A sponsor such as a congregation, diocese, judicatory or seminary recruits up to eight participants, arranges for a retreat facility with food and lodging, and assumes financial responsibility for this training. The curriculum includes a reading list, two retreats, and several practicum sessions that give instruction on teaching methods, program procedures, and resource materials, equipping participants to train and develop discernment ministry teams in their own faith communities.
Prospective trainers must have leadership ability, be well formed spiritually, committed to the principles in Listening Hearts: Discerning Call in Community, and be willing to be part of a team to train others in the practice of spiritual discernment in community.
Summary of Content
The Training Week begins with two consecutive retreats. These cultivate prayerful listening and introduce the group to a wide range of ways to encounter God. Because a Christian’s call is rooted in baptism, the first retreat “Pondering the Implications of Baptism” draws participants more deeply into their lives in God. Because human timetables often impede our willingness to await God’s voice, the second retreat “God’s Time vs. Human Time” invites them to contemplate the fullness of time. Four discernment sessions with a mentor give real life experience in group- discernment. Following each gathering for discernment, a reflective review session provides insight as to what works well and what does not. After returning home from the retreat facility, the group gathers for additional discernment sessions among themselves to complete their training. Once trained, the group trains discernment ministry teams that can lead book discussions, retreat days, educational activities, and serve in discernment groups for persons wrestling with issues, large or small, of any nature including personal relationships, professional concerns, or moral dilemmas.
“Daily plan excellent—an astounding amount planned and carried out with great effectiveness and love.”
“The design was comfortable, provided the information we needed, and has filled me with much excitement and enthusiasm.”
“The Baptism Retreat was very moving and connected me to my roots in a way nothing else had ever done.”
“Very nicely organized…to go from personal to academic and back to personal is very perceptive and good pedagogy.”
“It has been extremely powerful on lots of different levels … . I leave today with a deeply grateful heart.”
“It’s a splendidly designed week with reading preparation, theory, retreat, practice and fun! I look forward to referring to the materials many times.”
“The material is very focused, clear, and helpful.”
“Wonderful, intense experience that…energized … .”
“As the week progressed, especially through the practicums, I felt more and more confident about being a leader in this endeavor.”
“Wonderfully conceived … and graciously carried out … .”