This morning I booked my ferry crossing to Larne for the Five-Day Community for Spiritual Formation which takes place there from 28th May – 2nd June this year. I am excited about the event, the first of its kind in the UK, having attended a similar gathering in Atlanta USA two years ago.
It is hard to describe the experience – something between a retreat and a conference, with excellent teaching (in this case from Pádraig Ó Tuama and Amy Oden) but also plenty of time and space to reflect on the teaching, and generally on our walk with God. “Formation” is a word much-used at present and always makes me think of how God “formed” Adam from dust; God is still at work shaping us – so it will be good to have some space to allow that to happen.
The following are individual testimonies from some of the others in the team, after their first experience of this “Community” experience. Do read on, and if you are interested in attending this year, please contact me as soon possible – we do still have places remaining – or download the Community flier Drumalis or drumalis-registration-pack directly. Both documents give more detail about the programme, but please email me at the link above if you have any other questions or comments.
‘In the eighteen+ months since my first experience of the “Academy for Spiritual Formation” I find that it is still influencing my Christian discipleship. The practice of silence and of using silence to reflect on teaching, on the Word, on worship and on the world around has enriched my own walk with God as well as (I hope) filtering through my preaching and leading of worship and my engagement with others, both inside and outside the church.’
‘The pattern of silence and reflection and the use of listening groups have all impacted me in ways that have transformed my interior life and in the practice of ministry. The themes of the academy have also had a profound impact in helping me think more deeply about following Christ and what it means to live a good life.’
‘The rhythm and authenticity of the Academy/Community/Five-Day have been life-giving to me – and I return to them whenever I feel overwhelmed by the demands of superintendent ministry and need to re-connect with God.’
‘The structure, teaching and silence on the Five Day Community contributed immensely to my continued Spiritual Formation. I came away both refreshed and renewed, which has stayed with me in my own personal life and in my professional work as a Spiritual companion.’