Next Steps

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 more anout the Ruth Parker Center for Abundant Aging

Cohort 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

Orientation Session Recommended- 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. This orientation will answer questions of logistics, introduce the instructors, and generally try to make the opening day of NEXT Steps as smooth as possible. Please register for orientation below. 

*Fall 2024 orientation is August 19, 5:30-6:30pm CT.

*Spring-Winter 2025 orientation is January 7, 5:30-6:30pm CT.

Upcoming Cohorts:   Sixteen weeks each with 9 group sessions approximately every other week. Small discussion groups will meet at a time of their choosing during the intervening weeks.

*Fall Clergy Cohort and Cohort for All meeting dates: 

  • Aug. 26
  • Sept. 9, 16, and 23
  • Oct. 7, 21
  • Nov. 4, 18
  • Dec. 2

*Winter-Spring Cohorts begin January 21, 2025: Meeting dates to be determined.


  • 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.

The cost is $500.

 *Several clergy scholarships are available for the Clergy Cohort. See below for qualifications and registration.

If you want to know more before registering or have questions, please contact us at or

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