MfL reflection: David Barry

Reflections on Meeting for Learning

The Meeting for Learning Retreat offers Friends a year long program with a week retreat at the beginning and end of the year. The program provides a structure within which Friends can explore and nurture their own spiritual journey as Friends supported and enabled by each other and the facilitators. Each week includes daily Meeting for Worship, group sessions related to exploring spirituality within Quakers, time for reflection and a day of silence. Friends are encouraged to form a local support group to foster their spiritual journey during the year between the two retreat weeks and are also supported by one of the facilitators. This year the retreat week is in Hobart from Monday 12th to Sunday, 18th September,2011 at the Maryknoll Retreat Centre at Blackman’s Bay. Two Friends who came to last year’s retreat commented:

  1. We began by exploring our spiritual journey so far. With the aid of well constructed process we worked in twos; threes and groups which gradually prepared us for the 36 hours of silence. Although uncertain about its possible value, I found it to be a rich, deep experience filled with creative ideas. I did not want it to end.
  2. Even during the retreat, there was a sense of this being not just a week apart, but the beginning of a year long process and indeed the beginning of the rest of our lives. I felt and still feel, hopeful and expectant. (This was reinforced by the knowledge that others who had engaged in MfL had told us of the profound experience it had been for them).

For those thinking about coming to the program we suggest starting by talking to someone who has been. People often feel hesitant about coming – we asked this year’s participants what they would say to people who were considering it and some responses were:

Don’t be surprised if you find yourself wrestling with this decision. It is a deep, rich, something challenging experience. But always gentle, caring, nurturing and valuing experience.

I would say that I toyed with the idea for some time (years in fact!); but always something got in the way. I didn’t feel fully ready when I finally confirmed; but came anyway and am delighted that I did! So I would say “go!”

This is a wonderful opportunity to connect with Spirit over days when, unlike AYM, this is also Business. It makes a difference!

For more information:
Contact David Barry for ideas about the retreat, people to contact or how to apply, including the cost of the retreat week: 0425 29 2288
Contact Fiona Gardner, coordinator for the facilitators, to explore your interest: or 03 54469951

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