Retreat 2023 Content

many moths

permission pending for image by Jackie Morris

Our main source of inspiration came from two books: Refugia Faith by Debra Rienstra and Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. Debra's book gave us a framework for how to understand faith in our current time of extreme disturbance. Robin's book showed us how storytelling could be the vehicle to express our responses. Reading these books led us to prepare a weekend retreat for our faith community, Watershed Community.

Since the retreat location, Falcon Trails Resort, was a 1.5 hour drive from Winnipeg, we started the Friday session with 5 minutes of silent centering prayer to allow all 17 of us to "get there". We then gathered our thoughts by reading the Romans 8 passage (see below) and listening to a Language of God podcast on lamenting a "world of wounds". We then shared our laments (see Retreat Exercises) around the circle, closing the evening listening to Carrie Newcomer's song Help in Hard Times.

Saturday morning after breakfast, we started again with 5 minutes of centering prayer. After reading the Matthew 6 passage (see below), we watched to a video interview with Debra Rienstra from Calvin University's January in July series from 2023. Pausing the video a few times allowed for a lively discussion, which was followed by listening to The Lost Words Blessing song by Spell Songs.

The afternoon was free time, and also time for people to practice paying attention to beauty (see Retreat Exercises). An adaptation of the Haudenosaunee (The Iroquois) Thanksgiving address, inspired by Robin Wall Kimmerer's book, ushered us into our thanksgiving dinner. During the evening we sang some of our favorite songs (see Retreat Songs), accompanied by guitar and drums (bodhran and cajón). In between the songs we shared what drew our attention during the afternoon.

On Sunday after breakfast, just before check-out, we watched a video of Neil Young's Love Earth song as our benediction.


Day Time Topic Resources
Friday 7:30 pm Creation is Groaning: Into The Darkness meditation (Language of God) Help in Hard Times by Carrie Newcomer
Saturday 10:30 am Consider the Lilies: Deb Rienstra Interview (Calvin University) The Lost Words Blessings by Spell Songs
Saturday 6:00 pm Thanksgiving Dinner Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address
Saturday 7:30 pm Songs of Lament and Worship see Retreat Songs
Sunday 9:30 am Benediction Love Earth by Neil Young

Scripture Passages

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