Thirty one Christians gathered in May for a week of prayer, reflection, study and community and came away feeling their lives had been refreshed and transformed, their faith renewed and deepened. Dr. Luther Smith of Candler School of Theology spoke to our hearts and minds with his class on the Disciplines of Hope. Sister Donald Corcoran of Transfiguration Monastery (Benedictine) in Windsor, New York challenged us and inspired us with her grasp of theology and the pracitcal applications of faith in her class on Personal and Social Transformation. There were also short presentations on Centering Prayer and Healing Touch.
The setting for the Council's Five Day Academy in Spiritual Formation was Mercy Center in Burlingame, a beuatiful retreat center where the chapel, labyrinth, rose garden, creek and spacious, shaded grounds helped participants take time away from their routines to focus on their faith.
The members of the Academy community followed a Benedictine pattern throughout the day, interweaving worship and community times with periods of solitude and personal reflection.
The participants were unanimous in their appreciation of the evening covenant groups, where each person could talk about how the events of the day had spoken to them. New firendships were formed as they listened to the struggles and joys of each one in their group.
As the week drew to a close, the group shared an evening of ice cream sundaes and circle dances. Many were asking if they could look forward to another Academy next year.
It is a bit too soon for us to plan another Academy in 2007, but 2008 may be a real possibility!