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.

 

​​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.

Exploring the Masks We Wear: The Art of Authentic CHRISTIAN Living

Our spiritual journey with God requires us to name and celebrate our authentic selves. Yet, as human beings we wear many masks within our relationships, roles and everyday routines. How can these masks enlighten us to become more fully alive? To empower us to share the Gospel in more personal, practical ways?...

 

As the Season unfolds, we are called to go inward and embrace opportunities for self-exploration. During the course of the program, participants will learn about the history of wearing masks while engaging in prayer and dialogue.  A unique focus will include consideration of Jesus' authenticity in the Scriptures from a Christian faith perspective.  Participants will also be encouraged to create their own masks to further understand their spiritual journey and ongoing development.  Please bring a journal for use during the program. 

Encountering God in Nature

"The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature." ~ Anne Frank

The chaos of our routines and the pressures weighing upon us from daily living often narrow our experience of God. We can easily forget the endless ways in which God seeks to dwell in us and that the Divine Presence is always with us. Venturing out into nature grants us an immediate reawakening to this Truth. Join us for a retreat into the beauty and simplicity of nature that allows one to return spiritually to a centered, renewed place. Incorporating the use of human senses, meditative exercises and writing techniques, participants will have the opportunity to encounter God in nature while gaining a refreshed perspective on their priorities, their relevance and what is worth cherishing.

 

*This retreat is ideal for an outdoor landscape in Spring, Summer or Autumn and should include an additional indoor space for some of the program's contents. If a group is interested in scheduling this retreat, but no outdoor space is available, further provisions can be made through the Mission Bridge to secure an environment in which the program can be facilitated. A Winter version of Encountering God In Nature is also possible, with an indoor venue serving as the primary retreat space with abbreviated opportunities to engage outside.

Learning How to Pray

How do you pray? Are you curious about different ways of praying? This retreat examines various modes of traditional and contemporary prayer. A brief history of each style will be included coupled with an opportunity to experience it individually and/or with others. Centering, contemplative, lectio divina and chanting are some examples of prayer that will be explored.

Spiritual Awakenings for the New Year

Come celebrate the unfolding of the New Year with prayerful reflection and exploration of your spiritual journey. This program invites you to recognize the spiritual awakenings that are ever-awaiting your discovery and to return to basics by getting in touch with your heart’s deepest desires. Spend time alone and with other seekers dialoguing about your present and 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.

What Color are You in the Rainbow?

While the rainbow has historically captured the unique vibrance and struggle of the LGBTQ community, it also celebrates the kaleidoscope of color within our own soul. It can speak volumes about our heart's deepest desires, our relationships and our greatest challenges in this life.

 

Join us for an engaging program, where creative exploration of these themes will unfold. Through prayer & meditation, group dialogue and exercises, participants will be able to connect to the colors of their story and name how those colors parallel the beauty and diverse experiences of living daily.

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​​The Gift of Being Called: Conspiring With God’s Voice

Join us for an enlightening retreat where your sense of being called in various ways will be explored, named and celebrated. What does it mean to be divinely called in our relationships, in our work, and even in the mundane tasks of our everyday lives? These themes among others will be addressed and savored throughout the program in personal and group settings. Creative and insightful spiritual exercises will be offered to deepen our sense of God’s desire to conspire with us endlessly. Please bring a journal. 

Your Journey as Parable: The Spirituality of Storytelling

Parables are brief tales that utilize normal occurrences to illustrate spiritual truths. Have you ever thought of the stories of your life as being a parable? As having the intended ability to reveal or teach you something after you have already lived through them? You are invited to join us for a program of reflection and creativity as we examine a sample of the rich, meaningful stories of your personal journey and intertwine them with some of the world’s greatest recorded parables. While participants will be engaged in facilitated exercises that recall memories via storytelling, their appreciation for various religious/cultural parables will be enhanced. This program will empower participants to name and celebrate their individual stories in a nuanced way. No prior experience in storytelling is required. 

​Uncovering the Blessings of the Long Goodbye: A Retreat Day for Caregivers

Spend the day being reaffirmed as a caregiver for someone with a long-term illness, including, but not limited to, dementia. Participants will be invited to engage in storytelling, prayer, meditation, and other exercises that validate the caregiver experience. This retreat will be tailored to uplift participants who may or may not provide hands-on care for their loved ones, but who are actively involved in their lives. Topics that will be explored are intrinsic to the caregiver journey, especially compassion, burn-out, self-care, and the various emotions that accompany the caregiver role. 

 

*Focused attention will be given to the emotions and issues that are uniquely apart of the LGBTQ experience of caregiving.

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Gracing Your Plates & Guests: A Spirituality of Cooking, Eating & Hospitality

This program is designed to expand the vision we have as humans of food - why we eat, how we prepare it and how it can be served.  With a focus on the spirituality that can underlie basic tasks such as cooking and eating, participants will be engaged in meditation, dialogue and actual hands-on activities surrounding a meal.  Attention will be given to the ingredients involved in creating cuisine, digestion and how to enhance the art of bodily nourishment. The virtue of hospitality infuses the program, overall, allowing participants to awaken to the sacredness of enjoying and sharing food on a deeper level. A journal is a great companion for this experience.

*A kitchen or cooking facility is necessary to facilitate this program. It can be experienced as a day or weekend program.

The Sanctuary of New Beginnings: A New Years’ Retreat

As the year draws to a close and Winter begins to deepen, you are invited to embark upon a journey at a most magical time of year, a time when we prepare to enter the sanctuary of new beginnings. This New Year’s retreat creates a wonderful opportunity to silence the pervasive noise that ever surrounds us and to step away into a spiritual landscape of renewal and nourishment. This program invites you to make time to examine the meaning of your experiences while cherishing the holiness of transitions. It will also include ample time for meditation, prayer and personal exploration. 

Dinner & Dialogue: Hallelujah Anyway & Anne Lamott

The Easter Season is a fertile time within our faith to not only renew our foundational beliefs but to authentically celebrate the healing mercy possible with God and within our human relationships. With this understanding, you are invited to join us for a delicious lunch and dialogue about Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy, the acclaimed work of Anne Lamott. In this insightful text, she vividly explores how paramount and powerful mercy can be in our lives with the wisdom and humor she is known to offer readers. Lamott asserts that mercy is at the core of our spiritual identity and, when deliberately embraced, fosters understanding of others as we “soften ever so slightly.” Exploration of these themes will focus on how the reality of receiving and giving mercy can extend the Easter experience within our daily lives.

 

Opportunities for prayerful meditation and some creative exercises around the text will be integrated into our dialogue. Prior reading of the text is not mandatory but may prove beneficial. Please bring a journal for use throughout the program.

Strength to Love: an Anthem for Our Cosmos

Participate in this interactive dialogue about the writings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., particularly Strength to Love, whose compelling message is as necessary and timely today as it was during the height of the American Civil Rights Movement.

During this program, participants will be invited to engage in personal reflection and spiritual exercises regarding this text and how it resonates with their beliefs, global vision of humanity and understanding of compassionate justice.  A particular focus will include how this poignant work is a hopeful heralding for what is needed to heal and unite us as citizens and spiritual beings.

Reading of Dr. King's work beforehand is not required, but may prove beneficial.

Jesus Meets Buddha Meets Muhammad

Join us for an evocative program that will consider three of the world’s prominent spiritual teachers and the religions created in their name. Emphasis will be placed on the sacred wisdom they each imparted through their respective life story and cultivation of authentic living.

From a diverse perspective, participants will be invited to explore the areas of intersection amongst Christian, Buddhist and Islamic tenets/rituals while also recognizing unique differences and nuances. Throughout this retreat, there will be opportunities to creatively experience these spiritual figures and connect with the truth they offer to modern seekers through prayer, meditation and journaling exercises. Lastly, participants will emerge from the program with a timely awareness about the gifts and relevance of what these three offer our world and the healing role they can serve in fostering peaceful collaboration amongst believers. A journal and comfortable shoes are great companions for this program.

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Dinner & Dialogue: Encountering Jesus in His Hidden Years

Join us during Lent as we spend time reflecting on the hidden or unknown years of Jesus’ life and prayerfully discerning their relevance to our unique journey with Him. Much of what we know about our Lord in the Scriptures involves His birth, public ministry and Passion. But, our hearts and minds often wonder what experiences He shared in that formed Him during His adolescent, teenage and young adult years. 

 

Through meditation, dialogue and writing exercises, participants will connect with the graces available by imaginatively accompanying Jesus in these years not mentioned in the New Testament. A deepening of our faith and personal relationship with Jesus will be a focus for our

time spent together. A journal is a good companion for this program.

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.

 

Join us for a time 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 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 program.

A Spiritual Journey Into the Desert

The desert is the theater of the human struggle of searching for God.” ~ Jan Majernik

 

The spiritual life at varying times beckons us to the desert. To the place where all that originally held esteem or took credit is stripped away and laid bare. To the sanctuary within that demands simplicity, solitude and surrender.

Join us for an extended weekend (or modified version) in which we will explore the rich concepts of desert spirituality and its impactful message for us today as modern sojourners searching for God in all things. 

 

Throughout the weekend, participants will be engaged in prayer, meditation and other creative opportunities to explore desert-related themes and practices. Sacred Scripture, alongside the writings of the Desert Mothers; Fathers, Henri Nouwen and Thomas Merton, will be integrated for consideration and application. In addition, the perspective of other faith traditions and spiritualities will be included to deepen understanding of the countless graces that are contained in the deserts of our lives. 

 

A journal and comfortable walking shoes will be great companions to bring along. Desert survival kits will be provided upon arrival.

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.