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“Signs of Life” as we experience the Coronavirus outbreak.

In the monastery we speak of “enclosure,” where we can quiet ourselves and listen deeply for God’s voice, God’s presence. What does this current limitation on your movement invite as you pray your life? As you see streams of photos of those in our world without adequate shelter or who are homeless, pray they be “hidden under the shelter of God’s wings.”


In this video, The Rev. Becky Zartman is in conversation with Brs. Geoffrey Tristram, Jim Woodrum, David Vryhof and Nicholas Bartoli to discuss Shelter.

Questions for Meditation

The SSJE Rule notes that “God’s boundless welcome is something we already enjoy here and now in the Eucharist.” What parts of the liturgy feel to you like coming home?

As humans, we need shelter to survive. Once our physical needs are met, we long for a different type of shelter. Where do you feel most at home?


  • This week, when you return to the place where you feel most at home, pay attention to what you set down or let go of. How do you settle in?

Facilitator Support

The learning goals for Shelter are:

  • Connecting the sign of shelter to personal spirituality or experience
  • Understanding how shelter plays a role in Christian worship and community life
  • Learning a new contemplative practice that can help participants connect more deeply to the sign of shelter

Shelter: Small Group Guide

A detailed outline for leading a Small Group on Shelter, with notes, questions and tips on set up.

Shelter: Forum Curriculum

Preparation and guidance for using Shelter in a forum setting.

Downloads and Print outs

Quick links to PDFs for downloading and printing.

Practices to go deeper

Shelter: Facebook Live

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Shelter: Saturday

The way to be effective in the world is to start with what’s primary, which is God dwelling within us. Find that place within: the Christ within, the I-in-Christ, that place where God dwells, our true self – that place that is without fear, because nothing in the world can harm it. Out of that place of fearlessness, we’re then free to act out God’s will in the world in whatever ways we’re needed.

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Shelter: Friday

We are to hold things here with a kind of detachment: this is not the end for us. Having a beautiful home is not the purpose that we strive toward, because our permanent home is not here. This is a temporary home for us. We are on a journey to our real resting place.

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Shelter: Thursday

My most profound experience of being offered refuge and safety by another human being took place in silence. I just can’t put into words how precious a gift it was. And all she did was stay with me.

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Shelter: Wednesday

The people of God are always on the move, right from the very beginning. I think that nomadic sense is part of our Abrahamic roots. When we try to settle too much in our lives, we can forget that we’re actually on a journey. We’re called to be a pilgrim people.

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Shelter: Tuesday

In Scripture, the idea of home is closely linked with the presence of God and God’s protection. The psalms sing of hiding under the shelter of God’s wings, God as a crag and stronghold. God is a place of safety. At the same time, being at home with God is more than just safety. In the Gospel of John, Jesus promises, “My father and I will come and make our home with you.” When we dwell with God and in God, we find our truest home.

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Shelter: Monday

What greater feeling of home could there be than knowing that the Source of all your love, and the Source of all your desire, and the Source of all your gifts, and the Source of everything that you’re blessed with is in your presence all the time?

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Shelter: Video

We want our churches to be places of safety, places of welcome where people feel like they can be themselves. Places where they will be embraced just as they are, where they will be encouraged to become the person that they’re meant to be.

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On Shelter

From a conversation with Br. David Vryhof, SSJE

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Shelter: Homily

The liturgy itself shelters us, the same patterns unfolding, again and again, day by day, week by week, year by year. With the familiarity earned by time, scriptures and hymns and prayers become dear friends.

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Angels in the Architecture

“Why were these angelic figures everywhere? What were they trying to tell me?”

Br. Jim Woodrum follows the angels toward a deeper appreciation of why our church buildings matter and how they can help us to become one with the angels. This Monastic Wisdom refection accompanies and illuminates our Lent 2020 offering Signs of Life.

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Worship engages our deepest human needs and has the power to transform our lives. Join the Brothers of SSJE in exploring the signs and symbols at the heart of Christian worship.

This free 5-week offering encourages individuals and groups to explore the riches of our worship traditions, liturgy and sacraments, and the art and architecture of our worship spaces, revealing the full meaning of these signs, deepening our experience of Christian vocation and guiding us toward ongoing conversion.