This fall, we are partnering with Karen Hering, a literary minister and author of Writing to Wake the Soul, to offer a contemplative writing program for lay people in six congregations in the Twin Cities.
Karen’s practice of spiritual writing is not just for adept writers; the practice is designed to help people from various walks of life explore and express their faith. Accessible and adaptable to a wide variety of audiences, the practice draws from scriptio divina, current theories of metaphorical thinking, and Karen’s experiences in small group ministry to offer participants pastoral care and aid in their spiritual formation and discernment.
The contemplative writing program is tailored to the needs of each congregation. Some congregations are incorporating the program into their small group ministry, while others are using it as a Sunday morning adult education program. So far, the program has commenced in three congregations. At one congregation, a group largely comprised of at-home parents and retirees met on a Friday morning for writing exercises around the theme of vocation. At another congregation, participants ranging in age from 14 to 94 gathered in a local middle school’s multi-purpose room to write their way through brokenness—asking whether brokenness is ever advantageous and how it can be employed for good. Later in the fall, two congregations will join together to explore the wonder of incarnation for Advent, and in early winter another congregation will delve into writing exercises on hospitality.
The participating congregations in the contemplative writing program include Chain of Lakes Church, Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church, Judson Memorial Baptist Church, Minnetonka United Methodist Church, Parkway United Church of Christ, and Robbinsdale United Church of Christ. So far, it seems clear that our hope of nurturing theological literacy and engagement among laypeople in the Twin Cities is coming to fruition.
If you are interested in learning more about Karen Hering and the practice of contemplative spiritual writing, check out our video interviews with Karen.