Looking for a fresh approach to adult programming for your congregation or retreat center? Capture the growing enthusiasm for poetry!
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.
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. Available themes have been carefully constructed with this in mind, and have been successfully paired with calendar events that capture the interest of the community.
A few examples:
- 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
Program components can include sharing and stories, journaling, writing, nature walks, visual meditation, praying, using guided imagery, silence and self-reflection, music and art, writing prompts, etc.
People from all walks of life have attended and appreciated 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:
“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