Is one's sense of God and faith the same at 40 as at 16? Does spirituality change and evolve throughout life?
The Rev. J. Tom Ledbetter, a pastoral psychotherapist at the Brandywine Pastoral Institute of Lewes and Wilmington, believes it does.
“The great psychotherapist Carl Jung suggested that we might view our lives in two halves,” Ledbetter says. “The first half involves building a life, growing in ego consciousness. The second half involves letting go of ego as we discover a self."
Ledbetter will discuss “Spirituality in the Second Half," the first program in the summer adult education series, Spirituality Outside the Box: Living a Spiritual Life in the 21st Century. Sponsored by the Parish of All Saints’ Episcopal Church & St. George’s Chapel, the program will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m., Wednesday, July 31, at the Parish Hall of All Saints’, 18 Olive Ave. in Rehoboth Beach.
“There are two major tasks in the second half of life,” Ledbetter says. “The tasks are the recovery of personal authority and also discovering a personal spirituality. These tasks require a very different focus than that of the first half of life.
“Some people live the second half just as they did the first, while others find this season of life to be a new venture, one in which they experience confirmation of their personal experience, a spirituality based upon surrender and the courage to answer the summons of their soul to keep growing,” Ledbetter says.
After his presentation, Ledbetter will open the floor to questions about second half of life spirituality.
Ledbetter, an ordained minister in the American Baptist tradition and a pastoral psychotherapist for the past 27 years, counsels and teaches with the intention of integrating spirituality and psychotherapy. Ledbetter has a particular interest in second half of life spirituality. A resident of Wilmington along with his wife Donna Strachan-Ledbetter, also a pastoral psychotherapist at the Brandywine Pastoral Institute, he enjoys surfcasting, backpacking and mountain biking.
Brandywine Pastoral Institute was started in 1987 as a nonprofit interfaith center to provide pastoral counseling, psychotherapy and continuing education for ministry. Tom and Donna lead workshops, retreats and adult education in local congregations on topics relating to personal growth.
As in previous years, All Saints’ summer adult education program offers a diverse and well-qualified corps of speakers, including some national names, in the area of spirituality. Following July 31, this summer’s talks are “What Jesus Ate” Aug. 7, “The New Monasticism” Aug. 14, “The Spirituality of Nature” Aug. 21 and “Contemplative Spirituality - East and West” Aug. 28. All programs are offered 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays in the Parish Hall of All Saints' Church.
People may attend all or part of the series. There is no charge. Light refreshments will be available following each presentation, courtesy of The Ice Cream Store on Rehoboth Avenue. Parking is available on the street in front of the church or in the church parking lot near the corner of Olive Avenue and Second Street in Rehoboth.
“We really struggle with spirituality in the 21st century,” says the Rev. Christopher Moore, priest associate at All Saints’ and convener of the program. “Most of us would like to lead spiritual lives but we don’t always know how. Also, the second half of life presents real challenges in forging different understandings of spirituality than we may have had when we were 16 or 20 or 30. I believe Tom’s presentation will be of real help in assisting people to forge a spiritual orientation better suited to the challenges and opportunities of the second half of life.”
To learn more go to www.allsaintsparish-rehoboth.org.