Spirituality of Aging: Small Group Study

(3 customer reviews)


In this five week small group study, we explore a spirituality of aging that invites us to receive the challenges of aging with compassion and inhabit a vulnerability that allows us to connect with the deep vastness of of life. See Description Below.

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This five week study may be used during Lent, but it is also appropriate for any time of the year.

Prayer Bench guest, Catherine Smith writes in the first session:

“Aging with a soft stance of courage, is a grace we can offer to the world. This is not to ignore or deny the challenges of aging, the diminishments of our body and health among other things. It is to learn rather to hallow our diminishments; to hold them with compassion and to glimpse a shimmering in them that will call us deeper into our lives.

We will not try to solve the challenges of aging in conventionally measurable ways in our time together. Rather we will seek to receive them and to honour them and to grow through them, seeing them in the strong and tender wash of spirit.”

We explore these themes in a series of five papers to be read aloud during the sessions.

1. Spirituality of Aging: The Invitation
2. Sounding the Depths
3. Constrained and Freed
4. Attending Our Stories
5. We Overflow in Blessing

Catherine weaves invitation after invitation to inhabit our vulnerability, grow into our courage, live into our losses, and overflow with blessing.  Through her guided exploration, and in the small group process and take-home practices, we see how our lives become blessing in the world.

The questions, the images and the invitations in this small group study are for all: the young, those in middle years, and for the elder. We are in every moment and circumstance choosing what to do with our “one wild and precious life.” (Mary Oliver.)

 What You Receive in this Small Group Study 
  • Leader’s Guide (includes the process for five sessions: Gathering, Opening, Check-in, Discussion questions, and a Group Spiritual Practice. Written by Prayer Bench host, Janice MacLean with Catherine Smith.)
  • One audio recording introducing our guest contributor, the Rev. Dr. Catherine Smith, and offering a study overview, This may be widely shared in the promotion of this small group study.
  • Five short papers to download and photocopy offering content to be read aloud within each session.
  • Five participant sheets with a take-home practice to download and photocopy.
  • Password protected access to a Prayer Bench webpage with all the study materials, downloadable image for social media promotion, customizable poster for the series, and other resources related to the study.
 How Do Prayer Bench Small Group Studies Work? 

When you register and pay, you receive an email with information about when o access a private webpage. You will find the Leader’s Guide and all the resources you need.  

More questions? Visit: Frequently Asked Questions about Small Group Studies.
or Email Janice.  A preview of Session 1 is available by request (after Feb. 5)

This Small Group Study is included in the 2020 Prayer Bench Subscription package.

The Rev. Dr. Catherine Smith, Prayer Bench Guest

Picture of Catherine SmithCatherine has long been involved in the tender and joyful work of opening space for spiritual deepening.  Catherine was ordained in 2007 having received her BTh from McGill and her MDiv  from UTC. Her research into vulnerability developed into the dissertation A Permeable Way, How Vulnerability Nourishes Pastoral Leadership for which she received her DMin. Catherine’s training in Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups and Retreats was received through the Shalem Institute..

Catherine encourages ways that draw us deeper into our story, including the development of Governance as Spiritual Practice and Rural Routes Through the Holy. She  loves to spend time among trees and near the ocean or in the garden, to delight in her husband John, her children, and her granddaughters Mary and Maya.   You can follow her at Hem of the Light.

3 reviews for Spirituality of Aging: Small Group Study

  1. Kate Young (verified owner)

    I used the Spirituality of Aging at a local retirement home during the summer months. The feedback was excellent. I am just beginning using it with my congregation and folks are really getting excited about the discussions. Thank you for this resource. Very much appreciate it.

  2. Kate Young

    Just beginning the Spirituality of Aging in Oakville. And I used it as well at a local retirement home during the summer months. I love it, the format, the questions, and rituals, spiritual practices, and stories. Great conversation. Thank you for this resource.

  3. Sue MacDonald (verified owner)

    Our group is using the Spirituality of Aging for our Lenten study this year. We have only completed two of the sessions but already we have been touched deeply-not only from Catherine Smith’s words, but with the questions and the rituals-spiritual practices that are included in the study. This study is good for those who are aging and for those who feel they have arrived.
    As clergy, I was able to take the learnings and turn them into a worship service for our local care home-and it was well received.
    I also can see where it will certainly impact any funeral meditations that I will have to prepare.
    This study is well worth the commitment of time in such a time constrained world.

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