Whatever we may think about Sundays and how they should be used in 21st Century Britain, the rhythm of “Sabbath Rest” is a good one – a regular space to stop worrying about productivity and output and to attend to the inner self and to God.
As I settle back down to the laptop today after a few days away I realise how thankful I am for quiet places and for spaces in the diary.
If you are in need of space the “Five-Day Community for Spiritual Formation” may be exactly what you are looking for. Drumalis in Northern Ireland is a beautiful and comfortable retreat house where all our needs will be kindly catered for as we share in community through teaching, silence, prayer and worship (as well as wonderful food!) Discover more about it by browsing this little blog-site or email me for more details.
Don’t delay – bookings are now coming in most days, and there are only 50 spaces in total!
One of the two main contributors to the Five-Day Community for Spiritual Formation which will take place in Northern Ireland in May/June next year is Pádraig Ó Tuama. If you have been at Greenbelt this year you may have encountered Pádraig, or heard an extract from his presentation on the Radio 4 Daily Service this morning in which he talks of the power of compassion and reconciliation. You can listen again to the 15 minute act of worship here. Born in Cork, having travelled widely before settling in Belfast in 2003 and now as leader of the Corrymeela Community in Ireland, Pádraig is well equipped to speak of the power of reconciliation.
I first encountered the work of Pádraig when I was asked to review his book, In the shelter, for the Methodist Recorder last year. The book is very much a story book, for Pádraig uses stories all the time to help us see the world around us, other people, and ourselves. I found it a powerful, moving and inspiring read (See In the shelter for the full review.)
We feel greatly honoured that Pádraig has agreed to be a speaker at the Five-Day community – the chance to sit for five consecutive days under his gentle, honest style and stirring, transformational stories does not often occur! So, do think about coming along. You can download the flier here or email me for a registration form at email@example.com
Summer (which we have been promised is about to happen!) is often a time for reflection, retreat, holiday and a break from routines. We may feel a yearning to de-clutter, to clear out, to sit more lightly to all the “stuff” around.
Something of this spirit lies is behind “Living lightly in today’s world” which is the theme for the first UK “Five-Day Community for Spiritual Formation” which will take place in May-June next year. You can find out more about it by downloading the flier here.
The Community will be held at Drumalis, a wonderful, comfortable retreat centre on the coast of Northern Ireland. You can see more photos and read more about it elsewhere on this blogsite.
Three of the team, Sheryl, Nicola and I, met on Thursday to begin to explore the worship which will form the backbone of the five days of the community, and we all came away excited by this new venture.
On Wednesday 27th April 2016 the members of the team planning the first UK 5-Day Community for Spiritual Formation travelled by a combination of ferry, trains, planes and cars to Drumalis, Northern Ireland, for a team planning meeting and retreat.
We were bowled over by the wonderful situation and facilities of this prayer-filled, peaceful retreat centre and share a few photos below to whet your appetites!
The first UK Five-Day Academy for Spiritual Formation is being planned by a team of 6 who were invited to go experience a similar programme in Atlanta, USA in February 2015. Known in the USA as The 5-day Academy for Spiritual Formation, this is now a well-established programme all over American and operates in a number of other countries as well.
The team are shown below on a recent retreat held at Drumalis:
From left to right: Kenneth Browne is a spiritual director, psychotherapist and Celtic spirituality workshop leader based in London; Oseias da Silva is a Methodist minister in the Forest circuit, London;Sheryl Anderson is a minister and the Chair of the Liverpool Methodist district; Nicola Vidamour, team leader, is a Methodist superintendent minister in London; Jill Baker is a Methodist lay volunteer and pilgrimage leader, based in Glasgow; Lia Shamada (who was not part of the group who went to Atlanta, but will be the Community musical director); Jonathan Mead works in London as a minister and Learning and Development Officer in the Methodist Church.