What kind of journals does the Holy Spirit keep?: 2015 young adult retreat

Friday, April 17 to Sunday, April 19, approximately 20 Bay Area young adults gathered at The Bishop’s Ranch for the annual Diocese of California young adult retreat, this year themed “I want to believe” and focusing on core beliefs of Christianity and how these young adults own or struggle portions of them.

The retreat began with a casual social time of introductions, “A game for good Christians,” “Twister,” and informal, spontaneous conversation. This year brought some familiar faces, some new faces, and some faces not seen since the last young adult retreat. The Rev. Stephen Shaver, St. Mark’s, Berkeley, was the chaplain for the retreat.

After breakfast on Saturday morning, Shaver introduced the Nicene Creed with some history and some of the basic background theology of it. Following the large group session, retreaters broke into small groups to engage the Creed together. Small groups were invited to reflect on questions like, “How familiar are you with the Creed?”, “What parts of the Creed provide comfort?”, and “What parts of the Creed do you struggle with?” Each group reported back to the large group a word or phrase that the whole group could agree on.

Back in the large group, Samantha Haycock, director of children and youth ministries, Christ Church, Alameda, led an exercise of formulating and refining questions based on the book A more beautiful question by Warren Berger. Participants analyzed a question such as “Does the Holy Spirit exist?” for assumptions, brainstormed related questions — some very serious, other more humorous yet just as inquisitive — one might ask, such as “Is the Holy Spirit self-aware?” and “What kinds of journals does the Holy Spirit keep?” The conclusion of the questions exercise was choosing three questions that may need deeper research and evaluating the tools necessary for that added research.

After lunch on Saturday, Shaver continued discussion of the Nicene Creed with more of its history and changes over a few centuries, including when and how it was added to Eucharistic worship. After his second presentation, participants were free to enjoy the pool, the Ranch’s hiking trails, or Russian River Valley wine nearby. Saturday evening concluded with a campfire, smores, and sharing faith journeys.

The retreat closed on Sunday morning with Eucharist, at which Shaver presided and steered conversation for a shared sermon. The Nicene Creed, the focus of the retreat, was sung on Sunday, as people improvised. Shaver had previously said that he finds singing the Creed helpful to think of it as a hymn to God or as the Church’s fight song.  After Eucharist, participants went their separate ways after having made new friendships and strengthening existing ones.  Watch DioBytes for announcements of future young adult retreats in the Diocese of California.