Upcoming Events

*Canceled* | Elder Odyssey: A Rite of Passage Program for Mature Adults

April 3, 2020 @ 7:00 pm – April 4, 2020 @ 5:00 pm
Union Theological Seminary
3041 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
Jonathan Soto

In light of evolving information about COVID-19 and out of an abundance of caution, we are canceling this event.

Based on recommendations from public health officials, all non-essential events of more than 25 people on campus will be canceled or postponed. If we are able to reschedule the event at a later date, we will be in touch.

Thank you for your understanding.

Dates: Friday, April 3 from 7pm – 9pm & Saturday, April 4 from 10am – 5pm
Cost: $60.00
RSVP: Click Here
Union Students: Attend for free, RSVP to jsoto@uts.columbia.edu
Facilitators: Ev Mann and Lester Strong (bios below)

Many of us, having grown up in a society that focuses on productivity and the material world are at a loss when entering a stage of life where the skills and knowledge we acquired are of little value.  Who are we when we are no longer a job title, a parent, a provider?  How do we navigate this new, virtually unknown terrain of no longer working nine to five, no longer being defined by what we do?

“The course was just what I needed as I enter retirement.  It helped me clarify my priorities and provided insight on topics such as identity, intention, letting go, love and death.  I highly recommend it.” -​​D.H.

“The Elder Odyssey sessions were an amazing opportunity for me to take stock of what is important in my life.  The participants, strangers at first, spoke from their hearts sharing hopes, fears and challenges.  I was truly honored to get to know them.”​​ -C.R.

“My husband and I found it to be a very worthwhile experience.  As we get older, we are all grappling with big questions and this course provided a wonderful forum in which to share our struggles, fears and insights in a safe and supportive environment.”​ -N.B.

This course is designed to offer a compass and companionship for the journey.  It is challenging but there are some tools and roadmaps available to us.  We will gather in community to explore this together and learn not only from the insights of those who have gone before but from each other as well.

Each session will feature a meditation practice, a movement practice, a presentation based on the readings for that week followed by group discussion.

Elder Odyssey Topics

  1. Endings and Beginnings: We can’t really move-on until we’ve made peace with what is being left behind. In any transition, we offer gratitude for what was and eagerly prepare for what’s to come.
  2. Who Am I Anyway?: We think we ARE our titles, our public persona, our income, our networks and much more. When those things are taken away, who are we then?
  1. What’s Love Got to Do with It?: When making any critical decision, always make the most loving decision. If love is not needed, then it doesn’t matter what you decide.
  2. Facing Your Fears: Exposing our doubts, fears and uncertainty is often seen as a sign of weakness. But is it? Only by facing our doubts, fears and uncertainty can we become free of them.
  3. No Time to Waste: Those who run from death and those who run to death suffer from the same problem. They don’t know how to live.
  4. Living on Purpose: Finding our purpose in life is not for the sake of purpose alone. It’s to discover              what it feels like to be fully human

The Facilitators:

Ev Mann is a musician/educator with wide experience in the non-profit sector as the founder and executive director of the Center for Creative Education and MaMA, Marbletown Multi-Arts.  Ev has master’s degrees in religious studies and Music Composition and currently co-leads the Encore Transition Program at Union Theological Seminary in NYC.

Lester currently co-facilitates Elder Odyssey workshops which serve as a rite of passage for mature adults into elderhood. He is the former President and CEO of the SYDA Foundation which operates yoga and meditation centers in 46 countries. He has studied Eastern philosophies and practiced meditation on four continents (North America, Asia, Europe and Australia) over the past 40 years. He also taught in and managed meditation centers in Boston, Atlanta and Charlotte for twenty years. Lester studied Judeo-Christian theology at Davidson College in North Carolina and the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta.