Tarry 'Til Day: Spiritual Renewal through the Creative Arts

Tarry 'Til Day: July 18, 2013, in Sanbornville, NH Clergy members enjoy a day of creativity and reflection at "Tarry 'Til Day" in Sanbornville, New Hampshire.

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Paints and clay, gold leaf and hand-made paper, water color pastels and India ink, beads, shells, and wool were among the treasure trove of materials at "Tarry 'Til Day," a half-day clergy retreat held at the Church of St. John the Baptist in Sanbornville, New Hampshire, on July 18. This retreat, a collaborative initiative of Lifelong Learning at Episcopal Divinity School and the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire, provided clergy with space for spiritual renewal through fellowship, reflection, prayer, and the creative arts. Called “Tarry ‘Til Day” after a passage from the Book of Acts, the event was designed to honor and support people through times of waiting, transition, and uncertainty in their lives.

“I first came across the idea of ‘Tarry ‘Til’ at the Servant Leadership School of the Church of the Savior in Washington, DC,” recalls co-facilitator Hannah Anderson. “The title was based on the first chapter of the Book of Acts, which describes a time of waiting or tarrying for the Apostles. The risen Lord has presented himself to his faithful band of followers, but also advised them to stay in Jerusalem until the arrival of the Holy Spirit. The Apostles were confused about this period of waiting for a gift they could not understand. In response, they leaned in together, prayerfully, to tarry. Eventually the Holy Spirit was poured out upon them and they were given the clarity and power necessary for the next chapter of faithful ministry.”

Clergy participants could identify with times of waiting for clarity or direction. Career uncertainty, illness among elderly parents, life after the death of a spouse, diminishing passion for one’s work, and the dearth of intimate friendships were among the situations shaping people’s particular experiences of waiting. The opportunity to reflect on scripture, share one’s story, be playfully creative, and participate in prayerful ritual was an energizing one. As co-facilitator Diane D’Souza observed, “Allowing ourselves the time and space to engage our creative sides is tremendously centering. It is a form of contemplation and discernment. When that is paired with a supportive community and safe space, the experience is genuinely uplifting.”

Participant Sue Poulin added, “It gave me time to stop and just ‘be.’”

Three more “Tarry ‘Til Days”, two for clergy and one for clergy and lay people, will be held in New Hampshire in the coming 2013-2014 year. Contact Diane D’Souza at Lifelong Learning @EDS for more information.