Summer Forum: Compassionate Communicating
We receive communion each week. We do so in a community of faith. It should come as little surprise that communication shares the root of these words. You’ve probably experienced what happens because of bad communication, misunderstanding, or manipulation. Three key questions come to mind:
1. What would it be like to explore a way of changing how we communicate so that we could better understand one another?
2. What would such a change mean for a church that finds it sense of self in sacraments, that is, shared practices that unite us to God and each other?
3. What does communication look like if it were treated as a sacrament and a spiritual practice?
These are big questions with plenty of beautiful and open-ended answers! They are also crucially timely, and I think they will bring us into an ever-deeper love and relationship with God and each other. This summer, I’ll be teaching a forum on this topic that I guarantee will change your perspective on many aspects of our lives. We’ll meet from June 9 to Aug 11 on Sundays after church, and June 13 to Aug 15 on Thursdays. We’ll be using the book Compassionate Communicating by Kim Pearce as a guide for our discussions and practices.
Cursillo is a Spanish word that means “a short course”. It’s an experience shared within a small, closely-knit group representing a wide variety of expressions within a unique Christian community. It takes place in an informal atmosphere in which spiritual growth is possible and attainable through both fellowship and trust. It’s a way of spiritual renewal through a new approach to teachings, Sacraments, devotions, and ministry. And it’s an opportunity to renew and expand a base in the faith, from which action in the individual’s church and everyday life is encouraged. Cursillo provides a continuing support system to nurture one another as we work to renew all things through Christ.
St. Anne’s has a small but growing Cursillo Community. Several of our past Rectors have attended and been active in Cursillo. We frequently offer our facilities to be used by Cursillo Teams to host their team meetings. And our involvement in Cursillo is expanding to Kairos too, a unique prison ministry which takes place inside the prison community.
Book Series, Advent & Lenten Programs
To enhance our Adult Education program at St. Anne’s we frequently have a study group who collectively read and discuss a book for various seasons of the year such as Advent or Lent. A few of the books we have enjoyed include:
- “Conversations with Scripture: The Gospel of Mark”, by Marcus Borg
- “Letters from the Farm: A Simple Path for a Deeper Spiritual Life”, written by the Rev. Becca Stevens
- “Preparing for Christmas” by Richard Rohrs
- “People of the Way, Renewing Episcopal Identity,” by Dwight J. Zscheile
Annual Women’s Retreat
In the tranquil setting of The Bishop’s Ranch in Sonoma County, the women of St. Anne’s explore our personal and communal ways of connecting with our inner personalities and those who have influenced us. Sharing of story, prayer, meditation, discussion, artistic exploration, and other activities are used to stimulate our imaginations in a prayerful atmosphere.
Currently we are not conducting an annual Men’s Retreat, but we would like to and would hope our new Rector would lead that effort to establish one too.