Convocation 2020 Mini-Retreats

The contemplative practice mini-retreats will be offered during Session 5 on Friday, September 25 from 12:30-2:00pm (EDT).  We are limiting registrations for each mini-retreat in order to ensure a small group atmosphere.  Mini-retreat registrations are due by 9:00pm (EDT) on Thursday, September 24.  After that, participants will be randomly assigned.

Haiku and Haiga

By Susan MacKenzie, Ph.D.

Haiku and Haiga will frame this contemplative practice mini-retreat. Haiku is a “word picture and meditation” in the traditional Japanese form of 17 syllables. Contemporary Haiga amplifies the Haiku text with a harmonizing digital photo. After quieting and becoming attuned to our surroundings, you will be guided to collect words that convey your sensual engagement in nature, from which you will create a Haiku. Eventually, you may choose to take a photo to complement your word picture. There will be reflective questions and opportunities to share if you wish.

The Art of Paying Attention

By Rev. Francis Kinyua

Paying attention is the ability to be mindful, to practice a posture of intentional listening to our inner selves as well as to those around us. Doing so helps us to learn and understand even the unverbalized crucial messages that are constantly signaled from all around us. Paying attention in this way provides insight to shape a hopeful future. It also affirms the reality of our own existence as part of the larger ecology of social, political, and environmental systems. It is in paying attention that we realize the enormous contribution of other creatures and the earth itself to our wellbeing, and our responsibility to foster life. As we pay attention we realize at a deep, soul level that the natural garden—the wild garden of field and forest, savannah and wetland--is a complete community that can exist without us, while the reverse is impossible. As we pay attention to natural ecosystems, we learn that the garden is essential for our lives. From the garden comes our food and oxygen. In tending the garden, we tend our own future. Therefore, it’s in paying attention to specific practices such as composting, that we feed the hidden life of soil—micro-organisms—through which we nourish the soil toward providing the building blocks for plants for ourselves and the rest of creation. Paying attention is the foundation for flourishing life. During the session, we'll be sharing stories about the blessings that come from paying attention.

Thinking about Courage

By Rob Shetterly

William Sloane Coffin said, "Without Courage there are no other virtues."  We will explore what that means and the distinction between moral and physical courage. We will discuss the role of courage in a democratic society. Where we see it today and where we don't. And how one can learn to be more courageous.

Islam & Environmentalism

By Saarah Y. Latif

Over 1400 years ago, environmentalism was already embedded in the religion of Islam and practiced by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). God tells us in the Qur’an: It is He who has made you successors upon the earth (35:39). We will learn about what the role of successors means and how the Prophet (peace be upon him) implemented and honored this role throughout his life.

Befriending Wildness

By Aram Mitchell

During this mini-retreat we'll prime our thoughts by exploring some of the meanings behind the idea of wilderness. Then we'll consider: What does it take to steward regular rhythms of relationship with wild nature? With that question in mind we'll put together a simple (though not necessarily easy) plan for engaging the wild encounters that sustain our work in the world.

Whole-Body Listening

By Thew Elliott

We’ll explore together how intentional breathing and simple chant can help us increase connection and make us available for deeper forms of listening—not just TO each other, but FOR each other.

Quaker Worship

By Jay O'Hara

In a world of noise and distraction, where cultural expectations to be conversant, in charge, trying to impress, and always-doing run rampant, simple silence can be a balm. Sitting in silence with others can be a radical act. In this session we'll experiment with traditional Quaker worship; we will gather and wait, expectantly, for the Holy Spirit to come among us. This manner of worship "in spirit and truth" arose in the religious cacophony of 1640's England, and has been the central communal practice for the "renewing of your mind" in the Quaker tradition ever since.

Earthly Blessings: Practices of a Celtic Pilgrim

By Rev. Holly Morrison

Well-grounded resources for personal and community practice from the Celts, some of the original practitioners of “Green Christianity.” Explore this rich, earthy, creative spiritual tradition with a pastured pastor who keeps the Celtic seasons on her family farm.