Suggestions for Group Leaders
Meeting One, before Ash Wednesday
We suggest a meeting before Lent for your group - any suitable time before Ash Wednesday.
It would be good if before the meeting you can make sure all
participants have access to the online form of the retreat. If they
don't, then make copies of the first week’s sheets for those who don’t have access.
It would also be good to make sure they know if there are any financial costs involved; this might be for hire of the room, or photocopying the daily prayer sheets,
or a donation to the ISC for our cost! Its important that the group leaders don't have to subsidise the participants.
If you could let people know how long you plan the meeting to be, then keep to time – people appreciate this.
We give suggestions for each week’s group meeting, but it is up to you to organise how you feel best.
Feel free to move things around, omit or add things; you must feel comfortable with your meeting.
Outline of Meeting
We suggest beginning with tea and biscuits while people gather and are welcomed.
- Introductions – names, and what brought people to the group – what do they hope for?
- How the Retreat works
Tell the group what will be
expected of them.
Each person should try to find some time each day of
Lent for prayer. There is no fixed time for this, but 15 minutes might be
considered minimum. It would probably be good to have a fixed place for prayer;
somewhere they won't be disturbed.
Some people like to light a candle or have some religious symbols in their place of prayer. Some like an incense stick. Some very quiet background music. Whatever helps.
Tell the group about the different ways of accessing the prayer – Online or printed sheets.
It would be good to take a brief note as to how each day's prayer went so
that people will remember when they come to sharing in the group.
a note (or journalling) it would be good to look at the feeling and emotional content of prayer and well as thoughts. What inspired you?
When it comes to group sharing of prayer, only share what you are
comfortable with, no competition.
- Period of Prayer During the Meeting.
You might like to set the scene with a centrepiece, maybe a candle and cloth of Lenten colours.
Lead the group in a relaxed and slow way through your favourite stilling exercises.
After the stilling exercise ask people to become aware they are in the of the presence of God and then ask God for what they desire.
Reflection: Then you could read a suitable passage of scripture or listen to a piece of reflective music (particularly suitable for noisy venues).
Finish the Prayer: You may like to finish the prayer with a formal prayer such as the Lord’s Prayer.
- Sharing – it might be good to model the sharing now. Asking how people felt during the stilling, did they find it easy to find something to pray, did anything strike them about the passage or piece of music.
What is their overall mood?
See how this goes, note who doesn’t share, and who might share too much!
These groups seem to go best when everyone shares something and everybody allows time for others to share.
- Looking Forward – make sure everyone is certain how to access the material for the coming week.
Make sure the time and venue etc. of the next meeting is clear.
It may be that people are encouraged to take turns in providing refreshments.
Thank everyone for coming.