Please be sure to read everything below and apply before signing up!
In April 2020 Christine Valters Paintner's book Earth, Our Original Monastery is being published by Ave Maria Press. The book explores concepts like earth as the original cathedral, original scripture, original saints, original spiritual directors, original sacrament, original icon, and original liturgy through wisdom of the Christian mystics and the Hebrew and Christian scriptures. Like most of Christine's books there is a rich array of experiential exercises (both contemplative and creative) included in each chapter that lends itself well to a retreat experience.
We have a companion album of songs being released shortly as well and we are in the process of creating a cycle of morning and evening prayers rooted in these materials with songs, dances, poetry, and visual inspiration. The climate crisis is the most important issue of our time and we would love to offer contemplative and creative resources to help cultivate greater intimacy with the more-than-human world.
An Invitation to Retreat Leaders, Spiritual Directors, Pastors, Adult Religious Educators, & Small Group Facilitators
Christine is looking for folks interested in leading a series of seven (7) retreat days between October 2020 (Feast of St Francis) and April 2021 (Earth Day) on this material locally with your own churches, communities, congregations, and retreat spaces. You would also have some flexibility in adapting the format to your needs both in terms of content and amount of time for each retreat, but Christine's support will be built around this monthly structure.
Mentoring & Peer Support Program Overview
Each monthly retreat or small group gathering would focus on one of the chapters from Christine's book (Earth as Original Cathedral, Original Scripture, Original Saints, Original Spiritual Directors, Original Icons, Original Sacraments, and Original Liturgy). You would be responsible for locating your site and doing your marketing, although we can compile a geographic list of all the programs taking place to our website.
Christine will be leading you (the program leaders) in 7 monthly live webinars (recorded for those unable to join live) where she will give an overview for that month's theme and retreat, provide a suggested outline and sequence, and answer any questions you have. We will also have a private discussion forum where the webinars take place, the recordings are available for viewing, and where you would be able to post and share with one another. We are imagining that the peer support you offer to one another will also be a valuable part of this experience.
The monthly webinars will be on Mondays at 4 p.m. Ireland time (11 am Eastern time) with the first on Monday, October 5, 2020 and the rest also on Mondays: November 2 and 30, 2020, January 4, February 1, March 1, April 5, 2021). These will all be recorded and posted soon after the session is finished. It is not required that you attend live, although would be great if many of you are able.
If you haven't already, please apply now by sending Christine an email indicating your interest, your background in ministry, and where you see yourself leading this series of programs.
Requirements and Fees
As part of this commitment there are five key requirements:
- Register for the 7-week online companion retreat to the book we are offering for the general Abbey of the Arts community July 6-August 23, 2020 of this summer. All materials there will be available to you forever. This will include digital downloads of 7 of the songs and video streaming of 7 of the dance prayers. Cost is $150 for early registration before June 1st. Partial scholarships are available if cost is a hindrance and small group discounts are also possible (email us with your situation to discuss).
- Register for Earth Monastery Mentoring, this is where the private discussion forum and the monthly webinars are hosted. The cost for this portion is $100* (please see below for further details on charging for your programs.) Again if cost is a hindrance let us know or if you are joining with a team or small group.
- We ask that everyone in the group you are leading that attends the series of retreats be asked to purchase their own copy of Christine's book (rather than photocopying pages as handouts). Depending on the group size, you may be able to arrange a bulk discount for multiple copies directly with Ave Maria Press.
- *You are welcome to charge for your program. If you do then we would ask that you give back 10% of your total program fee each month to Abbey of the Arts to help support Christine's time and this work. You can deduct the $100 registration fee for the mentoring portion from this. This will be on the honor system.
- We will ask you to fill out a short evaluation midway and at the end of the program to see how things went, how participants engaged, etc. to give us feedback on how the process is going.
We ask that you commit to joining the 2020-2021 mentoring group by September 1, 2020 by registering for both the community summer online companion retreat and the mentoring program (see links above). You can register for these anytime up until July 1st, but we will open the discussion forum in the mentoring program now so you have a chance to connect with one another for those who want to do so in advance of starting.
We are also happy to create a post on the Abbey of the Arts website this summer with a list of all the groups you are leading to help connect others to your offerings by geographic location (please keep in mind that you are primarily responsible for marketing, but we are happy to help in this way.)
Because this is an experiment we may shift how things work as we go along if there seems to be a better way to support all of you. We are excited about the possibility of this mentoring model as a way to bring our resources to more people and to support pastoral leaders with rich content and peer support in the process.