Why do so many people enter retirement ill-prepared for this dramatic new phase of their lives?

It’s a question that has haunted Murray MacAdam, a member of St John’s Peterborough, and struck home for him when he retired three years ago from a busy job as diocesan Social Justice and Advocacy Consultant. The transition was difficult. He decided to do something to help others facing the same challenges. He’s teamed up with Church of the Redeemer member Heather Bennett, a career consultant and life transitions coach, to offer Re-launching Your Life: Retirement with Meaning, a four-week program at St James Cathedral from Oct.25 to Nov.15.

“It’s been said that the average Canadian spends more time planning a two-week holiday to Florida or Europe than they do planning for their retirement, except for financial planning,” says MacAdam. “This is a huge transition in a person’s life, and it affects you in ways that are hard to foresee when you’re still working. The better prepared a person is, the more satisfying their retirement is likely to be.”

The program is framed to explore vital questions, adds Heather Bennett, who has taught retirement planning programs at Church of the Redeemer.As I embark on this new phase of my life, what do I see as my main purpose?  How is God calling me into new ways of living?  How might I fully use my capabilities, interests and resources in this phase of my life?”

Rather than lectures, Relaunching Your Life is based around a dynamic, interactive learning approach in which participants look back over their lives to consider what they’ve done and how they’ve made transitions in the past. Participants will consider possibilities to prayerfully consider how to move into, or toward what they feel called to be and do. Sessions will combine presentations; individual reflection through creative expression such as journaling; and sharing in pairs and small groups. Participants will be encouraged to get to know one another, facilitating a sense of community and support. Some may choose to continue to meeting informally after the program ends, if they wish.  

The program is open to all interested people, including people nearing retirement and those already retired. Non-Anglicans and people without a faith background are welcome. If the program goes well, it may be offered at other interested parishes.

This free program is offered from Wednesday nights from Oct.25 to Nov.15. Advance registration is required, by Oct.16, by emailing llampman@stjamescathedral.ca. Further details are available at