Spiritual Formation Program
Do you seek a deeper spiritual experience?
The Lake Erie Yearly Meeting Spiritual Formation Program encourages Friends to listen carefully to God’s call in their lives. All who wish to deepen their spiritual lives are invited to join a spiritual formation group.
This includes participation in a local group and attendance at both an opening and closing retreat along with members of other spiritual formation groups.
Through the retreats and regular local group meetings, participants create with one another a close faith community for spiritual growth, mutual support, and encouragement. The group provides a structured, supportive community in which each member can discern the divine call and prepare to follow it.
In the autumn, Friends and attenders from the various monthly meetings and worship groups throughout Lake Erie Yearly Meeting gather for the first of two retreats to begin their commitment to a year in supportive community.
During this retreat we reflect on our spiritual yearnings and discern personal spiritual practices that nourish, support, and further our intentions toward Spirit. Both in community and in solitude we listen faithfully to the Inner Light, and seek to support and encourage one another in this discernment process.
There is time during the retreat for each local group to agree on its local meeting schedule and select readings for the year from a selection of books available for purchase.
The concluding retreat in the spring provides an opportunity to share insights, and to evaluate and enlarge on the program as we have lived it out in our daily lives.
All participants in each local group are encouraged to attend these retreats. Others in the yearly meeting interested in the program may attend the retreats as well.
“I found the retreats perfect for preparing me for my spiritual work.”
Personal Spiritual Practice
Each person chooses a spiritual practice for the year in order to open a new pathway to the Divine. This is a critical component of the Spiritual Formation Program.
Friends have chosen a variety of spiritual practices, such as journaling, meditation, yoga, daily worship or prayer, devotional reading, chanting, or mindful walking. Some practices may become lifelong exercises. Some may provide unexpected and creative avenues to an experience of the Unknowable.
Some participants find that their practice enables them both to cope with the pressures of the daily world and to enjoy deeper spiritual experience.
Many participants find that the experience of sharing their journey with a small and caring group of Friends helps them feel more connected to the Monthly Meeting. Everyone gains from the process of sharing and being supported on our journeys.
Could this be the year that you gather with Friends to see where the Spirit may begin to lead you?
“Just showing up regularly and sharing personal spiritual experiences
helps keep me in touch with the spiritual in my daily life.”
Local Group Meetings
Each Spiritual Formation Group schedules local meetings for the nine months of the program year. Many groups select one or more spiritual readings and discuss the impact the readings have had on them. These can include books on topics such as spiritual experience, prayer, community, the Religious Society of Friends, scripture, social justice, spiritual journals, or ministry.
Other meetings may provide an opportunity for each person to share where they are on their spiritual path and how their spiritual practice is working. Worship is included at some point during each meeting.
Many insights and deep relationships are forged in these intimate exchanges.
“It is because of this group that I remain as involved in my monthly meeting as I am.”
If you’ve felt the hunger for a deeper experience of faith, and for companions on the journey, you are invited to join us!
This text as a Pamphlet (PDF)
(best viewed printed back to back, and folded into thirds)
For more information on the Spiritual Formation Program, contact:
Sally Weaver Sommer, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Spiritual Formation Program is run by the LEYM Spiritual Formation Committee
under the guidance of the Ministry and Nurture Committee of Lake Erie Yearly Meeting.