Rhythms of the Spirit Conference
June 21-30 we participated in our second residency for Spiritual Guidance with Shalem Institute. Twenty-five of us gathered at Bon Secours, a Retreat center in Maryland just outside Washington, D.C. Our seminars focused on topics such as Direction & Discernment in Prayer, Sin and Reconciliation, Corporate Worship & Spiritual Guidance, Sacred Threshold & Sacred Space, Social Justice & Spiritual Guidance, and Death & Life and Spiritual Guidance. Each day began with prayer at 7:45am and usually went to 9pm at night. Long days with few breaks, but the content and the fellowship were so rich! Between now and the end of the year we will be completing our required readings, working on our final paper, continuing to participate in peer groups with other local Spiritual Directors, and practicing Spiritual Companionship with our own directees. Learning how to listen to the internal rhythms of the Spirit are leading us deeper into the heart of God. And already God is giving us opportunities to use these emerging gifts in very practical ways.
Rhythms of the Spirit
Rhythms is an American Baptist retreat that provides a unique opportunity to explore and practice the contemplative life together. Coordinated by Brad Berglund, Director of Spiritual Formation for the ABCUSA, it brings together men and women from across the country to sit with questions such as these: Do you struggle for balance between prayer and activity? Do you long for more silence and solitude in your life and ministry? Brad invites 3-4 American Baptist Spiritual Directors to provide leadership during these 4 day retreats. We were part of the Rhythms retreat offered at Green Lake, July 9-13, 2016. What an honor and privilege to lead workshops, listen to people’s hearts through Spiritual Companionship, and to discern God’s Spirit as we joined together with the participants. The retreats are offered twice a year, usually one on the East Coast & one on the West, so we encourage you to attend one! (You can read more about the Rhythms retreats at http://rhythmsofthespirit.com/)
On-line Masters of Divinity Program in Spanish
We continue to prepare for the online class that launches at the end of August. David will fly to Mexico City August 22-26 for the residency with the first group of students. The director of the program, Dr. Mayra Picos-Lee, was recently interviewed about this new program for the magazine The Baptist Peacemaker. Our participation in this class has delayed our return to Mexico by several months. The reason being that our class, Spiritual Formation, is the first class to be taught in this program. We are expecting “bugs” with technology and curriculum as both teachers and students learn the on-line format. Mayra has asked that we remain stateside so that we can resolve these issues in person as they unfold. We will keep you posted on our new timeline.
Joyce’s Medical Update
Joyce had a second colonoscopy on July 6. We are thrilled to report that the second deeper biopsy did not reveal any cancer! However, she is still presenting symptoms of Crohn’s Disease. She is waiting now to talk with her doctor about future treatments. One involves taking a strong medication that basically suppresses her immune system, but may alleviate her symptoms. The other is surgery to remove that section of her colon. We don’t know if there are other options to explore yet. Thank you for your prayers, and we invite continued prayer for discernment & also for complete healing. Knowing that you are holding both of us with your faithful communal witness gives us both the courage to face whatever comes next. And we are also grateful that God has delayed our return to Mexico so that Joyce has time to respond to this health crisis. Romans 8:28 reminds us, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
We would like to close with this quote from Baptist Theologian and Civil Rights Leader Howard Thurman: “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
Our prayer for each one of you is that your heart awakens to the unique calling God has placed within you. And if you need someone to explore how to go deeper with God, then email us and we can have further conversations!
Walk by faith, not by sight,
David and Joyce