“This… spoke powerfully to me, not only to how I was complete as a person, but also where I fitted into the body of Christ.”
Dignity and Worth’s first weekend retreat took place at Sarum College in Salisbury at the end of January. The Sarum Cross is pictured (right).
Queer artist and pioneer minister Ric Stott led sessions in the welcoming space of the college which encouraged all the participants to explore the theme ‘Identities in Christ’ through art, conversation, reflection and contemplation.
Using Jesus’ parable of the wedding banquet from Matthew’s Gospel (chapter 22), Ric explored the idea of Jesus welcoming all to the table. The idea of bringing personal identities to Christ was explored sensitively and with enough space to reflect. A paper life-sized human body (later cut into pieces and re-assembled) was also a focus for reflection.
Participants had a chance to talk about current discussions in the Methodist Church and to share in a Sunday morning Communion service, as well as plenty of free time to explore the city, read or rest.
Dignity and Worth member Jenny Corkett shared some thoughts about her experience of being part of the retreat:
“The thought of going on a retreat is not everyone’s cup of tea, but having gone on a few others over the years, I jumped at the chance to attend Dignity and Worth’s very first retreat at Sarum College. I was not disappointed.
For me, going on a retreat enables me to accomplish three things: I can relax, reflect and recharge, both physically and spiritually, moving away from the familiar and a busy work life to a place of beauty – quiet with no distractions – which opens up an opportunity to discover more about myself and my relationship with God – and the way ahead on my faith journey.”
“The title of the retreat, Identities in Christ, didn’t give much away, but after an evening meal and the arrival of the others sharing in this time, we were asked to describe ourselves in single words on cards, ready to place on a life size paper cut out of a human body.
“Over the course of the weekend, we were then asked to cut the paper body up and draw/write on the part we had taken. This, as it turned out, spoke powerfully to me, not only to how I was now complete as a person, but also where I fitted into the body of Christ.
“I have always found some of the simplest pictures or illustrations speak to me with real depth and meaning, when I am still and open to what God wants to reveal to me.
“I am still reflecting on what I believe God revealed to me through this retreat. The whole weekend was a delight, to be with likeminded people, sharing sacred spaces and fellowship in worship, and socially over food and drink. I look forward, work permitting, to future retreats and the opportunity to let go and let God.”
Many thanks to Ric for leading the weekend, to Sarum College for hosting and to everyone who organised and took part.