Our lives can be very full, and sometimes it’s easier to get away for a few days than it is to quiet ourselves and rest in the midst of regular routines. We make time for vacation with friends and family, because we recognize the need to reconnect with those we love. A retreat is a kind of vacation with God: a way to reconnect to the One who is the very source of our life.
One of my favorite places on earth is the Society of St. John the Evangelist (SSJE) in Boston. For over 100 years, this Episcopal monastery just off Harvard Square has been home to men who have vowed themselves to Christian service and community. Their devotion to prayer and worship cultivates a thin space, where you can actually feel the presence of the holy. It is one of easier places to open myself and listen for what God has to say.
I schedule a few days annually for retreat at SSJE. The brothers have a gift for hospitality, and providing a place for quiet prayer and reflection is integral to their mission. Guests are welcomed into simple private rooms and share meals with the brothers in the refectory. Guests and public are invited to participate in the prayer services and daily Eucharist in their beautiful chapel. The grounds are peaceful, the library is cozy, and the time away is a gift.
This community is a deep well in the Episcopal Church. You may already be familiar with their ministry through their daily emails “Brother, Give Us A Word” or their annual Lenten Study Series. If you have ever felt the pull to get away for a few days, to quiet yourself and listen for what God might want to say, let this be your personal invitation.
I have booked their guesthouse for Holy Comforter Tuesday through Friday, November 28-December 1. There are twelve spots available for this pre-Advent retreat led by two of the brothers. Cost is $375 per person for room and board, plus airfare. You will be refreshed by their wisdom, by their presence, by their worship. Please contact Mother Kim to reserve your place.
Another opportunity for a retreat closer to home is the upcoming Cursillo weekend at Cathedral Ridge, September 30-October 1. Cursillo is another thin space where it is easy to listen for what God might want to say.The three day program is full of shared prayer, individual meditation, worship, study, music, fellowship, laughter, tears, and unconditional love. Those who give themselves to the weekend testify to how they grow spiritually and discover new ways to live their faith in daily life. This movement of the spirit has been happening for over fifty years in the Episcopal Church, and many of our members have been transformed by the experience.
Our very own Bishop Rob and Deacon Linda are part of the leadership team, and I know Deacon Linda would be glad to share how you can participate in this life-changing gathering.