Come to the well.
The well is deep.

Wellspring is a one-day retreat incorporating Christian mindfulness and biblical reflection, to which all are welcome. It’s a chance to spend some time apart from the noise of the world, to be fully present to yourself and to your communion with God, so that by the end of the day, you can re-enter the world refreshed.

A series of nurturing silences in which you can choose to pray, read, take a walk, or even have a little snooze will be interspersed with a few guided (and optional) reflections led by facilitators Iva Beranek, Carol Casey, and Jessica Stone. There will also be an opportunity to avail of one-to-one discussion with a spiritual director.

CMH: Ireland is offering Wellspring for the first time on the weekend of Pentecost, an apt time to bring our attention to the Breath of God within us. The day will begin at 9.45am at the Church of Ireland Theological Institute and conclude by 4.00pm.

The cost is €40, including coffee & tea, lunch and parking. Places must be booked in advance (hello@ministryofhealing.ie).

Forthcoming dates for Wellspring:
Saturday, 5 December 2015
Saturday, 5 March 2016
Saturday, 21 May 2016

Forgive Us: Confessions of a Compromised Faith

The Church’s Ministry of Healing: Ireland is delighted to welcome Lisa Sharon Harper to speak to us on the subject of forgiveness on Saturday, 6th June 2015.

Currently Sojourners’ Senior Director of Mobilising, Ms Harper is a speaker, activist, author, award-winning playwright and poet. Her writing has been featured in The National Civic Review, Gods Politics blog, The Huffington Post, Relevant Magazine, Patheos.com, Urban Faith, and Prism where she has written extensively on tax reform, comprehensive immigration reform, health care reform, poverty, racial and gender justice, and transformational civic engagement.

 Ms. Harper’s faith-rooted approach to advocacy and organising has activated people of faith across the US and around the world to address structural and political injustice as an outward demonstration of their personal faith.

Her most recent book is Forgive Us: Confessions of a Compromised Faith, in which she and three other authors confess the church’s public failings and call their fellow believers to re-engage the surrounding culture in a new and better way.

We expect Ms Harper to challenge us and to inspire us as we seek to be agents of healing in our world today, and we welcome people of every denomination to participate. This event will take place in the beautifully refurbished Music Room of Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, at 2.00pm on Saturday, 6th June, and The Book Well will be making copies of Forgive Us available for purchase on the day.

Admission is €20/£15, and booking is essential. To book your place, please email hello@ministryofhealing.ie.

After a reception of light refreshments, you are also invited to attend our Annual Service of Thanksgiving, to be held in the cathedral where there will be opportunity for special prayers for healing with the laying on of hands and anointing with oil for those who desire it. This is a Church of Ireland Service of Wholeness and Healing with Holy Communion, and everyone of any denomination is warmly welcome.

The encounter with the risen Lord

the empty grave-Hill of Slane

The Gospel gives us a number of accounts where Jesus meets the disciples after the resurrection. The response of surprise, fear, initial lack of recognition and then subsequent ‘aha! moment’ of recognition are quite common. They did not expect the empty grave, they did not expect to meet Jesus again, not so soon; even though He told them about it, they could not understand. And who could blame them, they were grieving. After the night seems long, the light of the dawn will come as a surprise and our eyes will need to get used to it. I have never experienced the polar night, when night or twilight lasts for days or months on end, but I presume that in the hearts and minds of those who loved Jesus, the news of the resurrection must have been somewhat like a new dawn after a very long polar night. 

I think each of the encounters where we read that Jesus meets his disciples, both women and men, are beautiful in their own way. They portray how for us on the human level taking in the story of resurrection is going to be a process. Maybe that is why the Church gives us fifty days of the Easter season to journey with the risen Lord, to get accustomed to this new reality of life, and to hopefully let this reality transform us ever so little year after year. 

What is your favourite resurrection story? I would encourage each of us to spend some time with that story, by reading it a few times, pondering on it, and taking time to prayerfully imagine our own place in the story. What would Jesus tell you, and me, if He came to us today? The risen Jesus sometimes met the disciples behind the closed doors, so if He chose to do the same to us what insight would that bring us? I will not answer those questions, for they can only be answered in the silence of our hearts, but I do wish us all that Jesus may encounter us in a new way this Eastertide, bringing us new life, filled with peace and hope. 

Happy Easter to you All on behalf of the Church’s Ministry of Healing: Ireland!

Iva Beranek
Dr Iva Beranek is the Ministry Facilitator for the CMH: Ireland

The gift of Holy Saturday

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Holy Saturday is one of the most overlooked days in the Christian year. It is a day that teaches that even in death, Jesus is still active doing His deep hidden work of love and redemption.

On the other hand, for the disciples it was a day of shattered hopes; none of them understood the events that had just happened the day before, on what we now call the ‘Good Friday’. None expected what was to follow, even though Jesus told them about it. Holy Saturday was a day where even God seemed silent; and how many of us had to live through days like that. Perhaps some of us have lived good chunks of our lives in the experience of ‘Holy Saturday’. 

And yet, that was also the day when deep healing happened, healing invisible to the eyes. God often works in us even when it appears that He is silent. In that working out of God’s love is our hope. What is more, not all the healing we experience in this life is going to be a ‘Resurrection-type’ of healing, where we will rejoice knowing what God has done. Some of it will be more like a ‘Holy Saturday healing’, deep, done in silence, gentle, hidden from our eyes but yet not any less real. 

The gift of the Holy Saturday is that all our shattered hopes, all the events of our lives that did not end as we had hoped they would, can now be buried with Jesus in the tomb. The working out of His grace in us can then gradually restore our inner being and give us peace, which is the fruit of the Resurrection. Holy Saturday in all its silence is the day through which true hope is born, the resurrection hope, which is rooted now not in our limited understanding, but rather rooted in God. And the Church’s mission is to offer this hope to the world, by allowing it to form our lives first.  

Iva Beranek
Dr Iva Beranek is the Ministry Facilitator for the CMH: Ireland

Out of the Silence, Alleluia will Rise

Fire on the hill of Slane

At the beginning of our Lenten journey some of us stopped singing Alleluia, from Ash Wednesday until Easter Sunday; in our churches, at least. Lent reminds us of experiences in life that challenge us, I will call them ‘desert experiences’, through which desert areas of our hearts get exposed too. I think one of the reasons why we don’t sing Alleluia is that it is a bit hard to sing Alleluia in the desert or while going through a desert experience. Maybe we need to start with a less demanding, or at least a bit less joyful song. Perhaps in the silence that Lent provides, silence from words we often utter without pondering on their meaning, Alleluia might start to shape and deepen within us.

Yet there may be another reason why we fast from Alleluia. My little computer dictionary provides two meanings for Alleluia. It is “used to express praise or thanks to God”, but is also “used to express relief, welcome, or gratitude”. Are we really ready to sing Alleluia in the desert places, in all those experiences that break our hearts?! We need not only Lent, but more so the Holy Week to do their deep healing work in us before we can express relief and gratitude from within the exiled parts of our life. We need to let the wisdom of the desert to help us befriend the deserts we carry inside; otherwise our praises will be superficial. We need to let the fresh blossoms on the trees to slowly lead the way before our inner desert places are ready to blossom and sing. Alleluia has to rise out of the deep silence of our greatest sadness, only then it will be truly real. 

It takes time for the deepest sadness to be able to sing, time and healing, so perhaps it is good we fast from singing Alleluia for a while. Do you have something that you would call ‘your greatest sadness’? These are the days when we can bring that to Jesus during the liturgies of the Holy Week. I think it is helpful to think what we wish to bring to the Last Supper, into the first experience of the Eucharist, and into the Garden where Jesus asks His friends to pray with Him. It is good to reflect what we wish to bring to the way of the Cross, to the Golgotha where Jesus died and in the grave with Jesus. Then we will know how to wait in the silence of the Holy Saturday in which God seemed silent. Then we will know what in us has to die, so that we may rise with Him already in this life. I think if we approach the Holy Week in this way, our journey through it can be quite healing.

When we are aware of God’s presence on our journey and when we let God take our interior exiled places through the pain of the Good Friday, into the silence of the Holy Saturday, towards the Resurrection, we join our deepest sadness with His, so that He can join His deepest joy with us. Only then will our inner desert be able to exclaim on Easter Sunday the joy that empty grave brings, only then will our deepest sadness sing.

Iva Beranek
Dr Iva Beranek is the Ministry Facilitator for the CMH: Ireland