LGBTQ PROGRAMS

 

Below is a catalogue of retreats and workshops available from the Mission Bridge. Each can be customized to meet your unique needs.  If a program you are searching for is not listed, contact Gordon Creamer at the Mission Bridge to discuss creating the program you desire.  Any retreat can be transformed into a workshop format or modified to include a shorter or longer program.

 

All Are Welcome at the Table

Our retreat today is focused on the theme of All Are Welcome At The Table of the Lord. Through prayer, meditation and various spiritual exercises, we will journey with this theme and its application to our experience of Christ in everyday living. There will be special consideration of Pope Francis and his wake up call to all Christians about the Gospel standard of mercy and compassion.

What Is Your Heart’s Desire?

Begin the Journey of the New Year with prayerful reflection and discernment of the direction in which you are headed. This program will allow you to get back to basics by getting in touch with your deepest desire, the call of your heart. Spend time alone and with other seekers dialoguing about your life and your future pathways. Use of Sacred Scriptures, small groups and spiritual exercises will be included to name one another's current experiences and development of ongoing awareness.

Spirituality of Music

Music has been an inspiration for prayer and worship long before and after King David composed the Old Testament Psalms.  More than any other medium, music has engendered meaning for the human journey.  Over the course of three sessions together, participants are invited to experience and reflect upon the connections between music and the sacred, all the while savoring the ways in which music enhances and elevates the spiritual journey.  Within each session, there is a brief survey of musical genres coupled with a variety of exercises that examine their spiritual impact.  Series includes: 

 

Session One: From Sound to Chant
Session Two: Classical Hims & Hymns
Session Three: Modern & Meaningful

 

These themes can be rewoven into a solitary retreat or workshop instead of a series of multiple programs.

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​The Gift of Animals: Our Spiritual Companions

Throughout Mother Earth, we are given many blessings to cherish, protect and preserve. And, without a doubt, the diversity of animals that inhabits our planet provides us with an abundance of joy, intrigue and beauty. During this retreat, participants will be invited to reflect upon the gift that God has bestowed us with through animals and to explore the reality of the spiritual companionship we share with them. The day will center around the celebrated relationship we have with a variety of animals, particularly those we call pets. Those attending are encouraged to bring in images of their pets and/or favorite creatures for group appreciation. There will be opportunities throughout the day for prayer, dialogue and personal exploration time.

Seizing the Day: Discovering God Through Your Senses

How aware are you of God’s constant companionship? Are you able to experience the Divine in your everyday surroundings? This program invites you to prayerfully encounter God’s Presence while using your senses. Join us in discovering God anew through our abilities to see, hear, feel, taste and smell.

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The Prodigal’s Life: The Journey of Coming Home

In this retreat, we will explore how the transition back to one’s perceived home can be eased and made more comfortable despite inherent obstacles. The Gospel story of the Prodigal Son and other related texts will form the cornerstone of the day as participants contemplate the relevance of this story to their respective journey. Themes of reconciliation, relocation and integration will be explored as participants engage in opportunities of prayerful meditation, discussion and other modes of self expression as individuals and as a group. A reading of Henri Nouwen’s text, The Return of The Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming (1992), is encouraged but not a prerequisite.

Aging with Grace Retreat

"You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt. As young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear. As young as your hope, as old as your despair." (Douglas MacArthur)

Need a weekend away to regroup and recharge? Come and join us for an opportunity to name your experience as a spiritual being on the human journey. Our time together will focus on celebrating the meaningfulness of the aging process and the presence of God throughout it, emphasizing its uniqueness and universality. Through a variety of exercises, meditations and group dialogue, the themes that accompany aging at any stage will be explored for deeper appreciation. Opportunities to consider a positive and integrated approach to aging form the core of this retreat as participants will be able to bless each of their senses and engage in reaffirming moments, both individually and collectively. There will also be ample time for solitude and personal exploration of each topic. Please bring a journal for the weekend and a memento that symbolizes where you currently are in the aging process. (Please Note: This retreat can be reformatted for a one-day program or multiple, abbreviated sessions around relevant themes.)

Empowering Your Wounded Healer

Suffering manifests itself in diverse ways in each of our lives. Unique though to our human experience is how we understand the role of suffering and integrate it into our spiritual journey. This retreat provides participants with a valuable opportunity to name their respective struggle and to garner inner, personal strength for a greater purpose. A primary focus will be on suffering of Christ and other notable  teachers/historical figures and how their experiences are a foundational example of the emerging ‘Wounded Healer’ that we are each called to be.

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The Spirituality Behind Art: Exploring Art As A Spiritual Practice

Have you been searching for different ways to enhance your prayer life or spirituality?  Is so, then you are invited to join us for a day of inspiration and reflection as we consider the dynamic relationship between art and the spiritual life.  During this retreat, there will be ample opportunities to engage with visual works of art, participate in personal and group dialogue and explore the diverse ways in which prayer, meditation and spirituality are enriched by artistic creations.  Participants are encouraged to bring in a piece of art (or an image of), if possible, that holds special meaning for them for the purpose of group discussion.

Composing a Spiritual Life: Creating Your Own Spiritual Autobiography

Writing is a basic act of human self-expression and has been utilized in countless ways throughout history to capture the moments we are living in, chronicle the past with reflection and to prepare for the future before it arrives. It has also been important for those on the spiritual path to pause and contemplate their experiences by capturing them in written language. Join us for this enriching program, which will inspire participants to examine both milestone and ordinary experiences in their spiritual lives through writing about them. Various prompts and exercises will provide a creative context in which those present can record their experiences and ideas. Dialogue around written responses is

optional. A primary topic that will be considered includes relationship with God and others. Also explored is the world of work, wounds and losses and a sense of vocation and purpose, where the meaning of such experiences connects our spirituality to the other dimensions of our lives.

 

*This program can be offered for one or multiple sessions depending on the audience for which it is intended. It can guide individuals and groups from beginning to end with composing a spiritual autobiography, or it can serve as an introduction for participants to begin the writing process for their personal enrichment.

Reclaiming Advent: A Story of Holy Desire

The Season of Advent often becomes lost on us as Christians in the flurry of the holidays and all that demands our attention each December.

 

Enjoy a day of retreat and reflection, an opportunity to reclaim Advent as the gift for which it is intended. Through prayer, meditation and writing, participants will explore the connection between a desire as holy and the unique ways in which the Advent experience can nourish and deepen our celebration of Christmas. Dialogue and other spiritual exercises will creatively enhance the themes considered during the program.

 

Please bring a journal for use throughout the day.

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Ancient Myths & Wisdom for Modern Spiritual Sojourners Weekend Retreat (Optional Format for Modified 1 Day Program)

A myth... is a metaphor for a mystery beyond human comprehension. It is a comparison that helps us understand, by analogy, some aspect of our mysterious selves. A myth, in this way of thinking, is not an untruth but a way of reaching a profound truth.  ~ Christopher Vogler

 

The word myth is saturated with numerous, sometimes negative connotations in contemporary times.  Often, it is associated with being an untruth or fabricated statement.  Yet, this recent use of the word ignores the rich, timeless value for which myths were originally conceived.  Join us for an evocative weekend that will explore some of the world’s prominent mythologies in their original light and the wisdom cradled within them.  Examples will be gathered from the Greek, Celtic and Norse traditions amongst other cultures. Throughout this retreat, there will be abundant opportunities to creatively experience these myths and connect with the parallels they offer to modern spiritual seekers and their personal journeys.   Participants will emerge from the weekend with a timely and deepened awareness about the gifts and relevance of myths and the healing role they can serve in cultivating understanding and peace in the world. A journal is a great companion for this program as participants will be encouraged to compose their own personal mythologies.

A Ministry of Hospitality & Compassion: Supporting the LGBTQ Community Within Your Congregation

This program is both a retreat and a workshop, designed to provide ministers and lay leaders of Christian congregations an opportunity to pray, dialogue about their desire to authentically support and minister to the LGBTQ members within their faith communities. Throughout the day together, participants will engage in various exercises that foster a deepened awareness and sensitivity for the diversity of others and practical ways of reaching out to them. Scripture that reinforces and sustains compassionate care of LGBTQ individuals and their families will be utilized as a means of assisting participants in developing a language of inclusion and hospitality. The program will conclude with a collaborative prayer service that celebrates the mission of this retreat and workshop. 

Joining Jesus on the Way: Praying the Stations of the Cross in Modern Times

The tradition of praying the Stations of the Cross during Lent has been observed for countless centuries around the world. As a spiritual practice whose focus centers on the passion of Christ, participants are invited to contemplate the experience of Jesus as he made his way to his crucifixion at Calvary. 

 

Join us this Lent as we timely revisit such sacred mysteries in Jesus’ life and prayerfully encounter him on his passion journey. After lunch, we will engage in a nuanced version of the Stations as envisioned by spiritual author, Henri Nouwen. Herein, the focus unfolds around whom Christ would encounter in contemporary times on the Way of the Cross. Through meditation, dialogue and writing exercises, participants will connect with the graces available in accompanying Jesus in his vulnerability, suffering and eternal hope. A journal is a good companion for this program.

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​​Wearing & Shedding Our Masks: The Art of Authentic Living

Living the spiritual journey requires us to name and celebrate our authentic selves. Yet, as human beings and individuals who identify as LGBTQ, we wear many masks, both interiorly and on the exterior.  Many of us have endured layers of rejection that are buried under the surface, while still hungering to share our personal gifts and hopes with the world.  How can these masks enlighten and empower us to become more fully alive? 

 

In every season, we are emboldened to shed the masks that do not serve our highest good.   We are also called to embrace the genuine, loved person we are designed to be.  Participants on this retreat will learn about the history of wearing masks and, through prayer, dialogue and mask-making, be able to further understand how these activities positively affect one’s spiritual journey and ongoing development.