Clearwater Friends Meeting held our Fall Retreat on November 4th in the lake’s edge shelter on Lake Tarpon in Tarpon Springs, FL. During our gathering, we were joined by the birds (including an “eldering” anhinga), turtles, strangely no alligators, and by many natural and machine-driven sounds inherent in our densely populated county.
Click on photos to enlarge.
We were especially blessed to have the retreat facilitated by Geeta McGahey, of the Traveling Ministry Corps of Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC). Geeta is a long-time member of Celo (NC) Monthly Meeting. Her presentation was well-organized, engaging and open to and adapted to Spirit moving among us. Geeta’s leading to share a concern with Friends and others about how to have the conversations that go deeper into Truth and become transformative led this Friend to come away with these thoughts:
- We start with our own spiritual roots using our own spiritual practices, such as centering, concerns, leadings, vocal ministry.
- If so inclined, and you know your audience, sharing biblical quotes may well be a way to move forward together.
- Be bold, ask, “Do you have a faith community?”
- Keep track of stories to offer to others in conversation as examples of another point of view.
- What are the questions that we can ask of others that will move the dialogue forward?
The retreat ended with a couple of challenging exercises. The point of one exercise was finding inroads to improving the atmosphere and outcome of a conversation predicated on encouraging behavior change. Being mindful of these divisive times, honoring that of God in another, even one with whom we are in disagreement; with courtesy, dignity and respect is the way forward.
We’re grateful for the gift of the deep spiritual grounding that Geeta shared with us. Those Friends that provided hospitality for Geeta were especially gifted and enriched by her visit as they were able to spend even more time with her.
—Peace, Elizabeth Woodward
Barbara Finkelstein shares this poem she wrote about the Retreat:
Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC) Traveling Ministry Program: Meetings are invited to request a visit from an FWCC Traveling Ministry member. FWCC pays for travel; Meetings are asked to provide housing and food.