Set up:

Chairs should be arranged where each participant can hear and see the video as well as the facilitator. Because there will be discussion groups, facilitators may choose to use tables, but tables are not necessary. Participants should be able to move their seats around so that they may speak with one another. 

Needed Materials:

  • A way for the facilitator to keep time (a smartphone timer would work nicely)
  • Newsprint or a whiteboard and markers 
  • Audio-visual capabilities 
  • One copy of Signs of Life Practice Sheet per participant

Learning Goals:

The learning goals for this particular Sign of Life 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

Collect (5 minutes)

Gather the groups attention, and open with this collect:

Beloved God, who, in your mercy, shelters us with your tender embrace; grant that we may know you as our one true refuge from the world of suffering, and help us to offer compassionate sanctuary to our neighbors in need; even as you dwell within and among us, one holy and undivided Trinity, forever and ever. Amen.

Watch the Video (15 minutes):

Read the following prompt:

“As you watch this video, pay attention to the various ways shelter is explored, and think about how shelter is present in the life and liturgies of your worshiping community.”

Press play and watch the video through to the end. 

Reflection Question (5 minutes):

After the video is over, read the following script:

“Take one minute to think about the answer to this prompt: ‘Where do you feel most at home?’ At the end of one minute, I’ll invite you to turn to a neighbor. You will each have two minutes to share your experience. One of you will start, and the other should listen. At the end of two minutes, I’ll ask you to switch. When one person is talking, the other should not interrupt. Please listen to your partner.”

Use a timer to give the group one minute to think about the question. At the end of one minute, invite them to share with their neighbor. After two minutes of sharing, invite the other participant to share. At the end of two minutes, call the group back to attention. 

Discussion Groups (15 minutes):

Read the following script:

“Please gather into groups of four or five. You will take the next 15 minutes to discuss the following three questions:

  • Where does shelter show up in the life and liturgy of your worshiping community? How does shelter help you tell the Story?
  • Brother Geoffrey says, “When we try to settle too much in our lives, we can forget that we’re actually on a journey and that we’re called to be a pilgrim people.” When has God been with you on a journey? 
  • Who are the people in your community that need shelter? Is this need being met? How does your worshiping community meet this need?

You will be able to reference the questions here [gesture to where you’ve posted the questions] or on your handout. I’ll remind you when you are halfway through your time.”

Use a timer to remind participants when seven minutes have passed. When there are two minutes remaining, give participants a two minute warning. 

Gathering Conversation (10 minutes):

Ask one person from each small group to share a highlight of their discussion with the larger group. Responses may be gathered on whiteboard or newsprint.

Closing:

Bring attention to the Signs of Life: Light Practice Sheet. Read this script:

“Here is a reminder of the daily practice for this Sign of Life. This week, when you return to the place you feel most at home, pay attention to what you set down or let go of. Remember that God hides us in the shadow of God’s wings; in God we always find shelter.”

Pray the Signs of Life collect:

Beloved God, who, in your mercy, shelters us with your tender embrace; grant that we may know you as our one true refuge from the world of suffering, and help us to offer compassionate sanctuary to our neighbors in need; even as you dwell within and among us, one holy and undivided Trinity, forever and ever. Amen.

Thank participants for participating. The session is over. 

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