‘A way of spiritual conversation in groups, through resources, facilitation and training, with Mark Davis, Founder of Shoreline Conversations’
Continuing our habit of asking someone who has come along to our Soulful Saturday (a different person every time!) to write a website piece about it, we're glad to have received this piece on our November day.
How delightful these Soulful Saturdays are. The more so this one, conversing with someone who facilitates conversations!
The setting in the cathedral Cloister Room helps but also the obvious attention paid to informal welcome and careful preparation. Less obvious, those subliminal pointers to the quality of the space into which we are entering. Pointers that whisper how deeply talking together matters, how deeply attending to each other matters, how deeply the divine ear is listening.
The gentle programme opened with reflective worship - ‘Walk carefully as you come here, for God is here before you.’
Mark introduced ‘conversation’ – a word that has its roots in ‘keep company with’. He suggested conversation:
as a graceful way of communicating which allows people to share their truth in love
which can risk tentative self-disclosure
in which we who are prepared to be changed by what we may subsequently discover.
We reflected on ‘good conversation’, how it flourishes and the role of a facilitator. We considered spiritual dimensions of conversation.
We practised conversation using one of the resources Mark has created for groups, ‘Glimpsing God’. Very helpfully he observed that conversation is not about what we get out of the resources but what the resources get out of us.
With Mark as our facilitator we quietly read the beautiful resource materials and silently reflected for 20 minutes. From this we each made our own reflective offering and shared the conversation that emerged for 45 minutes. Finally, we offered back what each wanted to remember, to take away from this conversation.
Our programme closed in worship.
I came home awakened and changed by the sharing of silence and words and stories and people and love.
Retreat House Chester will be offering further conversation opportunities in 2018: more on this when we publish our programme.