NEXT Steps: Re-Imagining Your Elderhood

NEXT Steps: Re-imagining Your Elderhood

NEXT Steps introduces participants to theological, philosophical, and psychological concepts of vocation and aging. It is a gathering for adults contemplating or entering retirement, and for those who are recently retired. All program activities are designed to stimulate your individual self-discovery as you develop a personal plan for your new and meaningful chapter of life. NEXT Steps participants follow a 16-week process of self-discovery through readings, presentations, small group discussions, and discernment. All classes will meet via ZOOM. By the end of the course, participants will have developed a vision and a plan for their next phase of life; their elderhood.

Learn About the Ruth Parker Center for Abundant Aging

Course leaders:

  • Beth Long-Higgins, Executive Director, Ruth Parker Center for Abundant Aging
  • Steve Lawler, Director of the Walker Leadership Institute @ Eden Theological Seminary
  • Jill Schantz, Coordinator, NEXT Steps
Course Schedule

Fall 2023

The meetings will all meet for two hours:
Sept. 12 and 26
Oct. 10 and 24
Nov. 7 and 21
Dec. 5 and 19

On non-class weeks there will be a one hour cohort discussion group, time and date to be determined by each cohort on the first day of class.

The cost is $500. Scholarships are available: [email protected]

Course Schedule

Spring 2024

Rev. Beth Long-Higgins, Rev. Steve Lawler, and Jill Schantz would like to invite you to an optional brief orientation to the course and introduction to the instructors on January 23, 2024 at 5:30 CST/6:30 EST. This meeting will answer questions of logistics, introduce the instructors, and generally try to make the opening day of NEXT Steps as smooth as possible.

The meetings will all meet for two hours:
Jan. 30
Feb. 13 and 27
Mar. 12 and 26
Apr. 9 and 23
May 7

On non-class weeks there will be a one hour cohort discussion group, time and date to be determined by each cohort on the first day of class.

The cost is $500. Financial Assistance is available: [email protected]

  • Who Do You Want to be When You Grow Old?  By Richard J. Leider & David A. Shapiro
  • Creative Aging by Marjory Zoet Bankson
  • The Jubilee Years by Bruce Epperly (for clergy participants)

Other readings, digital resources and personal and group exercises will be assigned throughout the course.

In our NEXT Steps graduate's own words:

Recent NEXT Steps participant, Rev. Denise McGary tells of her NEXT Steps experience.  Rev. McGary found that the program gave her a “plan that was empowering and energizing” for facing her future NEXT steps.

“I didn’t know what to expect, but it was beyond my expectations really. It was fabulous.”

“I’ve worked in the same field for four decades. There’s a certain mindset and way of looking at the world – this is the first time I’ve had conversations with adults who have no clue about my field. It really helped expand my thinking and looking at the world going forward. Isn’t that exciting?!”

“It took me down a path that I never would have considered before.”

“What I learned is that the earlier you start to think about this new phase, the more options you have available to you. It’s not too early to start thinking about this.”

“I’m really pleased at how things came together for me. I’m not sure how that happened. Between the leadership and the class, things began to gel for me and it became clearer and clearer what I wanted to do.”