Aging is a spiritual journey.

Meet the Director

Nancy Gordon

nancyheadshotNancy Gordon has been the director of the California Lutheran Homes Center for Spirituality and Aging since June, 2008. Previously she worked in libraries and historical agencies until attending seminary in mid-life. She is ordained in the Evangelical Covenant Church and has served as associate pastor of Winnetka Covenant Church in Wilmette, IL and as director of Growth Opportunities at Friendship Village of Schaumburg, IL, a large continuing care retirement community. The Growth Opportunities program she developed contained spiritual life, activity/recreation, arts, fitness, and life-long learning components. It was her charge to put a spiritual foundation under all the programs, believing that each of them had the potential to touch residents’ spirits in positive ways.


Rev. Gordon has a MSLS degree from the University of Tennessee (1973) and a M.Div. from Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, IL (1992). She has a certificate from the Geriatric Pastoral Care Institute (1999) and a certificate as a Certified Aging Services Professional (CASP) (2007, 2009).


Rev. Gordon authored a book with her sister, Judy Gordon Morrow, about pregnancy loss titled Good Mourning; Help and Understanding in Time of Pregnancy Loss published by Word Books in 1989. It was republished as Silent Cradle by Light and Life Press in 1998. She also authored a study guide for Servant Leadership, Vols. I & II, published by Covenant Press in 1993. She has had articles on spiritual formation published in The Covenant Companion, Faith at Work, and InSpirit, as well as an article on the papers of Rose Wilder Lane held at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library in Journal of South Dakota History.


She was the annual presenter of “Ministry to Older Adults,” an educational session for a Parish Lay Volunteer Chaplain Training Program offered by the Bishop Anderson House (Episcopal), in Chicago, IL in 2005-2007. She and members of her Growth Opportunities team presented “So What Does Prayer Have to Do with Bingo?” at the Life Services Network Annual Convention, Chicago, IL in April 2003. And she has presented nationally at the American Society of Aging Annual Meeting on various facets of spirituality and aging. She has taught many adult study groups and is available for one-time presentations or a series on spirituality and aging, which she will develop around your group’s needs.


Sensing the Sacred: A Small Group Worship for Persons with Alzheimer’s Disease
While director of Growth Opportunities at Friendship Village, Rev. Gordon was awarded a grant from the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship for the development of a small-group worship program for people with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. The program was built on the work of Jerome Berryman and Sonja Stewart, who developed a Montessori-based worship program for children. In 2010 this program received a Merit Award as a “best practice” program from Wingspread, a pre-conference of the Aging in American Conference.


Rev. Gordon is a member of the American Society on Aging and its constituent group, the Forum on Spirituality and Aging (FORSA). She is also a member of the planning committee for the annual Wingspread Conference, a continuation of a program previously sponsored by The National Interfaith Council on Aging (NICA).

Donald Koepke

Donald KoepkeDonald Koepke is the director emeritus of the CLH Center for Spirituality and Aging, a program of California Lutheran Homes and Community Services, headquartered in Anaheim, Southern California. Rev. Koepke has been a Lutheran pastor for more than 30 years serving three congregations in three states. Rev. Koepke has presented many workshops on spirituality and aging for both staff of long-term care facilities and churches throughout the country.


Rev. Koepke earned his Master of Divinity from Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and completed a year-long residency in Clinical Pastoral Care at the UCLA Medical Center in 1995. He also earned a Certificate in Gerontology at the Geriatric Pastoral Care Institute at the Center for Aging, Religion and Spirituality, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Affiliations, Workshops and Publications

Rev. Koepke is a member of the Advisory Council for the Department of Gerontology of the University of La Verne. He also serves on the board of directors for the Orange County Council on Aging. A board certified chaplain with the Association of Professional Chaplains. He is a member of the American Society on Aging, Forum on Spirituality and Religion section of ASA, and serves on the Forum’s Governing Council. He also serves on the Editorial Board of “Aging and Spirituality,” the quarterly newsletter of the Forum on Religion, Spirituality and Aging. He is a Board Certified Member of the Association of Professional Chaplains, a member of the Gerontological Society of America, and endorsed by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America for Specialized Ministry and the editor and chief author of Ministering to Older Adults: The Building Blocks published in 2005 by Haworth Press.

He has conducted numerous professional workshops at national and regional conventions of aging, service providers to the elderly, caregivers, churches and other faith communities, families and older adults specializing in spirituality and aging. He has been a guest lecturer at King-Drew Medical Center’s Grand Rounds; California State University, Los Angeles Roybal School for Applied Gerontology; California State University, Fullerton; University of Texas; Pan-American; Citrus College; and Chaffey College. He has also consulted on Spiritual Caregiving with several multi-facility long-term care organizations. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Council on Aging of Orange County as well as the South Bay Retirement Community. He has led more than 50 congregations in his process of guided decision-making called: “Elder Ministry in the Congregation” upon which his forthcoming book, Older Adult Ministry: The Building Blocks, is based.

He has published several articles in the Journal on Active Aging of the International Council on Active Aging including: “Tapping the Spirit”, “Head and Heart: Two Ways of Knowing”, “Aging with Heart: The Role of Suffering”. His article, “Creating Awareness of Elders’ Spiritual Issues for Long-Term Care Professionals and Providers” was published in the Winter 2005 edition of “Aging and Spirituality.” He is the producer of the educational DVD, “Caring for Elders: Body, Mind and Spirit,” which presents the concepts of Viktor Frankl as applied to aging.