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News from the School of the Spirit Ministry 
January 2009
In This Issue
Learning to be Loved by God
Comments from the Spiritual Nurturer class of 2008
Q&A Call In
Join Our Mailing List!
Quick Links
Dear Reader,

At the beginning of this month, Carole Treadway, Patty Levering, and I were in retreat together.  The news of the day, particularly the economy, was weighing on us and we wondered whether there would be another class of the On Being a Spiritual Nurturer program.  Having expressed our fears, we were given to remember in our silent worship that it is our job to help God love this class into being, if it is God's intention.

So this issue of Snapshots focuses on the Spiritual Nurturer program, offering you a beautiful audio meditation, celebratory words on the class just concluded, and an additional opportunity to test your leading to join the next class in the form of a Q&A Call In.

I am grateful for the reminder that we all have fears and that we all need quiet spaces where our fears can be let go, where we can lift up a prayer of supplication, and remember that we are each beloved children of God.  "Prayer is a precious habitation." (Isaac Pennington)

Michael Green
for the School of the Spirit Ministry
Learning to be Loved by God by Janis Ansell

Snapshots invites you to take a 16-minute meditative retreat in your day and listen to Janis Ansell's reflection Learning to be Loved by God.  This series of prayers was given to Janis as a gift out of the silence and became her final integrative paper for the Spiritual Nurturer class just concluded.  You can also read the meditation in PDF and Word formats.

For many in the Spiritual Nurturer class, the thought of writing papers takes them back to their school days--a memory that is not often savored.  So the teachers often have to emphasize that a unique argument, the paper's length, whether all references are cited fully and correctly, are not what they will be reading for.  Rather the teachers will read with an ear to hearing the authentic, God-given voice of the author, in all its beauty and glory.  This too is often intimidating.  But the irony of it is that such a voice can only be found through surrendering those internal and external voices by which you judge yourself.  In this way, the writing of papers is as much a spiritual practice as any other component of the program.

Comments from the Spiritual Nurturer class of 2008

What follows is a selection of comments from the evaluations submitted by members of the 2008 class of the Spiritual Nurturer program.

Having my language, and the faith where that language comes from, accepted and acknowledged amongst Friends was very meaningful.

The first year was the "breaking open" phase where there was safety to look courageously at the blocks to God's love that I had been carrying.

I have been a widow now for ten years and by nature I am an introvert. To have the opportunity to share my joys and sorrows in such an intimate group setting as our Koinonia group was a divine gift for me.

The strengths of the core teachers included their commitment to the Religious Society of Friends, to each other, and to each of us; their willingness to be vulnerable; their love of the Lord and their faithful modeling of how to live that love moment by moment.

Unprogrammed Quakers sometimes have a sense of superiority and smugness that we have the best ways of being spiritual; Bill Mills [visiting teacher] picked up on a sense of spiritual pride in our group and named it.

With everyone's lives so different and lived in the midst of such a busy and complex world I think you found a way for us all to participate as fully as we each desired.

The papers and projects forced me to sit with, listen for and integrate the truths that were coming to me at that point in the program.

The cost was probably realistic though surely insufficient for the outcome but I don't think it's possible to put a price on an experience that is truly priceless.

When I started this program, I did not know where I was going or where this would lead. But I opened my heart and listened to God's call and learned many things from books, from the teachers and visitors, and from the other residents. We all took our own time to crack open and to blossom, but we accompanied each other in the journey.

SN7 Group
Q&A Call In and Testing the Waters Retreats

Are you in the midst of discerning whether or not this is your year to apply to the Spiritual Nurturer program?  Are the scheduled Testing the Waters retreats inconvenient for you?  Then consider joining the core teachers in a question and answer Call In on Sunday, March 15, beginning at 7 p.m. (EST). 

Click here for details of the Q&A Call In.

In this call, the teachers will respond to your spiritual, as well as your practical questions.  The intent is to assist you in your discernment, not to recruit you to the program. 

As a reminder, the Testing the Waters day-long retreats are:

at First Friends Meeting in Greensboro, NC, on February 7, and
at Alexandria Friends Meeting, VA, on March 28 (minimum of 10 registrants by March 1)

The requested donation for each day is $25. To register, please send us an email with your contact information and indicating for which retreat day you are registering.

For the prospectus and to download the application and scholarship forms, please visit our website.


Dwelling Deep
There is still time (just) to register for this contemplative retreat at Powell House, January 18-22, led by Linda Chidsey and Carolyn Moon.

Volunteer Needed
Do you have the gift of an artistic eye?  We have need for someone to design a paper version of this electronic newsletter.  If you would like to help out, please email us. Thanks!

River Dart 1
A Ministry of Prayer and Learning devoted to the School of the Spirit
is dedicated to all who wish to be more faithful listeners and responders to the inward work of Christ.

Donations are always welcome. Checks may be sent to the address below, made out to Philadelphia Yearly Meeting earmarked for the School of the Spirit.

A Ministry of Prayer and Learning devoted to the School of the Spirit is a ministry under the care of
the Worship and Care Committee of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting.
the School of the Spirit Ministry | c/o 1306 Hillsborough Road | Chapel Hill | NC | 27516

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Document last modified on Wednesday, 18-Feb-2009 19:22:49 EST