I was delighted to see I had a view of the pond. Through brightly colored leaves, I caught a glimpse of water shimmering below. Ah, the pond! Still water, reflecting clouds and sun, holding leaves aloft – oranges and yellows, sky blue, greyish white and dark green.
Today’s post is by Susan Rowland. This is a transcript of her audio testimony highlighting her experience in Shalem’s Transforming Community: Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups and Retreats Program. You may also listen to her tell her story by clicking on the video above.
My experience with the Shalem program “Leading Contemplative Prayer groups and Retreats” was unique in so many ways. At the residencies, we were among a circle of talented people, gathered with the intention of deepening their life and leadership in contemplative practice. The breadth and expression of faith was so rich. Small groups provided a safe opportunity to try out different prayer practices in an open, experiential, supportive space. I will be forever grateful for the emphasis on simple explanations of prayer practices so that the Spirit is “free to move about the cabin” of the gathering.
What made that possible was the Shalem program leadership, modeling something so beautiful and authentic in all that they offered. I have been to programs where they teach by telling you what to do. At Shalem, the leaders revealed their personal passion to us through each teaching. Their words and presence were alive – resonating and bouncing off all of our hearts– together, we laughed, we walked, we played with art, we talked a lot over meals. They truly entered into the community with us.
Here are a few suggestions that can help open the way for people’s first-hand presence in the Presence during a Sunday or other time of corporate worship. These include selected (sometimes modified) excerpts from the section on Liturgy in chapter four of my new book, Embracing the Call to Spiritual Depth (Paulist Press 2010), followed […]
by Rod Dugliss Reflections from Shalem’s West Coast Regional Gathering When I awoke early at Mercy Center to meet with the Shalem staff for the West Coast Regional Gathering final set up, I looked out my window to catch a huge, ivory-bright, full moon setting, briefly visible through a rift in roiling, dark clouds. After breakfast, fellow staff […]