Annual Report 2021

The Wisdom Years

2021 Report

In spite of the constraints of the pandemic, the Wisdom Years community continued to gather for inspiration, reflection, and companionship for older adults in 2021. We come together weekly, through online technology, to live out our understanding that this time of our lives is an invitation into a deeper way of life. The offer of these years is to look deeply at our relationship with God, to finally live into all that God is calling us to become, and to see these years as blessings rather than burdens.

Our weekly gatherings are built around resources the Wisdom Years organizers provide – assigned books, articles, poetry, scripture, and written reflections from trusted Christian writers and thinkers, as well as material we wrote. 

Our method does not employ traditional “teaching” as much as creating space for participants to listen to the wisdom of their own souls and their own life experiences through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Discussions, small-group conversations, and well-thought-out reflection questions encourage participants to enter mutual listening and pay attention to what speaks to them. As appropriate we end some studies with a short liturgy.  

Our participant list has grown to 77, although of course not everyone opts-in for every study.

In 2021 we offered seven invitations to gather around particular topics and authors. We read two books together; five studies were created by the Wisdom Years coordinating team of Marjorie George, Carla Pineda, and the Rev. Patricia Riggins.

Below are the dates, titles, sources, participation and, briefly, the focus of each offering. Participants came from all over the Diocese of West Texas as well as from several geographical locations around the country. 

We also note that the ministry was affirmed with an Honorable Mention in the bishop’s call for papers under the title of “We Will Continue” this past summer.

In 2022, we plan to expand our offerings with an in-person retreat/conference at either Camp Capers or the Bishop Jones Center and some half-day in-person/online workshops. These will augment, not replace, our weekly online gatherings.

Studies from 2021:

Another Way Home

January 7 – 21 (Epiphany)

Original materials

27 participants

A three-session exploration of the spiritual road we each find ourselves on at this time in our lives, where we think our spiritual journeys are headed, and what we need along the way to stay the course God is calling us to. 

Moving on Through Forgiveness 

February 4-March 11 (Lent)

Original and resourced materials

44 participants

Sometimes, we really were wronged; the offense was committed. Reconciliation may not be possible or even advisable. And sometimes we are the one who has committed the offense; how do we then move toward reconciliation? How do we move on? 

Overflowing with Gratefulness

April 22-May 6

Original and resourced materials

34 participants
Radical gratefulness is living in the joy that no matter what happens, I will still find reason for gratitude for all that God has given. We learn to live these years knowing that what we have and what we are is all we need, and we “hold space” for the possibilities for joy and contentment our God reveals to us.

May 27-June 17
Book: Unfolding by Nancy J. Hill
35 participants
Our path, it seems, appears as we travel the journey.  Our part is to recognize the hand of God steadying us and beckoning us forward. 

 Summer Pop-Ups

August 5-26

One-topic sessions each week for 4 weeks

Original and resourced materials

Average weekly attendance – 35

Aug 5 – Crossing Thresholds

How we negotiate the thresholds that will inevitably come to us can determine the path the rest of our life will take.

Aug 12 – Hallowing our Diminishments

Even the diminishments of this age invite us to “make holy” all that we are and all that we have as we stand in the presence of God.

Aug 19 – The Gifts of Joy and Wonder

Together we consider where we find joy and wonder, and how our response to it can enrich our lives and the lives of those around us.

Aug 26 – Come Play

Sometimes we need to be children splashing in rain puddles for a while. And there, too, we will find God, laughing and playing with us as we celebrate all of creation.

Seven Whispers

Sept 9-Oct 28

Book: Seven Whispers by Christina Baldwin
47 participants
In these years, as we leave behind all that no longer serves us well and enter into the deeper life of communion with the Holy Spirit, we find that our souls have something to say to us. Through seven phrases or whispers, author Christina Baldwin invites us to clear away the clutter and listen deeply. 

Toward Incarnation
Dec 2-23 (Advent)
Original Materials
35 participants
In Advent we prepare for God’s Incarnation in human form. And we recognize that our God has been acting in history throughout time to bring God’s people to himself. In our Advent exploration, we will look at how God was alive and working in the lives of five vibrant biblical women – Sarah, Miriam, Deborah, Mary and Elizabeth. The invitation is for each of us to explore through these women and ask: How is God working in us so that we reflect the light of Christ.

Respectfully submitted to The Episcopal Diocese of west Texas,

Marjorie George, Carla Pineda, the Rev. Patricia Riggins