Archived Urban Well Events
Contemplative retreats and seminars
In addition to our parish-wide day retreats, Saint James also offers contemplative events for the community. Below are just a few we've hosted in the recent past. Click each title to learn more.
Join Fr. David Peck and Prof. Randall Zachman on a trip to the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland to view an exquisite collection of Buddhist art including the carved figure of a Bodhisattva (one who seeks enlightenment) from the 2nd or 3rd century, Pakistan.
The Walters Art Museum
The Walters Art Museum is among America’s most distinctive museums, forging connections between people and art from cultures around the world, spanning seven millennia. Located in Baltimore’s Mount Vernon neighborhood, the Walters is free for all. The museum’s campus includes five historic buildings and over 36,000 art objects. Moving through the museum’s galleries, visitors encounter a stunning array of objects, from 19th-century paintings of French country and city life to Ethiopian icons, richly illuminated Qur’ans and Gospel books, ancient Roman sarcophagi and images of the Buddha.
8:30 AM: Gather at Lancaster Shopping Center, by the old AC More building on the Oregon Pike side of the shopping center
9:00 AM: Depart for Baltimore by coach bus
11:30 AM: Lunch at the Mount Vernon Marketplace, a five-minute walk from the museum. Or if preferred, participants are invited to bring their own lunch.
12:30 PM: Enter museum to view Buddhist art as well as other collections as time allows. Fr. David Peck and Dr. Randall Zachman will curate the visit and help us understand the art in the context of Buddhist teachings and beliefs.
3:00 PM: Board coach bus and return to Lancaster at approximately 5 PM
In person and streamed with Grace Song, Rev. David Peck and Prof. Randall Zachman
Come join a day-long workshop to stimulate head, heart and body!
This workshop is for people anchored in a Christian contemplative tradition who want to explore the insights that Buddhism offers for inner and outer peace building. Specifically, participants will explore the concepts of Wisdom and Compassion through teachings, practices and discussion.
- Learn some of the major tenets of Buddhism.
- Experience practices from Buddhism that help us find peace and balance.
- Get insights from Buddhism related to personal harmony and social impact.
- Practice guided meditation- understanding of physical postures, breathing and gentle movement.
- Reflect on how to deepen compassion in everyday life.
- Take away simple practices to enhance peace and balance in your life.
Saturday, September 18, 3:30 - 5:30 PM
A live, in-person event at Saint James
Reception following in the renovated historic rectory*
Registration kindly requested for planning purposes
Think of someone in your life who listened to your story, understood you as a whole person and helped you find your path. That person was a mentor to you and your relationship with them may have been one of the richest ever.
Mentoring is something that can happen organically, but are there ways of making it happen more intentionally? Can you help someone flourish as a whole person? Can you be a mentor? Or would you like to find a mentor for yourself?
Rick Woolworth will lead a two-hour workshop on mentoring (and being mentored) which will explore what mentoring is, why it’s a powerful way to enrich lives and how to do it. He’ll show why mentoring used to be common in society (think apprentices and families working together on farms), and why we hunger for those lost connections today. And he’ll challenge you to think about how you might offer yourself as a listener, a guide and someone who lifts up others across generations. He’ll also discuss where you might find a mentor.
Hunter Mobley Returns to Saint James!
Hunter Mobley returns to Saint James after his popular weekend retreat and forum session in 2019. This time, he offers another exploration of the Enneagram—relationships!
Let's face it; they are complicated! Whether at home or at school, at work or at play, with our families, friends or even at church (!), people see the world and manage their relationships differently. And some relationships are. . . well, . . . easier than others.
Who will benefit from this retreat? This retreat is for life learners and those wishing to improve and deepen relationships in all aspects of life. In addition to learning about oneself through the enneagram framework, participants will gain helpful new insights into relationships with others.
The retreat begins Friday evening with Fr. David and Hunter Mobley providing an overview of the Enneagram system of personality types and the framework it provides for understanding people.
On Saturday, participants learn about enneagram triads, stances and sub-types—all of which are invaluable tools in understanding how people relate to one another, why misunderstandings happen, and how empathy and compassion can help one live in harmony with others.
Saturday, February 20, 2021
Who was Howard Thurman and what can he teach us? Why is this theologian especially relevant to us today?
Howard Thurman engaged with both Christian wisdom and mystical insights. He was committed to non-violent practices like those taught by Ghandi. And, “He rather gently and powerfully moved through the world in a spirit of grace, dignity, and humility,” says Professor Walter Fluker. And so, in today’s shrill and sharply divided environment, Howard Thurman’s teachings and way of being are especially relevant.
In this workshop, we’ll explore a spirituality that gives us a more reconciling and less reactive way to engage, and disengage, from the violence of our current world.
Our workshop leader will be Dr. Tejai Beulah, an assistant professor of history, ethics and black church and African diaspora studies at Methodist Theological School in Ohio. Her areas of expertise include African American studies, race and the ethical thought of Martin Luther King Jr. and Howard Thurman.
Who is this workshop for? Content and time of workshop may be more suitable for ages 16 years old and up, but all are welcome. Previous knowledge of meditative practice or Howard Thurman not required.
What’s the format? The format will be via Zoom and will include a presentation by Dr. Beulah, meditation and conversations with the speaker and among the group about Howard Thurman and what he has to teach us.
In the stillness of the quiet, if we listen, we can hear the whisper of the heart giving strength to weakness, courage to fear, hope to despair.—Howard Thurman
Lessons from an
Irish Poet and Peacemaker
Pádraig Ó Tuama, world-renowned poet, theologian and host of the Poetry Unbound segment of Krista Tippet’s award winning initiative On Being, will join us via Zoom from Belfast, Ireland to read selected works on conflict, peacemaking and reconciliation followed by Q&A.
Saturday, November 14, 2020 via Zoom Webinar at 4 PM (EST)
4:00 - 5:30 PM: Pádraig Ó Tuama’s presentation and discussion via Zoom.
5:30 – 6:15 PM: Livestreamed service from Saint James focused on praying the psalms. Access available by livestream link only.
A Centering Prayer Retreat
Father Matthew Wright will lead an online retreat to introduce many who are new to the contemplative tradition of Christianity as well as help deepen the practice of those who have a centering prayer practice.
Father Matthew will help us go beyond intellectual and dogmatic concepts that limit our faith and will help us find that richer faith, hope and love we long for in this time of COVID stress and isolation. The retreat is offered in an easy-to-access live zoom format in three 90 minute sessions.
The first on Friday evening at 7 PM followed by Compline at 9 PM with oud and candlelight. The second on Saturday morning at 10 AM and the third on Saturday afternoon at 2 PM. Each session stands alone and if you miss one a summary will be given to bridge any gaps.
The Saint John's Bible Series
Linking sacred art with spiritual imagination
Tuesday evenings in June, 2020
The Rev. Jim Strader-Sasser, Priest-in-Charge at Christ Memorial Episcopal Church in Danville, PA and The Rev. Dr. Howell Sasser, Rector at St. Thomas in Newark Delaware, presented a five-session liturgical and contemplative online series through the Gospel of John using the illuminated text from The Heritage Edition of The Saint John’s Bible.
In this series, the Scriptures was opened to us in a new way as we continued our journey toward God in confusing times. The goal of the sessions was to offer participants a fully sensory and contemplative encounter with The Gospel of John. Together we explored the themes of the Incarnation, the identities of Jesus, God’s desire to offer re-birth and new life, and Mary’s encounter with the risen Christ. We also opened our senses to carefully paired music as we contemplated the exquisite images and calligraphy of this handcrafted rare volume, referred to as “America’s Book of Kells.”
The Saint John’s Bible is a singular achievement: the complete text of the Bible, written on calfskin vellum using traditional tools and inks. As a work of sacred art, it ignites the spiritual imagination of all those who view its pages. It stands alone. However, the beauty, richness, and inspiration of The Saint John’s Bible are not limited to those able to see the original pages in a museum setting.
Because of the Heritage Edition, a masterpiece in its own right, people around the world can experience The Saint John’s Bible. Limited to 299 seven-volume sets, the Heritage Edition of The Saint John’s Bible is true to the scale, beauty, and artistic intent of the original manuscript. Let these magnificent volumes inspire you and your community.
A Quiet Advent Day with
Led by Glenn Mitchell, Director of Oasis Ministries in Camp Hill and spiritual director Kimberlee Peifer
Saint James Episcopal Church and Oasis Ministries celebrated the life of Meister Eckhart, a late 13th to early 14th-century German theologian, philosopher, inspiring preacher and mystic.
The day was spent exploring the inspiring life and teachings of Eckhart with time set aside to consider his words in the context of our own lives. The day concluded with a mass including themes from Eckhart’s life and teaching.
Being True to Ourselves in Christ
Hunter Mobley, author, law professor, attorney and Enneagram teacher, will lead us through this centuries old tradition that helps us discern both our shadow side and our path toward healing.
In Mobley's program, Know Your Number, we will learn our Enneagram types (one of nine numbers, 1-9) and begin a lifelong journey of spiritual work to move beyond our inherited patterns of behavior to wholeness and transformation.
Kimberlee Peifer, Director for Contemplative Prayer and Practices at Saint James, was our guide in centering practices throughout the day. Our time concluded with our regularly scheduled 5 PM mass featuring music from The Phantom of the Opera.
About Hunter Mobley
Hunter Mobley was introduced to the ancient spiritual wisdom tool, the Enneagram, years ago when he met master Enneagram teacher, Suzanne Stabile. Hunter completed a multi-year old-fashioned apprenticeship with Suzanne as formation for his Enneagram teaching ministry at conferences, retreats, corporate events, and churches. Hunter is a teacher at Suzanne and Joe Stabile’s teaching center in Dallas, Texas. Hunter is currently Executive Pastor at Christ Church Nashville, home of the Grammy-nominated Christ Church Choir. He also teaches as an adjunct professor at Belmont University College of Law. With degrees from Davidson College (B.S.), University of Kentucky (J.D.), and New York University (LL.M.), Hunter combines experience and insights from ministry, academia, and law practice as he teaches the Enneagram. Hunter has served his community as Vice-President of the Association for the Preservation of Tennessee's Antiquities, and as a Board member for Begin Anew and Mercy Multiplied International. Along with Dan Scott, Hunter is co-author of three devotional books, Road to Pentecost, Road to Christmas, and Twelve Drummers Drumming.
Thomas Merton Day
Saint James Episcopal Church and Oasis Ministries remembered Thomas Merton on the 50th anniversary of his death. This quiet day of remembrance included times of reflection and prayer on his writings and the themes and writings of Merton’s life. The day ended with an ecumenical mass in memory of Father Louis as Merton was known in the monastery. Our guides for the day were Kimberlee Peifer, Director for Contemplative Prayer and Practices at Saint James Episcopal Church and Glenn Mitchell, Director of Oasis Ministries, Camp Hill, PA.
In the fall of 1968, after a tumultuous year that saw the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Senator Robert F. Kennedy, Thomas Merton left the Monastery of Gethsemani on an extensive trip to Asia. On the 10th of December, after addressing a conference on monasticism, Merton was accidentally electrocuted in his room by faulty wiring in a fan. He was 53. Thomas Merton was one of the most significant religious voices of the 20th century and his prolific writing spoke to the contemporary issues of his day—and our day: war, racism, the environment, interfaith dialogue, and spiritual deepening.
Fr. Laurence Freeman, OSB, Director of the World Community for Christian Meditation, led this weekend retreat. He focused on the elements of contemplation – silence and simplicity – and how they help deepen our experience and understanding of Advent. In our time together we learned and engaged more with both silence and simplicity through meditation, a series of sessions led by Fr. Laurence, a sung compline service by candlelight and a final question and answer session culminating in a contemplative mass infused with silence, stillness, and simplicity. Learn more about Father Laurence.
All sessions were held on the campus of Saint James Episcopal Church. Founded in 1744, Saint James is a vibrant, innovative parish whose people are growing in their faith and exploring contemplative spiritual practices. Situated in the heart of historic downtown Lancaster, PA, one of America’s oldest and most dynamic inland cities, Saint James is within easy walking distance of a host of cafes and restaurants, hotels and historic attractions. Located in south central PA, the city is easily accessible by Amtrak and is approximately 3 hrs from NYC, 2.5 from Washington DC, 1.5 from both Philadelphia and Baltimore and 45 minutes from Harrisburg.
Contemplative Revolution with Fr. Laurence Freeman, OSB
Session 1: Friday, 7 - 8:30 PM
Fr. Laurence talks about contemplation as a revolution and the wisdom of saints throughout the ages. He references Aquinas (contemplation as simple enjoyment of the truth); Simone Weil’s new holiness/saintliness for this time; also Antony of the Desert. The talk is completed with instruction on the basic practice of meditation.
Session 2: Saturday, 9 - 10:15 AM
Fr. Laurence looks at the difference of mindfulness to meditation and contemplation, among other related ideas and topics.
Session 3: Saturday, 10:45 – 11:45 AM
Fr. Laurence speaks of, among other topics, contemplative prayer in the light of its root, “templum” meaning an open space; not a “temple” as in a building. Meditation then is a means of creating a new space, a new field, where people and truth can meet together.
Session 4: Saturday, 2 – 3 PM
Fr. Laurence discusses asceticism, discipline, urgency and training/practice in terms of contemplation and meditation. He also speaks on non-attachment to language and traditions…name of God, translations of text, etc.
Session 5: Saturday, 3:30 - 4:30 PM
Fr. Laurence has a question and answer session and introduces the Bonnevaux community to retreatants.
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