Archived ContemplativeRetreats and Seminars
Contemplative special events at Saint James
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.
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 Meister EckhartDecember 6, 2019, 10 AM - 4 PM 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
March 2, 2019; 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM
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
December 10, 2018; 10 AM - 4 PM
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 on December 1 & 2, 2017. 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
Retreat video sessions December 1st & 2nd, 2017
Session 1: Friday, 7 - 8:30 PMFr. 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 AMFr. Laurence looks at the difference of mindfulness to meditation and contemplation, among other related ideas and topics.
Session 3: Saturday, 10:45 – 11:45 AMFr. 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 PMFr. 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 PMFr. Laurence has a question and answer session and introduces the Bonnevaux community to retreatants.
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