Congregation at Duke Chapel

Discernment: Living a Listening Life

Saturday, May 18 - Sunday, May 19, 2019

Reservations required by March 11, 2019. Two reasons to come to the Overnight Retreat:

  1. A weekend on the beach with your church family
  2. An opportunity to reflect on hearing, understanding, and responding to God's voice

The theme for this year's annual Overnight Retreat is "Discernment." Participants will explore the question, "How do we hear, understand, and respond to God's voice?" Anyone who has ever sought God's will and guidance will find this a fruitful conversation.

This 2019 retreat will be led by John Baird, who has been a teacher and leader in Friends education for more than 35 years. The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) have distinctive methods of discernment which will be instructive. Baird will introduce the ways in which Quakers discern and respond to God's will.

"There is ...within us all, a holy Infinite Center, a Heart, a Life who speaks in us and through us to the world. We have all heard this holy Whisper at times," writes Thomas Kelly, renowned Quaker educator and author in A Testament of Devotion*. Quakers (or Friends) have experienced God as Inner Light or Inner Teacher and have practiced discerning and seeking to follow Spirit's call for over 350 years. In our retreat we will explore "listening spirituality" in the faith and practice of Friends and in our own experience. We will learn about the "clearness committee," a method for discernment in the company of trusted friends, and consider where there may be possibilities for responding to God's "nudges" and "leadings" in our lives.

aerial photo of Fort Caswell

The retreat will be held at Fort Caswell Coastal Retreat and Conference Center on Oak Island, North Carolina. It is approximately 40 miles south of Wilmington, NC. This retreat center, located at the beach, provides comfortable lodging and many recreational opportunities. In addition to structured learning opportunities for all ages, the retreat will also provide opportunities to relax, while enjoying God's creation.

aerial photo of a bench with a view


photo of John Baird

John Baird has served in Friends education as a teacher, head of two Quaker Schools, clerk of two Friends meetings, and member of the Board of Directors of the Friends Council on Education. He has led schools in curriculum development, strategic planning, professional growth and fundraising. He was head of two Quaker schools, Westtown School (2002-2017) and Carolina Friends School (1989-2002.) Trained as a facilitator by the Center for Courage and Renewal, founded by Parker Palmer, John has led retreats and seminars for schools, Friends meetings, conference centers, and churches. He has hired, mentored and nurtured leaders, developed reflective practices, and guided and supported individuals and groups in discerning and responding to their sense of calling. He has an AB in Biology from Princeton University and a Masters in Religious Studies from Providence College. A member of the Durham (NC) Meeting, John is committed to building inclusive and creative communities that work in a spirit of continuing revelation to create a more just and peaceful world.

The retreat will begin Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m., May 18 and conclude after lunch on Sunday, May 19; participants may arrive on Friday night to simply relax.

Please make a reservation for the retreat by March 11, 2019.

Scholarship funds are available for those who need assistance with these expenses. Please note that registration fees are not refundable after March 15.

Room & Meals for adults:
Friday and Saturday nights, 6 meals (double occupancy) $158.00 / person
Friday and Saturday nights, 6 meals (single occupancy) $198.00
Saturday night, 4 meals (double occupancy) $88.00 / person
Saturday night, 4 meals (single occupancy) $108.00
Room & Meals for children staying in parent's room:
ages 0-1 no charge
ages 2-5
Friday and Saturday nights, 6 meals
Saturday night, 4 meals

$27.00 / child
$18.00 / child
ages 6-18
Friday and Saturday nights, 6 meals
Saturday night, 4 meals

$54.00 / child
$36.00 / child
Adult day guests:
Saturday or Sunday, one meal $19.00
Saturday or Sunday, two meals $29.00

To register for this retreat, please select the appropriate one of the following four choices for you, and your adult roommate, if applicable:

A confirmation email will indicate payment due and provide options for payment.

Please email the Congregation office or call 919-684-3917 for questions or concerns.

* Thomas Kelly was a professor at Haverford College, and A Testament of Devotion is a Quaker classic. The quotation is from The Simplication of Life, (p. 116.)