9:00 am — 4:00 pm
Bethel Canadian Reformed Church
Bethel Canadian Reformed Church, 11251 Bayview Ave, Richmond Hill, Ontario, L4S 1L8, Canada
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Course 7:

Cultural Concerns, Global Aging, Religious Diversity & Gender


Many are saying: “Global aging is a defining phenomenon of the 21st century”.  It certainly is a major global trend.  The GTA is a microcosm of the world.  We live in a multicultural and multi-religious region.  The challenge for us, therefore, is both local and global, and it will only increase.  The World Health Organization forecasts the elderly population (over 60 years of age) to grow from an estimated 680 million people in 2011 to 2 billion by 2050 with those over 60 outnumbering those under 15.  This historically unprecedented situation is already impacting all dimensions of life, including the economic, social, and political spheres. This course aims to help prepare us to exercise what the Bible calls “true religion” (Ja 1:27), honouring the aged amongst us as we honour our parents (Ex 20; Lev 19:32; Mat 15; Eph 6; 1 Tim 5).  Honour, understood biblically, is holistic and integrated, just as human beings are holistically integrated with their histories, cultures, languages, families, religions, and personal life stages.  To engage positively and wisely we must acknowledge these real differences in our neighbourhoods and institutions of care and learn to express our care with understanding and respect.  We will look together at some of the barriers and opportunities for more sensitive, compassionate, and fruitful ministries of care.

“The righteous … flourish in the courts of our God.
They still bear fruit in old age;
they are ever full of sap and green,
to declare that the LORD is upright”
(Psalm 92).


Dr. Tom McCormick
Tom McCormick enjoys the interrelationships among several disciplines. He has a BA in philosophy and mathematics, an MA in Bible (Westminster Seminary, Philadelphia), a PhD in Humanities (Linguistics & Philosophy, University of Texas, Arlington), and a PhD in Philosophy (Institute for Christian Studies, Toronto). Tom also integrates praxis with thought, serving as a chaplain at Long Term & Residential Care Homes, teaching ESL, helping coordinate services for immigrants, assisting minority language groups overseas with literacy, development, and Bible translation, while helping to train consultants and literacy workers. He has taught mathematics, linguistics, reading theory, orthography design, philosophy, theology, education, qualitative research methods, and language acquisition. His books include Meditation: a Practical Guide to a Spiritual Discipline; 2 books on Nursing Home Ministry; Theories of Reading in Dialogue; Science, Imagination and God; Towards a Christian Philosophy; The Field and the Spirit; Meditation: a Biblical Study. Tom has been working with those in Long Term Care Nursing Homes for more than 40 years and has taught at both graduate and undergraduate institutions, including conducting workshops both in North America and overseas.


Conference attendance – There will be a $50 fee for attending the conferences only.
Audit – There will be a $100 fee for auditing the module.
Certificate Level – There will be a $150 fee for each module.
Bachelors/Masters Level – Please contact the Word and Spirit Institute for tuition of Bachelor and Masters Courses.
There will an additional cost for the purchase of required reading material.


  • Biblical Foundations of Ministries with the Aging
  • Principles and Practices of Spiritual Care for Seniors (I)
  • Aging, Stages of Human Development, and Spirituality
  • Principles and Practices of Spiritual Care for Seniors (II)
  • Reaching out: Institutional settings; Families and Caregivers for Seniors
  • Reaching out: The Church and the Community; Families and Caregivers for Seniors
  • Cultural, Gender, and Religious Diversity; Global Aging

Please e-mail wsinstitute@outlook.com for more information, to register and/or to receive the course syllabus


February 2, 2019
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Dr. Tom McCormick and Rev. Matthew VanLuik

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