“Teach us to count our days that we may gain a wise heart,” writes the psalmist. But instead of reverencing our passing years and the wisdom they may bring, we live in a dominant culture that too often denigrates the experiences of aging and older people.
Ageism manifests not only in belittling jokes, “anti-aging” products, and subtle condescension, but also in societal structures that make older people more vulnerable to job discrimination, healthcare disparities, and all forms of neglect and abuse. Pushing back against these injustices, The Riverside Church seeks to chart a more excellent way.
Throughout the month of May—Older Americans Month—and culminating in Pentecost Sunday, Riverside’s worship will lift up the faith, courage, and complexities of older people in the Bible; explore spiritual aspects of aging; and celebrate the contributions of older persons in our congregation and beyond. As we seek to welcome and nurture the gifts of people across the lifespan, in this season we pay special attention to our most seasoned guides in our collective pursuit of greater love, faith, and justice.
Sunday Morning Worship
Preacher: Rev. Lynn Casteel Harper
Preacher: Rev. Michael Livingston
Preacher: Dr. Amy-Jill Levine
Preacher: Jennifer Jones Austin
Preacher: Rev. David Beckmann
Preacher: Rev. Michael Livingston
Programs & Events
Saturday, May 7, 2022 • 10:00 am – 3:00 pm • Room 9T
During this day of prayer and reflection, participants will explore aging as a journey of spiritual fulfillment. Transforming the story of aging restricted by ageism, we will reclaim the rich complexities, challenges, and opportunities of the aging process. As we let go of what no longer define us, there emerges space and time to listen for invitations to live more deeply from the center of our true selves. Through engaging scripture, poetry, guided meditations, and spiritual practices, we will listen to one another as we open to God’s Spirit—exploring the question: What am I being called to at this stage of the journey?
Facilitator Rev. Susan Kennard Walker, M.A., M.T.S., is adeacon in the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, serving St. Stephen and the Incarnation since 2013. Susan is a graduate of the Washington Theological Union (MTS) where she also completed the program for Spiritual Direction Studies. Since 2017, she has collaborated in creating curriculum for the Episcopal Church that addresses the intersection of aging and spirituality.
Lunch will be provided. Free of cost. Space is limited. Adults of all ages are welcome. Click here to register by May 1.
Thursday, May 12, 2022 | 12:00 – 2:00 pm ET | South Hall | Free
All are welcome to this church wide event, but space is limited.
In celebration of the past and present contributions of Riverside’s older congregants and friends, we will enjoy a buffet lunch and a special program featuring professional performing artists from Sing for Your Seniors, a nonprofit focused on entertainment, intergenerational community, and creating joy.
Space is limited. Click here to register by May 5.
For years on Saturday nights, white authorities in Enfield, NC blew a siren-like whistle, warning Black people to clear the downtown streets. This curfew was one of the many demeaning practices used to keep the Black population separate and unequal. Through the narratives of Willa Cofield, her former students, and current residents of the town, “The Nine O’Clock Whistle” tells the story of a dramatic cultural movement from 1963-1965 that rocked the segregated town and changed it forever.
Riverside is pleased to celebrate the gifts and accomplishments of educator and Civil Rights activist Willa Cofield who co-directed the film with Karen Riley. A regular attendee of The Riverside Church, including Virtual Coffee Hour, Ms. Cofield will be present for a Q&A after the screening. Nancy Livingston, Ms. Cofield’s longtime friend and colleague, will offer an introduction.
The Tower League is a supportive, caring community of older adults. The purpose of the Tower League is to foster fellowship, educational opportunities, social activities, outreach, and spiritual growth for members and friends of The Riverside Church. May would be a great month to join us!
Please contact Rev. Lynn Casteel Harper, Minister of Older Adults, at email@example.com or 212-870-6753 to receive more information, as well as the Zoom link for the Tower League weekly programs.
Thursday, May 5: The Gray Panthers of NYC presents “Older Adult Advocates,” an engaging look at the advocacy work of the Gray Panthers, The Granny Peace Brigade, and other groups striving for justice in aging.
Thursday, May 19: Education on Scam Prevention & Elder Abuse
Thursday, May 26 & June 2: Planning for the Future: Documenting Your End-of-Life Wishes, Understanding Care Options, and Creating Legacy Projects
Stories from Older Adults
Watch and listen to stories from some of our Riverside older adults:
Living a Good Life: Make Adventures (Elinor Fosdick Downs)
Living a Good Life: Love Is the Answer to It All (Emogene B. Stamper)
Living a Good Life: A Good Name (Rev. Elizabeth Wheeler)
Living a Good Life: Be Yourself (Dr. Ronald Lonesome)
Living a Good Life: You Have to Give Back (Zenobia Gray)
Living a Good Life: We Don't (Rev. Elizabeth Wheeler)
Living a Good Life: Slow Down (Zenobia Gray)
Living A Good Life: Every Question was an Answer (Rev. Elizabeth Wheeler)
Living a Good Life: Having Joy (Dr. Ronald Lonesome)
About the Artist
Painter Monique Serres is an active member of The Riverside Church, including the Tower League. Monique joined the church in 1990, but has been involved since 1971. A native of Port-au-Prince, Monique is a graduate of Fashion Institute of Technology (Textile Design, Interior Design) and a life-member of the Art Students League. Her work has been exhibited in museums and galleries both in New York City and internationally, including West Side Arts Coalition, Cork gallery Lincoln Center, Hudson Guild Gallery, Marina Tsevetaeva Museum, Moscow, Russia; Royal Canberra Show, Australia. The featured image in Riverside’s Older Adult Series is Monique’s “Still life on the pandemic,” which speaks to the fragility and sacredness of life and the need to love and protect our neighbors during the pandemic.