Rev Ross Pearce reflects on the thoroughly enjoyable PPEP ministers’ retreat held on Thursday 26th October. The purpose of a retreat is to step away from one’s everyday life to focus on your self and your spiritual connection through an experience of guided reflection and peaceful contemplation.

Ministry agents from across the Presbytery gathered at Balnarring Uniting Church on Thursday October 26 for a retreat. The theme was based around the ‘I AM’ sayings of Jesus from the gospel of John, with the opportunity for self-reflection through going for a walk or sitting on the beach.
Our Presbytery Ministers – Anneke and David – had creatively arranged the church with resources for reflection for each of the sayings, together with questions to ponder. The question set for “I am the bread of life” was: what is it that feeds you? My own answer was ‘new ideas, new connections, new insights’. In other words, retreats just like this.

As I contemplated each collection of scripture texts, images and interactive displays, new ideas and connections formed in my mind.

I was prompted to write thoughts that may develop into poems or reflections for worship, or simply serve as memory cues for the future.
The display for “I am the light of the world” led me to contemplate the nature of the light Jesus is referring to. While the display matched the lighthouse in the stain glass window, a lighthouse is a warning not a leading light. Neither was Jesus talking about streetlights or security lights; the light of the world is attracting and guiding.
The display for “I am with you till the end of the age” invited reflection on creeds. I reflected on how I appreciate faith statements that are open and inviting, rather than the polished creeds that sound final and defined and sit like commandments.

The “I am the bread of life” display set me to reflect on kneading:
Kneading, the ultimate juxtaposition,
put all things beside other things
see all things from all directions
play out all scenarios
Work the problem like working dough
reveal a solution in arrangement of
the issues
and factors
and ingredients.
Many thanks to Anneke and David for a refreshing, insightful and welcoming retreat, and the collegial gathering in the hospitality of the Balnarring Congregation.

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