Last fall, the seven members of the *cino volunteer staff and intentional community went on retreat together at St. Gregory’s Abbey in Three Rivers.  Though the monastery is just a 10-minute drive from home, the act of heading out into the woods together for an overnight gave us enough distance to gain some much-needed perspective on our shared work.

Last weekend, that same group of seven gathered again at St. Benedict’s guest house.  When we initially scheduled our annual retreat for this fall, we perhaps were not aware of all of the changes we’d be facing as a group and how much we’d really need this time of sharing and discernment on retreat.  One of us will be moving away at the end of the year.  Several others have had significant job changes — all for the better, but demanding more time and energy.  Another is considering a local move.  Overall, we find ourselves with a much different capacity to do everything we did in the past, while we still remain committed to our common work.

Thanks to skilled facilitation, good food and plenty of play time, we were able to begin and continue important conversations about where we are, and where we’re headed in 2015.  The Rectory, our community house, will be changing significantly, and we supported each other in seeing this shift not as a problem, but as a possibility.  We also honestly acknowledged which of our activities and community connections are life-giving to each of us and which are draining, which is important to acknowledge as we head into a year that we hope will be characterized by joy, gentle change, relatedness, clarity of vision and more-with-less.

We started plugging in some things on the *cino calendar for 2015, but I think we’d all agree that we left on Sunday afternoon with more questions than answers.  And that’s not a bad thing as we head into a season of the year characterized by rest, reflection and waiting.  As we continue to meet for weekly staff meetings and book discussions (we’ve been going through Peter Block’s Community: The Structure of Belonging), we plan to keep the questions in front of us, discerning our next steps with trust and openness.  We appreciate your thoughts and prayers as we seek to navigate the coming months as a loving community, for the sake of our greater community.

Last modified: March 4, 2020