Welcome to the WellSpring eNewsletter! Please read on for more information about current news and events.

30 August 2016

Special Note - scroll down to see the discounted price for the Spring Retreat later this month.


This month Tess Veenker begins our newsletter with a reflection on Spring - thank you Tess. 

As we once again slowly flow into the season of Spring the wisdom of the Sufi Tale may speak to us of our own life as we journey again from the hibernation of Winter to the wonder of something new silently stirring within our very Being.

The Story of the Stream
A stream was working itself across the country, experiencing little difficulty.
It ran around the rocks and through the mountains.
Then it arrived at a desert.
Just as it had crossed every other barrier, the stream tried to cross this one,
but it found that as fast as it ran into the sand, its waters disappeared.
After many attempts it became very discouraged.
It appeared that there was no way it could continue the journey.
Then a voice came in the wind.
“If you stay the way you are you cannot cross the sands,
you cannot become more than a quagmire.
To go further you will have to lose yourself.”
“But if I lose myself,” the stream cried, “I will never know what I’m supposed to be.”
“O, on the contrary,” said the voice,
“if you lose yourself you will become more than you ever dreamed you could be.”
So the stream surrendered to the dying sun.
And the clouds into which it was formed were carried by the raging wind for many miles.
Once it crossed the desert, the stream poured down from the skies, fresh and clean, and full of the energy that comes from storms.

(From the Sufi Tales)
Life’s journey has once again lead us along its mountainous and rocky paths. We have arrived at deserts both hot and cold and have felt the fear of becoming totally stuck and lost in its quagmires of winter.

But now as the skies turn blue and tiny new buds of life emerge from seemingly dead trees and bushes. Our hearts are once again attuned to the gentle murmurings of the breeze, inviting us to something more, something new – can you not hear it?

Can you feel its energy?  Can you sense its hope? For something new is silently bubbling within – inviting and daring us to say ‘yes’ –  to surrender in trust to its flow…
As our world also in many places seems to be lost and overwhelmed by a quagmire of wars, violence, fear...

May we pray that this dark season too will soon become transformed through the power of the wind towards a new season of hope... peace… new beginnings…

Building Bridges in Schools Program
Presentation Night

Wednesday 7 September: 7.30 to 9.30pm

Please join us as we celebrate the students’ participation in the Building Bridges in Schools program. This evening will honour the students’ inter-faith and inter-cultural exchange, where they have sought to build trust, understanding and mutual respect across religious and cultural differences through dialogue and sharing life stories throughout this year.

Minaret College
1 Birch Street, Springvale

Enquiries and RSVPs to Ann Lock

Click here for more information about Building Bridges.

Building Bridges is run through WellSpring Centre and is thankful for the support from the Victorian Multicultural Commission.

Launch of Jill Manton's New Book

Sunday 18 September: 2.30 to 4.30pm
Ashburton Baptist Church
10 Y Street Ashburton

The unusual "against all the odds" story of Eugene Veith's life,
An Ordinary Bloke:
The Making of a Modern Mystic

will be launched by
Rev. Tim Costello AO (CEO, World Vision Australia)


RSVP by 12 September
to jill.manton@wellspringcentre.org.au

Click here to download a flier in PDF format.

All welcome.

A Contemplative Circle

Wednesday 21 September: 10am to 12.30pm
(Facilitators: Chris Page and Marg Loftus)

A Contemplative Circle: Reflecting on our Inner Life (drawing on Parker Palmer’s bestseller, 'A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey toward the Undivided Life') is a place to explore one’s inner life with others through readings, poems, symbols, story and conversation.

Drawn from ancient and contemporary wisdom, it is a deeply spiritual approach to identifying our ‘inner landscape’.

Throughout the year our outer landscape, such as ocean, mountain, desert, forest and the seasons will be used as metaphors and images of our inner life.

All welcome.

Cost: $28 (full); $22.50 (members/concession).
Click here to book and pay online.

Spring Retreat: 'The Gifts of the Desert'
Friday 23 to Sunday 25 September, Wantirna
(Facilitator: Marg Donald)

SPECIAL DISCOUNTED COST (Limited Numbers): $270 (all retreatants). Please book by 12 September. 

This will be a beautiful retreat focussing on the 'Gifts of the Desert' but at present the numbers are too low for it to be viable. As a once off gesture for this retreat we are able to offer a discounted rate with the hope of enabling more people to attend. See the attached flier for more information.

WellSpring retreats offer time and space for silent prayer, rest, reflection, worship, reflective artwork, and spiritual direction in restful surroundings with single room accommodation. A deposit is required at the time of booking.

Art materials are provided for those wishing to express their prayer in this way.

The theme offered this weekend will be ‘The Gifts of the Desert.’ In the peaceful bush surroundings at Wantirna there will be space to reflect on the desert experiences of our heart and the gifts we may discover there. The days will consist of morning and evening prayer together with most of the day free time to do whatever you wish.

Spiritual direction is offered each day and art materials are available for those who enjoy reflective artwork, but this is quite optional. All are warmly welcomed to these two days.

Download a flier here.

Cost: $270 (all retreatants)
Click here to book and pay online.

Soul Nurture Day
Wednesday 28 September: 10am to 3pm
(Facilitator: Ann Lock)

Soul Nurture days (formerly known as Quiet Days) provide space and time for prayerful reflection and attentiveness to God’s Spirit in our lives in company with others who share the same intention. They are spent mostly in silence allowing for rest, refreshment and new insights. The program may include scripture, meditation, communion, silent prayer together and alone.

BYO lunch, a journal and pen, and anything else you might need to make yourself comfortable.

Cost: $28 (full); $22.50 (members/concession)

Click here to book and pay online.


Creative Art Conversations
Saturday 8 October: 10am to 3pm
(Facilitators: Mary McCowan and Liz Johnson)

Featuring artwork by Mary McCowan.

There will be time for hearing the story, some quiet reflection, and fun with a hands on art experience.

Cost: $28 (full); $22.50 (members/concession)
Click here to book and pay online.

A flier can be downloaded here.

Open Garden Hosted by Roslyn and Chris White

Saturday 15 October: 10am to 4pm
73 Broadway, Camberwell
(A Fundraiser for TEAR Australia)

Bring your friends and family to this Open Garden to enjoy:

* barista
* garden stall
* craft stall
* cakes
* preserves
* sausage sizzle
* silent auction

Cost: $10 donation to TEAR Australia (pay on day)

All welcome.

Thanksgiving and Graduation Day
(NOTE change of date)

Sunday 6 November: 2 to 4pm

Join with others in WellSpring to give thanks to God for the past year, to celebrate the graduation of those completing their Spiritual Direction formation training in 2016 and to launch the 2017 program.

NB: The 2016 Thanksgiving and Graduation Day for Spiritual Directors has been changed to Sunday 6 November. A number of the Art of Spiritual Direction students graduating this year live interstate. As they will be at WellSpring for the final intensive on 4-5 November, the Graduation and Thanksgiving Day has been changed to 6 November to enable them to attend.

Donations to TEAR Australia.

Book Feature

In our culture most picture books are for kids with the text on one page and the images on the other. Parents read the story and children look for the characters in the pictures. Similarly ‘coffee table’ books are produced for adults with short texts and beautiful images.

Paul and Nathan’s book is somewhat like the latter but reflects a much older tradition in which the Christian message is written in Icons. So in this case the texts are reproduced in the contemporary paintings that have been produced in response to the lectionary readings used by Nathan Nettleton at South Yarra Baptist Church where the paraphrase is in rather broad Australian English. 

It is a fascinating and challenging experience to read a paraphrase in the Australian idiom and then to ‘read’ the same message in a contemporary painting. It is quite a shock to have Jesus located in country Victoria.

But is not all our preaching about Jesus in the here and now?

Using local elements like the sulphur crested cockatoo as a symbol of the Holy Spirit, the ubiquitous crow as a symbol of death or Spider Orchids as ‘lilies of the field’ may be confusing, but for me they offer images I can relate to. Now whenever I spot a cocky flying by or hear it squawking in the distance I am reminded of the Holy Spirit suddenly disrupting our complacency.

In addition Paul has included an account of his visits to Palestine and they also are very thought-provoking.

All I all I found this book to be a treat. It is beautifully produced. I read it with pleasure and leave it on the lounge knowing that the grandkids will pick it up and enjoy it too.

Paul Gahan, Painting the Word (2016)
Paraphrase by Nathan Nettleton (author) / Paul Gahan (illustrator)
ISBN  978-0-6469576-3-0
Price: $50
To purchase this book, please email Paul Gahan.

WellSpring is grateful to Fiona Pfennigwerth for granting us permission to use her beautiful illustrations of Australian nature in our advertising. Fiona's books, The Scrolls Illuminated and The Gospel according to John Illuminated are available through WellSpring.

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