Report: GC Ringsfield Retreat 2017
GREEN CHRISTIAN RETREAT
George Dow reports on the 2017 GC Ringsfield Retreat
Over the weekend of 9th to 11th June twenty four people attended a Green Christian retreat at Ringsfield Hall in Suffolk. The event, entitled “Learning to Live in Earth as our Common Home: Teilhard de Chardin and ecological living as spiritual life” was led by Paul Maiteny, an ecologist, anthropologist and transpersonal psychotherapist from The British Teilhard Association.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a Jesuit priest and one of the pioneers of eco-faith, began exploring God’s purposes for the earth and for humanity nearly a century ago. Our world may seem very different today, but in many ways his mystical message of hope is only now coming into its own. It holds both challenge and promise for anyone who cares for the Earth in the 21st century.
At the introductory session on Friday evening Paul generously shared his own life journey and offered us insights into the interconnectedness of humans and the rest of the ecosystem and that in finding our place and purpose (or ‘shape’) within the ecosystem meant that we (as individuals) would essentially be working with it and not against it. And we were reminded of the words of St Paul in 1 Corinthians 12:21 (“The eye cannot say to the hand ‘I have no need of you …..’”) and a similar sentiment relating to interconnectedness of all parts of the ecosystem was made by Teilhard. Paul M described this discovery of our interconnectedness as a ‘messianic moment’ and the ecosystem as a ‘planetary incarnation’. When we found our own ‘true shape’ we would (as individuals) become free.
Paul described what he himself had discovered on a 30 day silent retreat which comprised 4 stages:
(1) Acknowledging our sense of sin (recognising that’s ‘something’s not right in the world’ and that we are contributing to it)
(2) Becoming aware