Friends and Colleagues in Ministry,
First, a reminder that our transition from a single overarching CFDM to five independent affiliates of CFDM is now nearly complete; a wonderful thing—God has blessed CFDM with growth and deepening spiritual practice. This means Douglas will no longer be the President of CFDM, but, for the next few years, will be the President of CFDM-Nevada, with a new EIN, new not-for-profit status, new website, etc. We will continue to have the current cfdm.org website, mainly as a tool to direct interested folks to the newly established websites of the five CFDM affiliates, and as a means of interpreting the work of CFDM. Leadership of the Affiliates is getting younger! Praise God! If you are getting this Newsletter [which is eventually going primarily to people in Nevada] and would prefer not to get it, just respond with a “delete me,” and it will be done!
The big news here is that the new CFDM-Nevada website is now live—check it out at https://www.cfdmnv.com. Note that the website now includes lots of Douglas’ stained-glass art, including a gallery of his recent work. Just scroll down the home page to a link that says “Art,” and click on that to open a way to the gallery.
We have a lot to share in this summer Newsletter, mostly because we have been having rich experiences through CFDM and with travel since we last wrote to you in early Spring.
At the end of April, we graduated twelve students in our two-year training in Northern Nevada. We had moved our location several times, ending our second year at the Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Reno NV. Through changing locations, the group bonded wonderfully, and we had a marvelous time at graduation, which included a slide show of our meetings prepared by one of our students. Another student, who plays the Ukulele, brought a Ukulele band with her to play music for our graduation. It was a real hoot; a most memorable time!
In early June we finished the first year of a two-year training program in Southern Nevada. Again, the group bonded wonderfully. They are now praying for and looking for directees to help them in their growing spiritual direction work. Interns aren’t allowed to charge a fee, so if any of you out there want a face to face meeting, or a Skype experience, to see what spiritual direction is and how transformative it can be, just let Douglas know and he will steer you to a potential spiritual director. [See pictures of both cohorts on the website—under the “Spiritual Direction Training” link.]
Finally, in late June, Douglas traveled to Fresno CA to join the faculty team led by Todd Minturn, the Director of the CFDM-Central California affiliate which is now known as “Hole in the Rock Ministries” [https://www.holeintherockministries.org], for their first ever training program for spiritual directors. It was a meaningful time for Douglas as he gained some new tools for self-understanding and got to hang out with some terrific people!
Pilgrimage to Assisi
In early June, we traveled to Assisi to lead 20 pilgrims in the “footsteps of Saints Francis and Clare.” It was all that we had hoped it would be [see our last Newsletter—also on the website]. As we gathered late each afternoon in the garden of St. Anthony’s guest house to share wine and other goodies brought by pilgrims, we could feel the love that animated Francis and Clare. As we shared in our last Newsletter, Francis and Clare were both so in love with God that nothing else really mattered to them. “There was no bottom to [their] grateful happiness, no matter the amount of [their] suffering.” They simply loved God—”not to earn anything, or prove anything, or fulfill anything, or protect anything, but simply out of their deep and abiding love for God.” At daily chapel, centered around a teaching seminar and introduction to the group event of the day, we sang or recited the prayer attributed to Francis:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
We will be back in Ireland/Iona in June of 2019, through CFDM-Arizona. Contact Joyce Vidal-Thornburg, the Director of the CFDM Affiliatee in Arizona–firstname.lastname@example.org–to express interest and receive further updates.
We have just returned from ten days in Austin, Texas, where Catherine was a voting clergy deputy for the Triennial National Convention of the Episcopal Church. It was hot and humid, so we sweat a lot. The Convention itself was both exhausting and invigorating for both of us. We came home with new ideas and greater commitment to be of love in this angry and hurting world.
Our current monthly contemplative days [3rd Saturday of each month, at various churches, which we call “Going Deeper”] continues to be strong, with good attendance, as we are building a contact list of those interested in contemplative practices. If you aren’t currently on that contact list, and want to be, let Douglas know. And we are beginning to plan silent retreats and weekend retreats around various topics, etc.
We are both thankful for the energy and health to stay in the rhythm of our current ministry assignments. Douglas is set to retire [for the 3rd time!] at the end of 2019. As many of you know, Catherine’s current boss, Bishop Dan, with whom she loves working, is retiring at the end of this year. What is next for her is still to be revealed. We both hope to stay active with CFDM Affiliates as we are able, and Catherine is having increasing invitations to do workshops and seminars, especially around Celtic Spirituality. She remains open to hearing her next call when it becomes clear. Until then, we continue to wait, as patiently as possible, for the future to come to us, instead of trying to make something happen.
Douglas & Catherine Gregg