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Our Riches are in our Relationships

The EROP is deeply connected with other partners, is woven into larger movements, and is indebted to more than we can name.


The 2024 All Gender EROP will be woven together primarily by a team of 4 elders, plus an extended team of elders and other folk who will be supporting the work. The elders present on the team have over 400 years of life experience, much of it spent in service guiding, leading, and tending to healing spaces in North America, Europe, and Costa Rica. The team comes from Buddhist, Christian, and Jewish traditions, and have been trained in a wide variety of spiritual practices. Creating and stewarding healthy containers for transformative work has been essential to their life's work in one form or another. Here is a few words about the four primary guides.

Thérèse Charvet is an elder who for decades has been leading rites of passages, grief work, women's mysteries schools, sexual trauma healing retreats, eldering initiation work and more for many years. Based in Bainbridge Island at Sacred Groves, a forest retreat and small intentional community she founded and stewards with her spouse Tere', she serves as an elder to many. Her full bio is available here.

Terry Chapman is a spiritual director, elder, teacher, and pastor in the Presbyterian Church USA, who has been leading retreats and trainings for many years in both Inter-faith and Christian settings. A leader in Illuman, the Center for Purposeful Leadership, he gives himself to spaces both one on one and communual, which are focused on transformation, spirituality, and the healing of the planet.

Terry Symens-Bucher has been trained in Council practice through the Center for Council, in Nonviolent Communication with Marshall Rosenberg, and has studied with Joanna Macy and Bill Plotkin. He has a Master of Divinity Degree from the Franciscan School of Theology and a Juris Doctor from U.C. College of Law. Terry’s soul work combines years of experience as a trainer and facilitator with his own journey in vision quest, male rites of passage, and contemplative practice. Terry serves in a elder role with Illuman carrying on the work of Richard Rohr in men’s initiation and the male spiritual journey.

Anne Symens-Bucher has served as Joanna Macy’s executive assistant since 2006 and has been facilitating Work That Reconnects workshops for many years. In addition to Joanna Macy, Anne has learned directly from Dorothy Day, Richard Rohr, Marshall Rosenberg, and Bill Plotkin. Her teaching is woven from these mentors, from many years immersed in a nonviolent campaign to end nuclear weapons testing, and 25 years in the Franciscan Justice, Peace & Integrity Creation Office of the St. Barbara Province. The place of her deepest practice has been in her 37-year marriage with Terry and the parenting of their five children. Anne is a trained spiritual director and enjoys supporting people to embrace their soul work.

Anne and Terry are the founders of Canticle Farm Community where they are engaged in the practices they bring to this retreat. Canticle Farm is an intentional, diverse community experimenting at the intersection of faith-based, social justice-based, and Earth-based nonviolent activism.

EROP Sponsors:

Illuman of Washington The original host community of the EROP's. Many of our leaders and elders came out of this chapter of Illuman.

Sacred Groves A ten acre forest sanctuary and home to Thérèse Charvet and Tere Carranza, who for two decades have led eldering work, grief work, vision quests, and a variety of other ceremonies. Thérèse had the unique role of being the first woman present and serving at an EROP, and is a core person in translating the original into something that works for everyone.

Center for Purposeful Leadership a global community non-profit organization reimagining nature of leadership. Terry Chapman, an EROP Weaver, is Director of Convening Communities at CPL.


Ekone Ranch and White Eagle Cemetery Ekone and White Eagle are the site of our EROPs in the Pacific Northwest.

Passageways to Elderhood Alliance We are a member of this alliance of organizations and individuals who are offering meaningful and conscious passageways to elderhood.

Illuman The EROP has been supported by men from all over the world, connected via Illuman

The Seattle School of Theology and Pyschology Much of the work to create the EROP was done as a Master's Integrative Project by Ned Abenroth while he was attending the Seattle School. Ned's IP faculty advisor and a member of the executive team both came to aid in the first EROP, and the school's support in several forms has continued.

Movements and Kindred Spirits

Center for Action and Contemplation Richard Rohr's work and creation of the MROP (Men's Rites of Passage) is foundational to the work of Illuman and informed aspects of the original EROP.

Saging International Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi can be credited with the entire modern movement to recover Eldering. His book, Aging to Saging is a founding text of the movement.

Center for Conscious Eldering Ron Pevny's work on Eldering continues to inform and inspire

Rites of Passage Journeys An early pioneer in the recovery of eldering and rites of passage work, this Washington community continues to offer remarkable work for folks from youth to elders.

Work that Reconnects Joanna Macy's seminal work has not only been used at the EROP, but folks trained by Joanna have been connected to the EROP from the beginning. Her work is a guiding light.


In addition to organizations, a number of remarkable individuals are to be acknowledged. Ned Abenroth is the founder and core creator of the EROP, but he hasn't done it alone. Contributions for the first EROP in 2018 came from many, especially Belden Lane and Jonathan Miller, as well as Jim Clarke, Lou Flessner, and William Gentner. For the first EROP open to all genders, special thanks to Thérèse Charvet, Terry Chapman, & Anne & Terry Symens-Bucher for their work in translation. Gratitude for the work of Timmer Cashman, Michael Wright, Doug Shirley, Howard Simon, Ted Eagle, Erik Samuelson, Jeffrey Batstone, Tom Derpack, Brian Sulivan, and many others. Many others have contributed and inshallah, many more will do so in the future.