Herbert Anderson recently retired from being Research Professor in Practical Theology at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, and is a member of the Graduate Faculty, Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. The Divine Art of Dying: How to Live Well While Dying, which he co-wrote with Karen Speerstra, was a 2014 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award Winner in the category of Body, Mind & Spirit.
Jade Angelica designs workshops, services, and trainings for Healing Moments and offers presentations throughout the country. In addition, Jade offers spiritual direction for individuals and groups. She is the playwright of “The Forgiving and The Forgetting: Hope and Healing for Alzheimer’s,” and author of Where Two Worlds Touch: A Spiritual Journey Through Alzheimer’s Disease and Meeting Alzheimer’s: Companionship on the Journey. Her articles have appeared in The Journal of Pastoral Care & Counseling, Presence, The World, and The Huffington Post. Her education and training include a Masters of Divinity from Harvard University, a Certificate from the Shalem Institute Spiritual Guidance Program, a Doctor of Ministry in Faith, Health and Spirituality from Andover Newton Theological School, and a Diploma from Improv Boston University that deems her “perfectly OK not knowing what in the world is going on!” Jade’s most important and most rewarding ministry, to date, has been caring for her mother who died from Alzheimer’s in 2011.
Rabbi Karen Bender was born and raised in Los Angeles in the home of Israeli parents. She studied Political Science at UC Berkeley, received a Masters in Hebrew Letters from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and was ordained as a Rabbi by HUC-JIR in 1994. Rabbi Bender interned at Central Synagogue in Manhattan and served as rabbi of Temple Beth-El of Great Neck, NY, for 13 years and Temple Judea in Tarzana, CA, for 7 years. In the fall of 2014, Rabbi Bender accepted the position of Skirball Director of Spiritual Life and Campus Rabbi and the Los Angeles Jewish Home, where she currently serves. Rabbi Bender has been active on social justice issues throughout her rabbinate and has published numerous sermons, articles, poems and original prayers. She has served on the Board of several organizations, including the Central Conference of American Rabbis and the Pacific Association of Reform Rabbis. Rabbi Bender enjoys travel, the theater and adventure, including horseback riding, swimming, biking, wakeboarding and all activities that can be enjoyed with her three children, Josie (17), Joshua (15) and Shoshana (11).
Vern Bengtson is the AARP/University Professor of Gerontology and Sociology Emeritus and Research Professor of Social Work at the University of Southern California. He has published sixteen books and over 220 articles. He was elected President of the Gerontological Society of America and has twice been granted a MERIT award from the National Institute on Aging for his 35-year Longitudinal Study of Generations, on which his book Families and Faith: How Religion is Passed Down across Generations is based.
Peter Bewert is a Registered Nurse who has worked in a number of strategic and operational roles within the Aged Care Industry. He is currently the Executive Manager – Care Services for the Salvation Army Aged Care Plus. In addition to his industry roles he has held the position of Acting Director of the Aged Care Complaints Scheme within the Office of Aged Care Quality and Compliance - Queensland State Office, Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA). During this period he was instrumental in the development and implementation of the new Aged Care Complaints Scheme in 2011. Peter’s experience within both industry and regulatory settings has provided him with skills in strategic planning from a regulatory and industry perspective based within a risk management framework, providing him with the ability to implement sound business judgment and understand that effective strategic decision making involves more than avoiding decision errors.
Sharon Callister has qualifications in Nursing, Business and Health Administration and graduated from the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She began her leadership journey at St. Vincent’s Hospital, followed by The Australian Red Cross Blood Service. In 2006, Sharon secured her first CEO role with Benetas Anglican Aged Care Services. In 2008 she moved to Sydney to become the CEO for The Salvation Army Aged Care Plus. In 2012 Sharon took on an additional CEO role to lead The Salvation Army Humanitarian Mission Services delivering a $75m Federal Government contract, managing welfare for Asylum Seekers at Nauru and Manus Island. In 2012 she was a finalist in the NSW Telstra Businesswoman of the Year, and was included in the 2012 Westpac/Financial Review 100 Women of Influence Awards.
Steven Clancy’s passion for the ageing is older than his passion for faith. Steven has always had a heart for the elderly ever since he sat at his Great Grandmother’s knee hearing her childhood stories. His Christian faith and tertiary studies bring to this passion a desire to protect the vulnerable. As the Chaplain of HarbisonCare in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales Australia, he seeks to live this ideal and create strong missional communities where hope prevails. Steven studied at Wesley Institute in Sydney (now Excelsior College), Morling College in Sydney and St Marks Theological College in Canberra. Out of his studies and observations has been the power of deconstructing faith for resilience in frailty. Living in Bowral, NSW, Steven also enjoys performing and producing plays with his amateur theatre group, playing soccer and engaging the locals with his new sideline venture in I.T. consultancy. Steven is married to Kirsty and has two daughters Mary (7) and Ella (5). He is a Baptist Pastor worshipping in an Anglican Church doing ministry for a non-faith based Aged Care organisation...and loving it!
Connie Corley, MSW, MA, Ph.D, is a Professor at Fielding Graduate University and California State University Los Angeles (and Associate Director of Lifelong Learning, Applied Gerontology Institute), as well as a Host and Producer of the radio show “Experience Talks” on KPFK-FM. She completed her graduate degrees at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She holds certification from the Center for Mind-Body Medicine in Washington, DC and is adjunct faculty at Saybrook University. Dr. Corley’s 100+ publications and national/international presentations have spanned the fields of aging and the arts, geriatrics, rehabilitation, spirituality, and substance abuse. She has been a mentor in Geriatric Social Work Initiatives funded by the John A. Hartford Foundation, and also a mentor in the New Ventures in Leadership program of the American Society on Aging (ASA). She is a fellow of the Gerontological Society of America (GSA) and the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education (AGHE), Past President of the Association for Gerontology Education in Social Work (AGE-SW), a recipient of the AGE-SW Leadership Award, and in 2004 was the Inaugural recipient of the West Coast Gerontological Social Work Career Award from the Institute for Geriatric Social Work. Cal State LA named Dr. Corley a Distinguished Woman in 2008.
Rev. Dr. John Cox, a Uniting Church of Australia Minister, is Chaplain and leader of the pastoral care team at UnitingCare Wesley Gardens, Belrose, NSW. He has over 40 years of experience in the pastoral and therapeutic field. Although not now in practice, he was a registered psychologist. He was manager of LifeCare: Counselling and Family Services NSW. He worked as programme coordinator for the acute psychiatric unit at St John of God Hospital Richmond and in private practice for many years. Central to his ministry as a trainer and supervisor is his passion in developing ways of listening to people’s stories and shaping theologically informed, therapeutic and pastoral responses. As a “baby boomer" he has an interest in the nature and shape of pastoral care in the future. John has many years of experience in training and presenting at conferences and workshops. His Doctoral thesis was titled Intergenerational Theory and Narrative Theology: an Integrative Model for Training Counsellors. Its central themes of narrative continue to inform and shape his interest in and understanding of life. John is married with children and grandchildren. He has travelled extensively throughout Australia and overseas. He also enjoys family, theatre, cooking, wine, jazz, and photography. The order of priority is always subject to change.
Cordula Dick-Muehlke, Ph.D, is licensed psychologist who has dedicated her career to bettering the lives of people with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia and their families. Dr. Dick-Muehlke, a consultant in aging and dementia, founded Cordula Cares in 2014 and holds appointments at the University of California, Irvine as an Associate Clinical Professor with the Department of Family Medicine, Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology, and as a Project Scientist in the Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders. Recently she published her first book, Psychosocial Studies of the Individual’s Changing Perspectives in Alzheimer’s Disease with IGI Global. A compendium of articles by a group of internationally known authors, this volume addresses the complex and changing experience of dementia by those affected. Additionally, her accomplishments include being recognized as the Dementia Care Professional of the Year by the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America in 2011 as well as serving as the executive director at Alzheimer’s Family Services Center in Huntington Beach for 17 years, Chair of the California Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Advisory Committee, and President of the California Association of Adult Day Services. Dr. Dick-Muehlke’s special interests include person-centered approaches to dementia and spirituality and aging. Along with her doctorate in clinical psychology from Fuller Theological Seminary, Dr. Dick-Muehlke holds master’s degrees in theology and counseling psychology.
Karen Edwards is professor of Psychology at Endicott College in Beverly, Massachusetts, teaching clinical psychology courses, Positive Psychology, and Adulthood and Aging. She was a psychotherapist for 30 years and co-author of Becoming Women of Wisdom: Marking the Passage into the Crone Years. She has been leading workshops for many years and recently has been focusing on Women of Wisdom Workshops. A current project is a curriculum book for elders of both genders and workshop leaders focusing on wisdom and spirituality in later stages of life. One part of this project included interviewing elders walking the Camino in Northern Spain. Her workshop at the conference is based on her curriculum book.
James Ellor is a professor and Ph.D program co-director at the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work at Baylor University. He previously served as professor of human services and gerontology at National - Louis University in Wheaton, IL, for 21 years. In this capacity he also was the director of the Center for Positive Aging. Concurrent to this position, he served part-time as an on-call chaplain at Edward Hospital in Naperville, IL. Previously, he was a research associate at the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. Dr. Ellor works with older adults around issues of mental and spiritual health. He has served on the executive committee of the Midwestern Geriatric Education Center and provides education, counseling, and planning for individuals and groups who work with seniors. His research includes work in entrostomal therapy, hunger, spiritual assessment, and intervention techniques with cognitively impaired older adults. He is married to Janet R. Ellor; they are parents of Lisa and Margaret.
Wayne A. Ewing received his doctorate in theological studies from Yale University. His professional life spans social service provision and administration; college, university, and seminary teaching and administration in the United States and Singapore; private practice as a pastoral psychotherapist with a specialty in domestic violence and the treatment of abusive men; parochial responsibilities as an Episcopal deacon and priest; and journalism. He tended to his spouse’s at-home care when she was diagnosed with dementia, Alzheimer’s type at the age of fifty-four. Following her death, he engaged in the development of sustainable living practices in northern New Mexico. A published and award-winning author and poet, he continues to write from his current home in Westcliffe, Colorado. His multi-award winning book Tears in God’s Bottle: Reflections on Alzheimer’s Caregiving continues to be of comfort to caregivers. He is currently a reporter and photographer for The Wet Mountain Tribune, one of Colorado’s oldest, continuously published newspapers.
Rev. Gloria Espeseth is Pastor of Gethsemane Lutheran Church in San Diego. A 1983 graduate of Wartburg Theological Seminary, she has been at Gethsemane for 20 years and served in leadership in her community and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. In serving Gethsemane this long, Pastor Gloria has experienced the joys and sorrows of the aging journey in depth in the lives and families of this one faith community. A particular interest of hers is "the spirituality of aging into frailty.”
Rev. Victor H. Floyd is the Minister for Spiritual Care at Calvary Presbyterian Church (USA) in San Francisco, California. He provides pastoral care for the Calvary Senior Center, leads contemplative Taizé-style worship services, coordinates congregational care, sings and preaches. Former pastor of the historic Metropolitan Community Church of San Francisco, Victor holds the 2009 Marcella Althaus-Reid Award in Queer Theology from his alma mater, Pacific School of Religion (M.Div) and the Center for Lesbian & Gay Studies. Emulating the practices of the Iona Community, Victor leads groups of people in spontaneous song. Having worked early in his career at North Decatur Presbyterian Church (USA) in Atlanta, Victor grew up in the NW Georgia foothills of Appalachia. He is married to Lou Grosso, enjoys whitewater rafting, movies, cooking and is an advocate for blind accessibility. He studied spiritual care and/or music at the following: Institute for Health and Healing, California Pacific Medical Center, InterPlay International, Merola Program of the San Francisco Opera, Robert Shaw Choral Music Institute, Indiana University School of Music (M.Mus.) and Shorter College (B.Mus.). You may contact him at VictorFloyd@CalPres.org.
Stephen Garrett’s passion for life and death is obvious in his writing, speaking and teaching. His care for each person that crosses his path is supported by over two decades of firsthand experience in the fields of social work, adult education, coaching, facilitating, and mentoring. He combines a unique blend of spirituality, practicality, humor, and common sense in his approach to serving individuals, families and groups as they walk the mysterious path of dying, death and loss. Stephen holds a Masters Degree in Leadership and Training, diplomas in mediation, conflict resolution, negotiation and communication. He is a published author of three books, including Men Read This and Monks without a Church. His newest book is When Death Speaks.
Rebecca Giselbrecht is Director of the Center for the Academic Study of Christian Spirituality at the University of Zurich. Rebecca is married and the mother of 5 children. She has a BS in Biblical Studies, a MA in Leadership and Theology, an MAS in Social Space Oriented Youth Work, and a Ph.D in Intercultural Studies. She is currently a member of the teaching staff for practical theology and spirituality at the University of Zurich, Switzerland. Her dissertation, forthcoming by Brill, is titled A Hermeneutic of Female Testimony in the Zurich Reformation (1518-1575). She is currently conducting research on the history of prayer and spiritual practices in the Reformed tradition: spirituality and the influence spiritual formation has on how people relate to others. She is the co-editor, with Ralph Kunz, of Sacrality and Materiality: Locating Intersections, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, October 2015.
Nancy Gordon is the director of the California Lutheran Homes Center for Spirituality and Aging and host for the 6th International Conference on Ageing and Spirituality. Previously she worked in libraries and historical agencies until attending seminary in mid-life. She is ordained in the Evangelical Covenant Church and has served as associate pastor of Winnetka Covenant Church in Wilmette, IL and as director of Growth Opportunities at Friendship Village of Schaumburg, IL, a large continuing care retirement community. Rev. Gordon has a MSLS degree from the University of Tennessee (1973) and a M.Div. from Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, IL (1992). She has a certificate from the Geriatric Pastoral Care Institute (1999) and a certificate as a Certified Aging Services Professional (CASP) (2009). She serves as chair of FORSA (Forum on Religion, Spirituality and Aging) a constituent group of the American Society of Aging.
Dr. Eboni I. Green is a Registered Nurse and family caregiver. She holds a Ph.D in human services, with a specialization in health care administration. She and her husband are cofounders of Caregiver Support Services, a nonprofit organization that offers training and consulting for family caregivers and front-line direct caregivers. In addition, she currently serves as contributing faculty for the College of Health Sciences at Walden University, where she teaches graduate courses in the health care administration program. Green has extensive experience focused on caregivers’ health and wellness, with an emphasis on caregiver stress, burnout, and related family conflicts. In 2002, she became the Nebraska State Representative for the National Family Caregiver’s Association. She was also the resource editor of Take Care, the National Family Caregiver’s Association’s newsletter, from 2004 to 2006. Most recently, she was appointed as a board member on the Forum on Spirituality and Aging, the largest constituent group for the American Society on Aging. Green has contributed to a number of publications and given presentations that focus on training, assessing, and supporting caregivers throughout their caregiving journeys. She was also a sponsored expert for Caring.com. Green is the author of two books focusing on family caregiving: At the Heart of the Matter and Caregiving in the New Millennium.
Marita Grudzen, MHS, is Deputy Director and a founding member of the Stanford Geriatric Education Center, a national center in ethnogeriatrics within Stanford University School of Medicine. Ms. Grudzen was co-recipient with Chaplain Bruce Feldstein, MD, of the Templeton Award (2001-06) for the medical school curriculum they developed, Spirituality and Meaning in Medicine. As Adjunct Faculty, she teaches at the Pacific Theological School of Theology and is a faculty member of ACCESS to End of Life/Visons/Inc. In addition to several leadership roles in gerontological professional organizations, she is Chair of the Advisory Council for Stanford Medical Center’s Clinical Pastoral Education Program. Prior to her academic career, Marita was a Catholic nun (a member of the Maryknoll Sisters), and provided care in long term and acute care settings.
Carol Hahn is a Registered Nurse with over 30 years of varied health and education experience, a yoga teacher, and a certified personal trainer. She has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Virginia, a Masters of Science in Nursing from California State University Dominguez Hills, and a certificate in Alzheimer’s Disease Management from Southern Indiana University. Carol is a member of the National Gerontological Nurses Association, International Association of Yoga Therapists, Yoga Alliance, and the American Holistic Nurses Association. Carol works as a Fitness and Wellness Nurse, working with clients in the community to help meet health goals through an integrated and holistic perspective of nursing, yoga, and personal training while promoting optimal health and active lifestyles for individuals regardless of their functional abilities.
Ann Harrington is Associate Professor, Health Care for the Older Person in the School of Nursing & Midwifery, Flinders University, Adelaide Australia. She has over forty years of teaching experience in health and higher education institutions in New South Wales and South Australia. Her research expertise is in the area of ageing, spirituality and palliative care. Her grant success covers such areas as the resident as a consumer in aged care; cultural and spiritual care for older people; palliative care; the aged care workforce and community palliative care. She currently teaches in both undergraduate and post graduate programs and is primary supervisor of 7 Ph.D students. Her publications include refereed reports, book chapters, book reviews and numerous conference presentations at national and international levels. She is a Registered Nurse, a Fellow of Australian College of Nursing and is a member of the Palliative Care Nurses Association.
Betty Harrison is the Chairperson of the Health & Wellness and Nutrition Science Departments at Kaplan University, and is the Director of the University’s Center for Health and Wellness (http://www.healthandwellness.kaplan.edu/). She has an extensive background in both the fields of psychology and complementary and integrative medicine, and practiced as a Doctor of Oriental Medicine – acupuncture and herbal medicine – and psychotherapist for over 20 years. Ms. Harrison was a clinician at the prestigious Integrative Medicine Clinic at Northshore Hospital, Chicago, which is associated with the Andrew Weil Integrative Medicine Program. Ms. Harrison has been practicing meditation for over 30 years. Starting with TM, she has explored many spiritual traditions including Hindu, Sufi, Contemplative Christianity, and Buddhism. She completed the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) teacher training at the U. Mass Medical Center in 2002, and has gone on many long-term retreats focusing on the early teachings and practices of the Buddha. She currently facilitates a weekly meditation and study group in Lincoln Park, Chicago.
Rev. Esther Hurlburt has enjoyed working with old people since she was a child. Esther is a registered nurse and a certified case manager. She earns her living as a geriatric case manager. Esther is also an ordained Unitarian Universalist Community Minister with a ministry dedicated to old people, bringing worth and dignity to the word “old.” She is the founder of The Legacy Home, which is cooperative living for five aging women with low wealth. Esther teaches and preaches the need for churches to include old people within congregational life and to advocate for old people within the community. She serves on The Institute on Aging, an advisory board to Kentucky state government; serves on the board of Healing Moments Alzheimer’s Ministry; and serves on the Executive Committee for the Unitarian Universalist Society for Community Ministries. When she is not working, Esther enjoys being outdoors doing gardening or walking. She is also a bona fide “foodie,” in that she enjoys cooking and dining on good food, especially with fresh or unusual ingredients.
Beverly Johnson-Miller is professor of Transformative Education and Aging in the School of Practical Theology. Bev’s passion for revitalizing the educational-discipleship ministry of the church provides the driving force for her scholarship and teaching on the history of Christian education, the dynamics of Christian, religious, and spiritual formation and transformation, and conversational pedagogy. In response to the aging revolution in the church and society, Bev developed a certificate program in Older Adult Ministry (fall 2009), and an MA degree program in Aging and Spirituality (fall 2011). Bev is serving as co-vice chair of a Luce funded research project housed in the Center for the Study of Christian Revitalization at Asbury Seminary (2009-2011). Along with active involvement in her adult Sunday School class, Bev serves on the advisory board for the Christian Education Journal, and leads workshops on transformational teaching and spiritual direction.
Donald Koepke, M.Div, BCC, is Director-Emeritus of the CLH Center for Spirituality and Aging headquartered in Anaheim, CA. A pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, he received his Masters of Divinity degree in 1967 from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. He received a certificate in gerontology by the Center for Aging, Religion and Spirituality in 1996 and became a board certified chaplain (BCC) with the Association of Professional Chaplains in 1997. As an ASA member for over ten years, he presently serves as chair of the editorial board for the Forum for Religion, Spirituality and Aging of the American Society on Aging. He was blessed to be the recipient of the 2010 Aging and Spirituality Award of the National Interfaith Coalition on Aging. Nationally, he has engaged caregivers, health professionals and faith-community leaders with the perspective that “Aging is a Spiritual Journey.” He is the editor of The Essential Spirit: Providing Wholistic Care with Older Adults.
Reginald Mitchell is currently completing a Master of Health Administration and a Master of Science in Gerontology at the University of La Verne. He also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Management, five Associate of Arts degrees, and Peace Officer Standards and Training Certificates. He has held several policy and enforcement positions within the State of California, including Education Specialist for the California Department of Consumer Affairs, Health Facilities Evaluator II, and Investigator for the California Department of Public Health, Licensing and Certification Unit. Mr. Mitchell has consulted with local, country, and state level law enforcement, health administrators, and district attorneys on the importance and the critical need to pre-emptively address patient and resident abuse in acute care hospitals, abuse and to provide community outreach activities to promote active aging among older adults. He is a Chapter President for the Professional Gerontological Society, Sigma Phi Omega, SPO, and a Policy Committee member with California Council on Gerontology and Geriatrics, CCGG.
Ronald Nakasone, Buddhist cleric and scholar, teaches at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, and has lectured at Ryukoku University, Japan, and Mahidol University, Thailand.
Benjamin Nguyen has a strong interest in social support systems among the elderly and is very interested in social determinants of health. He completed his undergraduate degree in Anthropology, Public Health, and Gerontology from UCLA and is passionate about integrating creative communication tools, social media and technology to improve public health, healthcare, and community resources. Benjamin's professional experience includes geriatric program support & development with the UCLA Multi-campus Program in Geriatric Medicine and Geriatrics, social media marketing with the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation, and community advocacy and organization management for the American Cancer Society.
Maureen O'Neill has worked in the voluntary sector in Scotland for over 30 years, most of which has been in relation to the needs of older people. She was previously Director of Age Concern Scotland and is currently the Director of Faith in Older People, which aims to develop a stronger understanding of the importance of the spiritual dimension in the lives of older people. She has experience of working with mental health issues including dementia. This work is complemented by being the Chairperson of a residential care home for older people which brings very practical insights into the needs of residents and staff. Maureen was co-author with Dr Harriet Mowat of “Spirituality and ageing: implications for the care and support of older people” (Insight 19 January 2013 for the Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services).
Reverend James P. Oberle received his Ph.D from the University of Maryland in 1976, and then did post-doctoral work in Public Health/Geriatrics at Johns Hopkins University. Initially he served in the Maryland State Office on Aging as the director of planning and research. During his service, Maryland was awarded one of the first Channeling Grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Subsequently he served as the staff director for the subcommittee on health and long-term care in the United States House of Representatives. In the early 1980’s he shifted gears and began his preparation for ordained ministry. He completed his theological studies in Rome and then did graduate work at the Pontifical Institute of Spirituality. His thesis was entitled: A Spirituality of Aging: The Aging Process and the Paschal Mystery.
Sandi Peters has a master's degree in psychology and has been working in the field of gerontology since 1986. Her area of specialty is lifespan development and the possibilities for deepening in older age. As a student of Carl Jung, she has particular interest in the role of symbolic expression in older age, especially for those with memory loss. Sandi uses sandplay, a combination of miniature figures and a box of sand, with elders to access and creatively express inner states. She also works as a consultant and trainer in long term care facilities. Presently, she is working on a book that combines her interest in aging, late life spirituality, memory loss, sandplay and self. www.sandplaydementia.com.
Stephen Peterson currently serves as Chaplain and also oversees Bereavement Services for Seasons Hospice and Palliative Care of Los Angeles. He holds degrees from Stanford University in Human Biology and Psychology, and a Master of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary, and has been serving as a Chaplain for 10 years. Prior to his seminary education, he provided social services to inmates in the San Francisco County Jail, taught as a secondary instructor in Quito, Ecuador, conducted educational research with the Los Angeles Unified School District, and worked as a Legislative Aide to Byron Sher in the California State Assembly. Stephen is a passionate supporter of education regarding health and spirituality at the end of life, and is involved with a number of community groups working on these issues.
Katherine Piderman was born and raised in Vancouver, B.C. but has lived in the Midwestern United States for most of her adult life. She has graduate degrees in theology and psychology and has served in several ministerial roles in parishes and medical facilities. Certified by the National Association of Catholic Chaplains, she has been a staff chaplain at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN since 1996, and currently serves as the chaplain for Mayo Clinic Hospice. She also is Coordinator of Research for Chaplain Services at Mayo Clinic in Rochester and is Assistant Professor of Psychiatry in the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine. She is published in several peer-reviewed journals and has spoken locally, nationally, and internationally on topics related to excellence in pastoral care, spirituality and health, and spiritual legacy research.
Rev. Dr. Peggy Price is Minister Emeritus of Seal Beach Center for Spiritual Living. She is past President and founding member of Greater Huntington Beach Interfaith Council. She currently serves on the Ambassador Advisory Council for the Parliament of the World's Religions, Advisory Board of the Association for Global New Thought, and Executive Committee for Greater Huntington Beach Interfaith Council. Her career experience has included two pulpit ministries as well as serving as a Chaplain for St. Mary's Hospice in Long Beach, CA. She is a contributor to Seasons of Caring, a book of meditations for caregivers of Alzheimer's patients, and The Essential Spirit.
Marty Richards, MSW, is social worker, speaker, and consultant on aging from Port Townsend WA. She is retired from teaching at the University of Washington School of Social Work. In this past year she has served on the governor’s Alzheimer’s disease working group for Washington State. Marty has served on the governing council of the Forum of Religion, Spirituality and Aging of the American Society, and is currently secretary to the national board of ALOA (Adult Lutherans Organized for Action). For over 45 years she has worked with church related agencies and long-term care facilities in staff and board capacities. She is currently engaged with congregations of several traditions in education and programming. She has published several books and articles on issues of caregiving, and spirituality and dementia care. She has also developed training materials for health care staff, and material to be used in communities of faith and the general community. Her most recent book is Caresharing: A Reciprocal Approach to Caregiving and Care Receiving in the Complexities of Aging, Illness or Disability (Woodstock, VT: Skylight Paths Publishing, January 2009).
John C. Robinson, Ph.D, D.Min, is a clinical psychologist with a second doctorate in ministry, an ordained interfaith minister, the author of eight books on the interface of psychology and spirituality (along with numerous articles, book chapters and guest blogs), and last but not least, an aging Boomer with grown children and a gaggle of grandchildren. A full time writer now, his interest has turned to the psychological, spiritual and mystical potential of the new aging. His works include Death of the Hero, Birth of the Soul: Answering the Call of Midlife, But Where Is God: Psychotherapy and the Religious Search, Ordinary Enlightenment: Experiencing God's Presence in Everyday Life, Finding Heaven Here, The Three Secrets of Aging, Bedtime Stories for Elders: What Fairy Tales Can Teach Us About the New Aging, What Aging Men Want: Homer's Odyssey as a Parable of Male Aging, and his first novel, Breakthrough (in press), tagline: “When a middle-aged clinical psychologist begins working with a patient describing bizarre mystical experiences, his own world changes radically, taking him on a breathtaking journey through divine consciousness into the revolutionary spirituality of aging.” You can learn more about John at www.johnrobinson.org.
Dr. Carol Port Rosenstein is an educator and pioneer in the field of wholistic mind-body health. After her career as a chiropractor, she became interested in total mind-body health and acquired a Master's in Clinical Psychology to help her further delve into alternative and complementary medicine. Her thesis regarded the objectification of the inner child as a possible source of psychosomatic illness, and if addressed correctly can unlock the elixir that is part of the healing potion to reverse dis-ease/disease, if caught on an early continuum. This is what fueled her passion for the arts and its ability to heal the body and mind. For this reason, she became very interested in the power of music as a form of acoustic art to heal the mind and body, thereby creating MusicMendsMinds, Inc.
Gloria Ryder is a Registered Psychotherapist and the Coordinator of Spiritual and Religious Care at Trinity Village Care Centre in Kitchener, Canada. She received her MA in Philosophy from the University of Guelph and her M.Div at Waterloo Lutheran Seminary in Ontario, Canada. She worked several years in parish ministry as a Lutheran pastor and is currently working towards certification as a Chaplain Specialist in Spiritual Care and Psychotherapy.
Beth Sanders is the founder and CEO of LifeBio, a company that has helped thousands of people to capture life stories. After completing her BA in English and journalism (with a minor in education) from Otterbein College, Beth’s career began in computer sales from 1991 until 2005, serving Fortune 500 and mid-size companies across the U.S. She began LifeBio in her basement in the year 2000. Beth has presented at the International Council on Active Aging, the American Society on Aging, AOPHA (non-profit homes and services in Ohio), the Pioneer Network, PHCA (Pennsylvania Health Care Association), VAAP (Virginia Association of Activity Professionals), and at the Life Care Services national symposium.
James J. Seeber, Ph.D., D. Min. In 1986, the Institute for Religion and Wholeness and the Claremont School of Theology in 1986 hosted a U.S. conference on Religion and Aging. From that conference came a search committee to explore creating a national organization. In 1987 the Forum on Religion and Aging (amended to Religion, Spirituality and Aging) was established within the American Society on Aging. Dr. Seeber was the founding chairperson of the Forum. His seminary dissertation at the Claremont School of Theology was on the Social & Spiritual Needs of Nursing Home Residents while his Ph.D. dissertation at Kansas State University dealt with (American) Denominational differences in Life Attitudes of Older Americans. He served as Chaplain of a Multi-level retirement home for several years. He was part of the team that guided creation of the 2 handbooks on Aging, Spirituality and Religion (1995, 2003) and taught in the Gerontological Pastoral Care Institute at Luther Seminary (St. Paul, MN) for 11 years. He has served the past 12 years as Director of Applied Gerontology Studies at Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota. He also presented a paper at the 1st International Conference on Aging and Spirituality in Canberra, Australia in 2001.
Tuesday May Thomas is a teacher, healer, presenter and author in fields of Yoga, Reiki, and Spiritual Transformation. In 2000, Tuesday became certificated to teach Yoga and Reiki. She began working with a Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center in Brooklyn, NY where she developed and implemented a “Wheelchair Yoga” activity program, and a “Reiki Therapeutic Touch” program, which is still running successfully. A one year documented study on her Therapeutic Touch Program prompted her to compile a professional article, which was published in the American Journal of Recreation Therapy in 2005. Since 2010 she is the Founder and Facilitator of “Chair Yoga for Everybody,” a certificate course recently approved by the California Department of Social Services for 5 CEU’s. This one-day syllabus educates participants to safely perform and teach a Therapeutic Chair Yoga activity program in a healthcare setting. Her “Reiki Therapeutic Touch” and “Mindful Meditation” courses will be available to students Winter 2015. Visit for more information. In 2014, Tuesday’s debut novel Confessions of a Spiritual Apprentice was published in both printed and kindle editions. Tuesday leads classes on Yoga, Meditation, Reiki, Dance and Fitness in downtown Los Angeles. She is currently writing her next book entitled Teaching of the Scroll. Visit www.TuesdayMayThomas.com.
Dianne H. Timmering, MBA, MFA, CNA is an author and an entrepreneur. She currently serves as the Vice President of Spirituality and Legislative Affairs for Signature HealthCARE, a post-acute and long-term care company based in Louisville, KY. She and her team have built and maintain the largest for-profit, multi-faith Department of Spirituality in the nation. The Department grew out of a grassroots movement into a national program, built upon the foundation of unconditional love and offering the freedom to celebrate one’s own faith tradition and discovery of purpose. Currently, more than 114 chaplains serve approximately 10,000 residents and 19,000 employees. She sees spirituality as an input toward integrated physical and emotional wellness. Dianne is a graduate of Vanderbilt University (cum laude, Nashville, TN) with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Business, and has a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Fiction from Spalding University in Louisville, KY. She received her Executive MBA in Health Sector Management and Policy at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida. In 2009, she co-authored with E. Joseph Steier (President & CEO, Signature HealthCARE) her first work of non-fiction entitled My God! Our God?
Jay Westbrook is a multiple award-winning clinician and speaker, Visiting Faculty Scholar at Harvard Medical School, and a specialist in End-of-Life care and education. He holds an MS in Gerontology, is a Grief Recovery Specialist, an RN, and a Certified Hospice & Palliative Nurse. He is nationally recognized as an expert on the constellation of issues surrounding End-of-Life, and both lectures and consults nationally. You can contact him at CompassionateJourney@hotmail.com.
Patricia Wiedower is a retired Clinical Social worker having received her degree from University of Denver in 1975. Many years were spent working in Catholic inner city Parishes, serving the needs of the aging, setting up programs, training and supervising volunteers to visit members in their homes. She also provided counseling and therapy. As a pastoral associate she offered spiritual support for those who were dying or living with significant illness. After retirement as an LCSW, she completed a year's residency as a hospital chaplain at Sharp Memorial Hospital and currently is on medical leave from Sharp Grossmont Hospital where she has served as a clinical Chaplain for five years. A special interest at the hospital is administering, developing and providing training and supervision for volunteers in the 11th Hour Program whose goal of this program is that no patient dies alone in the hospital. As a member of Gethsemane Lutheran community she shares a deep interest in “the spirituality of aging into frailty” and finding ways to continue in new and perhaps different ways to meet the spiritual needs of this community as well as the needs of the local community.
Mary Winners is the founder of About Senior Solutions, a Geriatric Evaluation and referral organization. The company offers support to aging seniors and their loved ones to find the right direction for care and support tools. She has over a decade of experience in the business development aspect of healthcare, and has extensive knowledge in acute care hospitalization, Gero-psychiatric issues, Alzheimer’s and dementia care, hospice, assisted living and other senior care options. Mary is a very strong advocate for seniors in the community and is a member of several life enhancing senior programs in Los Angeles County. She has aligned herself with several community programs, including acting as the Co-Chair for the Area Agency on Aging’s Focal Point Consortium in Pasadena, CA. One of her many passions is discussing assisted living options and care for those who suffer from dementia.