Parker Center Partners with Eden Theological Seminary for NEXT Steps: Midlife and Beyond Learning Experience

NEXT Steps Eden Theological SeminaryMARION, Ohio [Aug. 25, 2020] — Rev. Beth Long-Higgins, executive director of United Church Homes’ Ruth Frost Parker Center for Abundant Aging, will co-teach a virtual course for retirees and people nearing retirement in collaboration with Eden Theological Seminary.

NEXT Steps introduces participants to theological, philosophical and psychological concepts of vocation and aging. It is a gathering for adults contemplating or entering retirement and those who are recently retired. All program activities are designed to stimulate each participant’s self-discovery as they develop a personal plan for their new and meaningful chapter of life.

NEXT Steps participants follow a 14-week process of self-discovery through readings, presentations, small group discussions and discernment. All classes will meet via Zoom. By the end of the course, participants will have developed a vision and a plan for their next phase of life.

Rev. Beth Long-Higgins, executive director, United Church Homes' Ruth Frost Parker Center for Abundant Aging NEXT Steps with Eden Theological Seminary
Rev. Beth Long-Higgins, Executive Director, Ruth Frost Parker Center for Abundant Aging

Course leaders:

  • Beth Long-Higgins, executive director, Ruth Frost Parker Center for Abundant Aging
  • Jill Schantz, director of LIFE programs, Eden Theological Seminary
  • Steve Lawler, director of the Walker Leadership Institute, Eden Theological Seminary


  1. On the Brink of Everything: Grace, Gravity & Getting Old by Parker Palmer
  2. Creative Aging by Marjory Zoet Bankson

Other readings, digital resources and personal and group exercises will be assigned throughout the course.

NEXT Steps will have its first meeting on Tuesday, September 8, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. The remaining meetings will all be two hours Sept. 22, Oct. 6, 20, Nov. 17 and Dec.1 and 15.

The week of November 2-6 will meet as decided by the class due to the election on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020.

Rev. Beth Long-Higgins and Rev. Steve Lawler are inviting those interested to an optional, brief orientation on Sept. 1 at 6:30 p.m. EST. This meeting will serve to answer logistical questions, introduce the instructors and generally try to make the opening day of NEXT Steps as smooth as possible.

The cost is $500 and space is limited, so don’t delay! Register today at