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1001 Refresh Retreat set to explore ‘Attaining Resurrection’ amid challenging times

New Worshiping Community leaders encouraged to take part in a post-Easter virtual retreat

by Tammy Warren | Presbyterian News Service

The Rev. Henderika Julia “Hennie” Wattimena is a 1001 coach and lead pastor of Indonesian American Presbyterian Church (iapcusa.org), near Washington, D.C. During the Refresh Retreat last October, she found a little solitude on a dock by a lake. (Contributed photo)

LOUISVILLE — Attaining Resurrection — a virtual Refresh Retreat — provides an opportunity for 1001 New Worshiping Community leaders to replenish and reclaim their spiritual grounding in a time of pandemic. There will be three of these retreat opportunities this year, with the next scheduled for April 12–13. Leaders will have a chance to choose their start time, based on Eastern or Pacific time zones.

The first virtual Refresh Retreat, held last October, earned survey comments such as “It was lovely. I really liked going at my own pace.” “I loved the shared liturgy times.” “The best virtual retreat I’ve ever been part of.” “I was beyond impressed.” “I don’t know how an online retreat could be better.” “I got my spiritual grounding back.” “I felt refreshed.” “I got the reset I was hoping for from the retreat.” “Having blocks of time to just be prayerfully silent, alone, was spiritually nourishing.”

Spots are still open for leaders to sign up to take part in a post-Easter virtual retreat.

It’s that spiritual nourishment that is so important, according to the Rev. Jeff Eddings, coaching associate for 1001 New Worshiping Communities. “Before we do all these things for Jesus, we need to be with Jesus. We need to know who we are becoming in Christ,” Eddings said. “That’s why I think these retreats are places where our leaders can rest, practice true sabbath and sit in that place of ‘becoming’ with Jesus.” The retreats are being offered free for 1001 leaders or people connected to the 1001 movement as leaders at any level. Leaders are also reimbursed for food expenses during the retreat.

Some people spent part of their retreat time in the back yard, sitting by the lake, at church, at a friend’s house, camping or hiking in the mountains. One person who participated in the retreat at home said, “I was profoundly impacted by the experience. I didn’t know what to expect, and I also didn’t know how it could feel so deeply spiritual when I was actually in the same setting where I live.”

Participating in a 1001 Refresh Retreat gives new worshiping community leaders opportunities to cultivate their own spiritual formation through the intentional practice of sabbath and exploring various forms of contemplative prayer and spiritual practice. Eddings emphasized that in terms of virtual retreat space, the amount of Zoom videoconferencing is very limited and completely optional. There will be a Zoom gathering on the final evening for those who want to share their experience.

To prepare, Eddings said his suggestion is always to encourage leaders to practice intentional sabbath every week. “Leaders tend to neglect that, especially in busy seasons,” he said. “But my contention is that’s the most important thing we need to attend to.” He suggests asking of yourself, “How am I practicing sabbath daily or weekly? Where are the spaces I’m allowing myself to rest?”

Inside the “Retreat in a Box,” each participant will receive a gratitude journal created by the Rev. Kristin Willett, co-pastor of First Light Fellowship, a 1001 New Worshiping Community in Arizona. (Photo by Kristin Willett)

A week before the retreat, registrants will receive a “Retreat in a Box” that includes a journal to guide them during the retreat, fun stuff, a treat and a gratitude journal made by the Rev. Kristin Willett, co-pastor, along with her husband, Brandon, of First Light Fellowship, a 1001 New Worshiping Community in Anthem, Arizona, in the Phoenix metropolitan area.

2021 Refresh Retreats for 1001 leaders

  • Attaining Resurrection (April 12–13)
    Purposely planned for post-Easter, this retreat will explore ways to somehow find resurrection life in the midst of daily challenges. How can the promise of resurrection infuse life with meaning, hope and joy? Suggested readings (not required): “The Search for Our True Selves” by Richard Rohr; “Joy Unspeakable: Contemplative Practices of the Black Church” by Barbara Holmes
  • All for the Glory of God: An Ignatian Retreat — (Aug. 23–24)
    During this retreat, leaders will explore Ignatian concepts of discernment, spiritual indifference and humility. Participants will engage in spiritual practices of prayer and contemplation in the Ignatian tradition, as well as get an overview of the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises, which can be a doorway to personal transformation. Suggested readings (not required): “The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life” by the Rev. James Martin, S.J.; “A Simple Life-Changing Prayer: Discovering the Power of St. Ignatius Loyola’s Examen” by Jim Manney
  • Wait Upon the Lord: Preparing for Advent — (Nov 15–16)
    Too often leaders neglect their own spiritual care as they seek to care for others. This retreat will provide space to be still, lean into your own spiritual heart and find rest as you are guided in exploring the traditional advent wreath themes of Hope, Peace, Joy and Love in new ways. Suggested readings (not required): “Field of Compassion: How the New Cosmology is Transforming Spiritual Life” by Judy Cannato

Eddings said survey results showed the leaders actually enjoyed being led for a change, since they are usually the ones leading others. He heard comments like, “It was just nice to be told what to do; to have someone say, ‘Try praying like this.’ ‘Read this.’ ‘Think about this.’”

If you are a new worshiping community leader or a leader connected to a new worshiping community and would like to take part in the “Attaining Resurrection” virtual retreat, register here. If you have questions about this or future retreats, contact Eddings at jeff.eddings@pcusa.org.


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