Spritual Retreat Crescendo

A couple of weeks ago a bunch of Commoners went on a spiritual Retreat at a cottage up by Parry Sound. We got their late on Friday night and started soaking in the beauty of the space and diving into some delicious snacks. We talked about how this weekend was going to be an exercise in community, and that the next day was going to be a crescendo, starting with activities that were silent and contemplative and ending our day with a Dance, Dance Communion Party. We asked everyone to participate, even in the things that were a little out of their comfort zone so that they could become empathetic to the other members of the community that resonate with different things then our self. Then some jokes were made about who would have to share a double bed and we all got a great night sleep except for anyone who was bunking with a chainsaw snorer.

Saturday Morning we began our day with a fast. Everyone who was able skipped breakfast and those who were too young or had medical concerns had a light breakfast of bread and fruit. We then all handed silence stickers and were asked to participate in an hour of silence. You could leave your sticker on longer if you wanted to. During the silence we had a number of alt worship stations set up for reflection and prayer. You could walk a labyrinth in the basement, write in a journal, colour kids pages, build with modeling clay, make a prayer bead bracelet, or spend time in a Icon installation with orthodox images dangling from strings taped to the ceiling.

After an hour of silence and alt worship, Jen broker her silence and called us into the living room were we all lied down on the ground, relaxed our bodies & minds and were led through a guided meditation that ended with imagining Jesus calling us to service.

A bunch of us then went on a hike before lunch where we broke our fast. I got called on eating some veggies before saying grace, in my defense I believe that veggies qualify as h’orderves.

After some free time where my family got to go for a ride in a paddle boat and explore some little islands, we set up some keyboards and synths and a music/noise making session. We then made supper together as a large group and even baked some bread that was used for communion. After supper we began an evening of dancing. First it was Dance Charades and then it was the Dance, Dance, Communion Party (which I must admit was outside my comfort zone).

The next day we talked about the church community being the body of Christ and how all the different kinds of learning styles and extroverted and introverted tendencies fit into that body. How do we make room for contemplative silence back in the city? How do we teach tactile learners? How do we name spiritual practices without explaining them away?

Great questions, and a great weekend. Looking forward to how we take a little bit of what we learned back into every day life in Hamilton.

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