Spiritual Facilitation Online
WE ARE ALL EXPERIENCING NEW WAYS OF CONNECTING for worship and mutual support online. Some gatherings are more satisfying than others. What helps? This post speaks to facilitators of small group sessions for spiritual encouragement and growth—retreats, spiritual workshops, and faith sharing or “spiritual nurture” groups. These hints and guidelines may be helpful to as we transition from face-to-face interactions into online video conferencing. Read below or download PDF here. If questions or additional suggestions rise, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About me: I’ve been offering retreats and workshops for Quakers in Washington, Oregon, and Alaska for nearly 15 years. Over eight years directing the Way of the Spirt retreat and learning program, I’ve practiced many ways to foster a tone of prayer and reflection for participants. Since early 2019, I’ve been experimenting with online video conferencing using the Zoom platform. Way of the Spirit groups of 6-20 participants are now gathering online to spiritually explore, share wisdom, and mutually nurture each others’ lives of faith. Now a global pandemic has me offering online retreats at least through June 2020.
I care about the inner experience of participants. So, while I do teach on retreat, I’m not primarily a lecturer. Presentations in my sessions are rarely longer than 20 minutes. My approach honors the “wisdom in the [virtual] room.” I wish to hear from everyone, especially inviting quieter voices. What happens between us, in and through the Holy is a collaborative effort.
With engaged, intentional guidance, online group experiences have been as spiritual nourishing as in person. But it doesn’t happen without care and attention to new facets of online communication. The details that follow seek to address those facets. May your spiritual accompaniment of others continue—and be surprisingly meaningful—online!