Summer Experience

August at The Practice

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August update

Hey friends, we are so excited to come back together in the Chapel this month!

On August 7th and 14th, we will gather for the sake of our broken and beautiful world…learning to align our lives with God’s Movement of healing, peace, and the flourishing of all. Or, as we often say around The Practice: There is a grand river flowing toward the redemption and restoration of all things, and Christ invites us to swim WITH IT for the sake of the world. Will you say yes? Will you learn to swim with us?

AUGUST 7th: Prayer for the World With Images.  After a deep dive into our opening liturgy (with special guest artist/pastor Melissa Greene), Kellye Fabian will lead an extended time of prayer for the world using provocative and beautiful images. If you’ve experienced this before, you know how powerful it can be to connect our eyes with our hearts as we pray. Kellye will invite us to engage some of the world’s most pressing needs, of course, and then celebrate a few ways that God is already bringing hope and healing. Finally, we will bring these prayers to the Lord’s Table and end the night with Eucharist and worship.

AUGUST 14th: A Theology and Practice of “The Other”. On the second week, we’re thrilled to learn from Michael Rudzena, the pastor at Trinity Grace Tribeca (where our pal David Gungor leads worship).  Michael is brilliant, kind, and currently writing a book on a Theology of The Other. Jesus was very clear that our love for God is directly tied to our love for each other, so how do we learn to love our neighbor? What if this neighbor offends or frightens or disgusts us? How do we find and honor the image of God in our friends, strangers, enemies, and even ourselves?  I can’t think of a better topic to explore right now.

Kellye / Melissa / Michael

Kellye / Melissa / Michael



AUGUST 28st: Practice Community Retreat
. Please join us at Bellarmine Retreat House for a day of prayer, teaching, solitude, and practice. Fr Michael Sparough, Joan Kelly, and Gail Donahue are partnering with us to create a whole day of holy space. Registration will open on August 7th. Space is limited, so please stay tuned!

Fr Michael at Bellarmine

Fr Michael at Bellarmine


In every way this month, may God’s Kingdom come and Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.

Grace and peace,
Aaron and The Practice Team

Formation & Art — a four week journey

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“God’s invitations are meant to mend, shape, anchor and grow us into the character of Jesus. They call us into our true selves in Christ…Invitations from the Holy One serve God’s dream for the world. They don’t call me to become what I produce, what others think of me or what I know. They invite me to be free. And freedom comes from being an intentional follower of Jesus.” (Adele Calhoun, Invitations from God)
Hi Practice Friends.  We are very excited that you are considering joining us for the Practice 4-week journey of Formation and Art, including an introduction to the Enneagram and a deeper dive into the practices of journaling, 3-way listening, silence and solitude, and centering prayer. We will be taking a deeper dive into the book Invitations from God: Accepting God’s Offer to Rest, Weep, Forgive, Wait, Remember and More by Adele Calhoun. Reading the book is not at all required, but here is a link if you are interested in following along.

Join us for one week or join us for all!  

Time Frame
Thursdays 7:00-8:30 p.m.
July 14, 21, 28 and August 4

Willow Creek South Barrington
Room B204 (near the Chapel – Entrance B)

Week #1 – July 14 – Invitation to Participate in Your Own Healing
Practice – Enneagram

Week #2 – July 21 – Invitation to Practice the Presence of People
Practice – 3-Way Listening/Journaling/Art

Week #3 – July 28 – Invitation to Rest
Practice – Silence and Solitude/Journaling/Art

Week #4 – August 4 – Invitation to Wait
Practice – Centering Prayer/Journaling/Art

On the first Thursday (July 14th) we will be offering an introduction to the Enneagram. The Enneagram is a tool that many have found useful on the spiritual journey. Here is a helpful article describing the Enneagram:  Letting Go of the False Self: How the Enneagram Can Help You Find the True You by Alice Fryling.If you’re interest in taking an online Enneagram assessment, we recommend this one: Enneagram Assessment.  (Taking the assessment is not required to participate on Thursday nights.)
If you have any questions, feel free to email Lori at or call 847-508-0282.
Looking forward to journeying with you!
Lori Shoults and Sarah Carter

This Summer as The Practice 

By | Summer Experience, Upcoming | 6 Comments


As a community learning the unforced rhythms of Grace, we’re quite excited about this summer. Rather than meeting every Sunday night, our Summer rhythm is all about creating space:  to play, unplug, deepen relationships, learn, and let God lead us into the next year of practice.  May God plant seeds in this holy space…


Practice Potluck BBQs of Glory and Goodness
Thursday, July 16th and 23rd
We’re so excited about this.  Each BBQ will involve three things: (1) A mighty potluck dinner, (2) A chance to do something fun together, and (3) A campfire liturgy.  Part of the night will be open to hang, but we’ll also offer a framework to practice together. (We are “The Practice”, after all!)
You’ll hear from Rhianna next week with every detail–what to bring, location, and all other info.  Hope you can join us both nights!



Two Practice Gatherings
Sunday, August 2nd and 9th
The Willow Chapel
It will be so great to gather back together in The Chapel to worship, pray for the world, practice together, and receive The Eucharist.
Fr Michael


Practice Retreat
Sunday, August 16th
Bellarmine Retreat House in Barrington
If you are a part of the practice community, we really hope you can join us for this day away.  Fr Michael Sparough SJ will guide the morning (9-noon), we’ll spend the afternoon (12-4) continuing the conversation in various ways, and then we’ll end with a dinner feast that culminates in the Eucharist.  I can’t wait to see what God does in our community on this day.  (Once again, Rhianna and her team will be in contact shortly with more details and a way to sign up.)
May God’s will be done in and through our community this summer. May we continue to learn and practice together.  May our friendships grow and deepen.  And may we have a ton of fun.
Grace and peace,
Aaron and The Practice Team

Half way through our Summer Journey

By | Reflections, Summer Experience | One Comment

For the past two weeks we have been immersing ourselves in the experience of listening as a spiritual practice. We are learning to attune to ourselves, to one another, and most importantly, to God. Much is being harvested in silence. As we engage in listening as a spiritual practice, our curriculum is our present day stories. Listening to one another in community, we are learning to use listening guidelines that help us to invite souls out of hiding. We are using selected pieces of Listen to My Life as a tool to facilitate our learning.

Last night we used the My Life Now map from the Listen to My Life portfolio. We pondered our lingering questions for God and had time to share and listen to one another deeply in community.

What we are doing in The Practice and in this summer experience is affecting how we live and how we are able to recognize and respond to God in the midst of our stories.

Feel free to join us for one or both of the last two weeks as we use the Reviewing My Days map to help us engage in the spiritual practice of the Examen. We will continue to create space for deep sharing and listening.

“Our challenge is to unmask the divine in the natural and name the presence of God in our lives.” (David Benner, The Gift of Being Yourself)

We’d love to hear about how this experience is going for you!

Lori Shoults


A couple resources to keep diving in…

article: “The Wisdom of Recognizing and Responding to God in My Story” by Sharon Swing

book:  Let Your Life Speak by Parker Palmer

website:  One Life Maps

Ready to Get Started!

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Preparing for Our Four-Week Experience


This is the week we’re starting our four-week summer experience, A Taste of Listen to My Life!  I’ve read through the materials and am really looking forward to gathering with my little tribe to begin our journey.  Part of me wants to just launch into the first session today, but I also know that I often have better experiences when my heart is prepared.  So, I’m practicing Lectio Divina on the story recorded in Luke 24:13-35 when Jesus encountered his disciples as they walked along the road to Emmaus.  I am also praying that God will prepare me to receive all he has for me through this summer experience.  Here’s my prayer.  Feel free to make it your own as you prepare!

Father in heaven, thank you for the example of community you have provided.  Thank you for planting the desire in me to know and be known.  I am so grateful for the opportunity to gather in a little tribe to engage in spiritual listening.  Prepare my heart this week so I am humble to receive all that you have to teach me, attentive and patient in my listening, and can see the Lord Jesus at the center of this experience.  I open my heart, my hands, and my ears, hungry to know you more and experience the kind of intimate, truthful, and grace-giving community you desire for me.  Start something in these four weeks, Lord, something that will transform me and conform me into your likeness.  Bless and guide every person in this community, reveal your nearness to the lonely and brokenhearted, and give each of us courage and strength to share our stories and listen as you would to the stories of others.

In Jesus’ name,

Don’t forget, a great team will be leading a facilitated experience at Willow in Room B207 from 7-9 p.m. on July 13, July 20, July 27, and August 3 if you don’t yet have a tribe.  And if you still need the A Taste of Listen to My Life packet, they are available for purchase at Seeds Bookstore for $15.00.  (But again, if money is an issue, please let me know,


A Four-Week Summer Experience

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A Taste of Listen to My Life

Four Weeks of Practicing Spiritual Listening



A Four Week Journey

We are so excited to invite you into a four-week summer experience — A Taste of Listen to My Life.  This experience was specially compiled for our community by the authors of Listen to My Life, Sibyl Towner and Sharon Swing, and offers us a way to practice one of the most important aspects of community — spiritual listening.  I keep thinking about the night Sibyl taught us and how much I learned in such a short time about how to listen well!  Imagine how we will feel after four weeks practicing this kind of listening!  Sibyl and Sharon created a packet with two of their life maps, a suggested way to spend the time when your tribe meets, some listening guidelines, and additional information to help your tribe practice together.  We love the idea of our community meeting in living rooms to engage in this experience together.  But we also know that some of us are in the Sunday-night rhythm and enjoy coming to Willow.  So, we will have a great team leading a facilitated experience at Willow in Room B207 from 7-9 p.m. on July 13, July 20, July 27, and August 3.

If you weren’t able to make our Feast last night and would like to purchase the A Taste of Listen to My Life packet, they are available for purchase at Seeds Bookstore for $15.00.  (But again, if money is an issue, please let us know.)

Don’t forget that we’ll gather together again on August 10 in the Chapel from 7-9 p.m. for a night of worship, liturgy, and holy communion.

I’ll be checking in with you as we move ahead and I can’t wait to learn together!