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BEACON Senior News - Western Colorado

Love connections: Not Going Quietly fosters friendship and fun

Jan 02, 2018 11:59PM ● By Jan Weeks

Sharon Conklin-Starr, a religious science practitioner and member of Center for Spiritual Living Grand Junction (CSL), saw the need for a place for seniors to share their joys and challenges in a safe, fun environment.

That was the birth of Not Going Quietly, a discussion group for people age 60-plus that promotes connection, communication, community, learning, fellowship and fun. Conklin-Starr enlisted Penelope Grace Tarr and CSL Reverend Anna Scott as co-leaders. Two years later, the group is going strong.

The group’s vision is to provide support for “living outrageously with positive intention and joy by helping members live by their divine birthright and die with dignity,” Scott said.

The bimonthly meetings cover both serious and entertaining topics, and feature discussions, artistic creations, games and other exercises to bring attendees closer. As the group has evolved, its leaders continue to seek out activities that align with its members’ hobbies and careers. But the key characteristic is always the goal to connect and love each other as members age gracefully.

Occasionally, outside speakers visit to discuss the anxieties of getting older and underline the importance of a loving network. Tarr cited one visit by Kindness is Contagious, a group started by teens at Grand Junction High School that quickly spread to other schools in the valley.

“They talked to us about suicide awareness,” Tarr said, “and how a sense of connection gives people hope. Sometimes smiling at a stranger on the street can change a life.”

Meetings begin with people introducing themselves and talking about challenges they’ve faced recently.

“The check-in portion of the meeting is vitally important,” Scott said. “We are here for one another as emotional and practical support.”

Discussion then moves on to a topic chosen beforehand. Don’t expect dull, cut-and-dried talk—“freeform” is the best way to describe dialogue.

For example, one meeting consisted of members bringing mementos of their heritage, such as scrapbooks, photos and letters from their forebears. Participants talked about the items and how their families came to America. They also shared memories from childhood that highlighted their ethnic and cultural origins.

The group does not teach Science of Mind principles, which guide the CSL, but demonstrates these principles through conversation. Conklin-Starr said the discussions are spiritual but religious doctrine is never taught. All beliefs are honored, and attendees don’t have to be church members.

Not Going Quietly meets monthly on the second and fourth Tuesdays from 1:30-3:30 p.m. at CSL Grand Junction, 251 Colorado Ave. For more information, call 433-7799 or email [email protected].

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