On October 8-10, the Communities of Calling Initiative (CCI) welcomed leadership teams from seven of the 14 partner congregations to Collegeville, MN for the program’s opening retreat. The goals of the retreat were to orient participants to the CCI, introduce participants to the concepts and practices of vocation, and to give participants a peaceful, personal retreat experience before project planning. Teams will spend the entire first year of the five-year-long Initiative listening to their congregations for the needs, hopes, and values that arise before they begin planning. The retreat aimed to help teams enter into the reflective nature of the Initiative.
Participants spent most of the retreat reflecting with the Sower and the Seed passage from Mark 4. Inspired by images of scattered seeds and various kinds of soil, the group considered questions like: What kinds of seeds (words of God or calling) are met with rich, welcoming soil in your congregation? Are there some seeds that get choked out by the thorns? Who are the powerful “gardeners” of God’s word in your congregation? Illuminations from The Saint John’s Bible guided conversation as well.