Listening With Our Hearts

Thank you to Gail Clarkson for her reflections on…

Diakonia: Epiphany Images of Christian Ministry 2014

diaconal-banner“To live by listening deeply with our hearts” is one insight shared upon the conclusion of the ecumenical retreat hosted by the Centre for Christian Studies and the Sisterhood of St. John the Divine from February 13th – 15th.

On a sunny Thursday afternoon, we were welcomed hospitably to the Convent where our diverse group began to explore Diakonia: its place of service in Christian Ministry, both inside and beyond the structures of the church.

Guided by the shared facilitation of Maylanne Maybee and Ted Dodd of CCS and Sister Debra Johnston, participants considered and explored the theological and spiritual understandings of a Diaconal calling and our individual ministries within this calling.

The lens of lectionary stories from the season of Epiphany led to self-discovery, and as we engaged issues of empire, gifts, and right relationship, the ways in which the light shines forth from deep inside each of us became evident.

With a focus on the Beatitudes from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, a variety of spiritual practices enriched our learning. They included, among others, an approach to “praying the paper” (peacemakers), silent Christian meditation (poor in spirit), and praying with icons (pure in heart).

The atmosphere at St. John’s Convent is peaceful. I experienced the time spent there – in sacred quiet, in worship and in community – to be nurturing; physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It is with thanks for this time shared, the community created and new insights gained that I will be reminded “To live by listening deeply with my heart”.

– Gail Clarkson