the benefit of meeting with a group?
An experience like this retreat will be greatly enhanced by anyone who
would chose to meet with a group. These weekly guides will
offer us opportunities to reflect on some very important parts of our
lives. They will invite us to practice finding God in the
midst of our everyday lives. And, they will help us grow in
freedom and intimacy with Jesus. But we will not be doing
these exercises alone. To meet with a group every two weeks
will hold us accountable, to be faithful to the weekly guides (some of
us need that help) and will help us to name what we have been experiencing.
When we summarize what we are grateful for, we really come to know it
and appreciate it at a deep level.
happens in these sharing groups?
They are very natural and simple. If there are 5 to 8 persons
in the group, each person would share whatever they wanted to share
about the past two weeks' experience of doing the activities and exercises,
or doing the reading offered by the guides. For example,
one might begin by saying, "I found the guide two weeks ago to be very
helpful, especially when I prayed about ..." or "The picture on
my monitor this week moved me because ..." or "The reading this week
touched me ..."
there rules for a group like this?
There are. The meeting should last for no more than one hour and should
start and stop on time. This ensures the greatest respect for
everyone's time. Everyone in the group should agree to share in
such a way that everyone has an opportunity to share. (So, the
group should take responsibility, if someone were to talk for 20 minutes,
to say, "Thank you, but we should save time so that every gets an opportunity
to share, if they'd like to." A most important rule is that there
is no arguing in a sharing group. It is unacceptable
to disagree, challenge or negate someone else's experience and sharing.
It would be wonderful if the group were to begin with a very brief prayer
and to end with a very brief prayer of gratitude.
do I find a group?
You may be able to simply invite some friends or colleagues to join
you in forming a group. A group of 5 to 8 people could be a great
support to each other going through this retreat. You could
choose to meet as often as you like. We are suggesting every
two weeks. Some groups meet in-person monthly but share with each other weekly, by email. It turns out that the written sharing keeps the group together and allows the in-person sharing to be deeper.