A Retreat with the Desert Fathers and Mothers

By Jeff Sells

Long before denominational Christianity was known in the world, before reformers or administrative lines of authority, or the New Testament as a whole book with agreed-upon content, long before any other things normally associated with modern Christianity, there were solitary people living austere lives in the deserts of the Middle East. These people grouped together to live in what might be called monastic communities, though this idea of community might have been somewhat foreign to them. These people became identified as the Desert Fathers and Mothers.

Daytime Retreat
The Solace of Fierce Landscapes
Thu, Sep 17, Fri, Sep 18,
and Sat, Sep 19, 10am-3pm
St. Paul’s Anglican Church
Cardo 6
300 pesos for materials and lunches
152 0387 (St. Paul’s Anglican Church)

These earliest solitary Christian holy people wrote about their experiences and passed them around in communities for reflection and teaching Christian tradition. Loose-knit groups met together to pray and study the scriptures as well as to take sparse meals.

Over centuries, these disparate and usually isolated groups joined together to form communities of like-minded spiritual practices and teaching. These men and women reflected on the history of their groups and began to identify particular people who seemed to communicate important truths about the journey they all were on.

From the earliest centuries of this trend, we are fortunate to have written evidence of those who worked at praying and who came together to support each other and struggle to be present with God. The struggle was against their own fears and isolation and their human inability to maintain a life dedicated to God. They have shown us a path we can walk, if we choose to, that will help bring us into intimate connection with God. They also warn us to be wary of this journey because it is fraught with danger, loneliness, and fear. To these people we owe a deep spiritual debt for their wrestling with God in the isolation of the deserts of the Middle East.

“The Solace of Fierce Landscapes: A Workshop with the Desert Fathers and Mothers” will be led by the Rev. Dr. Jeff Sells on September 17, 18, and 19 at St. Paul’s Anglican Church. Sells will guide participants into the experiences and wisdom of the Desert Mothers and Fathers by engaging them through writings, quiet reflection, and conversation in order to make connections with our present lives. A donation of 300 pesos covers all retreat materials, lunches, and snacks, and will be collected on the first day of the retreat. Register for this workshop by calling St. Paul’s Anglican Church at 152 0387.

 

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