Fall adult education opportunities begin at 9:00 a.m., September 9. The adult forum will meet in the church library; the Bible study will meet in the resource center.
Bible study: We will continue our study based on the lectionary. Leaders are volunteers from among attendees. No books, study guides, or prior readings are suggested.
Adult Education: On October 21 we will discuss Joan Chittister’s book The Gift of Years. Our discussion of the material will be interest-driven, giving each of us the opportunity to talk about the meditation they may have found most troublesome or most enlightening. The church office can order your book on Amazon prime and when requested the delivery will take about two days. There are 40, three- to five-page meditations on themes including regret, relationships, sadness, nostalgia, immediacy, and loneliness. Chittister opens each meditation with a meaningful quote and closes each meditation with a pair of summary statements that capture the burden and the blessing of the theme she’s been considering.
Here are some examples:
The Burden of regret is that unless we come to understand the value of the choice we made in the past, we may fail to see the gifts they have brought us.
The blessing of regret is clear—It brings us, if we are willing to face it head on, to the point of being present in this new time of life in an entirely new way. It urges us on to continue to becoming.
A burden of these years is to allow all the stereotypes of old age to hold me back, to hold me down, to stop the flow of life in me.
A blessing of these years is that they give me the chance to break the bounds of past life, and to create for myself a life more suited to what I now want to be.
A burden of these years is allowing ourselves to become isolated from the world around us.
A blessing of these years is finding a child who will help us step out of all the old roles and become a human being again.
The burden of nostalgia is that it takes us out of the present and immobilizes us in the past.
The blessing of nostalgia is that it can serve to remind us that just as we survived all of life before this, grew from it, laughed through it learned from it as well, we can also live through this age with the same grace and the same insights—- and this time, share that audacious spirit with others.
Excerpts from a review by Michelle Van Loon:
The book is structured for reading in small bites, rather than reading it cover to cover. There are forty 3-5 page meditations on themes including regret, relationships, sadness, nostalgia, immediacy and loneliness. Chittister opens each meditation with a meaningful quote, and then tackles the topic in question in an accessible, conversational manner. The chapters are intentionally short, but are packed full of thought-provoking content. She closes each meditation with a pair of summary statements that capture the burden and the blessing of the theme she’s been considering.
“What is the purpose of all these extra years, the ones out of the systems, beyond the corporate institutions. Is this the dying time? Is it only about waiting to be gone? And if so, how can we possibly face it with any kind of joy, any kind of dignity?…Each period of life has its own purpose. This later one gives me the time to assimilate all the others. The task of this period of life…is not simply to endure the coming of the end of time. It is to come alive in ways I have never been alive before.”
Located at North Church and supported by several denominations, the Center for Christian Growth of WNY is freely available to use if you call North Church home (or belong to another church or denomination that supports the Center). Other denominations, churches and individuals may use the Resource Center for an annual fee.