"Is there enough Silence for the Word to be heard?"
Friends of Silence is a non-profit endeavor to facilitate others in reverencing silence, prayer, contemplation, the Divine Guest, and the Oneness of all creation as well as to encourage the life-giving empowerment that derives from the Silence.
"Is there enough Silence for the Word to be heard?" questioned T.S. Eliot in his beautiful "Ash Wednesday" poem.
All too often the answer is NO! And where a need is not being met, small groups of individuals rise up to answer the Cry.
Nan Merrill, a woman of wisdom and compassion, began Friends of Silence in Detroit in 1987 as an urban contemplative community welcoming individuals of all faiths and cultures. We have grown from 40 to an international community at large of over 6,000 pray-ers. We are linked in the Silence, in heart-prayer, and in friendship to many religious and spiritual communities as well as the various F.O.S. groups that are emerging in prisons, businesses, and community centers throughout the United States and around the world. Recognizing the efficacy of silence, we meet together or in the solitude of our homes to hold our family and neighbors, our cities and country, our world and planet in silence and prayer.
Friends of Silence take time to offer the gift of themselves in silence, prayer, and sharing. Opening one’s heart with the desire to radiate Love and Light is a response to the noise, speed, distractions, the violence, injustice, and oppression so rampant today. The outward, visible results of silence are difficult to discern or to define. Yet, by faith, we continue to spend time in silent prayer, often being blessed with the inward fruits of the Silence: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and gratitude.
For those who would be in solidarity with Friends of Silence through shared times in the Silence at home or within gathered groups, the following guidelines are offered:
- A commitment to meet regularly for an hour or so in a space conducive to silence;
- Let there be mostly silence starting, if it is helpful, with an appropriate short reading offered prior to the time of silence;
- Let there be an expectant attitude that the Silence of each individual will be transformative somewhere in the world through the mystery of Love;
- Honor the time spent in silence by ending with a time of journaling and/or sharing, if two or more are gathered, and for intercessory prayer for the world.
We would like to know who you are that you may be held in heart-prayer. We ask only that you, in turn, hold us and the growing community of Friends of Silence in your prayers.
We welcome any feedback, suggestions, and/or tidbits for the monthly letter. There are no fees or dues. Since the letter is made possible through tax-deductible donations, any amount to help sustain this endeavor and to defray the costs of publication are, of course, accepted and very much appreciated, with our heartfelt gratitude!
Aware or not, everyone needs and hungers for simplicity and time for solitude and silence. May your Silence help to balance the noise of today’s world! And may you come to know the strength and power of the Beloved . . . the peace and joy of Divine Love . . . and the gentleness and guidance of the Divine Light in the goings and comings of your everyday life!
Friends of Silence is devoted to nurturing those who reverence silence, prayer, contemplation, the Divine Guest, and the Oneness of all creation. Personal retreat can be a wonderful discipline for those seeking the life-giving empowerment that derives from the Silence. We have partnered with Still Point Mountain Retreat to be able to offer space for personal retreat for our members, whether you come as an individual, couple, family, or small group. The wilderness setting of both these retreat spaces provides the quiet and solitude necessary for the ideal personal retreat experience. Descriptions of both retreat "homes" are below:
STILL POINT MOUNTAIN RETREAT
Still Point Mountain Retreat is a lovely three or four bedroom cabin sleeping 6-8. The writer's cottage behind Still Point houses the Friends of Silence library and has space for one or two more lodgers. Just beyond the writer's cottage is a labyrinth for walking meditation. Still Point has a breathtaking view of the Shenandoah River and valley, and is on land immediately adjacent to the Rolling Ridge Foundation, a 1400 acre wilderness preserve near Harpers Ferry, WV, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge. Still Point offers internet access/wifi for personal retreats which may include a work component, such as a sabbatical, internet writers' support groups, research.
Still Point offers group rates of $30/person/night for groups of 6 or more people. Individuals, families, and small groups (fewer than 6) pay a per-night fee on a sliding scale of $70-$225 per night.
We ask that retreat guests place themselves on our scale at a rate that is both reasonably affordable and as close as possible to the rate they would pay for similar accommodations elsewhere. If the lower end of our scale is not affordable, please talk with us about how we can assist. Those who can pay at the higher end of our scale help us make personal retreat affordable for all.
Still Point is a "self-care" facility. You must bring and cook your own food/meals and if possible bring your own sheets and towels (we have some available if necessary for a small rental/ laundry fee). You are also responsible to leave the facility clean and prepared for the next user. Still Point is accessible by car only. We are located 1 hour and 40 minutes from Washington, DC, in the tip of West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle. The nearest major airport is Dulles, an hour from us, in Reston, VA. Amtrak and commuter trains service towns that are 30-40 minutes away, including Harpers Ferry, WV. We do not provide shuttle or pick up service. The last mile or so of the road in to Rolling Ridge, and Still Point is gravel and mountainous.
If interested in personal retreat, please contact us.