A meeting with Lorraine Claggett, member of the Third Haven Friends Meeting Pastoral Care Committee, during fellowship at Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Annual Sessions opened many doors to learning about dedication, creativity, and outreach to the meeting’s aging Friends. Connecting with Dona Sorce, past Clerk of the Pastoral Care Committee was also enlightening. Several years ago, the meeting recognized many members were over the age of 50. Subsequently, the group invited George Schaefer, a member of Abington Meeting who previously served Philadelphia Yearly Meeting from 2009 to 2022 as Care and Aging Coordinator, to discuss PYM’s resources for aging Friends. We recently connected with Pastoral Care Committee members Bill Schauer, Terry Thomas-Primer, and Dee Rein to learn more about their efforts.
Bill Schauer, current Pastoral Care Committee Clerk, shared how Third Haven’s Pastoral Care Committee partnered with existing members to identify topics of interest to aging Friends for their series of presentations. This included brainstorming, which led to understanding what members needed to know in order to better navigate these life changes and how to adapt to transitions in the aging process. In 2023, the Pastoral Care Committee invited Friends to join a series of conversations designed to assist Friends walking the path of aging together.
Below, we introduce readers to the hosts of recent presentations as well as providing topics and resources that matter to Friends.
Mapping Your Spiritual Journey (Aging as a Spiritual Practice)
About the Hosts: Dr. Katherine Johnson & Catherine Cripps
October 22, 2023
Dr. Katherine Johnson is a member of Third Haven Friends Meeting and lifelong Friend. She is a leadership coach, a workshop leader, and a retired university professor. In Dr. Katherine’s career, she coordinated and led leadership professional development for a school system. She loves finding ways to bring people into deeper awareness of themselves as well as connecting to Spirit. Dr. Katherine is a member of the PYM Spiritual Formation Collaborative where she helps plan and deliver deep and powerful spiritual programs.
Catherine Cripps is also a member of Third Haven meeting. She is a Jungian Psychotherapist and a Board Certified Arts Therapist of many years with a small private practice in Easton, MD. Currently, she facilitates an ongoing 7-year Jungian Dream Group at Third Haven. Having served previously on Third Haven committees, she is currently serving her first year of the Speaker Committee of Friends Conference on Religion and Psychology (FCRP), held at Pendle Hill over the Memorial Day weekend. Catherine continues to love and learn the uses of dreams and imagery in self-reflection and the journey of the Psyche through amplification with various art forms and bodywork. Catherine also is practicing how art can be used in the IFS model.
About the Hosts: Dee Rein & Dona Sorce
November 19, 2023
Dona Sorce currently works with the Maryland Community Block Grant Program (administered by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development) and recently presented on housing issues. She also holds an extensive background in services and housing for the homeless and under served and is interested in learning more about co-housing as an affordable option for the aging population.
Diana M. Rein is a Licensed Graduate Social Worker with over thirty years of experience as an educator. She specializes in interactive workshops for adult learners. Her presentations on Smart Recovery and Family and Friends reflect her personal experience facilitating Rational Recovery, SMART Recovery and Family and Friends groups for people who have problems with alcohol, drugs, overeating, gambling, and sexual behaviors and their family and friends. She also presents Share the Care, a caregiving model for organizing friends and family to help each other, as well as other topics.
5 Wishes & Advanced Medical Directives
About the Hosts: Rev. Dr. Terry Thomas-Primer & Tom Corl
January 21, 2024
Rev. Dr. Terry Thomas-Primer is a retired Chaplain from Springpoint Senior Living, the largest provider of senior adult housing in New Jersey. She provided spiritual care for a continuing care retirement community and two assisted living communities and currently works with Third Haven’s local hospice. In 2007 she completed a Doctor of Ministry from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC. and has worked with Tom Corl on the topic of end-of-life choices. As a volunteer with the organization, Rev. Dr. Thomas-Primer shares the range of services offered by Talbot Hospice Foundation. The End-of-Life Planning program is based on Medical Advance Directives, and Maryland Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (MOLST). MOLST resources are also available within the PYM footprint of meetings for Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey.
Coordination of Care
About the Host: Lisa Rizia
February 18, 2024
Lisa Rizia is the Clinical and Outreach Educator for Talbot Hospice. She has been a registered nurse for 40 years, starting as a hospital nurse and moving on to Community Home Health and Hospice for 13.5 years. Hospice became her main passion during that transition. Prior to that, Rizia was a visiting bedside hospice RN.
About the Hosts: Tom Corl & Bill Schauer
March 17, 2024
The gift of expertise within Third Haven grew with the arrival of Bill Schauer, who formerly worked in the computer software field. Although Bill successfully planned, he and his wife’s estate over 25 years ago, he noted, “You do not know for certain if all is in order until you need it. My wife died three years ago, and the estate plan we created together 25 years ago contained long term care insurance and all the necessary paperwork needed for me to manage her care and for my continuing on after she died.” Through the unfortunate experience of losing a spouse and picking up the pieces, there was much to share.
Advice for the Ages
Together, the group shared sage advice for aging Friends in Meetings, including:
- STC HOME – ShareTheCare – a website and publication that offers caregiving support.
- Keeping presentations to no longer than one hour and hosting in-person, late mornings; noting small bites of information have a positive, longer lasting impact.
- Encourage support – when a member identifies a topic of interest, build a means of sharing information with the wider community.
- Build community through partnering with First Day School for multigenerational outreach.
- Host “Soup and Bread Suppers” and invite aging Friends from the local community and host Friendly Eights gatherings (which they plan to restart this spring) to get to know each other and build connections.
- Collaborate with other community religious organizations – Third Haven regularly connects with a predominantly African American church, Asbury United Methodist, in working towards inclusion and building a solid, diverse community.
To access Third Haven’s comprehensive list of Resources for Aging as Friends, click here.
Western Quarter: A Community That Rallies Around Its Members
Western Quarter’s ad hoc group grew out of an email to friends in Western Quarter seeking immediate support for a meeting member in crisis. Unfortunately, the member’s family lived a great distance away however, because monthly meeting members checked in on each other regularly, they quickly realized their meeting member was in a situation where he could no longer live on his own. So, the group rallied around him offering critical support during his time of crisis. This meeting’s support led to a leading in Western Quarter to compile and provide educational resources that may be of great assistance to other monthly meetings in Western Quarter.
According to Deb Wood, Quarter Coordinator, the Aging Concerns committee was originally formed as an ad hoc group who agreed to work for a year but ended up functioning for nearly two years in support of the community. Today, the Quarter’s website provides a comprehensive listing of aging concerns resources and programs.
This concludes a three-part series drawn from conversations with the Concord Quarter Working Group on Aging, Haddonfield Meeting’s Friendly Seniors, and Third Haven Meeting’s Aging as Friends initiatives. The series truly demonstrates a strong commitment to building a supportive community as Friends transition into the next stage of life that some refer to as the “golden years.” These stories document various initiatives happening throughout the PYM footprint and serve as a support system to other meetings and quarters concerned with and caring for their aging members. We welcome hearing from others to share their stories!
This article was prepared by Sheila Sorkin, PYM, Aging Support Coordinator in collaboration with Tiffanie McKinnon, PYM Senior Content Manager. This article is to provide support, resources and engage the aging community of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting as part of the “To Brighten Your Day” series.