Spirituality of Aging curriculum meets deep need

Seabury Resources for Aging
Posted Apr 19, 2024

Seabury Resources for Aging® is pleased to introduce The Path Ahead: Spirituality & Purpose in Later LifeSM, a curriculum on the spirituality of aging designed for small groups. The six-part series explores the challenges and rewards of aging in a spiritual context.

The Path Ahead is unabashedly countercultural.  Rejecting stereotypical views that define aging in terms of a singular narrative of decline, the series instead reveals this season of life through a multifaceted lens of spiritual growth, purpose, and meaning.

Over six sessions, participants grapple with ageism, identify changing spiritual needs, equip themselves with new prayer practices, and engage in discernment about God’s continuing call. Contemplative practices form the backbone of the curriculum, with a new one introduced each session. Employing video presentations, directed discussion,  and the arts, The Path Ahead: Spirituality & Purpose in Later LifeSM encourages connection, builds community, and promotes wellbeing.

“The Path Ahead came about as a result of conversation and discernment around ministry with our older adults,” notes the Rev. Tim Johnson, rector of Church of the Advent, Kennett Square, PA, and an early adopter of the curriculum. “When someone retires and life as they have known it all of a sudden changes, The Path Ahead provides the opportunity to allow and encourage participants to think no longer in terms of void, but in terms of opportunity.”

“We offer each week a practice that helps people be more centered, more focused, more open to the divine,” said the Rev. Susan K. Walker, co-author of the curriculum. “It helps people understand how God continues to call us throughout our lives.”

The Path Ahead was developed by Seabury Resources for Aging® in partnership with the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, DC. Realizing the implications of an approaching “silver tsunami” of aging parishioners, Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde in 2017 turned to longtime community partner Seabury to develop a curriculum on the spirituality of aging for use in congregations. Two pilots and a bit of tweaking later, the result was The Path Ahead: Spirituality & Purpose in Later LifeSM.

In the interest of serving more faith communities, Seabury adopted a “train-the-facilitator” model. As a result, 103 facilitators from 13 states and multiple faith communities – including Episcopal, United Church of Christ, Lutheran, Catholic, Presbyterian, and Methodist – have been trained and the series is steadily taking root.  Seabury currently offers online facilitator training three times a year through the Washington Diocese’s School for Christian Faith and Leadership. Register for upcoming training workshops beginning May 9, October 3, and February 6, 2025.

Inquiries about The Path Ahead are welcomed. Contact Elizabeth Boyd, Director of Congregational Resources, Seabury Resources for Aging®, at eboyd@seaburyresources.org.