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Older Adult Ministry in Congregations

Residents of Brooksby Village Senior Living Center visit the UUA

Residents of Brooksby Village Senior Living Center, Peabody, MA, visit UUA headquarters.

There are many different settings where older adults can find programming that reflects our religious values and enriches the spiritual journey. Congregations can offer programs that are appropriate for this stage of life, with professional staff or skilled lay leaders as guides and facilitators. Senior living centers and organizations that serve older adults often offer such programs. Sometimes, older adults participate in programs guided by Unitarian Universalist (UU) values offered in locations away from home.

Programs to Offer in a Local Setting

  • Hindsight, Humor, and Hope: Who, Me, an Elder?
    Helps people as they begin to redesign their later years into a time of reflection, discernment, soul stretching, and new life possibilities. This gift of extended years finds many people becoming elders with deep personal questions such as, Who am I now? and What will I do that is meaningful? (6 two-hour workshops)
  • From the High Hill: Odyssey Writing for Elders
    Engages elders in mining the stories of a lifetime to create a presentation to share with peers, loved ones, and co-congregants.(2 weekend retreats frame a period of personal work)
  • Three books by Christine Robinson and Alicia Hawkins offer a reimagined model of small group ministry, with readings, journaling suggestions, and thought-provoking exercises to help participants prepare for the spiritual practice of sharing in community. Each promotes listening rather than back-and-forth discussion, using a deep listening method that allows participants to feel truly heard in a safe setting,
    • Heart to Heart (Skinner, 2009) offers resources for fourteen gatherings on topics such as forgiveness, loss, balance, nature, money, doubt, and friendship.
    • Soul to Soul (Skinner, 2011) offers resources for fourteen additional gatherings on topics which include trust, spiritual experiences, addiction, play, and resilience.
    • Listening Hearts (Skinner, 2015) is the third volume in the series. It offers resources for fourteen gatherings on topics ranging from mental wellness and miracles to leaps of faith and bucket lists.

Programs Offered by Unitarian Universalist Organizations

Woman sweeping at First UU San Antonio campus work day

A member of First UU San Antonio participates in Campus Work Day.

Circle of older adults chatting at The Mountain Retreat and Learning Center

SUUFI participants chatting at The Mountain Retreat and Learning Center.
 

participants stretching at a Ferry Beach conference

Participants stretch at a Ferry Beach conference.

UUCSJ co-leader Mahesh Upadhyaya receives a blessing from the priest at the ancient sacred site we visited near Usgaon.

UUCSJ co-leader Mahesh Upadhyaya receives a blessing from the priest at the ancient sacred site the Journey to India group visited near Usgaon.

Listening Hearts book cover
Cover: Heart to Heart: Fourteen gatherings for Reflection and Sharing, by Christine Robinson and Alicia Hawkins.