As a flutist with the Columbus City Band, Beth Slaton knows the importance of rehearsal and preparation.

She figures those same principles, including rehearsing wise steps to be ready for the future, apply as much or more to retirement and life’s later years.

That’s why the 53-year-old Columbus resident will be among participants in the free, upcoming “Reaching Your Summit” conference for the 50-plus crowd at First Christian Church in Columbus. The retirement-and-later-years event will cover volunteerism and community involvement, estate planning including wills, long-term care insurance, funerals and other such expertise April 8 and 9.

The gathering is the second such First Christian offering for the near-senior set or retirees in the past three years, according to organizers. A total of 140 people attended a 2014 conference, “Finishing Strong.”

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“With the Baby Boomers, these topics obviously are a little more front-and-center,” said Slaton, who attends the local First Baptist Church, which also has offered retirement-oriented guidance with the help of her and others. “And I feel the churches certainly do need to be among those helping with these topics.”

She mentioned that viewpoint in case people wonder how faith and finances, for instance, mix in today’s world.

Speakers, including people such as Justin White, First Christian’s senior minister, and other speakers will help people find those connections throughout Scripture.

Slaton is especially aware of elements such as estate planning.

“It’s important to know that your money can benefit people long after you’ve gone,” she said. “I do believe there’s a faith and biblical legacy to leave — and to be good stewards of your time and money.”

Dan Wallace, First Christian’s generations minister, said these conferences were sparked partly by the thoughts of a church member whose father several years ago suddenly and tragically died, leaving his family to wonder if he had prepared wisely financially and otherwise.

“We obviously are going to touch some on faith (besides the practical),” Wallace said. “Because, as Christians, I think our ultimate summit is heaven.”

One workshop topic on funeral planning is a repeat from First Christian’s earlier conference in 2014.

“We know that people sometimes can tend to blow that off because they don’t really want to have to deal with it,” Wallace said.

Rick Thomas, 63, of Columbus, was able to retire just before age 60 in 2011 from his counseling position at Columbus North High School. He will be part of a panel discussion at the conference.

His and his wife Pam’s financial nest to allow for such a move came twofold.

One was that they began putting away money into a savings account in the late 1970s, beginning at about $10 per week. Step 2 was that they committed to be regular givers at church, no matter how short their money seemed to be by the weekend. He recalled that, one week, they trusted God and gave their last $15 in cash or checking account money on a Sunday.

They were somewhat unsure how they would eat all week. But an unexpected check from a somehow-overpaid bill came in the next day’s mail and more than covered food and other expenses.

“We came to realize that God would take care of us,” Rick Thomas said. “We ourselves really can’t take credit for anything. He has truly blessed us. And we realize we’re expected to give back (financially and volunteer-wise).”

About the conference

What: Reaching Your Summit event especially for those 50-plus and planning for retirement and life’s later years.

When: 6 to 9 p.m. April 8 and 8:30 a.m. to noon April 9.

Where: First Christian Church, 516 Fifth St. in Columbus. People should enter through the Lafayette Street entrance.

Cost: Free.

Topics: Security, safety and scams; estate planning tools; the importance of volunteering; funerals, burial and cremation; long-term care insurance; Medicaid; your faith and financial legacy, and other subjects.

Information and registration: 812-379-4491 or or

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Brian Blair is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at or 812-379-5672.