May 30, 2024

This week the Pastoral Staff has been at St. Francis Springs Retreat Center in Stoneville, NC for a Spiritual Formation Retreat. During these days, we are spending intentional time with God and one another as we seek for our souls to be fed.

Our theme for the week has been: Solitude. Yes, I hear the irony in being together in order to explore solitude. But the spiritual practice of solitude is about so much more than simply being alone for some “me-time.” The writer Henri Nouwen said, “Solitude is the furnace of transformation.” Solitude is not where we get away to simply decompress; solitude is where we go to actively listen to God.

We live in such a noisy world and I am as guilty as anybody. Even if I am doing the dishes or mowing the lawn, I pop my Airbuds into my ears to put on a podcast or music (probably Sufjan Stevens, Ben Folds, or Josh Garrels). When do we actually allow ourselves to sit in silence, solitude, and stillness?

In my own life, if I am honest, I fill my moments with noise to avoid silence and solitude. Because when I am silent, I am confronted with who I really am and who God really is.

If you are looking to practice solitude in your life, I recommend these resources:

  • Read Invitation to Solitude and Silence: Experiencing God’s Transforming Presence by Ruth Haley Barton (this book is forming the basis of the Pastoral Staff retreat).
  • Take a retreat to Francis Springs Prayer Center. It is less than an hour away from Winston-Salem in a beautiful setting. You can retreat for the day or even stay overnight.
  • When you wake up in the morning (and before you look at your phone!), begin your day with ten minutes of silence. If your mind wonders, then draw it back by simply praying “Christ, have mercy on me.” Be still and simply allow yourself to be wrapped in silence.
Contact / Location

Contact info

123, New Lenox, Chicago IL 60606

Gathering Times


8:00am, 9:15am, 11:00am