By Rev. Elizabeth Rechter, Executive Director
Stillpoint's Art of Spiritual Direction Class of 2017
Southern California Graduates
Chris Delamarter, Gilbert Dorado,Suzanne Edwards-Acton, Barbie Fiske-Phillips,
Brian Gaeta-Symonds, Albert Giang, Erin Hollander, Elvie (Elvira) Quintos, Alexandra de la Vega, Chantel Zimmerman
Ghost Ranch Cohort 6 Graduates
George Bassett, Robert W. Birch, Robin Darrow, Paula Greer, Lori Lambelet,
Anna Mae Patterson, Elizabeth Rechter, Naomi Southard, Megan Sturges
Remarks given by Rev. Elizabeth I. Rechter
Stillpoint Graduation, Southern California
Saturday, May 7, 2017
One of my favorite stories in all of Scripture is the story of Abraham. He is sometimes called the Father of the Faith. We are told he was the first to believe in God.
I imagine him out in the open fields, in the midst of the sheer silence, and it is here that he realized he was not alone. God was waiting to greet him when Abraham came upon the earth. It was in silence that he heard God speaking, and he trusted this voice.
We may forget that Abraham did not attend a synagogue. He never read the Torah. He may have had a spiritual director in Sarah. But Abraham's God came to him in the silent language that he heard with the ear of his heart, and he recognized God’s voice.
One dark night under the light of the stars, Abraham heard his descendants would be as numerous as the stars above him. While he would never know these descendants, it was encouragement for him that he was not alone in his faith either. Others—many, many others—would hear his God, and trust.
When I think of this story, I am reminded that we are Abraham’s stars. We are the ones now standing on the earth and trusting the whispers of God as he did. Our fields may not be as quiet as Abraham's, but the silent language of God is still to be trusted.
Today we welcome some special guests. What a gift to have them as part of this celebration. Ann Jaqua, Dixie Young, and Dawn George are some of the original founders of Stillpoint.
They had a vision: in order for the work of faith communities to flourish, their contemplative side needed to be strengthened and supported. They began to create a program to form spiritual directors as one way to strengthen deep listening and help people reflect on the experience of God in their lives.
You, the graduates of 2017, are their stars too. You are the visible sign of the seeds they planted thirty years ago. Today we celebrate with you the completion of your formation program in the Art of Spiritual Direction. As you receive your certificate of completion, know that this journey is just beginning.
The wisdom I offer for the journey ahead is also inspiration from Abraham's story. It is the story of Abraham and Sarah's hospitality to the three messengers that came to visit them in their desert tent. Andre Rublev depicted this encounter in his beautiful icon, the Old Testament Trinity, a favorite of Stillpoint's. In order to stay true to our vocation as Spiritual Director, we must also remember to show faithful hospitality in three areas of our lives.
First, we must show hospitality to our own prayer life, finding time and taking care of our own spiritual practices.
Second, we must show hospitality to our own spiritual direction, staying true to our own need for companionship in the listening to our experience of God in our lives.
And finally, we must show hospitality to our supervision practice. In the supervision community, we will stay accountable to our craft and share how it's going. Either in individual supervision or peer supervision, we must find companions to help guide us in the ongoing learning this work unearths.
You are sent forth this day into a world that needs your spiritual care. But we also send you into the Stillpoint community, where you can continue to be supported on this journey, and to join in offering support to all who continue this good work.
Congratulations, you shining stars. Amen!
And to all our alumni, if you feel so moved, we invite you to give a donation in honor of your Stillpoint Cohort and in celebration of your ongoing vocation as a Spiritual Director.
We celebrate you!
Blessings for the Journey,