Pre-Lenten Gatherings offer spiritual nurture for clergy

March 08, 2014

For the second year, Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar offered New England Conference clergy the opportunity to rest, worship, and be filled in preparation for the season of Lent. This year's one-day spiritual retreat was held in two locations: Waterville, Maine (March 3) and Concord, New Hampshire (March 4), and retreat leader Rev. Susan Phillips was our guest speaker and leader for these gatherings.

Hundreds of clergy participated in these rich and spirit-filled gatherings.

Through the theme of Lenten Reflections: Hope and Shadows, Rev. Phillips preached a message of finding hope in the midst of our brokenness, on how we connect and stay connected with God, the source of our life and ministry. The worship concluded with Holy Communion, which was led by Rev. Phillips and Bishop Devadhar.

After a warm lunch in which we lingered over warm conversations with our colleagues and friends, Rev. Phillips led the afternoon discussion, highlighting the ways in which we journey by stages through the season of Lent toward toward the unfolding story of Holy Week. We walked through the lectionary scriptures for Lent, and Rev. Phillips invited those gathered into a time of praying the scriptures, exploring the vulnerability of moving with the Spirit. and attending to the presence of God as we walked these sacred paths together.

The retreat days ended with an anointing service, where clergy were invited to connect and pray for one another. 

These retreats were a time of fellowship and spiritual enrichment, allowing those present to gently enter into the start of the Lenten season. Many clergy commented on how much they valued this time together.