In my journey as a minister I seek different forms of professional development, including deepening my own spiritually. This led me to a retreat called Path to Spirit Warrior last weekend at Camp Ronora in Watervliet. Seven of us participated as “pilgrims” in a weekend full of challenge and insight and connection led by twenty-one “guides” who prepared and staffed the program. All 28 of us are men who have experience in the ManKind Project, the men’s group that I’ve been part of for almost ten years.
On my retreat, I experienced the profound joy of being in a loving and supportive group of men. I took away deep insights into my relationships: in my family as well as everywhere else in my life, including my work as a minister serving a congregation. I was led through a profound process that invited me to review my whole life since childhood and to look for the patterns, the difficult times I’ve been through, and the gifts. Out of this review of my life emerged a single truth: that I am born to love; that my power rests in loving myself first and then sharing love with all people.
The weekend also included a mystical experience of encountering the voice of the divine and hearing there the invitation to live into my life’s deepest purpose. This encounter reiterated the same lesson for me: my life’s mission is to connect to the infinite source of love to empower myself, heal others, and work for peace and justice.
I return from this retreat renewed and refreshed, with deep gratitude for finding my calling as a UU minister, deep gratitude for the men who shared this weekend journey with me; and a fresh sense of purpose in my ministry and in my life.
Great Spirit—called Source by some, called God by others, called Love by me—hear this prayer.
Great Spirit, bless Page and Steve, bless Chris and Christopher, bless Justin and Chuck. May these men bring their spiritual awakening home to bless their families and their communities. Bless Jay and David and Ken and Phil and all the men who work to bring this spiritual awakening to others.
May love bless our lives, every one of us. May every human being know the joy of loving and being loved.
May it be so.
Rev. Andrew Frantz
May 13, 2022