An Intensive In-depth Immersion in the Practice of Spiritual Discernment
Based on Listening Hearts and Grounded in God. Participants gain practical experience in working with others to seek discernment around both personal questions and group issues. They develop an understanding of spiritual discernment and the elements that combine to draw it forth. By practicing the discipline and reflecting on what transpires, they internalize the teaching.
For groups of six people with a common sponsor who recruits the participants, provides a retreat facility with food and lodging, and assumes financial responsibility, usually asking participants to contribute to the costs. This retreat offers a profound experience in spiritual discernment to ministers, both lay and ordained, who wish to deepen their understanding of the power of God’s Spirit at work. Groups of clergy and lay leaders residing in close geographic proximity can benefit from establishing ongoing mutual support.
Summary of Content
Incorporating modern insights, the program is rooted in Scripture and based on classic spiritual teaching. Contemplative in tone, it emphasizes the importance of deep prayerful listening and posing questions that open the way for the Spirit of God to lead. It allows for a powerful spiritual experience for those who provide spiritual leadership to others.
“Our time helped give me the experience of recognizing the Holy Spirit’s presence/work in a group: peace, convergence, distinguishing God’s voice from others. The experience helped me gain confidence that we can indeed “place” ourselves in a position of willingness and readiness to hear God’s voice together. I have been in groups where such listening happened—this affirmed for me that we can be very intentional … and … that when we are, God is waiting for us.”
“I have a deeper awareness of the nature of spiritual discernment. The need for training is evident.”
“The individual discernment work was especially helpful. I discovered God in the struggles of life.”
“I am always leading to covenant renewal. This time I was able to settle into it.”
“I feel that God has been preparing [our diocese] for the work. Hardly a day goes by that the need for discernment is not identified in our common life.”
“Learning to listen was very valuable. The retreats were also excellent. The gentle and caring environment helped me to risk.”
“We used some meditation/reflection approaches which I don’t often use on my own. It’s like rummaging through a closet and finding an old treasure.”
“I have a greater appreciation for how important silence is throughout.”
“This training week put me to discipline my Christian life in a way that I will have to listen more than act. Silence in prayer is a very significant way to communicate with God before acting on any issue.”
“[Most important was] the actual practicum of discerning in groups.”
“It was gratifying to see that we did discern & that we could get greater clarity around an issue by practicing the method.”
“It was helpful to be unhurried about discerning—not to settle for the 1st phase of discernment.”
“I came believing the Holy Spirit will operate in prayerful community and the Spirit did!”