Providing Programs

A variety of programs can be offered to a community. The Listening Hearts Manual for Discussion Leaders, available for free download at www.listeninghearts.org, is a valuable resource for introductory programs.

It provides comprehensive guidance for planning and leading a discussion series on Listening Hearts: Discerning Call in Community, 20th Anniversary Edition. The goal of the manual is to encourage an approach that enables participants to use the ideas in the book to reflect upon their own spiritual experiences rather than engage in theoretical discourse. Parts of the manual provide material that can be drawn upon to shape existing programs. For instance, portions of it can be used to plan sessions for adult forums. Or, at meetings of a vestry, board, commission, or council, a different question from the “Suggested Questions” section can be selected to use at the beginning of each meeting, with time allotted for quiet reflection and sharing. Or, ideas in the manual can be applied to support groups to help the members relate to God and one another on a more intimate level.

To feed those who want to partake more deeply, use Listening Hearts Retreat Designs and Meditation Exercises, or Heartlinks from the Listening Hearts website: www.listeninghearts.org. to plan meditation mornings, retreat days, and weekend retreats. The Retreat Designs book can also serve people who want to do the meditation exercises on their own, but in covenant with others.

Opportunities for retreats and meditation can help members of a congregation learn about concepts presented in Listening Hearts and assimilate them through experience.

Other available resources for sharing with groups include the Discernment Listening Guidelines and A Primer on Spiritual Discernment; both can be downloaded from the Listening Hearts website at www.listeninghearts.org.

Finally, the entire Grounded in God book can be used as a resource to introduce a decision-making group such as a vestry, session, or diocesan commission to the practice of spiritual discernment for their work together. The nine appendices at the back of the book supply step-by-step suggestions for working with such groups.

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