Looking for a fresh approach to adult programming for your congregation or retreat center?
With the recent resurgence of interest in poetry (as reflected in the growing number of writing groups, poetry slams, etc), the spiritual community is recognizing that poetry opens the heart. For example, in 2015, the Yale Divinity School offered a conference called “Love Bade Me Welcome” which focused on using poetry in retreat work, teaching, preaching, and spiritual development. The energy at the conference was palpable as the attendees mutually mentored one another in the practical benefits of poetry as a tool for reflection.
So how can your adult formation program or retreat center capture some of this growing enthusiasm for poetry? Kim has been leading poetry circles for over ten years, and in her experience, choosing the theme of the program to coincide with a pertinent season or holiday is an excellent way to increase the attendance of an event and the engagement of its participants. The programs on this page have been carefully constructed with this in mind, and have been successfully paired with calendar events that capture the interest of the community. Just a few examples of these include:
- Advent: “We Wait in Joyful Hope: Poems of Advent and Christmas,” which uses poetry to help us reflect on this important time of year with renewed mindfulness
- St. Patrick’s Day: “Celtic Spirituality and Poetry,” with poems and a short film introducing us to the landscapes, the prayer and the poetry of a rich tradition
- Autumn: “Wabi Sabi: The Love of Things Impermanent and Imperfect,” exploring this fascinating Japanese concept through poetry and art that enhances our appreciation of the beautiful Fall season
- Mother’s Day: “A Woman is like a Teabag,” combined with tea and finger foods to create an intergenerational event, with poems examining the identities of women and celebrating their strengths
Kim’s own roots are in the Episcopal and Catholic churches. She has a master’s degree in religious education from Duquesne University, and is a certified pastoral minister. She taught the courses Introduction to the Bible and Women in Scripture for 15 years at a Lutheran University (Capitol University), and she has completed a 2 year Spiritual Director’s certification program (the Haden Institute) in Niagara Falls, Canada with congregational leaders and spiritual companions from many denominations.
People from all walks of life have attended these programs, including chaplains, clergy, helping professionals, healthcare professionals, writers, Stephen’s Ministers, spiritual directors, and educators. Join the ranks of thoughtful men and women who had these things to say about the programs on this page:
“Good poetry speaks to the heart and the imagination. Your mind is free to wander the fertile fields and explore the rich harvest. With poetry circles you can go deeper and share the experience.”
– Sister Regina Fierman, Sister of Charity at St. Augustine
“Your perspective and insights resonate in my mind…we are very thankful that you could expand the EI message here at Firelands.”
– Connie Dagg, Firelands Medical Center
Based on the topic, and your group’s needs, your experience may include:
- Poetry readings and discussion
- Sharing and stories
- Private journaling
- Writing prompts (followed by optional sharing)
- Guided imagery
- Visual meditation
- Silence and self-reflection
- Nature walks
- Music and art
Kim offers the topics below, which can be structured as evening sessions, half-day mini-retreats, or full-day or weekend retreats.
In addition, WordSpa ministries can select poems for a customized program on a theme of your choosing, or a combination of multiple listed themes.