Opening to God

The purpose of the retreat is to provide an immersion experience to help lay and clergy explore spiritual disciplines they may have never tried before and/or about which they wish to know more.  It will be planned so that a large group of people can participate with a number of different leaders.  Each small group session will be one and one half hours long with a 45 minute presentation, 30 minute self-directed “practice” time on the discipline followed by 15 minutes of sharing and feedback.  Exact timing is flexible as long as all three parts are included.   There are four such sessions over the retreat.  In addition there will be a one hour presentation period on topics for which it isn’t possible to do “practice” time.

.7 CEUs available for those who attend the entire event
Space is limited to the first 75 registrants 

Title: Opening to God: A Retreat

Date: Friday and Saturday, February 2-3, 2018

Place: East Bay Camp

Cost: $75, or $50 for commuters

CEUs: .7 CEUs available for those who attend the entire event

Who:  Lay and clergy of the conference

               Limited to first 75 registrants

Bring: Bible, note taking items, Bedding, towels, personal hygiene items for people staying all night

Deadline:  Friday, January 19

Contact: Ann Champion,, 815-692-2543 (Office)

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Schedule (break out session choices below)

Friday, February 2, 2018

            6:00     Gathering, settling in
            6:30     Opening devotions and introductions
            7:00     Small group “experience” session (Choose one)

                        • Praying Scripture

                        • Prayer 101

                        • Lectio Divina
            8:30     Evening Prayer


Saturday, February 3, 2018
            7:30     Morning Prayer
            8:00     Breakfast
            9:00     Small group “experience” session (Choose one)

                        • Centering Prayer

                        • Sweat Lodge Prayers

                        • Praying with Prayer Beads

            10:30   Break
            10:45   Presentation Session (Choose one)

                        • How and Why to Fast

                        • Covenant Groups

                        • Starting Intentional Prayer Ministry

            Noon   LUNCH
            1:00     Small group “experience” session (Choose one)

                        • Writing to God

                        • Taizé Prayer

                        • Labyrinth Prayer

            2:30     Break
            3:00     Small group “experience” session (Choose one)

                        • Sharing Through Photography

                        • Growing in God

                        • Shaped by the Word

            4:30     Covenant writing/closing worship with communion
            5:00     leave


*First Name
*Last Name
*Please select from the choice below for your registration cost
Staying on Site ($75)
Commuting ($50)
Dietary Concerns - please note them so the kitchen staff can plan accordingly
*Friday Night Small Group


Praying the Scriptures J. KEITH ZIMMERMAN
This workshop is an invitation to embrace God’s message in Bible passages from the Psalms and the New Testament, and to express their message in prayers, poems, journaling or drawing. Participants will have opportunities to read specific passages seeking God’s message and then Praying the Scriptures.

Prayer 101 TOM GOODELL
Prayer is such a basic part of our spiritual growth, yet many of us struggle with it. What is prayer? What does it accomplish? How do I fit it in to my busy schedule? Come explore the basics of prayer together.

Lectio Divina KEVIN BOESEN
Divina is a Benedictine practice of praying scripture for the purpose of a personal connection and deeper relationship with God through Jesus. This closer walk leads to a more meaningful awareness of God’s presence and direction in our journey.

Praying the Scriptures J. KEITH ZIMMERMAN
Prayer 101 TOM GOODELL
Lectio Divina KEVIN BOESEN
*Saturday Morning Small Group Experience


Centering Prayer JERRY KING 
Centering Prayer, as taught by Father Thomas Keating, is a method of silent prayer practiced individually or as a group. The focus is on resting quietly in God’s presence, praying without agenda or expectation.

Sweat Lodge Prayers (modified) DANIRA PARRA 
Experience a unique way of entering into group prayer based on an age-old American Indian tradition. Please note that participants will NOT be entering an inipi (sweat lodge) nor will they be initiated into the traditional ceremony.

Praying with Prayer Beads   KIM STUBY 
Prayer beads have been used for centuries by people from different religions and walks of life. In this interactive workshop, we will learn a brief history of prayer beads and make and use our own prayer beads.

Centering Prayer JERRY KING
Sweat Lodge Prayers (modified) DANIRA PARRA
Praying with Prayer Beads KIM STUBY
*Saturday Morning Presentation Session


How and Why to Fast  ANN CHAMPION
Fasting has been described as Emptying our Cups.  If we are to make room for God to work in our lives we need to empty our cup of our own ideas and feelings.  Explore the tradition of fasting and different ways to enter into fasting that will allow you to grow in spirit and faithfulness.

Forming Covenant Groups  BILL PYATT 
Covenant Discipleship groups are adapted from the early Methodist class meeting. Its goal is to form members into leaders in discipleship for the congregation and the world.  Learn the “how” and “why” to launch groups in your church.

Intentional Prayer Ministry in the Church  PAUL DINGES 
This workshop will help leaders begin to plan how to “transform the prayer life of your congregation by bringing prayer into all areas of church life.” This workshop will offer a brief introduction to four key topics

How and Why to Fast ANN CHAMPION
Forming Covenant Groups BILL PYATT
Intentional Prayer Ministry in the Church PAUL DINGES
*Saturday Afternoon Small Group Experience Session


When I am too upset to pray silently or aloud, I go to my journal, write what is on my heart. I write almost every day. It takes more thought to write, rather than say, a prayer. I can take my time, think deeper.

Taizè Prayer    MIRANDA DINGES 
The Taizé community is widely known for its unique style of worship and prayer centered in silence and repetitive singing. In this session, we will learn about the history of the Taizé, discuss how you can implement their style of prayer in your own community, and practice it ourselves.

Labyrinth Prayer  SHARON MONROE
A prayer labyrinth allows you to meditate, pray and connect with God as you take this journey of silence and simplicity. Participants will walk a floor labyrinth, make a finger labyrinth, and receive examples of prayers, and learn design structures.

Labyrinth Prayer SHARON MONROE
*Final Saturday Afternoon Small Group

Sharing God’s Word through Photography KAREN FABIAN
Hear God speak to you through visual images and learn techniques to capture your vision and enhance your photos. Each person will have opportunity to both hear what God is saying in photos, and take some of their own. (Those who choose this session should bring a camera, tablet or smart phone.)

Growing in God      LORI BULTEMEIER
Help children grow in the knowledge and love of Jesus. In this session, we will look at how we develop- intellectually, morally, and spiritually. We will spend some time talking about how the church can reach and minister to families who have children with special needs.

Shaped by the Word   JOY SCHLESSELMAN
How do we do more than just study the Bible, but allow it to shape us? We will discuss how the Bible forms us spiritually to BE the “words” of God in our daily lives.

Sharing God’s Word through Photography KAREN FABIAN
Shaped by the Word JOY SCHLESSELMAN
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