The Just Elders Action Team has called on all retreat attendees to gather colleagues and friends into local and virtual chapters. This is a call to renew and enjoy relationships with those whom we share the journey for justice. As we share our stories, we believe that we will discern and define Just Elders as a movement amplifying the voices of “Fifty and Wiser” people all across our nation.
Even though it is summer, Elders who attended our retreat are responding to the call to action in the Twin Cities, Chicago, Milwaukee, Racine, Erie, and Oakland. These will be local face-to-face chapters.
Kathy Partridge is convening an on-line Just Elders chapter of IOI (Interfaith Organizing Initiative) representatives from denominations, seminaries, and networks with whom she worked as IOI’s Executive Director. They plan to communicate using a Facebook group. This is a virtual chapter.
Don Burton is gathering conveners for Just Elders – Town and Country. The purpose is to explore the concerns of people who live on one side or another of the city limit line. This is a fault line where people struggle to deal with change. This will be a virtual chapter.
The retreat attendees from Racine gathered a group together on a Wednesday afternoon. Ten persons were in attendance. As they were gathering at 3:30 p.m., one of the participants said this meeting time is good: “After my afternoon nap but before supper!”
Check-ins revealed elder stories similar to those heard at our retreat. We have challenges in the midst of lives that are blessed. One just came from sailing with a grandchild. One was getting ready to travel into the path of the eclipse! All are involved in some way in their communities: supporting food programs, using time to tutor and train younger people in skill areas, including spiritual direction and church leadership and ministry. Some engage in community development participating on task forces and commissions. Others manage various educational opportunities such as exploring the “Significance of Luther,” “Islamic Law (Sharia),” and “Are Atheists Off the Moral Hook?” One is creating programs to assist churches in becoming green and advocating for denominational environmental stewardship. There were several published authors in this group. All reported struggling with issues of health. One is using a time of lessening mobility to become knowledgeable on emerging healthcare issues. While many report full schedules with little room for more, there was openness to explore the idea of just Elders.
The conveners introduced “The Campaign for Just Elders.” with its goal of amplifying the voices of elders through social media in a time of societal upheaval. Because some Americans dismiss the wisdom of Fifty and Wiser people, some suggested the need for assertiveness. Our communities need to hear and know what we have learned. Leading our communities in searching for meaningful action is important. We know how to lead and act!
Jane Witt, Julie Burton, Don Burton, David Rhoads, Sharon Locke, Sister Jean Kimler, Wayne Johnson, John Lehmann, Jim Peters, Elaine Peters have scheduled the first chapter meeting of the Just Elders – Racine for September 26 at 3:30 p.m. They are challenging each other to invite three people to this gathering. We will be very intentional about these invitations so that going forward Just Elders – Racine is reflective of the Community demographics.
The goal is to have connected 30-40 people to Just Elders. We hope they will accept the same challenge: to return for the second chapter meeting of Just Elders – Racine with three more. This meeting is on the Just Elders calendar for January 9, 2018 at 3:30 p.m. We will need a larger location.
The 30-40 people who are part of the first meeting will be asked to bring three people with them. This makes a chapter size of 90-120.
What have you planned? What are you getting ready to do?
Remember to include your Chapter Event on the Just Elders National Calendar.