Sabbath • January 5-7, 2018

Life presents us with moments when we want to be helpful to someone, especially someone who is going through a difficult situation. But we often end up tongue-tied or awkward. What words can possibly comfort a person who has lost a child, a spouse, a brother or sister, whose partner has left them, or who has lost that dream job?
Your presence is what’s needed, not your advice, or a cheering up, or attempts to comfort. Join us to learn and practice ways to be that presence.
The goal of this retreat is to explore the power of presence. How presence — showing up, listening — can be a life-changing experience. We will explore where God is showing up with us, how we are showing up with ourselves, and how these two acts of presence help us show up and BE a presence to another. We will delve into how Jesus opened himself up to God’s presence, how Jesus was present to others and how Jesus’ model for being present to people can be a template for how we can be present to ourselves, then how these foundations can help us develop both the heart and the skills to be a presence to others.
Our time together will include time for prayer, worship, Scripture, information, discussion, and, weather permitting, time to walk along the beach or otherwise experience God’s creation.

Lutherhill Ministries is excited to have Stephen Blackmore and Rev. Susan Rippert as facilitators for this retreat.

Stephen is a retired psychologist who spent thirty plus years working with children, families, individuals, and couples. He worked in the public school system, in a nonprofit children’s mental health facility, and for nineteen years had his practice. Stephen is also trained as a spiritual director and currently is on staff at the Cenacle Retreat House in Houston Texas. Stephen has been a member of Covenant Lutheran Church on the west side of Houston for more than thirty years, where he has taught adult education classes, been on the leadership team, and is the liaison for interfaith dialogue. He likes the challenge of asking questions that might lead to a deeper understanding of God’s presence in our lives and help us discern where God is calling us to grow and to engage in the world.

Pastor Susan is a retired pastor, ordained in the ELCA 25 years ago. She served congregations in the Chicago area, and most recently in Houston at Covenant Lutheran Church. Prior to her call to seminary study in Chicago, she taught English as a Second Language at the University of Houston-Downton for ten years, including directing the English Language Institute there. She is certified as a spiritual director through the Houston Cenacle’s Spiritual Direction Institute and teaches Early Church History in this program. She is a member of Celebration Lutheran Church in far west Houston. Her ministry has included anti-racism work, sabbatical ministry in Africa, and interfaith dialogue. Susan enjoys the challenge of facilitating groups and finds that looking at God’s world from different angles can open us to invitations for renewal and resurrection hope.

Schedule: Sabbath begins Friday evening with a casual gathering around the fire pit. Saturday, we enjoy a hearty breakfast before heading out to the beach for Bible study. As the day unfolds, we’ll engage in hands-on service in Galveston, eat more tasty food, and relax on the beach. Sunday morning greets us with a community brunch and worship to send you on your way.

Cost: $125 per person

Register today!

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