The Breath of God

"Then God took dust of the earth and formed a human form and breathed into that form the breath of life, and that form became a living being." (Gen.2:7) What does this Hebrew creation story tell us about our identity as creatures of earth and children of God? What does it suggest about our own breath as a metaphor for our prayer, about the connection between body and spirit, and about the rhythm of work and rest in our lives? In this workshop or retreat, we will explore the various layers of meaning in Gen.2:7 through reflection, attention to our breath, movement prayer exercises, and centering prayer.

Temple of the Spirit (Spiritual Exercises)

St. Paul said that the human body is a "temple of the Spirit," a holy space. What does that mean in terms of our own bodies, our life, and our prayer? We will explore the theme not merely through spoken reflection but through simple "spiritual exercises" which help us to integrate body and spirit: movements drawn from hatha yoga and t'ai chi, breathing exercises, walking meditation, circle dances, and movement mantras. This workshop is suitable for people of any age or ability. Wear comfortable clothes in which you can move freely.

Organic Prayer

How can our attentiveness to the natural world deepen our relationship with our Creator and give new urgency to our stewardship of the earth? When we read Gen.2:7, we find ourselves described as creatures of "dust" (adamah), filled with the gift of life (ruach). We are literally adams (earthlings)!

During our time together, we will explore ways to deep our sense of that reality. Simple exercises that engage our own bodies as partners in prayer, as well as meditating in various ways on the "Book of Nature" will help us understand "organically" that life in Christ finds its fruition in responding to God's call to life-giving action in the world.

Bringing Hymns to Life

Have you ever wondered about the stories behind the hymns you sing in church? Did the words surprise you, challenge you, or inspire you? These poems from every era of Christian history can beckon us into the presence of the divine. They also reveal to us something about the context and historical periods in which they were written, as well as the personalities and spiritual outlook of their writers. During our time together, we will learn the background of selected texts and explore how they can be used in Christian formation and prayer. Finally, we will sing them, for, in the words of Augustine of Hippo, "the one who sings prays twice!"

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

The great "O" Antiphons of Advent, expressed both in their original 9th century form and in the familiar Advent hymn "O come, O come, Emmanuel", provide the theme of this Advent retreat or quiet day. Each antiphon emphasizes an attribute of the longed-for Messiah. Their powerful images express the deep human longing for a different kind of world, the world described by Jesus as "the Kingdom of God," a place of peace, justice, and love. We will explore the Scriptural source of each antiphon, as well as its meaning today, through spoken reflection, simple gesture, silence, and song.

Journey to Felicity: a Pilgrimage with Dante

"In the middle of the journey of our life I came to myself in a dark wood…" Thus begins the three-part Commedia, or Divine Comedy, written by Dante Alighieri, the great 13th -century Florentine poet "to remove those living in this life from a state of misery and lead them to the state of felicity." Dante is a wise and entertaining guide to our own journeys through life. As we follow his footsteps through the Inferno, the Purgatorio, and the Paradiso, we are likely to recognize landmarks in the ever-changing landscape of our own souls. We can learn much from him about the path to "felicity," the Paradise which is the fullness of God's presence. No prior knowledge of the Commedia is needed.

"All Shall be Well": Praying with Julian of Norwich

Spend time exploring the life and thought of the 14th-century mystic Julian of Norwich. Through presentations, reflection, movement, music, and art, we will deepen our understanding of her extraordinary spirituality, which reveals God to be mother as well as father, the all-loving Source who makes "all things well."

Grounded in Love

It has been said that all of nature is a “book about God.”  During this Quiet Day/Workshop/Retreat we will explore many ways of discovering God through the natural world.  The new earth-awareness that is so necessary to humanity at this time is grounded in love.  It begins with love for the Creator and the creation, and extends to our brothers and sisters across the world and those who will follow us in the future. 
During our time together, we will discover ways of prayer that celebrate this love.  We will pay special attention to our own bodies -- part of the “book about God”– and  meditate on texts from the Christian spiritual tradition that express our solidarity with the natural world.  Finally, we will consider the change of consciousness that inevitably grows out of our experience, so that we can return to our homes and parishes with a heightened sense of wonder and delight in the beauty of the earth, an increased sense of urgency in preserving that beauty, and motivation to do our part in contributing to the healing of the planet.

Other themes:
Breathing Space ("Catching Your Breath", for lay and ordained church professionals)

An exploration of the rhythm of sabbath time and ministry time.

Stress-Reduction and Spirituality

Variations on the themes in The Breath of God, Temple of the Spirit/Spiritual Exercises, and Breathing Space.

Christian Yoga

Incarnational spirituality expressed through simple hatha yoga exercises.

The Interior Castle: Praying with St. Teresa of Avila

"I began to think of the soul as if it were a castle made of a single diamond".

God, the World, and Me

A series of classes for young children incorporating Bible story, drama, music, dance, and puppetry.

Retreats, workshops, and programs can be designed for seasons of the church year: Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, and Pentecost.


The Reverend Nancy Roth,
330 Morgan Street, Oberlin, Ohio 44074
E-mail: RevNancyRoth@aol.com
Phone: 440-774-1813

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