Pittsburgh Friends Meeting Fall Gathering

​Getting Ready for the Journey: Fall Gathering, 2013
The dates: Friday evening, September 20, through lunch on Sunday, September 22. The place: Camp Crestfield, www.crestfield.net. The theme: “Journey Toward Wholeness,” based upon Parker Palmer’s book A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life. Our guide on this adventure: Valerie Brown, a trained facilitator with the Center for Courage & Renewal®.
Valerie will lead us in three sessions on Saturday, September 21.
Session 1, from 9:30 am until 12:15 pm, will begin with an introduction to Palmer’s Circle of Trust® approach. Valerie will review the Circle of Trust® “Touchstones,” which include such guidelines as “Be present as fully as possible,” “Speak your truth in ways that respect other people’s truth,” “Learn to respond with honest, open questions,” “Attend to your own inner teacher,” and “Observe deep confidentiality.” Then she will guide us along “The Thread We Follow” as we look at life patterns and life meaning, and examine issues of transition, vocation, direction, and purpose.
In the afternoon, from 1:45‐3 pm, Session 2, “Integrity: Living Whole,” will continue this exploration. Immediately following dinner, Closing Circle, 6:45‐7:45, “Invoking the Lessons,” will focus on integration, intentions, learning, challenges, and surprises.
Valerie suggests that we prepare for this retreat by reflecting on our personal intentions and expectations for the weekend. We might do this by writing or drawing or in some other expressive way. The list of Touchstones will be made available during registration in August, and we are encouraged to read and consider them. In packing for this journey, we are urged to bring a journal or notebook for writing personal reflections, and “an object that symbolizes your intention for the retreat and that has personal meaning for you.”
The Young Friends’ Fall Gathering itinerary is still being planned.
One possibility for Friday night is a literal “journey” in the form of a hayride. On Saturday morning the youth leaders will engage the kids in Simulation Games appropriate to the retreat theme. Saturday afternoon will offer adventure activities suited to the various age groups. And on Saturday evening, the kids will enjoy a campfire while the adults meet with Valerie Brown for the final session. Then from 8 to 9 pm the Talent Show will bring all ages together. The registration form will provide a place to indicate interest in presenting a Talent Show act. (Please remember: No more than five minutes!)
Registration for Fall Gathering begins Sunday, August 4. The registration form and a tentative schedule will be included in the August newsletter. Look for them there, as well as more information in a final preview article, and look for the registration table on August 4 and subsequent Sundays!
submitted by Nancy E. James


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