Since Illustrated Children’s Ministry has taken off over the past year, this blog has obviously been neglected. So what better way to get back into blogging than by being asked to blog for a conference? During August 7-12, I’ll be sharing reflections on my time at the Companions on the Inner Way Retreat.
Over the years, I’ve gotten to know folks connected to Companions on the Inner Way, and have been encouraged (multiple times) to come to one of their events. So when Companions on the Inner Way emailed last fall to ask if I would consider blogging about the event, I was all in. I just had to convince my wife to let me go to Lake Tahoe (by myself) for a week and leave her at home with a 4.5 year old. She was gracious enough to make this be able to happen for me, and now I’m here.
If you’re not familiar with Companions on the Inner Way (I’ll just refer to it as Companions going forward) and the retreats that they offer, first of all, they don’t mess around when it comes to location. They offer two retreats a year. The first is normally in February or March at the Serra Retreat Center in Malibu (yes you read that right…MALIBU). I’ve actually been to the retreat center before and it’s gorgeous. The second is in August and held at Zephyr Point Presbyterian Conference Center in Lake Tahoe. If you’ve never been to Zephyr Point before…well, I mean, it’s okay. If you like looking at scenes like this:
So it’s a beautiful setting with about 70+ people coming from a variety of different faith backgrounds and traditions, and we’re here for this week’s theme: “Embracing Hope in Despairing Times.” And if that doesn’t speak to the times we’re living in right now, I don’t know what does. We’ll be blessed to have Dr. Luther Smith teaching us this week. Smith is Professor Emeritus of Church & Community at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University. Companions always gets some really amazing speakers to come to the retreats. Next March in Malibu, Brian McLaren will be with the group for a week.
If you’re wondering what all happens at a retreat like this, this is what Companions says is “to be expected” at a normal Companions retreat:
A typical Companions retreat includes: lecture and dialogue with various keynote speakers who are respected in the areas of spirituality and prayer; a time of integration, incorporating the body and the arts; small group community around spiritual readings (lectio divina); corporate and individual times of silence and contemplation; afternoon worship with Eucharist; and a concluding evening prayer service (compline).
I’ve done many of these types of things at other retreats and events over the years, but some of it (integration incorporating the body and the silence) is newer to me. We’ll see how the silence goes over. I still remember sitting in the chapel at the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey, as a fellow CPE student led us in a time of centering prayer. I thought I was going to die – the silence felt eternal. So, we’ll see about that portion of our time together.
I’ve been looking forward to this event for awhile, and I’m glad to be able to be here and happy to share the experience with you. If you want to follow what’s going on, a couple of us will be tweeting and sharing photos on Instagram using the hashtag #cotiway16. I’ll be blogging and sharing sketchnotes throughout the days. Companions is also online in a few different places, so be sure and check them out below: