Pauline’s Impressions of Breathing Space

NOTE FROM KERRY:  Pauline Loughhead is a member of the pastoral care team at St Paul’s Anglican Church, Chatswood, NSW and is in the midst of intense training for hospital chaplaincy. She has been at almost every quiet day since they first began and has been a real blessing to us all. I’m sure you will enjoy her impressions of Breathing Space.

 

I am trying to get used to using the new ‘handle’ for the quiet days away at Winbourne. These are something that I have written in my diary for the whole year [in indelible ink!]. Other than the birth of a grandchild or death itself, my intention is to be there, and yes, I can in fact relate to the new title, for they are indeed a ‘breathing space’ in my busy schedule.

March’s Breathing Space took a slightly different form, and one that I found helpful. We are evolving as we are ‘getting used to one another’ I do not really know any of the participants in this community (other than a friend who travels with me), yet we are there with the same intent and this itself brings with it a sense of community; common-unity; one-mindedness; a oneness in spirit. The focus for this, and very special to me, is the mid-day Eucharist. As we humble ourselves before God together and regard the symbols of bread and wine; body and blood; broken and shed on our account … in fact to clear our account, pay our debt … I find this service a great leveller. We are all equal in blessing before God as we share in this together.

This month, after our morning prayer and period of personal quiet reflection and listening to God, we shared in the Eucharist together and then had a more monastic style lunch than we have had in the past. Rather than all the chattering and sharing our lives with one another, we sat in silence to eat our simple shared lunch whilst Kerry read to us from a book called ‘The Ladder of Monks’. This was a new experience and one that took a little getting used to. I am a chatterbox and love words in all their forms, but I found this easy to accommodate and far less disturbing to my whole day than the social lunch we have had before.

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A Report on Our Third Quiet Day

Another excellent day was experienced by ten of us at Winbourne in Mulgoa yesterday for what was our third Quiet Day, which we’re now going to be calling "Breathing Space".

As we’ve been doing, we’re using some "ancient words" reworked into a contemporary form of liturgy, corporately declaring some of the great creeds, praying the Lord’s Prayer (or Our Father), the litany of repentance and even parts of Patrick’s Breastplate.

Why are we doing this?  If you remember, the Lord spoke to me through Jeremiah 6:16 about six months ago, in response to my question about why I was being led to explore a reconnection to the ancient nature of our Christian faith:

This is what the LORD says: "Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.

We’re discovering two things. Firstly, that there is an incredible amount of "oil" on these ancient prayers and practices for the 21st Century, and secondly, in accordance with the Wind Farm vision, the wind of the Spirit seems to be blowing stronger from this direction than any other at this time.

ImageThe practices of using the "monastic prayer book", that is, praying the Book of Psalms; pubicly reading and humbly listening to Old and New Testment Scriptures; and praying some of the great prayers of the church, all coupled with times of intentional silence designed to posture us to listen to Heaven in order to hear the voice of our Great Shepherd; these things are having a profound effect on those who attend.

I am a Protestant. Therefore, there are some ancient church prayers and practices which I have never experienced because they have been outside my tradition. Prayers like the Angelus begin safely then swing widely outside my theology. Therefore, they are prayers I cannot embrace in good conscience.

In that vein, one of the practices I thought I would never bother with was the ancient tradition of the Stations of the Cross. However, over recent weeks, God gave me some insight as to how, through some simple tweaking, this could be a very special experience for all concerned .. and it was.

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Quiet Day & the APRT Prophetic School

Tomorrow, Saturday 23rd February, is our first Quiet Day for 2008. These are now scheduled once a month across this year and we would love it if you joined us. You can check the dates here.

We’re expecting around 20 people to be with us and there are some very special things planned, including a "Protestant reworking" of the Stations of the Cross featuring thought-provoking meditations and spectacular drawings of each of the station scenes; all to be used as a tool to focus our hearts on the astonishing sacrifice of Christ and for the upcoming Easter weekend toward the end of March.

On Monday afternoon, I will be travelling to South Nowra, NSW, to participate and teach in the first of four Australian Prophetic Round Table schools to be held across Australia throughout 2008.

With that in mind, sometime tomorrow, Chapter 7 of our book reading will be published here on the Wind Farm and then, when I get back from the Australian Prophetic School run by the APRT, I will begin to sum up why I believe this antique book has so much prophetic resonance for the Church today and the hour we find ourselves in.

I trust it will be worth the wait.

Kerry

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Mark Your Calendar .. Quiet Days for 2008

Because of the increased interest in the Wind Farm Quiet Days in 2007, we’ve decided to increase their frequency to once a month across 2008. So, if life has become too turbulent and "noisy", here are more opportunities for you to unplug from the rat-race for a day a month in order to intentionally still your heart and purposefully engage with God and others.

Running from 10am – 5pm, our Quiet Days are structured for prayer, worship, reading, biblical meditation and a community experience.

Each time we’ll be meeting in "The Chapel"; a beautiful room at the Edmund Rice Retreat and Conference Centre, better known as "Winbourne", which is set on 250 acres in the Mulgoa Valley and was once the home of a notable Australian colonial family.

Generally, you’ll find the Quiet Days will fall on the last Saturday of every month. However, in a couple of instances, you’ll find they fall one week earlier. We’re a week earlier in June due to another booking at Winbourne on the weekend we wanted, while the other in December will allow us to meet for a special time just prior to Christmas .. so, check the dates and mark your calendar!
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23rd February

29th March

26th April

31st May

21st June

26th July

30th August

27th September

25th October

29th November

20th December

 

So, what are our Quiet Days like?  Well, click here to read the report and the comments from our very first Quiet Day to get an idea.

You will need to bring your Bible, perhaps your journal and any devotional books you might want to use during the times of silence. There will also be ample room for creativity, so if you would like to bring a musical instrument or perhaps art materials, please feel free.

There is also a labyrinth on site that will be made available to us across the whole day.

Tea and coffee will be provided across the day, but you’ll need to bring some meat and whatever else you like for a BBQ lunch.

There is a small cost of $10 per person for the day and you will need to register your intention to come by Wednesday 20th February for our first Quiet Day of 2008 as I need to give final numbers to Winbourne. So, in summary …

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A Report on Our Second Quiet Day

To call our second Quiet Day anything but rich would be an understatement.

This time around we had seventeen in attendance and again, all from quite diverse backgrounds. We had an Anglican interested in monasticism travel two hours from near Lithgow to be with us. We had two from a vibrant Assemblies of God church join with us. Our "emerging church pilgrim" enthusiastically returned. A recognised prophetess and some of her team were also with us. We had high-powered business people through to stay-at-home Mums. Likewise, we had folks travel from as far afield as Palm Beach and St Albans near Wiseman’s Ferry, both of which are almost two hours drive from Winbourne, the location of our Quiet Day.

Once again we used some contemporary liturgy to help "frame" the day. We’re finding this helps significantly. Praying ancient words helps as a kind of "ramp" into and out of the times of intentional silence. In a sense, the liturgy book-ends the silence, giving those who are unaccustomed to long periods alone in silence with God, an awareness that there is a beginning and an end to each period.

This is more important than you might imagine, because for many people, silence is intimidating. In fact, it can often conjure up memories of times when silence has been used as a weapon against them, such as in a difficult marriage or when a parent disapproved. But, if those who stuggle with these fears can push through them, they always find that silence directed toward God is a rich and fruitful time.

It was very clear that many were being moved deeply during this first period of silence. Many used Winbourne’s labyrinth.

ImageOnce again we were in The Chapel at Winbourne. We gathered around a beautifully restored red gum tree stump used as a kind of altar, while many candles and dimmed lighting intentionally helped to create an "other wordly" atmosphere, giving us a sense that the times of corporate prayer were meant to be a holy time.

Our time of communion was really special too. It began with people filtering back into the room after the monastic bell had rung, only to be somewhat confronted with the crucifixion scene from "The Passion of the Christ" playing on the big screen at one end of The Chapel.

I had felt the Lord ask me to pour the wine into a central "bowl of friendship". I read from Mark’s Gospel and shared how Jesus had given Judas the opportunity to "dip his bread in the bowl". Likewise, I shared how each of the twelve questioned their own hearts and consciences, to test whether they were the one going to betray Jesus; a clear indicator that each one realised they had that capacity within them.

So, after the bread was distributed, and while Phillips, Craig and Dean’s "Pour My Love on You" played, slowly, each one of us came forward and dipped our bread into the bowl of friendship with Christ, after first examining our own hearts looking for the evidence of our own ability to betray Him.

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You’re Invited to Our Second Quiet Day


If life has become all too full, way too busy and far too "noisy", here is another opportunity for you to unplug from the rat-race for a day in order to intentionally still your heart and purposefully engage with God and others.

On Saturday, 8th December, 2007, you’re invited to our second Quiet Day .. a day structured for prayer, worship, reading, Christian meditation and fellowship.

Initially, we’ll be meeting in "The Chapel"; a beautiful room at the Edmund Rice Retreat and Conference Centre, better known as "Winbourne", which is set on 250 acres in the Mulgoa Valley and was once the home of a notable Australian colonial family.

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Winbourne’s address is 1315 Mulgoa Road, Mulgoa, NSW, and is about 15 kilometres from Penrith and 10 kilometres from the M4 Motorway. The entrance to Winbourne is directly across the road from the Settlers Restaurant.

So, what is a Quiet Day like?  Well, click here to read the report and the comments from our first Quiet Day to get an idea.

You will need to bring your Bible, perhaps your journal and any devotional books you might want to use during the times of silence. There will also be ample room for creativity, so if you would like to bring a musical instrument for your personal use or perhaps art materials, please feel free.

There is also a labyrinth on site that will be made available to us across the whole day.

Tea and coffee will be provided across the day, but you’ll need to bring some meat and whatever else you like for a BBQ lunch.

There is a small cost of $10 per person for the day and you will need to register your intention to come by Friday 30th November as I need to give final numbers to Winbourne. So, in summary …

 

WHAT:        Quiet Day

WHEN:        Saturday, 8th December, 2007 from 10am – 5.00pm

WHERE:      Winbourne, 1315 Mulgoa Road, Mulgoa, NSW

COST:         $10.00 per person

 

CLICK HERE to e-mail your intention to attend.

Come ready for times of rich fellowship, communal prayer and intentional silence designed to facilitate a profound encounter with God and perhaps even your own heart.

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A Report on our First Quiet Day

On Saturday 20th October, six of us gathered at Winbourne in Mulgoa for the first Wind Farm Quiet Day. In the words of a few, they were pretty apprehensive about coming. They weren’t sure whether they would cope with a day of silence but more importantly, they just didn’t know what to expect from the day in general.

As circumstances would have it, we moved into the Chapel at Winbourne rather than being in the Stables .. and this was clearly in the heart of God. The Chapel is a large room with beautiful ceilings, controlled lighting and a stained glass feature piece behind a polished red gum stump that can be used as an altar. We didn’t use it as an altar, but it did work well as a table for the distribution of a very simple communion. It likewise gave a place for us to gather for prayer making for a very intimate setting .. and again, I believe this was in the heart of God.

Y’see, in the mix of the six of us, we had an evangelical Anglican, a charismatic Roman Catholic, two "Angli-costals", an Emerging Church pilgrim and me, a man who’s best known as a prophet and whose public ministry sprang out of the intensity of the Renewal (or, the Toronto Blessing). What a mix!

The use of public and corporate liturgical prayer was a new (but old) experience for me, and one that I never thought I would again participate in because of my previous experience with what I remember to be the lifeless nature of the rigid ritual from my early days in a high Anglican church. However, in putting the liturgy together, I used a blend of very "poetic" prayers, and ancient words of the church such as the Lord’s Prayer, St Patrick’s Breastplate and the Apostles Creed. In praying the psalms, I employed the call and response of the Celtic Christians and monastic choirs. Likewise I used two contemporary litanies and we drank real red wine for communion, allowing the sharpness of the alcohol to remind us of the bitter pain of Christ’s willingness to shed His blood.

At this point you might be asking yourself, "what’s the point of even bothering with a liturgy?" .. and that’s a valid question.

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Cut-Off Extended for the Quiet Day

I just wanted to let you know that I’ve managed to extend the cut-off for registrations for the Quiet Day until 4.00pm, Monday 15th October.

So far we have people registered from around the local Penrith area and as far afield as Chatwood on the north side of Sydney. Regardless, whether the final numbers are large and small, the day will prove to be highly beneficial as we intentionally gather to meet with God from a posture to listen, rather than an agenda to talk.

In the meantime, I’m going to Cootamundra this weekend for the 10th Annual Storm Harvest Gathering. Robert Holmes, the leader of Storm Harvest, is one of my closest friends and we have been in personal and ministerial relationship for almost a decade. He’s been running these events every year and their reach and fruit has been both remarkable and humbling.

I’ll check for your registration when I get back home on Sunday evening. Just let me know via e-mail by clicking here.

Grace and peace!

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Monastic Retreat

Well, I’m off this weekend to Mount St Benedict’s here in Sydney for what’s being called the "2007 Benedictine Experience".

This is a weekend retreat being conducted by the Abbot of Australia’s only Anglican Benedictine Monastery, St Mark’s Abbey in Camperdown, Victoria.

Michael King and a team from the Abbey will be in Sydney for the weekend which will feature regular times of monastic prayer according to the Benedictine tradition of praying the Offices, some teaching on Lectio Divina (divine reading) and on the Rule of St Benedict. But beyond that, the entire weekend will be conducted in silence.

This will certainly be a weekend radically different from anything I’ve ever known. But I’m going with the heart of a novice, ready to learn what I can in order to glean what I can, not only for myself, but for the benefit of others. I’m also going in an effort to answer God’s deep stirring in my heart to find out how to apply monastic wisdom, values and practices into our present-day experience of church and daily life.

I’ll certainly give you a review of the weekend once I get back home.

In the meantime, could I remind you that there is only one more week for you to register your interest for the up-coming Quiet Day. Friday 12th October is the cut-off date. All the details can be found here.

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You’re Invited to a Quiet Day


If life has become all too full and way too busy, here is an opportunity to unplug from the rat-race in order to still your heart and purposefully engage with God and others.

On Saturday, 20th October, 2007, you’re invited to a Quiet Day .. a day structured for prayer, worship, reading, Christian meditation and fellowship.

Initially, we’ll be meeting in "The Stables"; a beautiful room at the Edmund Rice Retreat and Conference Centre, better known as "Winbourne", which is set on 250 acres in the Mulgoa Valley and was once the home of a notable Australian colonial family.

Image

"The Stables" is one of the original colonial buildings on the property.

Winbourne’s address is 1315 Mulgoa Road, Mulgoa, NSW, and is about 15 kilometres from Penrith and 10 kilometres from the M4 Motorway. The entrance to Winbourne is directly across the road from the Settlers Restaurant.

So, what does a Quiet day look like?

 

10.00  Arrival with tea and coffee

10.30  Introduction to those gathered with plans for the day

10.45  Morning Prayer, followed by a short talk, leading into silence

11.00  Quiet

12.00  Midday Prayer

12.15  BBQ Lunch with Communion prior

13.30  Guided Meditation with music leading into silence

14.00  Quiet

15.30  Simple instruction on and time for Lectio Divina (Prayerful Reading)

16.00  Sharing session with tea and coffee

16.20  (Early) Evening Prayer

16.45  Pack up and depart for home

 

You will need to bring your Bible, perhaps your journal and any devotional books you might want to use during the quiet time. There will also be ample room for creativity, so if you would like to bring a musical instrument for your personal use or perhaps art materials, please feel free. There is also a labyrinth on site that will be made available to us across the whole day.

Tea and coffee will be provided across the day, but you’ll need to bring some meat and whatever else you like for a BBQ lunch.

There is a small cost of $10 per person for the day and you will need to register your intention to come by Thursday 11th October as I need to give final numbers to Winbourne. So, in summary …

 

WHAT:        Quiet Day

WHEN:        Saturday, 20th October, 2007 from 10am – 4.45pm

WHERE:      Winbourne, 1315 Mulgoa Road, Mulgoa, NSW

COST:         $10.00 per person

 

CLICK HERE to e-mail your intention to attend.

Come ready for times of rich fellowship, communal prayer and prolonged silence designed to facilitate a profound encounter with God and perhaps even your own heart.

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