I always enjoy being with Christian educators. They are a species that is passionate about storytelling, creativity and thinking outside-of-the-box. They are (usually) open to new ideas and trying on new things.
This August I was privileged to lead some reflections at the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina’s annual spiritual retreat for those involved in Christian formation. Volunteer teachers, staff educators and clergy gathered at St. Francis Springs Retreat Center, a beautiful retreat center in the midst of nature in north central North Carolina. We focused on Mark Bozzuti-Jones’ wonderful book of inspiration and reflection, Informed by Faith: A Spiritual Handbook for Christian Educators and Parents.
The mission of teachers is to talk about God’s activities in the world, to study the Bible, to be transformed by the Bible, and to show ways in which the Bible and the Christian life bring decisive action to bear on the events of our lives. In creation God teaches us much about who God is and how God acts. Mark Francisco Bozzuti-Jones (Informed by Faith. Boston: Cowley Publications, 2004).
Our day was marked with shared meals, prayer, reflections, conversation and time to just “be.” There were areas for dabbling in creative activities and meditation – coloring mandalas, walking a labyrinth (on a canvas and with one’s finger), making all sorts of prayer beads and ropes, praying in color, reflecting on stones, water, shells and feathers. A time for walking in the woods to discover the variety of mushroom all within a short distance from each other. To be fully human in God’s creation.
We were fed by stories of each other’s ministries as well as wonderfully prepared meals and the Eucharist. We danced. We sang. We shared resources and ideas. Hospitality abounded. All in 24 hours.