Check out Conrad Grebel’s Annual Spirituality and Aging Seminary in Waterloo, ON on June 19th!

Exciting News! The annual Spirituality and Aging Seminar will be held on Friday June 19th (9:30 registration – 4:30) at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo.

This year’s seminar is entitled Embodying hope, faith and playfulness in caregiving:  Practical and spiritual resources for a complicated vocation.

Conrad Grebel University College is excited to welcome Dr. Janet Ramsey, Professor Emeritus of Congregational Care Leadership at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN.  Now partially retired, Dr. Ramsey spends her time writing, caring for her nine grandchildren and her beloved Sheltie, and traveling with her husband, Joe.  Before becoming an academic, she was a marriage and family counselor, a parish pastor, and a nursing home chaplain/administrator. She has written and spoken widely on spiritual resiliency, forgiveness and healthy aging.

OUR LONG AND WINDING ROAD: Seeking Our Path in the Longevity Revolution with Rabbi Richard Address, D. Min., Saturday, April 4th, London ON

Two comments people made after our very successful Canadian Boomerfest in October 2018 was: When you are you doing it again?! And when is Rabbi Richard Address coming back?!!!

I am delighted to be able to tell you that Rabbi Address has agreed to spend a full day with us on Saturday, April 4th! Please check out this short video and be sure to register as soon as possible for this wonderful day as we explore “Our Long and Winding Road: Seeking Our Path in the Longevity Revolution.”

Together with our friends from Temple Israel in London we will build a path of meaning and joy for ourselves and those we care about! Hope to see you at Siloam on Saturday, April 4th!

Happy New Year! Valentine’s Day is just Around the Corner!

Earlier I wrote about this special Valentine’s Evening coming up at Siloam, which I know you will want to attend! Here is some more info. Please join us at Siloam at 7 p.m., Friday, February for a special evening of song with two amazing artists, Kelly Walker and Breanne Dietrich. Refreshments and desserts provided.

Love is the only thing that is real. — Kieran Aleksander Francis Stroobandt

When you are present in this moment, you break the continuity of your story, of past and future. Then true intelligence arises and also love. — Eckhart Tolle

 

A Special Valentine’s Evening with Your Favourite Love Songs!

Breanne Dietrich is a Toronto based actor, singer and voice teacher. She holds an MFA in Musical Theatre from The Boston Conservatory and a Degree in Classical Voice from Western and is thrilled to be back performing in London. Breanne has performed in New York, Boston and Toronto. Breanne looks forward to sharing an evening of love songs with you, including songs regarding a new love of hers – her son.

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Breanne is also very happy to once again be sharing the stage with the charming and talented Kelly Walker. A popular speaker, author, pianist, singer-songwriter and recording artist, Kelly delighted our audience at Siloam last April and we are thrilled to welcome him back.

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Breanne and Kelly have performed several concerts together across Ontario including the Royal York Hotel in Toronto. Together they will touch your heart and soul and give you a musical evening that will make this Valentine’s Day one to remember!

Please join us at 7 p.m. Siloam United Church, 1240 Fanshawe Park Road East, Friday, February 14th, 2020. Tickets can be purchased for $20 each  in the church office. 519 455 9201. Soon there will also be an option to go to our Siloam website and purchase tickets online. http://www.siloamunitedchurch.org

We look forward to welcoming you to this magical musical evening with Breanne Dietrich & Kelly Walker!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rabbi Richard Address Returns to Siloam in April, 2020

I am so excited and know you will be too! Rabbi Richard Address, who was one of our keynote speakers at Canadian Boomerfest in 2018, will be coming back to Siloam in April. Working together with our brothers and sisters from Temple Israel here in London, Ontario, we will be hosting a special presentation by Rabbi Address on Saturday afternoon and evening, April 4th. We are honoured to welcome Rabbi Address also as  Siloam’s guest preacher on Palm Sunday, April 5th. Host of a radio show called Boomer Generation and author of a weekly podcast, Seekers of Meaning, Rabbi Address has written and lectured extensively on Boomer Spirituality. He is the creator of Jewish Sacred Aging, a forum for the Jewish Community with resources and texts that feature discussions on the implications of the revolution in longevity for Baby Boomers and their families.  Check back later for more details on Rabbi Address’s visit to London or contact Siloam United Church for more information on how to register at 519 455 9201 or office@siloamunitedchurch.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Senior Members of the LGBT Community Often Do Not Feel Safe in Long-Term Care Residences

Recently a friend was telling me about the discrimination that her relative suffered as a gay man entering a seniors’ home. The experience was so alarming that he felt he had to move. However, in his new community he was still afraid to acknowledge his sexuality. So back into the closet he went.

It is clear that the whole study of elder abuse must include some serious work among those who work with older adults or in long-term care facilities, many of which continue to be bastions of homophobia and discrimination against LGBT adults. As the Coalition of Lesbian and Gay Rights in Ontario has said, “We have lesbian great-grandmothers, gay uncles, and bi-sexual cousins! Principally what has changed is the number of people prepared to come out and be publicly identified.”

While there seems to be more support for younger LGBT people, the same attention and concern has not been shown for older members of the LGBT community. Many are afraid to come out or be open about their sexuality when they move into long-term care homes. Thus their dignity and rights to full-participation in society, as well as their sense of security and safety are severely undermined. It is imperative that we find ways to fight against this perverse form of ageism.

New Report from Scotland Reaffirms the Research: Loneliness Kills; Friendship Gives Life

I have written about this many times before. But here is another important reminder about the dangers of loneliness as we age. This time from Scotland.

On Friday my husband Richard left for St. Andrews, Scotland to visit his mother and father. His mother is 87 today and he wanted to celebrate this special day with her. He also wanted to visit his 89-year-old father, who is blind and now completely immobile and living in a nursing home. The visits are hard because Richard’s Dad no longer possesses the agile mind he once had; but occasionally there are glimmers of the old Alan Macgregor. Thankfully, he always seems to know family when they come, even if he does not always make sense.

Of course the person this is hardest of all on is Richard’s mother. Thankfully, she stays in touch with friends and goes out for coffee or lunch and attends various university lectures. I know she misses Richard’s Dad terribly, but these outings seem to help. She also gets regular weekly visits from Richard’s three siblings, who are very devoted in their care of both their mother and father.

For those who don’t have these connections, life can be very lonely. But a recent article suggests that we can all help to alleviate another’s loneliness and sense of isolation. In an article in The Scotsman, Adam Strachura says that every day 100,000 older people in Scotland live with chronic loneliness. Strachura, who is Age Scotland’s head of Policy and Communications, says that this is one person for every street in Scotland. Moreover, the numbers are climbing. But there is a way to help. Strachura says:

“…the way to tackle loneliness and isolation already exists in every community. We can all do something about it.

The answer is something that most of us have access to: time. It may be precious but a little goes a long way. Just a little bit of time can give an ­older person who lives alone on your street or an older family member the chance to go out, meet new people and feel connected again.

So how do we change this? Talk, invite and make time. From ­something so simple as helping someone home with their shopping while ­having a blether, to inviting your neighbour round for dinner, taking them with you to the football or ­asking them to join you as you walk your dog, every quality minute spent with an older person really does count. I truly believe that. And to be honest, you’ll feel great for doing it.

We should all be able to love later life without fear of becoming ­isolated or lonely. The time to take action is now.”

If you haven’t read my book, please read the following….”Re-Designing Your Life: A Practical Spirituality for the Second Half of Life”

At least sixty-five per cent of all major changes happen after age 65. These include, among other life-changing events, the loss of a spouse, the loss of a job, and the loss of health. It is also true that wisdom is often born out of wrestling with the changes we experience in life. As those who now find ourselves in the second half of life, we have the ability to act on this wisdom and the responsibility to pass it on.

Re-Designing Your Life: A Practical Spirituality for the Second Half of Life is intended to help people over 50 to cope with transitions and to help people live their lives with spiritual integrity. The book aims to help people discern their calling and to live lives of meaning and joy.

Readers are invited to think of their life as a house undergoing renovations where, with God’s grace, we get to design something new and life-giving. Through practical exercises, thought-provoking discussion topics, stories from the Scriptures, and memorable anecdotes, Re-Deigning Your Life will guide people through:

Coping with endings, empty-nesting and retirement;

Caring for self while caring for elderly parents, partners and grandchildren;

Letting go of things that get in the way of becoming your true self;

Strengthening relationships; and

Finding your passion and calling in the second half of life.

Both individuals and small study groups will find this book helpful. Each chapter comes with a set of questions for discussion, as well as suggestions for further reading and popular contemporary films that can promote further conversation and reflection. There is also a set of videos produced by the author to accompany each chapter of the study.

Mardi Tindal, former Moderator of the United Church of Canada, writes: “Re-Designing your Life is a must-read for pastors, congregations and individuals who want to discover God’s calling in the second half of life.”

 

I Would Love to be a “Bad A Grandma”! What About You? Are You a “Bad A Grandma or Grandpa”?

This past week I have been attending the Presbyterian Older Adult Ministry Network POAMN) Annual Conference, which took place on the beautiful campus of Louisville Presbyterian Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. One of the most active participants was a ninety-one year old woman from Grosse Isle, just outside Detroit. She is a founding member and has been with the organization since its inception some 35 years ago. She told us how her most important mentors in the faith were her mother and grandmother. Her story reflects that of the disciple Timothy, whose faith Paul credits to his mother Eunice and grandmother Lois.

Another woman at our conference told us about two very important faith formation groups in her church in San Antonio: “Grandfamilies”, a support group for grandparents raising their grandchildren, something we are seeing much more of these days, and “Bad A Grandmas!” I’d love to be a “Bad A Grandma”! I imagine Lois was a “Bad A Grandma” to Timothy, challenging him to be all that he could be and to do all that he could do to serve the Lord, but also loving him unconditionally as only a truly “Bad A Grandma” could do! Whether you have grandchildren or not, you can be a mentor to some young person seeking someone with whom to share their questions about life, someone to accompany them in their faith journey. You too can be a “Bad A Grandma or Grandpa!”

 

Giving Thanks: When You Thought I Wasn’t Looking

As we approach the celebration of our Canadian Thanksgiving holiday, we recognise that we Canadians have much for which to be thankful. This is good.  Studies have been done, for example, that show that when you express thankfulness, you also bolster your own self-worth and self-esteem. It also helps you to build friendships and strengthen existing ones.

The world’s most prominent researcher and writer about gratitude, Robert Emmons, defines gratitude as “a felt sense of wonder, thankfulness, and appreciation for life.” This weekend, therefore, I invite you to give God thanks for all the blessings you enjoy in life. Think also of others who have not been so blessed and find ways to help them. Remember: gratitude is something that not only blesses the person being thanked; it also blesses the one who offers gratitude.

I leave you with an old reflection that you have likely read many times before, but which still packs a powerful punch:

  • When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you hang my first painting on the refrigerator and I immediately wanted to paint another one.–  When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you make my favourite cake for me and I learned that the little things can be the special things in life.

    — When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you make my favourite cake for me and I learned that the little things can be the special things in life.

  • When you thought I wasn’t looking I saw you feed a stray cat, and I learned that it was good to be kind to animals.When you thought I wasn’t looking I heard you say a prayer, and I knew there is a God I could always talk to and I learned to trust in God.
  • When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you make a meal and take it to a friend who was sick, and I learned that we all have to help take care of each other.
  • When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you give of your time and money to help people who had nothing and I learned that those who have something should give to those who don’t.
  • When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you take care of our house and everyone in it and I learned we have to take care of what we are given.
  • When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw how you handled your responsibilities, even when you didn’t feel well and I learned that I would have to be responsible when I grow up.
  • When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw tears come from your eyes and I learned that sometimes things hurt, but it’s alright to cry.
  • When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw that you cared, and I wanted to be everything that I could be.
  • When you thought I wasn’t looking, I learned most of life’s lessons that I need to know to be a good and productive person when I grow up.
  • When you thought I wasn’t looking, I looked at you and wanted to say, ‘Thanks for all the things I saw when you thought I wasn’t looking.’