What is SOULWorks?
SOULWorks at Saint John's includes several key parts and encompasses a diverse range of initiatives designed to assist individuals in their personal spiritual journeys and to inspire their awareness of the Holy Spirit moving in us and around us. This includes:
A brief history
SOULWorks is an ongoing process for personal and parish-wide spiritual renewal at Saint John's. It grew out of RenewalWorks, a spiritual growth ministry developed under the leadership of The Rev. Jay Sidebotham at Church of the Holy Spirit in Lake Forest, IL and the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago. Saint John's is working to mold our own vision for renewal as we move forward under the guidance of the RenewalWorks leadership team. RenewalWorks is now housed within Forward Movement, a ministry of the National Episcopal Church, and continues to grow under the direction of Rev. Sidebotham as it works to renew the spiritual vitality of congregations across the United States. RenewalWorks itself is based on the Reveal Process developed at Willow Creek Church in South Barrington, IL in 2005.
What is SOULWorks: A deeper explanation
Pilgrimage is an ancient Christian practice. How can we go on pilgrimage close to home? SOULWorks is a way into pilgrimage.
SOULWorks is a parish-based Spiritual Weekend modeled on the Diocese-based Cursillo Movement of the worldwide Christian Church. The meditation and education format of the weekend strives to penetrate and Christianize environments through Christian communities in action. It proposes no new type of spirituality, but simply a method through which one’s spirituality may be developed, lived and shared, in any area of human life where there are Christians willing to dedicate their lives to God in an on-going manner.
The mission of SOULWorks is to form groups of men and women who are Christian leaders and who will provide a backbone for Christian life in the world. SOULWorks is designed to make it possible to live what is fundamental for being a Christian: to live in union with Christ.
The 3-day SOULWorks weekend provides a living experience of meeting Christ, meeting fellow Christians and experiencing how they live. It begins on a Thursday evening and ends on the following Sunday after the 10:30am service. During these 3 days, those attending will worship and work together, listen to and discuss talks given by clergy and lay people, and return home each evening to be with their families. The talks on the weekend have the specific purpose of presenting a vision of the Christian life, and therefore, do not provide a general introduction to Christianity or a summary of all Christian doctrine.
The basic atmosphere of a SOULWorks weekend differs from the individual solitude of a retreat. During the 3-days, the teachings of Christ are discussed in a climate of joy. The talks and discussions are interspersed with prayer, communion, songs, recreation, meals, laughter and moments of reflection and silence. There is nothing dull about a SOULWorks weekend! It is full of work enjoyed in the name of Jesus Christ. It is a joyous workshop in the fundamentals of our beautiful Christian faith where everyone learns by experiencing a living Christian community.
A SOULWorks weekend is an encounter with Christ. If that is understood, then the power beauty, and joy of the spiritual weekend’s focus will be understood. The group method described on the weekend provides a means to continue the Christian growth after the weekend. The resulting Christian community is a group of men and women who live the Christian life, linked together in Christ, and are supported in their environment.