Wilderness, Weeping, and Wiping

anointing“Wilderness, Weeping, and Wiping” was the title for a daylong retreat held on Saturday, February 27, 2016 for about fifteen deacons and associates in the diocese of Rupert’s Land. The words referred to some key themes in the Lenten lectionary– Jesus struggling in the desert, lamenting over Jerusalem, being anointed by Mary with costly perfume.

Participants in the Diocese of Rupert's Land deacons' retreat
Participants in the Diocese of Rupert’s Land deacons’ retreat

Retreatants shared life-giving moments and life-draining aspects of their ministry, and reflected individually, while moving among table displays on Lenten themes with images, scripture, writings, and prayer actions–on loss and reconciliation (Prodigal Son), and carrying others’ burdens (Simon of Cyrene), in addition to Wilderness , Lament, and Anointing.  David Lappano led a probing discussion on the anointing by Mary of Jesus’ feet as portrayed by Luke– Did the scene make you comfortable or uncomfortable?  What did Mary’s gesture say about what she knew and didn’t know about Jesus’ forthcoming passion?  Did you notice two “scandals” in this story?

After a chili and sandwich lunch made by Tanis Kolisnyk, deacon at St. Philip’s Anglican Church, participants engaged in a review of their ordination promises and ended the day with a prayer ritual with water, bowl, and towel.

CCS offered the event in partnership with the Diocesan Diaconal Ministry Group and St. Philip’s Anglican Church, Norwood.  People commented on the feedback form that their favourite part of the day was the chance to share, laugh, pray, and build community, and the aid of “stations” to reflect on their Lenten journey as deacons.  Ideas for future workshops included “Other Duties as Assigned” (words form the service of ordination), “Taking Care of Deacons” (self-care and work-life balance), and “Speaking with a Prophetic Voice” (incorporating a “Deacon’s Moment” into worship, bringing the needs and hopes of the world to the Church.)

Note: Tanis Kolisnyk (who took part in CCS’s Ministering by Word and Example course in 2013) has an article about the ministry of deacons in the last Rupert’s Land News.  David Lappano also has an article about the spiritual/philosophical significance of rivers.