Thursday, December 1, 2016

Awake in Advent! online retreat begins

Awake in Advent: 
Living God's Patience
God's Impatience

an online retreat
December 1-24, 2016

with option to continue (at no extra charge)
through the 12 days of Christmas
till January 6, 2017

See below the illustration
for information and registration.

Awake in Advent is an online spiritual retreat in the Christian tradition. It accompanies your your daily life during the season of Advent, which prepares the way for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus Christ in the season of Christmas.
If you choose, you may continue to participate in this retreat during the twelve days of Christmas, from December 25 to January 6, feast of the Epiphany. The mood will shift as we move from the Advent season to the Christmas season.  There is no additional cost for the Christmas portion of the retreat. It's a Christmas present.
An online retreat enables you to participate at home or any other place where you have a computer or tablet with internet access. You can read, meditate, and pray in a way that suits your schedule. Twenty minutes a day is a nice rhythm, but you can check in less often, or more often, and for a shorter or longer time. It's up to you. The resources for the retreat will be waiting for you on the retreat site. (More information on the technical aspect of the retreat below.)
Why this year's theme, "Awake in Advent: 
Living God's Patience and God's Impatience"?

Advent challenges our impatience and invites us to enter God's patience. It is the season of taking the long view, the view beyond our own small range of vision.

If we are to hear the good news that God is Emmanuel, God-with-us, we may have to slow down. Often God speaks very softly, in ordinary ways and places, in the daily events of our lives.

If the good news is to take root in us, we need to enter God's time, God's timetable.

Advent is not a flashy season. It takes time for good news to sink in, for love to grow, for wisdom to ripen, for lives to be transformed, for truth to dawn in us, for hope to ripen.
So in Advent, season of waiting for Christ, we take in the good news slowly, steadily, lighting candles one at at time, adding a new insight, a layer of understanding, every week and every day.

Yet Advent is also a time to enter God's impatience, a time of righteous anger, a time when prophets challenge our apathy and paralysis and urge us forward.

It is a season of visions and yearnings, in which the stories and songs in the scriptures speak of a God who longs to transform our hearts, our society, and creation itself -- soon, now, urgently.

One of the challenges of this season is to readjust our sense of time, to discern when it is appropriate to enter into God's patience and when it is time to enter into God's impatience.

It is helpful to do this in community. That's why we have the seasons of the church year. That's why we have each other. That's why we have this retreat.


Spiritual practices for both prayer and daily living will anchor us as well as launch us, with God's help, into a future we can only begin to imagine.

During our time together we will have opportunities to practice:

Sunday (or Saturday evening) Scriptural reflection:
A pause to ponder each new week of Advent with one or more of the biblical readings in the Sunday lectionary and a related reflection. This year's readings in both the Revised Common Lectionary and the Roman Catholic Lectionary are rich in images of new ways of being in nature and in community. The prophetic book of Isaiah is present every Sunday alongside the Psalm, Epistle, and Gospel.
Opening the Advent Calendar:
A daily Advent invitation: a piece of music or visual art. the commemoration of a saint's day or an anniversary, a piece of holy wisdom (in the form of a poem or quote), a personal reflection by the retreat facilitator, an example or story of righteous action in Advent.
Midweek Mindfulness:
Usually on Wednesday, sometimes early Thursday, a time to pause in the midst of our busy lives, to name the struggles in and around us, to practice mindfulness in a focused way with a simple spiritual exercise in daily life.
In particular this year, with the socio-economic, political, and cultural divisions and conflicts around the globe and after a bruising election season in the U.S., we will pay special attention to phenomena (inside and around us) such as fear, discouragement and despair, yearning for justice, and what Buddhist traditions call "right speech" and "right action."
We will do this in a spirit of kindness and compassion.
At all times:
The retreat welcomes your participation in the form of silence or speech. All posts will have a comments section in which you can offer or ask for support, prayer, or companionship in your questions, your practice of justice and mercy, and your struggle for hope.
An online retreat? How does that work?

The retreat offers daily resources online on a blog. More specifically, a closed blog.

What's a closed blog? It's a blog like this, but it is not public: it is open only to those whom the blog owner-administrator (that's me, Jane, the retreat facilitator) has signed in.

In other words, the retreat blog is not open to anybody wandering around the internet. It is not "searchable": random web surfers will not be able to view either the blog or our conversations in the comments. Conversations among retreatants remain private.

"Do I have to talk to other people on this retreat? I'm a very private person."

"Can I get some support here? I want some company."
Answer to both questions: Jane's online retreats offer you a choice; it is up to you to find your preferred balance between the solitary and the communal, between privacy and solidarity.
You can and may remain private and just read the blog and use the practices and meditations on your own. Nobody will force you to speak or disclose who you are.

Or you can and may take part in conversation with other retreatants. Conversation during the retreat takes place in writing, via the comments on the blog posts of the retreat blog. Please be prepared to observe confidentiality and to respect other participants' diverse experiences and outlooks.

Use the retreat according to your personality and your circumstances. The online retreat is like a room in which you are welcome to sit in the company of others and to be either visible or invisible.

Registration and payment

To register:

1) If you prefer to pay by check, write me, Jane Redmont, at and I will acknowledge your registration and send you the mailing address. I will also notify you when I receive your check.

OR (quicker and easier)

2) If you wish to pay by credit or debit card or with a PayPal account, simply register and pay in a single transaction using the secure PayPal button below.
Note: You can use that PayPal button and its secure connection to pay with a credit or debit card even if you don't have a PayPal account.
The PayPal mechanism will record your name and e-mail address and serve as your registration. You will also receive an acknowledgment from PayPal and from me.

Payment is non-refundable and due upon registration.

If you are in a situation of financial stress, please write me and we can arrange for a discount, payment plan, or scholarship.

If you wish to help make possible more scholarships and discounts, just check the "benefactor" rate below.

Retreat fees (choose one)

Retreat designer and facilitator

Jane Redmont is a retreat leader, spiritual director, pastoral worker, writer, and theologian who has worked in campus, urban, and parish ministries. An Episcopal Christian, she was also formed in the Catholic tradition and has Jewish and Unitarian Universalist family roots. She has been involved in work for justice and in ecumenical and interreligious relations all her life. She serves as a Congregational Consultant for the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts and is the author of When in Doubt, Sing: Prayer in Daily Life.

Questions? Concerns? Write me (Jane) here.

Note: We also have a course beginning soon on the theme of "Radical Hope, Wisdom, and Community Action in Hard Times." (We're working on a shorter title.) That is a class, not a retreat, also online and involving theological/spiritual and other readings. Watch this space for a link to a description and registration information. That course will run for at least a couple of months and will also have an option to register one module at a time rather than for the whole course.