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Purposeful Retirement

Posted: July 11, 2017

What do the following have in common: A Barbecue, End of Life Issues, No-Regrets Retirement Planning, Understanding Your Strengths and Gifts, and Feed My Starving Children? The answer: they all represent just a few of the various programs sponsored by Purposeful Retirement at Shepherd of the Valley during the past three years.

Purposeful Retirement provides guidance to retirees and near-retirees as they enter their second half of life. Since its launch in 2014, the group has offered more than 30 programs and events and more are on the way. In addition, Purposeful Retirement has generated about a dozen “Affinity Groups” – groups designed for those with special interests, such as travel, biking, a book club, lunching and more.

“Purposeful Retirement has really been ground breaking,” said Pastor Duane who has helped oversee the program. “It is serving a great role in meeting the needs of persons in retirement – providing them with useful information and connecting them with other retirees in our congregation.” The sheer number of retirees in the south metro suburbs has surprised many participants. At Shepherd of the Valley alone, more than 1,500 members are age 55 and older. The ministry has attracted community attention well beyond our church doors. Two national publications, including The Lutheran Magazine, have published articles about SOTV’s Purposeful Retirement, recognizing it as a model of success for the retiree population at a church.

Kristi Kuhnau has helped spearhead the effort for Purposeful Retirement since day one. She serves as chair of Purposeful Retirement Steering Committee, a group of about twenty church members who plan and organize all the many events under the Purposeful Retirement umbrella. She said when people retire from a lifetime of working, their sense of purpose and community from the workplace are lost and they need to seek substitutions for these in retirement.

Perhaps the combination of fun and education has been the recipe for the success of the program. Purposeful Retirement holds monthly meetings that include guest speakers, self-improvement sessions, round table discussions, service projects and just plain fun activities. The most recent event was held in June – a Celebrating Retirement Barbecue attended by approximately 100 persons. Each January the church hosts a seminar geared toward new or soon-to-be retirees to help them plan for what to do in retirement and think about all the aspects that should be considered when planning a No-Regrets Retirement. Many of the Affinity Groups (Biking, Movies, Lunch, Book Club) meet monthly or offer special events (Travel Group, Yoga, Spanish).

Information about SOTV’s Purposeful Retirement, including program dates, Affinity Groups and registration, can be found on the church’s website: www.SOTV.org/retirement. Most programs, except for trips, are free and open to the public. Pre-registration is encouraged.

Written by: Chap Milis