ADULTS & SENIORS 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.
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.
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What Color are You in the Rainbow?
What Color Am I in the Rainbow? Perhaps, a question we don't often ask ourselves. Yet, our unique answer to such a rhetorical question is indicative of the path we are on in life. It can speak volumes about the losses we've weathered, the seasons in 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.
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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.
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This retreat has at its core the necessary opportunity of validating the process of aging, particularly the reality of one's losses increasing while coping abilities decrease. As this program unfolds, attendees will inventory their life journeys and discern what has been meaningful in their younger and older years despite obstacles of change and declines in health. With a focus on remaining abilities and the power of the human senses, participants will be fortified and enriched to continue on their respective journeys. Modalities included will reflect the unique and personal traditions, rituals and practices of each participant.
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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.
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Saints at the Kitchen Table
The mystique surrounding the Saints has fascinated the curious and believers, alike, for centuries. Their struggles, history-making acts and ways of intentional living have inspired the world to ultimately grow and change. Over this session together, participants will be invited to engage in dialogue about the lives, writings and spiritual contributions of these celebrated women and men. In addition, there will be an opportunity to create and sample some of the cuisine that was enjoyed and/or created by a few of the most popularized Saints. Please bring along a journal and an open mind to encounter the Saints in unique and memorable ways, as if you were joining them at your own kitchen table. Participants are encouraged to bring a “Saint” memento or to dress in the apparel of your favorite Saint for the retreat.
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Demystifying Religions, Growing in Faith
"Many Native American languages have no word for religion at all. For them, the path of being alive is so inextricably infused with spirit that to imagine anything that was not religion would be folly. We are at this very moment engaged in the most exquisite of spiritual practices – the art of being fully, passionately alive." ~ Wayne Muller, 'How, Then, Shall We Live?'
Ever wonder why people of the Islamic faith pray five times a day? Why Jews celebrate the New Year on a date different than December 31st? Or, why certain charisms and rituals associated with religions of the East are not practiced in the West?
If so, join us for a rich, evocative retreat that will acquaint participants of Christian faith with several of the world’s prominent religions and their celebrated practices. Throughout the program, participants will have an opportunity to deepen their relationship with God as they experience prayer and meditation in the spirit of these traditions while recognizing parallels within Christianity. Emerging from this retreat, participants will share a deepened awareness of the beauty and gifts of religion and the pivotal role that this dimension plays on the world stage. Please bring a journal for use throughout the program.
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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The Passion as Our Story: Lenten Journeying with the Saints
The culmination of each Lent is realized annually in the passionate suffering of Jesus. But, isn’t the Passion by its very nature what inspires us every step of our Lenten journey?
Join us for an interactive dialogue, where we will explore this rich concept and draw upon the lived experience of the Saints and Mystics, who have observed Lent in powerful and diverse ways over the centuries. During the program, participants will engage in various opportunities for prayer, responsive writing and faith sharing that invites connection between our individual life stories and that of the Passion of our Lord.
Participants are welcome and encouraged to bring along practices of their patron saints to share during our fruitful time together.
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A Sacred Encounter with Jesus & Rumi: the Very Heart of Love
Join us for an uplifting retreat that will consider two of the world’s prominent spiritual teachers and what a modern day encounter between them might include. An emphasis will be placed on the sacred wisdom that Jesus imparted through his cultivation of authentic living and loving and the inspired writings of Rumi that have been handed down through the ages.
From a Christian perspective, retreatants will be invited to explore the areas of intersection amongst mystical Christian and Islamic teachings while also considering their intentional application to 21st century spirituality. Throughout the weekend, there will be opportunities to creatively experience these spiritual figures and connect with the truth they offer to contemporary seekers.
Lastly, participants will emerge from the program with a timely awareness about the relevant gifts of Jesus and Rumi for our world and the healing role they can serve in fostering peaceful collaboration amongst all believers. A journal and comfortable shoes are great companions for this 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.
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Ancient Myths & Wisdom for Modern Spiritual Sojourners
Weekend Retreat (Optional Format Available 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.
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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.
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DINNER & DIALOGUE SERIES
Click HERE to visit the Series page
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.
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Harnessing the Divine Within: Creating Personal Rituals in a New Era
The ancient activity of creating and enacting rituals has served spiritual beings on the human journey for millennia. In particular, rituals have enabled humanity to access their inherent, divine spark to cultivate hope and meaning in the midst of life’s sweeping changes and ongoing seasons and cycles. To that end, individuals and communities throughout history have been inspired to mark rites of passage with a concrete exercise to commemorate their experiences. Examples of this span the gamut of welcoming the birth of a new family or church member and reverently keeping Sabbath to healing from trauma & losses and transitioning into retirement, facility living or from this life into death and beyond.
Join us for an opportunity to explore the value of rituals and incorporating them more noticeably into our spiritual journey as a cherished practice.
Through meditation, journaling and other spiritual exercises, participants will be empowered and guided to create a ritual of their choice to honor a recent or upcoming transition or to manifest healing and balance as they emerge from pandemic or personal grief. Basic supplies will be provided and will include essential items for designing an individualized ritual that will be identified by each participant as the program unfolds. Please bring along a journal for use during the retreat.
Getting Acquainted with the Saints
The mystique surrounding the Saints has fascinated the curious and believers, alike, for centuries. Their struggles, history-making acts and ways of intentional living have inspired the world to ultimately grow and change. Over this session or multiple ones together, participants will be invited to engage in dialogue about the lives, writings and spiritual contributions of these celebrated women and men. Possible themes include Ancient Wisdom & the Desert Fathers, the Mystical Experience & Doctors of the Spirit and Rugged Holiness in the Modern Age. Please bring along a journal and an open mind to encounter the saints in unique and memorable ways as participants are encouraged to bring a “saint” memento or to dress in the apparel of your favorite saint for the program.
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Living Your Spirituality as a Professional: A Retreat for Leaders & Executives
The climate for modern work landscapes does not often include opportunities for spiritual activity or reflection. As such, it has become increasingly paramount for individuals in leadership positions to find purpose and value in carrying out the responsibilities each is charged with. While various demands and endless tides of multi-tasking do not allow for the necessary cultivation of experiences, the need still prevails to discern the meaning of our daily work, particularly while we are in the midst of it. This retreat includes opportunities for meditation, moments of prayer and creative exercises for integrating your personal spirituality into your work day. Participants will garner an enhanced sense of listening, exploration of their roles and team dynamics and a deeper compassion for themselves, their co-workers and customers. This ultimately will engender a renewed vision of vocation and leadership for participants as the meaningful dimension of their professional endeavors is validated.
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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.
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Praying with Henri Nouwen
Henri Nouwen is celebrated as one of the most notable figures in modern spirituality. He has afforded us a universal language in contemporary times with which we can recall and name the suffering, growth and richness of our own spiritual journeys. During the course of this retreat, participants will engage in various opportunities for personal exploration, meditation and group reflection of Nouwen's most prominent ideas. Consideration of some excerpts from his published literary works will be included in this experience as attention is given to refueling our spiritual lives with renewal and hope.
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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.
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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.
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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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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.)
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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.
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The Gifts of the Magi
The lore surrounding the Magi has fascinated generations of believers and seekers for many ages. Couched in the mystique of the Christmas story, the role of these astrologers has evolved over time for individuals and communities as their personal meaning and contributions have been explored. You are invited to join us to learn more about these figures through historical study, meditation & prayer and a deeper look at how each of the Magi offers a unique spiritual treasure to our celebration of Christmas. Please bring a journal for use throughout the day.
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Wearing & Shedding Our Masks: The Art of Authentic Living
The spiritual journey requires us to name and celebrate our authentic selves. Yet, as human beings we wear many masks, both interiorly and on the exterior. How can these masks enlighten and empower us to become more fully alive? As Autumn arrives, we are called to go inward and invited to embrace an opportunity for self-exploration. Participants will learn about the history of wearing masks and, through prayer, discussion and mask-making, be able to further understand how these activities affect one’s spiritual journey and ongoing development.
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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.
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Persephone’s Journey: The Spirituality of Our Underworld
The ancient myth of Persephone and her journey to the Underworld encapsulates the perennial and necessary sojourn we must all take as we engage the seasons of Autumn and Winter. Steeped in this tale and its rich exploration is the opportunity to connect with the Earth and her Seasons while discovering important truths about ourselves. By incorporating meditation, prayer, dialogue and writing exercises, this program will empower participants to explore the realm of their underworld and what their shadows can contribute to the quest for wholeness. Optional work with clay can be included in the program as a means of celebrating the spirituality of journeying in the underworld.
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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Tree Speak: Learning and Reverencing the Life, Language, and Lessons of Trees
“But we shouldn't be concerned about trees purely for material reasons, we should also care about them because of the little puzzles and wonders they present us with. Under the canopy of the trees, daily dramas and moving love stories are played out. Here is the last remaining piece of Nature, right on our doorstep, where adventures are to be experienced and secrets discovered. And who knows, perhaps one day the language of trees will eventually be deciphered, giving us the raw material for further amazing stories. Until then, when you take your next walk in the forest, give free rein to your imagination-in many cases, what you imagine is not so far removed from reality, after all!”
~ Peter Wohlleben, The Hidden Life of Trees
Have you been noticing trees moreso since the pandemic began? Have you often wished to connect with Nature on a deeper level? Do you already have a practice of spending intentional time seeking or noticing God's presence while gardening, hiking, or being active? Responses to these questions reveal a frequently-expressed desire shared among so many of us who have experienced the impact of social isolation and/or have usually been too busy to pause and immerse ourselves in the rhythms and lessons of the natural world around us. If this resonates with you, join us for a four-part series on the life cycle, language, and spiritual teachings of trees. In the spirit of cultivating a deeper care for Creation, the design of this mini-retreat invites participants to gather once in January, April, August, and October on the Bon Secours campus for a two and a half-hour program.
During each gathering, some intentional time spent outdoors among the trees will be woven into an interactive dialogue around assigned reading from forester and author, Peter Wohlleben’s 2015 work, The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate: Discoveries from a Secret World. A season-specific ritual will also be facilitated during the program that incorporates the sacred energies of trees and the transformative cycles of Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring. Participants will be required to also spend time with trees in between attending each or all quarterly gatherings and will be invited to share their discoveries and reflections with the larger group while discussing The Hidden Life. Contemplative prayer & meditation, writing, and other creative exercises will be explored to further ground and empower participants as they harness the cherished stirrings and connections they form within Nature, themselves, and each other.
Participants have the option to attend any or all of the four programs. While each seasonal gathering and segments of Hidden Life can stand alone in providing something valuable, attendance at all four offerings is encouraged and recommended for a deeper amount of growth in appreciation for God's Creation and our participation in it.