An Open Letter concerning Sustainable Faith School of Contemplative Life: Kansas City & Minneapolis cohorts.
August 3, 2019
This note is to inform you of some major decisions we’ve had to make concerning our proposed School of Contemplative Living (SCL) retreats we had scheduled to kick off this coming fall 2019 (November) and winter 2020 (January).
As you might recall, SCL is a new ministry in spiritual formation from Sustainable Faith, with Sandy & me planning to conduct two “pilot” retreat series (Kansas City & Minneapolis) this next school year. Over the last six months, we’ve spent a good amount of time, energy, and resources getting these two SCL retreats off the ground, but now, as we get closer to the actual kickoff dates, we are finding that there just is not enough response to these courses to merit our continued efforts.
One of the key pieces in the curriculum called for these SCL retreats to be held at a local retreat center. While we did find two beautiful centers to work with us, we are now at the point where large deposits are required to hold our dates, and with the low enrollment response we’ve experienced thus far, we just don’t sense the wisdom in spending hundreds of dollars in deposits that we just might lose if the enrollment numbers don’t dramatically increase.
Our goal for each SCL was to enroll 18-24 persons, and at the present time, we had no one RSVP for our Minneapolis info meeting (July 31), and only eight folks have expressed interest in our info meeting in Kansas City, (Aug 18).
Going forward, for those who have expressed serious interest in SCL, know that Sandy & I have not given up completely with the SCL project, but we do need to go back to the drawing board with our planning team and re-think the costs, etc. finding a more feasible way to offer this valuable curriculum in a package that will better appeal to more people.
We’d love your input and prayers. We hope you understand our situation and will stay in touch with us as we explore, with Jesus, the next steps of this wonderful SCL curriculum.
In His service,
Marty & Sandy Boller
The School of Contemplative Life (SCL) is a retreat-based, 24-month exploration of ancient spiritual practices that are formative, nourishing, and have the effect of changing people from the inside out.
We’ve created this leisurely-paced, communal and substantial introduction to the contemplative life for people who want to deepen their experience of God’s love, discover new ways of praying and reading Scripture, learn the power of silence and solitude, establish better rhythms of rest & recreation, understand what makes them tick, find healing in broken areas of life, examine strong & persistent desires, learn how to make better life choices, and acquire a sense of mission and purpose for life.
In his book Falling Upward, Richard Rohr speaks of two halves of life. In the first half, we fill a container. It’s characterized by climbing the ladder, growing families, awards, accomplishments, and often our identity. In the second half of life, we’re invited to unpack that container and gain something infinitely more valuable and lasting. The School of Contemplative Life is for those who want to start unpacking.
Eight quarterly one-day retreats – two-year period – one beautiful retreat location!
I must listen to my life and soul and try to understand what it is truly about – quite apart from what I would like it to be about – or my life will never represent anything real in the world, no matter how earnest my intentions. Parker Palmer
Our SCL Locations & Dates: Two “pilot” locations with two different starting dates:
Kansas City: Savior Pastoral Center Retreat & Conference Center (only 30 minutes from the MCI airport!)
Minneapolis: Mt. Olivet Conference & Retreat Center (only 30 minutes from the MSP airport!)
Our SCL Schedule:
SCL is composed of eight overnight retreats held quarterly over a two-year period, with each retreat building slowly upon the other. The first four sessions focus heavily on your inner self. The last four help you become aware of how your inner work touches your outer world, culminating in a Rule of Life, and a stronger sense of mission. Each module is offered as an overnight retreat, going from late afternoon on Friday, ending around 4 pm on Saturday, and have a consistent rhythm of communal, experiential learning followed by individual communion with God and time to process afterward.
- 4 pm – Arrive & Settle In
- 6 pm – Dinner
- 7 pm – Session I
- 8:30 pm – Night Prayer
- 8:45 pm Silence with God
- 8 am – Morning Prayer/Break Silence
- 8:15 am – Breakfast
- 9 am – Session II
- 10:30 am – Time with God
- Noon – Lunch
- 1 pm – Session III
- 2:30 pm – Time with God
- 3:30 pm Reflection & Closing Prayer
- 4 pm – Dismiss
How Will I Know If Attending A SCL Is For Me?
Maybe you recognize yourself in one of the following statements:
- I feel like I’ve been at a plateau for a while. What new frontiers might God inviting me to explore?
- I’ve heard of spiritual disciplines, but I really don’t know how to make sense of them for my life.
- I would like to grow in my ability to notice God in my everyday life.
- I would like to know God better. I feel like I am at a stand-still in relating to Him.
- I want to grow spiritually. What might be a few next steps?
- I can’t see where I am in relation to God. I can’t see where I am headed.
- My spiritual life doesn’t seem to work the way it used to. What is going on?
- I would like to explore the intersection between my personal, spiritual life and my life of relationships and responsibilities.
Our SCL Module Overview:
Weekend #1: SOUL REST: getting in touch with our desires through Jesus’ invitation to rest. Focus: Retreat/Discovery of Desire. Key Practice: Sabbath
Weekend #2: SOUL ROOM: creating space for God to change you from the inside out. Focus: Silence and Solitude. Key Practices: Silent Reflection & Prayer, Periods of Solitude
Weekend #3: SOUL FEEDING: learning to engage the scriptures for transformation. Focus: Being Nourished through Scripture. Key Practice: Lectio Divina w/ various accents
Weekend #4: SOUL CONNECTION: connecting to God through your body and prayer. Focus: The Body. Key Practices: Centering Prayer/Prayer Walking
Weekend #5: SOUL AWARENESS: knowing yourself better helps you know God better. Focus: Self-Awareness. Key Practice: Self-Examination via Enneagram
Weekend #6: SOUL HEALING: allowing God to touch you and heal you. Focus: Inner Healing. Key Practices: Attachment Inventory/Steps Toward Healing
Weekend #7: SOUL DISCERNMENT: making decisions in community. Focus: Discernment. Key Practices: Clearness Committee/Group Spiritual Direction
Weekend #8: SOUL MAKING: rearranging your life for transformation, mission, and community. Focus: Contemplative Activism. Key Practice: Developing a Rule of Life
Our SCL Pricing:
These Sustainable Faith SCL Retreats are “pilot” cohorts. Registration is very limited. Your $300 deposit holds your registration. Don’t delay, registration is limited to 18-24 registrants.
$300 per module when you make eight payments* of $262.50 (due prior to each Weekend). Including your $300 non-refundable deposit, your total cost for the two-year retreat (8 modules): $2400.
Too expensive? Think of it this way. Most folks spend over $100 per month for cable TV or going out to eat. Aren’t YOU worth $100 per month over the next two years if it would help you become all Jesus wants you to be?
* Payments made to Sustainable Faith via credit/debit card, PayPal or Apple Pay will be subject to an additional one-time cc fee of $100 (not included in prices above). Electronic checks/ACH payments are fee-less, however.
Your SCL Payment Includes:
- 8 quarterly 24-hour retreats with a private room and bath**
- 3 meals (Fri dinner, Sat breakfast, Sat lunch, and refreshments)
- Cohort materials (excluding your quarterly book assignments)
- A healthy balance of interactive teaching and guided times with God
- A new rhythm of life
- A mid-quarter experience (in-person or via on-line communication) with a cadre of people to share the learnings from the quarter
**Due to the specific nature of our cohort, which focuses on your own relationship with God, we suggest that each person have their own private sleeping room. In limited situations, we will attempt to accommodate married couples who would prefer to share a double room. Please contact us for full details.
Come make room for your soul with Marty & Sandy Boller, long-time pastors & spiritual directors through a series of eight 24-hour getaways placed quarterly over a two-year period, designed to explore and embrace the relationship that God desires to have with you. Questions? Contact Marty & Sandy Boller.
Take a look at this amazing story of one man’s story of transformation as he learned to slow down his life, walking at Godspeed rather than his own hurried pace…