thanks to Wish of a Lifetime, which grants wishes to seniors, 100-year-old Ruby Holt was able to see the ocean for the first time.  


You too can receive posts like these if you use the "Like us on Facebook" button at the end of this newsletter!

Executive/Fundraising Position Open

My colleague, Ross Merritt, is retiring as foundation executive of California Lutheran Homes.  Consequently, California Lutheran Homes and Community Services is seeking an experienced fundraising professional to serve a key role in developing opportunities for the social ministry organization to expand its reach in meeting needs of seniors throughout Southern California.  The Foundation Executive position is part of the organizational advancement group of Front Porch, a supporting partner of California Lutheran Homes.  The applicant should have a proven record in fundraising on behalf of social ministry and strong ties to the Lutheran community. Here is a detailed overview of the opportunity.  Interested applicants should send their resume to hr@frontporch.net.   

As I do my work here at the Center I have the opportunity to connect with many people who are working in this field of aging and spirituality.  As we share from work and life, I am increasingly aware of the burdens many of us carry, but also the joys we experience.  (Have I told you about my new grandson?)


The piece of inspiration at right is my gift to you with thanks for all the work you are doing.


Many blessings!

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