Retired and Inspired: Making the most of our latter years

Retired and Inspired: Making the most of our latter years

Author : Wendy Billington
£8.99

A Christian view of retirement

Attitudes to retirement vary, and in this book Wendy Billington draws on her pastoral skills and life experience to ask the question: what is a Christian view of retirement? If we believe that life is a gift from God, should we not be viewing retirement as part of an integrated whole and see our latter years as part of God's plan? This book is intended for all to read: individuals preparing for retirement and in their retirement years as well as their families, friends, befrienders, carers and professionals. Written in two sections, 'Uprooting the weeds' and 'Sowing the seeds', it includes questions for group discussion at the end of each chapter, followed by a meditative thought for the day and a closing prayer.


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Title Retired and Inspired: Making the most of our latter years
Author Wendy Billington
Description

Attitudes to retirement vary, and in this book Wendy Billington draws on her pastoral skills and life experience to ask the question: what is a Christian view of retirement? If we believe that life is a gift from God, should we not be viewing retirement as part of an integrated whole and see our latter years as part of God's plan? This book is intended for all to read: individuals preparing for retirement and in their retirement years as well as their families, friends, befrienders, carers and professionals. Written in two sections, 'Uprooting the weeds' and 'Sowing the seeds', it includes questions for group discussion at the end of each chapter, followed by a meditative thought for the day and a closing prayer.

Details
  • Product code: 9780857467201
  • Published: 19 April 2019
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 144
  • Dimensions: 130mm wide and 198mm high

Attitudes to retirement vary, and in this book Wendy Billington draws on her pastoral skills and life experience to ask the question: what is a Christian view of retirement? If we believe that life is a gift from God, should we not be viewing retirement as part of an integrated whole and see our latter years as part of God's plan? This book is intended for all to read: individuals preparing for retirement and in their retirement years as well as their families, friends, befrienders, carers and professionals. Written in two sections, 'Uprooting the weeds' and 'Sowing the seeds', it includes questions for group discussion at the end of each chapter, followed by a meditative thought for the day and a closing prayer.

Wendy Billington is Pastoral Assistant Emeritus in the diocese of Rochester, having served many years as a key pastoral worker at St Nicholas Church, Sevenoaks. She now uses her wide experience, skills and knowledge leading training courses and in one-to-one pastoral support. She is trustee of Sevenoaks Counselling Service and the author of Growing a Caring Church: Practical guidelines for pastoral care (BRF, 2010) and I'm Fine: Removing masks and growing into wholeness (BRF, 2013).

 

Review by Dr Caroline Berry 

The title and sub-title of this book should alert anyone on the verge of retirement. As life expectancy increases there may be decades rather than years of life left to live and Christians need inspiration in order to use them well.

The book starts by facing the realities that accompany our getting older: retirement is not always a series of golden days. Early chapters outline obstacles that may have to be faced and difficult issues are not side-stepped.

Surprisingly, bereavement is faced first; it may come suddenly or with time for preparation, but either way it has a huge impact and brings the need for major rethinking of so much previously taken for granted. Important questions are raised on the understanding that they should be addressed now rather than pushed under the carpet as not being necessary ‘just yet’. These difficult topics are discussed sensitively and practically with down to earth suggestions for dealing with them.

Another chapter outlines the fears that often arise in retirement: anxiety about ill-health, loss of independence and concerns about financial security. Any or all of these may become burdensome and lead into a spiral of depression or withdrawal. With more time to dwell on them, memories of difficult past life events may become intrusive and burdensome. All these and other potential problems are discussed with helpful proposals and frequent mention of the part a supportive church can play.

Moving on to more positive aspects there are chapters on the importance of finding new roles with opportunities for service as well as the chance to develop talents long forgotten or never previously recognised. Learning to listen in order to become better able to support others could be a steppingstone to new worlds and the gift of time can lead to the satisfaction of building better relationships with family and friends. One minor omission is any discussion of the major contribution to childcare made by many of today’s grandparents.

Through all these varying chapters run some consistent threads. As we read, we open up little episodes in the life of ‘Jim’, the author’s creation based on long experience and close observation. Struggling with the loss of his wife when we first meet him, Jim is gradually helped towards a better life and frame of mind as the book progresses.

The author often shares relevant episodes from her own life story to illustrate particular points. The importance of the Christian community is a constant theme, sometimes as an opportunity for service, sometimes as a source of support and comfort. The need for sensitivity is stressed.

Each chapter includes a few short questions for reflection and discussion so the book could be used by groups as well as individuals. Each chapter ends with a ‘Thought for the Day’ based on one of the fruits of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23.

This is a book that needs to be read and acted upon, but one warning: do not expect your pastor or vicar to show the same degree of self-sacrifice as Jim’s does!

Review by Dr Caroline Berry

 

Premier Christianity Magazine, August 2019.

Out of her vast experience as a counsellor and pastoral worker, Wendy Billington has created the character of Jim to be the connecting thread between the chapters of this book. He is composed of the problems, fears and anxieties of all of us as we grow older. The author does not seek to give glib answers to issues such as self-doubt or the loss of loved ones, but rather deals with them in practical ways.

The overarching theme of this book is: ‘Sowing seeds and producing fruit that will last in our latter years.’ It could be a great help to those preparing for retirement, those already retired and also for their friends, relatives or carers. Each chapter has questions for group discussion and other material for personal reflection. Firmly based in scripture and a Christian view of the value of every life, this book is well worth reading and sharing.

 

Review by Jean Watson, Sevenoaks Counselling Newsletter

Over a cuppa in Waitrose I asked Wendy why she wrote this book.  She replied that she enjoyed writing (she has already written two other books for BRF) and wanted to say something from her heart for retirees and those coming up to retirement age, as well as for their friends and families, carers and other professionals involved with older people.
 
The book reflects Wendy’s chatty style and friendly personality, her strong Christian faith, her personal experiences and her work in pastoral care.

The book looks attractive inside and out and the contents are well organised and easy to read.

The first main section – clearing the weeds – gives practical suggestions and spiritual advice about processing any past issues and memories which might sabotage future wellbeing and growth which is the focus of the second section. Again practical suggestions and spiritual advice go hand in hand.

The passionate message of the message of the book is that older people have a huge amount to offer and should not be written off or sidelined but encouraged to go on contributing, learning and growing.

There are many illustrations from life in the book and also a fictional character called Jim who pops up throughout and who is helped to process some very traumatic experiences and become a positive, contributing person again. 

The biblical content would make the book more immediately attractive to people with some degree of Christian faith and knowledge, but the practical ideas and psychological insights could be helpful in their own right to others as well.

 

Review by Angus MacLeay, Rector St Nicholas Church, Sevenoaks

Wendy is a much valued member of St Nicholas Sevenoaks. For many years she served as a Pastoral Assistant and out of that experience she has developed all sorts of pastoral insights. This particular book should be a source of much encouragement to those in their retirement years. Through setting out a helpful scenario which is then developed in each chapter she is able to help us take note of a number of the key issues which we are likely to face during retirement. Each chapter is appropriately linked with a different aspect of the fruit of the Spirit highlighting the attractive nature of living wholeheartedly for Christ right to the end of our days. I trust as this book is read many will be helped in navigating their way through their latter years.

Review by Angus MacLeay, Rector St Nicholas Church, Sevenoaks