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Invite Welcome Connect Summit 2020

The Beecken Center of the School of Theology is partnering with Listening Hearts Ministries to offer two intensive, four-day retreats to train participants in the art of facilitating and mentoring spiritual discernment groups using the Listening Hearts approach. Held at the DuBose Conference Center in Monteagle, Tennessee, the retreats will include communal meditation activities; workshops that teach the practical aspects of teaching spiritual discernment; and a series of discernment sessions, each of which is followed by a reflective review to gain insight into the elements that bring forth fruitful discernment. Both retreats offer the same content. We are offering two retreats in order to accommodate the schedules of those who would like to attend.

The program has an “at-home” component
For four weeks prior to each retreat, the At-home Preparation will begin on Saturday (July 6, 13, 20, & 27 for the August retreat, and Feb. 1, 8, 15, & 22 for the March 2020 retreat). Participants will introduce themselves to members of their small group by writing a summary of their spiritual journey over time; then read and study informational material that is crucial to serving in the discernment groups they will be taking part at the residential portion. Finally, each person will prepare a focus-person write-up for a life issue of their choice for which they would like discernment. The anticipated average time required each week is roughly three hours.

What participants are saying

"This program provides an experience, or at least the opportunity for experiencing group discernment in the Holy Spirit. I believe I experienced it – very eye-opening."

"This program provides an experience, or at least the opportunity for experiencing group discernment in the Holy Spirit. I believe I experienced it – very eye-opening."

Facilitators: March 2020 Program
Frances Sullinger was trained in Listening Hearts discernment in 1990, then as a trainer in 2001, and is an active Listening Hearts trustee. Frances took a lead in developing the Community Discernment of Calls to Ministry program and is active in the church at both the parish and diocesan levels. Her background includes teaching at the university level and serving as a Foreign Service officer with the State Department. She resides in Centreville, VA.

Norma Williamson was trained as a Listening Hearts trainer in 2016 and became a Senior Program Associate in 2019. She works with groups seeking to adopt a discernment approach to decision-making and facilitates discernment retreats, workshops, and training sessions. An EfM mentor for twelve years, she currently is taking a break from that. Norma is a former Foreign Service officer, with a background in organization development and conflict resolution. She lives in Vienna, VA.

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