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The Soul of Aging: A Courage & Renewal Alumni Institute

Our next institute will take place in Spring 2018.      

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The Soul of Aging is a four-day institute for those who have experienced one or more Courage & Renewal programs and want to lead a small group, based on the Circle of Trust approach, in their congregation or community that addresses the spiritual dimensions of aging.

To quote Eleanor Roosevelt: Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art. In this program, we will creatively approach “the art” of aging intentionally, and the many soulful invitations our maturing years offer us. In a time when so many congregants and people of faith are entering the last season of their lives, we are excited to offer this program to provide fellowship and a soulful, trustworthy exploration in community.

This retreat welcomes people from all religious traditions and walks of life.

Upon attending The Soul of Aging, you will:

  • Receive a user-friendly curriculum for small-group programming that you can adapt in your home community.
  • Practice leading the curriculum and gain feedback from your peers and facilitators. Download the introductory session of the curriculum here.
  • Experience a community of mutual support with fellow clergy and congregational leaders.
  • Develop your capacity to build the relational trust needed in congregational life.
  • Explore how to lead and serve out of a place of courage and wholeness.

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The Soul of Aging is for you if…

  • You’ve experienced the Circle of Trust® approach and are ready to make the move from participant to practitioner.
  • You long to lead courageous conversations in your spiritual community around the topic of aging that speak to the whole person, build trust among peers, and transform tensions within and between generations.
  • You would enjoy learning from Parker J. Palmer and other writers on the inner work of the soul, as well as learning with a community of kindred spirits who will journey with you on retreat.
  • You are an alumni of our Geography of Grace institute and want to bring another Courage & Renewal curriculum into your congregation or community. A discount of $100 is available for GOG alumni.


Themes of the Curriculum

 "quote-L "quote-ROne cannot live the afternoon of life according to the program of life’s morning, for what was great in the morning will be of little importance in the evening, and what in the morning was true will at evening have become a lie.

C. G. Jung

soulofaging-eldertrioThe Soul of Aging curriculum is designed to be led in ten, 2.5 hour sessions, or twenty, 1.25 hour sessions. At the Soul of Aging institute, participants will familiarize themselves with the curriculum and brainstorm how to adapt it for their particular faith context. Below is the working table of contents:

• Introductory Session – Calling in the Ancestors: Visions of Aging
Session Two – Spiritual Formation Across the Lifecycle: Who Am I and Whose Am I
Session Three – Be Not Afraid: Looking Into the Mouth of the Lion
Session Four – Fierce with Reality: Living and Loving Well to the End
Session Five – Naming and Claiming Your Unlived Life
Session Six – The Spirit of Freedom: The Mystical Dimensions of Aging
Session Seven – The Crucible of Descent
Session Eight – All My Relations: Truth, Reconciliation and Forgiveness
Session Nine – Holy Stripping: Facing the End of Life
Session Ten – Generativity, Legacy and Harvesting our Lives


"quote-L"quote-RDisabused of our illusions by much travel and travail, we awaken one day to find that the sacred center is here and now – in every moment of the journey, everywhere in the world around us, and deep within our own hearts.

– Parker J. Palmer, Now I Become Myself

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