08NestordeArmasAndGroupOn May 16, 2015, around 35 Centering Prayer members attended a Facilitator Formation Workshop Level II, at All Saints Church, in Winter Park, Florida. It was expertly presented by Nestor de Armas, who had previously asked for our input in prioritizing the topics to be included, and which were responsive to our needs. The purpose of the Workshop was to empower us to incorporate the principles of Servant Leadership into our service as Centering Prayer Group Facilitators, in order to help our Centering Prayer Group members support each other in their transformation in Christ.

The Workshop’s intense schedule included two periods of Centering Prayer, morning and afternoon, the topics of Dispositions on Servant-Leadership in the Contemplative Dimension, the Role of the Servant Leader, Stages of Groups to Maturity, and Facilitator and Chapter Relationships.

There were small group discussions in which the members shared their own disposition manifested in their servant leadership style, and how it helped foster growth in their group. A very important disposition of Servant-Leadership is to maintain a safe environment for everyone in the group in order to allow the Spirit the maximum opportunity to work. The Guidelines for Sharing, welcoming problems and opposing views, were also thoroughly discussed. The servant leader should be an integral member of the group, and foster friendly, respectful, trusting and humble attentiveness to the group’s discernment process.

Of great interest was the topic of “Organic Growth of Prayer Groups,” which introduced to us the concept of organic growth in Centering Prayer groups as an aid in fostering a maturing spirituality. The members were grouped at tables that encompassed the age of their own Centering Prayer group, to explore where their own group may be in this dynamic of spiritual maturation. A group’s life cycle evolves through distinct stages, all influenced by elements that bring change, i.e. Personalities, Significant Events, Environment (cultural, physical, spiritual).

The Centering Prayer Group stage developments are: New Prayer Group, Friendship, Spiritual Maturation, and Spiritual Community. The groups discussed what movements were occurring within their own groups towards the “next stage” of maturation. It was a fruitful and joyful, hard working day for all!   — Alma Garcia