Spiritual Guidance and Leadership Resources
Lamb & Lion Spiritual Guidance Ministries offers resources for supporting the development of inner and outer wholeness, and spirited living, rooted in the healing, reconciling, and liberating gospel of Jesus Christ and the Christian spiritual tradition. We offer hospitality and companionship to those who are connected to any faith tradition and those who are spiritual pilgrims and seekers. To bring the great treasures of the Spirit to bear on contemporary life along with the best in organizational development we offer ministries of spiritual guidance and companionship, small group facilitation and leadership development, training and teaching programs, consultation services for organization mission and vision development, quiet days and directed retreats for individuals, groups, churches, and organizations. The Rev. Daniel Prechtel, the founder of Lamb & Lion Spiritual Guidance Ministries, is currently the only active spiritual director associated with this ministry. He is grateful to others who have served with him in the past: The Rev. Richard Wendel in Chicago; Kit McCarthy in Evanston, Illinois; Judy Homer in Raleigh, North Carolina; The Rev. Bill and Carolyn Kees in Chico, California and is pleased to recommend them as excellent spiritual guides and therapists. If other spiritual directors wish to discern possible associate membership please contact Dan.
Rev. Daniel Prechtel, D.Min.
2337 Greenwich Rd.
San Pablo, CA 94806
office 510.323.2539; cell 224.636.2874
Skype: daniel.prechtel (Daniel Prechtel)
Facebook: Dan Prechtel
A Directory for this Web Site:
Personal Spiritual Direction
The ancient practice of spiritual direction on an ongoing basis is available to you. In an individual or small group setting the focus of spiritual direction is on: prayerfully listening to what is going on in your life, aiding you in identifying the presence of the Holy One in those events, and joining you in seeking God's desires for your next steps along your path.
Inner Journey Guidance
Assistance is available to you, in person or through correspondence, in exploring your rich inner resources of dreams and symbols accessed through imagery meditation.
Studies in Spirituality
Exploring classic spiritual masters and contemporary contributions to spirituality, and identifying resources for topical studies.
Mentoring in Spiritual Practices
Providing instruction and guidance to assist you in understanding and practicing spiritual disciplines, prayer and meditation forms, engagement of sacred texts, and other spiritual practices and their application to living in the world with compassion, peace, and transformational power.
Apprenticeship in Spiritual Guidance
This may be a next step after receiving mentoring in spiritual practices, or for those who wish to focus on skill-building in a particular form of spiritual guidance. You would develop a learning contract with your mentor to help you to grow into your leadership capabilities in particular forms of spiritual guidance. The mentor will help you develop spiritual guidance opportunities and supervise your experience.
Exploring Dimensions of Prayer
Assisting in identification of your primary path in prayer and meditation; providing assistance in planning a personal retreat, poustinia, prayer vigil, or vision quest and integrating the experience in follow-up session(s).
Discovering, naming and claiming inner gifts and directions for your life and work as guided by your deep attentiveness to the Spirit.
Dispute Resolution and Reconciliation Assistance
To assist you in resolving disputes or seeking new ways of approaching problems and relationships. Support in entering the peace of God's realm.
Inner Healing and Personal Growth Guidance
Providing assistance in the movement to greater spiritual healing of past inner wounds by using guided imagery prayer and other inner journey methods to build a new framework of the shalom that Jesus Christ proclaimed and continues to bring—deep spiritual peace and wholeness that connects us to the greater community of divine love.
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Group, Church, and Organizational Resources:
In 2003-4 Dan Prechtel ran a pilot program in small group
leadership called the Group Spiritual Leadership (GSL) program.
In 2009 Dan completed partnering with the Institute of Spiritual Companionship
to launch the Group Spiritual Companionship program, which was adapted
from the original GSL program. Follow this link for the Institute
of Spiritual Companionship to see information
on the Group Spiritual Companionship (GSC) program.
Kit McCarthy, Gary Genge, Maureen Quinn, John Lionberger, Catherine Wallace, Virgie Smith
Group Spiritual Companionship Class of 2009
TheSmall Group Leadership Program draws from the richness of the Christian spiritual tradition, current knowledge of group dynamics, and small group development designs to equip clergy and lay leaders for effective ministries of small group leadership and Christian community-building to strengthen the church and extend God’s kingdom. SGL is a portable, 36 contact hours, church based training program that instructs a church's potential lay small group leaders and clergy at their own church or host site if more than one church is participating. SGL training is available nation-wide.
Discernment Group and Organizational Discernment Practices
Training your church members in spiritual discernment
practices in support of individuals and on an organizational level!
Individuals may wish a group to assist them in seeking God's direction
in decisions they face. A "clearness committee" or "listening
hearts" style group can be facilitated to assist the person. Many
churches and organizations want their leadership boards to explore ways
to engage in communal discernment on important issues. Guidance in
community discernment, mission and visioning formation, and spiritual leadership
development is available to you. For information on this program
click on Communal
Spiritual Discernment Program.
Circle of the Spirit
Facilitation of spirituality groups for men and women. This group process provides an opportunity for participants to gather as spiritual companions to each other for a ninety minute session on a monthly basis, or more frequently as contracted.
Some Circle of the Spirit members that met for five years.
Shared Contemplative Prayer
Exploring silence and simple chant forms in listening for the “still small voice” of the Holy One.
Some of our shared silent prayer group members that met from 1997-2009
Group Spiritual Direction
Facilitating spiritual direction of small groups and organizations in support of the communal dimension of acknowledging the presence and leading of God.
Quiet Days and Guided
(See the description below).
Workshop, and Course Study
(See the description below).
Clergy Colleague Group
Set up and training for peer led clergy groups, or facilitation of clergy groups for the health and wholeness of our personal, spiritual, and professional lives.
Spiritual Directors' Supervision Group
Start up and/or facilitation of peer supervision groups for spiritual directors is available by any of our associates.
Church and Organization Consulting
We provide consulting services for churches and related organizations in the following ways:
A dream matrix is a special way of inviting the sharing of dreams and group-level associations to the dreams as a way of surfacing the concerns, desires, barriers, gifts, fears and hopes of a community (church, organization) as part of that community's discernment of its emotional and spiritual health and call to mission. Facilitation of the matrix is available by Dan Prechtel.
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Formation Opportunities for Churches & Organizations:
RETREATS, WORKSHOPS, REFLECTION DAYS, OR CLASSES
(The descriptions below are offered by Dan Prechtel as examples only of the kind offerings our associates could bring to your group, board, church, or organization. Each associate will have particular interests and specialties and will be happy to develop a program in conversation with you about your particular needs and interests. See our associates' profiles for more information.)
"YOU HAVE THE MIND OF CHRIST"
This program focus is on developing communal/organizational spiritual discernment. Too often our churches and allied organizations have relied on business or legislative models for policy and decision making without drawing on the rich resources that are the legacy of the Christian spiritual tradition. We would explore incorporating principles and practices of spiritual discernment into the processes of planning and decision making that help church or organizational leaders (lay and ordained) listen for God's calling and direction of the community into a deeply lived common life, mission, and ministry. A central component of this program would be movements in the Spiritual Discernment Cycle. Key to that model is attentiveness to "primary symbols" that become the language of God's guidance of the community. We become aware of those primary guiding symbols through ongoing spiritual practices (done by the leadership group) such as various forms of prayer, meditation, and dreamwork.
SPIRITUAL GUIDANCE GROUPS
Developing and leading small groups for spiritual formation and guidance is the focus of this retreat or workshop. In the course of his own spiritual leadership practice and in teaching at Seabury-Western, Dan has facilitated and taught various small group methods that are applicable to congregational use and for settings beyond the congregation. The particular group methods that he has facilitated and taught are: Circle of the Spirit (spirituality group), Lectio Divina, Contemplative Prayer, Spiritual Friends (group spiritual direction), Dreamwork, Dream Matrix, Covenant for Justice and Peace, Benedictine Community, and a Peer Supervision Group for Leaders. The development of effective small group processes for the mutual support and spiritual guidance of participants is one of the key resources available to church leaders and spiritual directors today. Such small groups provide a powerful setting for community-building and spiritual hospitality in a society too often fostering rootless individualism and fragmentation.
FROM DISCORD TO DISCERNMENT: THE SPIRITUAL PRACTICE OF CONFLICT TRANSFORMATION
This workshop leads people into an exploration of various understandings (theological assumptions and practice) of conflict and dispute resolution. What has been modeled for us as patterns of conflict in our families of origin? In the public arena? In the church? What is forgiveness and reconciliation? How do we work toward peace and justice? How might we engage in creative ways of conflict that includes discernment and transformation? There is a very important spiritual practice of discernment that is part of the Christian calling to be ministers of reconciliation and Christ's peace. Our churches (and society) have largely failed to provide people with a healthy theology of conflict or models of dispute resolution. We need to provide alternatives to domination and violence as the way to deal with differences. Dan Prechtel has been trained in conflict negotiation and mediation practices and is interested in bringing these practices into church and other organizational settings.
EXPLORING THE LANDSCAPE OF PRAYER AND THE SPIRIT
Five Christian spiritual dimensions (paths) will be explored: Head, Heart, Mystic, Kingdom, and Middle Way. Some spiritual practices will be introduced as examples of these prayer traditions. Participants will be encouraged to identify their primary prayer path, and deepen their respect for other dimensions of prayer and spirituality. You will have a chance for learning, discovery, and sharing. Your own prayer experiences will be validated by the experiences of others, and you will have an opportunity to deepen and broaden your own response to God. (This paradigm draws upon the contributions of Urban T. Holmes, Rachael Hosmer, and Corinne Ware.)
SPIRITUALITY AND JUSTICE
A time for exploring the interrelationship between the inner and outer world, both called to be included in God's reign of compassion. Growth in our spiritual lives inevitably leads to concern for God's justice and reconciliation in the world, or we run the danger of falling into quietism. Concern for the needs of our suffering world inevitably calls us to develop our own spiritual center in God, or we run the danger of cynicism and burnout. A healthy spirituality recognizes both dimensions of life. How do we find that balance in our lives? What can we do to nurture our attentiveness to both the inner and outer world?
HELPING THE COMMUNITY LISTEN FOR GOD:
SPIRITUAL DIRECTION IN ORGANIZATIONAL CONTEXTS
Although the dominant model of spiritual direction has focused on support for the individual, there is growing interest in developing the role of the spiritual director, or team of spiritual guides, in service to the spiritual needs and direction of the church, community, or other organization. This program will explore how the practice and tools of spiritual direction can be applied to the collective context of churches, communities, and other organizations. We will identify a range of tools from spiritual direction that can be applied to communal contexts and consulting work. A process for spiritual discernment is offered that has useful application to communal interests. Basic elements of group dynamics will be explored.
This provides an intensive introduction to various dimensions and traditions related to dream work. Participants will be given various interpretive tools, learn how to increase the vividness of their dreams (including learning about lucid dreaming), increase their recall ability, and gain a fuller appreciation of dreams as a major window to the soul. A Christian perspective will be advanced related to dream work, but other approaches will also be respected and drawn upon. The workshop would prepare a person to be part of a dream work group, or to work with dreams more effectively as an individual, with another person, or as part of a dream-valuing community.
GIFTS AND EMPOWERMENTS FOR MINISTRY
Taking seriously our baptismal life in
Christ inevitably leads us to a desire to explore ways in which we can
more fully offer ourselves in service to God. The language of ministry
is a language of exploring our gifts and empowerments. St. Paul writes
of gifts of the Spirit, and the fruit of the Spirit. The Book
of Common Prayer grounds ministry in baptism and expands the term "ministry"
to include laity as well as clergy. Yet, there are barriers to discovering
our giftedness and things that hold many of us back from being empowered
in our ministries. We will look at more recent shifts in the
understanding of ministry, some barriers to ministry, and some possible
next steps in developing our ministries. By surveying Pauline spiritual
gifts and their connection to Christ, engaging parables imaginally, and
using group sharing we will explore some of the range of our gifts and
empowerments from God for ministry in Christ's name to our world and for
the building up of Christ's Church.
All Saints Episcopal Church (Chicago) Men's Spirituality Group, Winter 1999
GATHERED IN WHOLENESS
Attention will be given to four dimensions of our life, set within the context of community: body, spirit, soul, and mind. Various exercises will help us honor and explore these dimensions, listen for their wisdom, and seek a new level of integration and wholeness.
HOLY HABITS FOR SPIRITUAL SANITY
In order to develop a personal "rule of life" we need to consider what is foundational for our spiritual sanity and whole well-being. This workshop will look at ancient monastic ways of regulating communal life such as the Rules of St. Basil and the Rule of St. Benedict, and the Franciscan Rule, consider some rules of life of some individuals and then assist participants in developing a personal rule of life. (Hint: "rule" comes from the latin word regula and the challenge is to find the regular, stable practices that give foundation to our spiritual life. A rule of life is supposed to free us from the many rules we impose upon ourselves as we compulsively try to justify ourselves before God. It can change over time as we discover God leading us to new life circumstances.) Attention will also be given to discussion of family covenants or spiritual community covenant formation.
St. Benedict of Nursia
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COURSES OF STUDY
(These are offered by Dan Prechtel as examples only of the kind of courses our associates could bring to your group, church, organization.)
The Dreamsharing Course will introduce
you to the how's and why's of working with your dreams. The course
will introduce various traditions that value dreams for their creative
potential and their ability to give you a window into your psyche and the
spiritual dimension of your life. You will be given the tools to
develop your dream recall ability, and heighten the vividness of your dreams.
You will learn ways to confront fears and develop balance in your conscious
living as you look to your dreams for insight. Biblical precedents
and early Christian perspectives to the role of dreams in faith life will
be presented, and other approaches will be respected and drawn upon as
A major component of the course, not available through the workshop, is the opportunity to do depth practice in individual and group interpretation of your and others' dreams, and explore other dimensions of dreamwork, including dream matrix work, in a group setting. The course also provides group study of a book on dreamwork.
TO HAVE THE MIND OF CHRIST
Sessions in this course explore the biblical and spiritual foundations of the practice of spiritual discernment, seeking to discover the will of God and looking at the spiritual basis of decisions. Several approaches to discernment will be presented, contemporary developments in the area will be discussed, and both individual and group discernment practices will be considered. After this foundation course a practicum on individual and group discernment could be explored. (Also see the Communal Discernment Group and the Communal Spiritual Discernment Program.)
MENTORSHIP PROGRAM IN SPIRITUAL PRACTICES
Providing instruction and guidance, and for some an apprenticeship program, to assist participants in understanding and practicing spiritual disciplines, prayer and meditation forms, engagement of sacred texts, and other spiritual practices and their application to living in the world with compassion, peace, and transformational power. Apprentices could learn leadership skills in developing proficiencies in others and become mentors in spiritual practices themselves.
GUIDED RETREATS & QUIET DAYS:
Guided group retreats and quiet days are offered to be led in your location. Any of the formation themes noted above could be the focus for a retreat or quiet day, or many other themes could be explored using scripture and other tools for opening windows to the soul. Another possibility would be focusing on the life and teachings of particular historic spiritual guides of the Church (or a combination of teachers) such as: Francis of Assisi, Teresa of Avila, Julian of Norwich, the author of The Cloud of Unknowing, John of the Cross, Francis DeSales, Ignatius of Loyola, Benedict of Nursia, and the Desert Elders.
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Long Distance Services:
Some of our associates offer long distance services such as spiritual direction by telephone, Skype, or email correspondence. Although face-to-face spiritual companionship is most desirable in ordinary circumstances, some people are not able to do so for several reasons such as time availability, location, physical restrictions, and lack of spiritual directors. Likewise, some consulting may be done long distance. For instance, some spiritual directors may wish to be consulted on particular situations long distance contact may be helpful if they are locally restricted in their resources. Individuals that wish to explore dream work and engaging inner symbols might find long distance consultations helpful. Consulting on how to set up spirituality groups or peer group processes may be done through distance communication media. Feel free to explore the possibilities of long distance sessions with our associates. You now may pay online for any Lamb & Lion Ministries services.
Lamb and Lion Spiritual Guidance Ministries
are located throughout the country. Check with the associate of your
choice about meeting locations.
About the name "Lamb & Lion Spiritual Guidance Ministries" and a brief history:
This ministry began on a part-time basis in 1993 while Daniel Prechtel was serving as the parish priest of St. John's Episcopal Church in Charlotte, Michigan. He received focused study in the art of spiritual direction and guidance through the Upper Room's Academy of Spiritual Formation and has offered spiritual direction and related inner journey work since 1983. In 1995 he moved to Evanston, Illinois due to his wife's (Ruth Meyers) acceptance of a faculty appointment with Seabury-Western Theological Seminary and Lamb & Lion Spiritual Guidance Ministries became a full time offering. Now in the San Francisco East Bay area he continues to offer this ministry.
The name "Lamb & Lion Spiritual Guidance Ministries" speaks of a desire to move toward God's "peaceful kingdom" of shalom alluded to in Isaiah Ch. 11. In Revelation Ch. 5, Jesus Christ is referred to both as the Lion of the tribe of Judah and the glorified Lamb that was slain. Encouraging the integration of our inner forces through God's care and our growing response to that healing and empowering Presence, and supporting the building of God's shalom in the midst of the external forces in the communities and world of which we take our place by God's love is a central mission of the work of Lamb & Lion Spiritual Guidance Ministries. These ministries are offered with an ecumenical emphasis, and we are respectful of other faith traditions and of people who are seekers or whose spiritual journey is not boundaried by a traditional faith.
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provides the services for Lamb & Lion Ministries?
San Pablo, CA (near Pinole in San Francisco East Bay region)
Daniel Prechtel, OblSB, DMin, is the founder
and senior associate spirtiual director of Lamb & Lion Spiritual
Guidance Ministries . He is an ordained priest in the Episcopal
Church with over twenty-five years of experience in individual and group
spiritual guidance. He focused his doctor of ministry studies in the areas
of spirituality, historical theology, and congregational development and
has a special interest in working with churches in applying communal spiritual
discernment processes to their decision-making structures. Daniel
served as adjunct professor at Seabury-Western Theological Seminary from
1997-2009 teaching in spiritual formation and group leadership. He
also has been a guest presenter at North Park Theological Seminary and
Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. In 2003 he launched a pilot Group
Spiritual Leadership program, a nine month training program
for leaders of spiritual growth and guidance small groups and retreats
which became the prototype of the Institute of Spiritual Companionship's
Spiritual Companionship program, which he ran for the 2008-2009 academic
year. He completed the Upper Room's
Academy for Spiritual Formation
served for six years (1996-2002) as a practicum supervisor of a two year
training program in spiritual direction serving the metro-Chicago area,
the Institute of Spiritual Companionship (on the web at www.iofsc.org)
and continued as a board member, educator, and program director until his
move to California in 2009. He continues to serve as a consultant
for the Institute. Daniel works with churches on mission identification,
parish discernment processes, and developing a spirituality of church leadership
shared by clergy and laity. He received training in interpersonal, multi-party,
and congregational - organizational dispute mediation through the Mediation
Skills Training Institute of the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center as
well as negotiation training at Seabury-Western Theological Seminary by
Charles Barker of Conflict Management Incorporated. Dan is a member
of Spiritual Directors International since 1991, and the Society for the
Study of Christian Spirituality. He is a Benedictine oblate with St. Gregory's
in Three Rivers, Michigan. Dan served in parish ministry as rector of St.
John's Episcopal Church, Charlotte, Michigan for 11 years before offering
this work on a full-time basis. Dan frequently preaches, presides,
and leads formation programs for churches. Now in the San Francisco
East Bay area Dan has guest taught at the Church Divinity School of the
Pacific and the Chaplaincy Institute in Berkeley, among other venues.
Dan is a member of the clergy staff of All Souls Episcopal Parish (http://www.allsoulsparish.org/)
in Berkeley as an Associate Priest. He is currently writing a book on leading
various forms of spiritual companionship groups. Dan loves camping,
walks, fly fishing for trout and other outdoor activities and practicing
Qi Gong and Tai Chi. He is an amateur maker of ales and fine wines.
He is in his early 60's, married to Ruth Meyers-a seminary professor and
priest, and has two grown children, and two grandchildren.
Dan is available for personal or group spiritual direction, dreamwork and dreamwork groups, clergy spiritual support groups, leading or training in many forms of spiritual companionship groups, spiritual practices mentoring (and apprentice development), and church leadership retreats. He is also available for distance forms of spiritual guidance by telephone or Skype appointments or email correspondence and online group platforms.
Call or email Dan to discuss your interest in working with him at:
office 510.323.2539; cell 224.636.2874
Skype: daniel.prechtel (Daniel Prechtel)
Facebook: Dan Prechtel
Payment for Services:
SPIRITUAL DIRECTION (INDIVIDUAL OR GROUP):
There is no specific charge for spiritual direction. Rather, people are requested to give what they are able. Currently the range of compensation for spiritual direction typically runs from $50-$125 per session, but some people are able to give more and some are more financially restricted and need to give less. Consider assigning a compensation value that honors the special training, quality, and skills offered in this ministry to you.
Please try to reschedule appointments 24 hours in advance. If an appointment is missed, or there is a cancellation/need to reschedule on the day of the session, please offer compensation for the lost time the director has reserved for you. If the director misses an appointment or needs to reschedule on the day of the session a free session will be offered as compensation for your lost time.
For group spiritual direction, facilitated clergy support groups, or spiritual formation groups our directors would generally request compensation of $30 per person ($25 for a full time student) for a 90 minute session. However, we are not setting a fee and people are asked to give what they determine they are able to give. We would require a minimum of four people, although six to eight members is an ideal group size.
COMPENSATION FOR PRESENTATIONS, RETREATS, AND FORMATION PROGRAMS:
We want to give you some guidelines as to our usual expectations for financial compensation for one of us to work with you. Based around these general asking figures we would negotiate an agreement that is fair to both sides and respects your financial abilities and needs. Payment can be set up on a schedule if needed.
Compensation for Presentations, Retreats, and Formation Programs:
• For 45 minutes-one hour of adult formation we are usually compensated at a rate of $100-$150. For a series of adult formation classes the total could reflect a reduction over individual classes.
• If we schedule a half-day event (3-4 hours) we normally ask for compensation within the range of $275-$400 for one leader.
• For a full day (6-8 hours) we normally ask for compensation in the range of $500-$700.
• If we schedule a 1-1/2 day event such as a Friday night-Saturday event we customarily ask $750-$1000 in compensation.
• For longer times we can negotiate a reasonable compensation agreement using the above as a general guide--charging less per day for a longer commitment of time.
• If driving time takes longer than 2 hours total round trip additional compensation for time spent on the road at a rate of $25 per hour may apply to any service that we provide.
Expenses related to the event incurred by us need to be reimbursed or paid for in advance by the organization. We expect reimbursement for any travel incurred at current rates as determined by the IRS for business-related travel. We would also need to have any room and board provided or reimbursed, as well as the cost of meals on the road.
We are happy to work with as many people as the host can accommodate, but we will need to know a general estimate of how many you are expecting at least a week in advance, because that will affect the materials we bring and the process that is used. We can fine tune the expected attendance figure a couple days before the event.
If the group decides to invite one of us but has to cancel within the month of the engagement we ask for one quarter of our agreed compensation as partial reimbursement for the time put into preparation and setting aside the date(s). If the cancellation is within the week of the event we will send a statement asking one third of our agreed compensation in consideration for our work expended and the date(s) set aside.
Other services, such as consulting with a church or organization, are provided for a negotiated fee. For some services our associates may use a team approach with other consultant colleagues. Please contact us for discussion of fees for the specific consulting service that you wish to receive from Lamb & Lion Ministries.
We now have a Paypal feature on the front
page of our website that allows you to pay by credit card online to your
spiritual director/consultant. Here's a walk-though of the system:
-You have the choice of range of payments to select from (options 1-10, ranging from $5.00 on up). You can choose more than one option to combine for the total amount you want to pay. Please select payment amounts from the options in the drop-down box marked "Spiritual Direction or Other Service".
-Type the name of your spiritual director/consultant in the text box marked "Enter name of provider".
-Type the kind of service you are receiving in the text box marked "Enter name of service".
-Hit the button "Add to Cart". You may "add to cart" additional payment option amounts to combine for the total amount of your payment.
-When you are ready, hit the button, “Proceed to Checkout”.
-This opens a window to Paypal. You will be invited to open a Paypal account (which is optional) and then click on to the credit account window to enter your credit card information. That completes the online payment.
Please be aware that 2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction is deducted from your payment amount for this Paypal service, so your spiritual director/consultant will receive slightly less than the full amount you authorize. But there is no cost to you to use this service.
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Some Statements about Lamb & Lion Ministries' Services
(Following a vestry day in 1999 exploring the spirituality of parish leadership)
"I think I can speak on behalf of the whole executive committee in saying that you did a great job of exposing us to a variety of spiritual techniques within a day."
Rev. David Musgrave, D.Min.
Rector of St. Augustine's Episcopal Church, Wilmette, IL
(Following a two day men's retreat in 1999 by St. Paul's Episcopal Church, St. Joseph, MI)
"Thought provoking, stirred my soul."
"Dan Prechtel does a wonderful job facilitating group discussions and spiritual exercises in a loving and accepting manner."
"It was a sensitive, non-threatening and powerful retreat."
"Thank you so much for your fine leadership of our Advent Quiet Day. Your topic was particularly well chosen considering the presence of Benedictine Associates in the parish and at the event. While your talks focused on serious spiritual issues, you included just the right amount of levity which kept them from being heavy."
Rev. Wayne Carlson, D.Min.
Rector of The Church of the Holy Family, Park Forest, IL
(Following a Clergy Day with the Episcopal Diocese of Southwest Florida in 1999 on "Psychological and Spiritual Development: Opportunity for Growth or Crisis" and a presentation there entitled "Respecting the Loves: Spiritual Issues of Clergy and Practices for Shalom.")
"Thank you for being part of our diocesan community on October 28th and for your presentations at our Clergy Day conference. I am very grateful for your willingness to share a portion of your story with the clergy community as they look at issues in their own lives and ministries."
--The Rt. Rev. John Lipscomb
Bishop of Southwest Florida
(Comments from Circle of the Spirit group members in 2000)
"Soul searching experience!"
"The setting is very safe and very personal involvement (reactions) is encouraged."
"These sessions have provided a number of strategies for filling that 'God shaped hole' in my being--and an excitement about continuing to work in that direction. I feel positive energy working following our sessions."
(Following an overnight vestry retreat in 2001 on "Leadership in God's Realm")
"Thank you so much for leading our vestry retreat last weekend. It was inspirational and awesome! We were blessed to have you with us."
--Vestry and Clergy of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, McHenry, IL
(Following an Advent series in 2001 on "Exploring the Landscape of Prayer")
"Dan Prechtel is a joy! He brings intelligence and a deep spiritual awareness to any program he shares with a congregation."
--The Rev. Wendy DeFoe Lane
St. Simon's Episcopal Church, Arlington Heights, IL
blowing and very useful."
"I thought it was a terrific experience."
"Very good use of the time. Members of the group were encouraged to participate. Individual contributions to discussion were valued. Framework of head-heart-mystic-kingodm was excellent. It gives me a new framework for understanding people and situations."
"Very valuable to me, as it helps to expand my understanding of self & my relationship to my God & communication with God."
"Gave me additional foundation, overall good feeling about how I can be more tolerant of others, less judgmental, and know that my view on an issue may not be the only relevant and right perspective."
"Rewarding. I found much useful information to aid in ministry to hurting people."
"Very interesting. I think I need some time to reflect & digest the various dimension of spirituality."
"You are an outstanding retreat leader. I feel that your closeness to God is just outstanding."
Be a summertime monk for two weeks or more at St. Gregory's Abbey, a Benedictine monastery of the Episcopal Church at Three Rivers, Michigan
... if you are male, age 18 to 50, and if you can spend some time at the abbey during July. The only cost is $25 for registration.
For more information
and an application form, contact:
Summer Program Director
St. Gregory's Abbey
56500 Abbey Road
Three Rivers, MI 49093-9595
Phone (269) 244-5893
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Things Worth Sharing:
(If you have wisdom gifts or correspondence you would like to share on this web site, please send us an e-mail and we will consider posting it.)
(Caroline Bain is an Episcopal priest in the Diocese of Chicago and was a participant in a Circle of the Spirit group. We were exploring issues of wholeness and she contributed this poem.)
A Circle of Wholeness:
creation holding a cross,
a thousand stars flung against the night sky
by the maker of the world.
the voice of leaves singing with the Spirit,
the light in the eyes of a friend.
the thin places where prayer is breath that breathes creation,
where the eternal seeps through the material.
the seed that dies and in dying gives birth;
the love that shelters, warms and invites growth
in new and surprising ways.
a circle of wholeness that encompasses all
yet, allows freedom to be a child of God.
a circle of wholeness that spans the smallest universe
found in a grain of sand to the immensity of space.
a drop of water,
a smile - transitory yet eternal.
* * *
(This was told to me by a truly great storyteller, Megan McKenna, twenty-some years ago. It is my all time favorite on the meaning of life. -Dan)
WHAT IS LIFE?
The old Rebbe was nearing death and all of
his disciples gathered at his home to companion him at this end time and
to hear his last words which, as the tradition would expect, would be a
summary of his life's experience. There were so many followers of
this great Jewish teacher that they overflowed his home. In his bedroom
gathered around the rabbi were the inner core of disciples, with his number
one disciple standing next to his bed with paper and pencil in hand.
"Father," said the number one disciple, "you have been with us so long
and we have benefited so greatly from your years of experience and deep
wisdom. Now we await with you the fulfillment of your time on earth,
and your passing over to our ancestors in Abraham's bosom. Before
you go we want to know, father, what is life?"
The beloved master slowly gathered his strength, got up on one elbow, and then the other, looked into his disciple's face and replied: "Life? . . . What is life? . . . Life, my son, is a river!" With that statement he fell exhausted back onto his pillow.
Throughout the room the phrase was repeated by one disciple to another, "Life is a river!" It flowed out into the hallway and spread through the entire house. "Life is a river!" Out to those gathered on the lawn and into the street it flowed: "Life is a river!" Until someone on the edge of the street said, "What? Life is a river? What does that mean? It seems kind of dumb to me."
Then, back from one to another came the questions. "What does that mean? . . . How can it be a river? . . .We don't understand."
Finally the questions flowed back into the bedroom and to the number one disciple--who had the responsibility of explaining everything once the Rebbe died. "Wait father! Don't go yet! We don't understand! How is life a river?" cried the disciple.
Ever so slowly, by the grace of the Almighty One, the old sage slowly collected his remaining strength. He got up on one elbow, and then the other, looked his beloved disciple in the face, and said: "So maybe it's not a river."
* * *
SYMPTOMS OF INNER PEACE
Be on the lookout for symptoms of inner peace. The hearts of a great many have already been exposed to inner peace and it is possible that people everywhere could come down with it in epidemic proportions. This could pose a serious threat to what has, up to now, been a fairly stable condition of conflict in the world.
Some signs and symptoms of inner peace:
¨ A tendency to think and act spontaneously
rather than on fears based on past experiences.
¨ An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.
¨ A loss of interest in judging other people.
¨ A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others.
¨ A loss of interest in conflict.
¨ A loss of the ability to worry. (This is a very serious symptom.)
¨ Frequent, overwhelming episodes of appreciation.
¨ Contented feelings of connectedness with others and nature.
¨ Frequent attacks of smiling.
¨ An increasing tendency to let things happen rather than make them happen.
¨ An increased susceptibility to the love extended by others as well as the
uncontrollable urge to extend it.
(Author unknown. Circulated at St. Gregory's Abbey, Three Rivers, Michigan, c. 1985)
(Here's a good one for the Advent/Christmas/Epiphany cycle:)
"What good is it to me..."
What good is it to me if this eternal birth of the divine Son
takes place unceasingly but does not take place within myself?
And, what good is it to me if Mary is full of grace and if I am not also full of grace?
What good is it to me for the Creator to give birth to his Son
if I do not also give birth to him in my time and in my culture?
This, then, is the fullness of time;
When the Son of God is begotten in us.
Meister Eckhart, 13th century Rhineland mystic (Meditations
with Meister Eckhart, Matthew Fox)
The Journey of the Magi
by T.S. Eliot
A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.
And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
And running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelter
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.
Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation,
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky.
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory.
All this was a long time ago, I remember;
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.
A collection of reflections and other works related to topics of spirituality and wholeness covering the spectrum from individual, church, business, social, to global considerations is now underway. Reflections are offered occasionally in our e-mail news notes. Let us know if you want to be on the e-mail list! If you wish to see the archive of Reflections click here .
Presentations & Papers
(Copyright notice: please notify Daniel Prechtel at his email address or mailing address given on the web site if you reprint or use passages from any of the articles or other resources from the Reflections or Presentations and Papers Archive.)
Respecting the Loves: Spiritual Issues of Clergy
and Practices for Shalom
An address to Episcopal clergy in the Diocese of Southwest Florida 10-28-99. Includes additional survey replies as addenda. Click if you wish to see Respecting the Loves .
Notes on the Incarnation
Notes on historic statements about the Incarnation used at the Diocese of Southwest Florida's presentation for their FOCUS school for ministry in October, 1999. Click here if you wish to see Incarnation.
My Life as an Enneagram Five
A presentation to the Institute of Spiritual Companionship class as part of their intensive retreat introducing work with the Enneagram, an ancient personality typology system. Several students requested that I put this in print. Click if you wish to call up Enneagram--Five .
Book Review--Anglican Spiritual Direction by Peter Ball
This review by Dan Prechtel is reprinted with permission from the Spring, 1999 issue of OPEN: Journal of the Associated Parishes for Liturgy and Mission. Click if you wish to see Review of Anglican Spiritual Direction.
Index of Scripture References from the Rule of St. Benedict
References to scripture found in the Rule are indexed both by chapter of the Rule and by book of the Bible. Click if you wish to go to Index of Scripture References from the Rule .
A Christian Reawakening to the Dream
An exploration of the history and contemporary developments of western Christianity's use of dreams. This article was published in the Fall, 2000 issue of Dream Network Journal, vol. 19, no. 3. Click here if you wish to see A Christian Reawakening to the Dream .
To Have the Mind of Christ: Symbol Guidance and the Development of
Communal Spiritual Discernment Processes for Parish Life, Mission, and
The Doctor of Ministry thesis by Dan Prechtel at Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in 2002 on traditions of communal spiritual discernment, a new model of discernment, and the application of discernment practices to a church's sense of direction and major decisions. Click here if you wish to see or download To Have the Mind of Christ .
(Copyright notice: as a courtesy to the author please notify Daniel Prechtel at his email address or mailing address given on the web site if you reprint or use passages from any of the resources from the Online Publications Archive.)
Guidelines for Christian Living booklets--are designed to provide basic Christian teaching and spiritual formation material to those who are in the Episcopal Church. There are two booklets in this series:
Guidelines for Christian Living: Baptismal Preparation
Provides a focus on the three renunciations and affirmations asked of baptismal candidates or sponsors as well as discussing such topics as the central importance of baptism, the emergence of a new identity, and ministry rooted in baptism. There are questions for the candidate and sponsors, as well as an appendix of scripture references to baptism and the baptismal rite.
Guidelines for Christian Living: Conscious Beginnings
For all who are newly awakened spiritually; for candidates for Holy Baptism, Confirmation, Reception, or Reaffirmation. It is a basic guide for those desiring to give intentional structure to their life as a Christian, and helps them to develop their own spiritual rule of life framed around the key elements of the Baptismal Covenant. Since this covenant is central to Christian living, it can be helpful to those who are preparing for the covenant of Holy Matrimony or other major situations in life. Contains a word list as an appendix. Conscious Beginnings
A short book of "windows into the sacred" that provide an opportunity to reflect on the sacred dimension of life. Shaped around themes of water, fishing, baptism and God's presence known in and through creation, these stores, sayings, and vignettes point to a contemplative way of living. An opportunity for spiritual reflection and enjoyment for those who love the great outdoors! A great small group discussion starter. Well Spring
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Links to Other Sites
Some links may have changed since we last updated them, but we thought you might be interested in the following:
Some nationwide links:
Academy for Spiritual Formation http://www.upperroom.org
(Upper Room in Nashville--training by extension program)
Awesome Christian Sites (at CrossDaily.com) http://www.awesome-sites.com
Anglicans Online http://Anglican.org/online/
Center for Spirituality and Creativity http://www.madbbs.com/mem
Christian Classic Ethereal Library http://www.ccel.org
DeKoven Center, Racine, WI http://www.angelfire.com/biz/dekovencenter/
Dream Network http://DreamNetwork.net/
FishNet Resources http://www.fni.com
Hermitage of New Glastonbury http://www.newglastonbury.org
Listening Hearts Ministries http://www.listeninghearts.ang-md.org
Order of St. Benedict web site http://www.osb.org/osb/index.html
Retreats International http://www.nd.edu/~retreats/frame1.htm
Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation http://www.shalem.org
(Washington D.C. area--training through extension program)
St. Gregory's Abbey (noted above) http://saintgregorysthreerivers.org/
Spiritual Directors International http://www.sdiworld.org
Some Chicago area links:
Institute of Spiritual Companionship http://www.iofsc.org
Institute of Spiritual Leadership http://www.spiritleader.org
Renewal in the Wilderness http://www.renewalinthewilderness.org
Sabbath Center http://www.sabbathcenter.org/thesabbathcenter/index.html
SHEM Center for Interfaith Spirituality http://members.aol.com/SHEMcenter
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