Marcia leads retreats on-site at churches and at retreat centers of all kinds, and she offers a variety of retreats that employ a specific framework.
Two retreats that can be used for your church
We all know how hard to it to find peace these days.
Peace (as in quiet kind) is drowned out by the constant chatter of our plugged in lives.
Peace (as in the inner kind) is hard to cultivate when we do not have time to breathe or relax or take care of ourselves.
And peace (as in the world kind) seems an idealistic, naïve hope that we talk about but can’t ever imagine actually taking hold.
But, if Jesus entrusted us with one thing, it is peace—in all its forms. He was serious about this peace being an embodied part of the way his followers move about and live in the world.
Peace is an integral part of our Good News; it is the core of the way we are transformed as Christians.
On this retreat we explore the promise of peace in our lives and the places where it seems impossible to cultivate it. We think together, pray together, practice together, and find new ways to embody this peace.
A weekend retreat includes at least four sessions. A week long retreat include sessions that have similar components the additional time allows us to deepen our engagement with all the ideas and practices involved in “Peac-ing Together”. Each session includes an interactive lecture, small group work using mutual invitation, body prayers, writing prompts and Stepping Stones.
Optional activities during the retreat can include Christian yoga sessions, building a labyrinth, art as prayer, worship, centering prayer and other intentional activities for cultivating peace in community.
“Peace-ing Together” is a time for you to come a little closer to the “peace that passes understanding.”
“Let the Bones Dance”
In a culture that focuses on the intellect and scientific proof as the most reliable sources of knowledge, the body is often dismissed as a legitimate source of wisdom. Our Western habits of mind have taught us even to distrust our bodies. This neglect and this distrust have deeply shaped mainline churches as well.
This retreat honors your body’s wisdom. We explore the language of the body using a multilayered, embodied approach to who we are and how we are made. We focus on the experiences of many women’s bodies as windows into human experience. Marcia’s book, Let the Bones Dance: Embodiment and the Body of Christ, frames the retreat.
This retreat can be customized for any length of time including day long, a weekend or week. Longer retreats can include a team of body work practitioners and more opportunities to experience different body work modalities like massage, cranial sacral massage, Rosen massage, Reiki, yoga, and much more.
Retreats tailored to your community
Marcia can also tailor and design retreats to fit the particular needs of your community. For such retreats she will start from scratch with a particular issue, question or focus that you have. The retreat will then be designed to address your topic of interest. Retreat sessions include lecture, small group work with mutual invitation, prayer practices, and writing prompts for personal reflection. Here are some examples:
Retreat for Stephen Ministry Leadership
This retreat, “Where is your faith?”, was built with the goals and mission of Stephen Ministry in mind. The planning team of Stephen Minister leaders generated questions from the group about their faith and the nature of faith. These questions were specifically those that came up in their work as Stephen Ministry care givers. Based on these questions Marcia tailored the sessions to explore and address the nature of faith in the Reformed tradition and beyond, the greatest challenges to our faith, and how to grow in our faith when things are going well in our lives.
Women’s Retreat for Libertyville First Presbyterian Church
The committee for this women’s retreat wanted to focus on prayer. They generated questions they had about this topic. Marcia used their personal inquiries to form different sessions that addressed issues including issues such as: what is prayer?, what do we do when prayers are not answered?, and how do I pray for my enemies? Why should I pray? How do I pray? The result was a weekend retreat entitled, “What if the Holy Spirit Really Shows Up? The Perils and Promise of Prayer”.
Palma Ceia Women’s Retreat
For this Women’s Retreat it was custom that the speaker or leader shared their faith story as a basis for discussion during the retreat. Marcia used the process of writing her book, which explores her faith journey, to share her experiences in faith as well as some theological reflection about our journeys in general.
PROCESSES AND EXERCISES
Marcia uses the process of Mutual Invitation and an exercise called Stepping Stones. Their descriptions are below:
Mutual Invitation is a process created by Eric H. F. Law that encourages intentional listening and full participation. Different people have different ideas and perceptions of personal power. Some are eager to speak in groups, others are more hesitant. Mutual Invitation makes space for these different perceptions of personal power. (Please see our Resources page for a listing of books by Eric H. F. Law.)
Stepping Stones is an exercise that teaches us how to reflect on our faith journeys by focusing on pivotal moments. The discipline of naming and claiming these moments and sharing them with others is an important skill for any person of faith. Stepping Stones helps us exercise that story telling muscle.
Photos on this page were taken by Doreen Palermo.