Last year Ingrid Quigley participated in an online blog using an Upper Room book, The Uncluttered Heart, by Beth A. Richardson – visiting Richardson's site every day from the first Sunday in Advent through Epiphany, and using it for her daily devotion and discipline in the midst of the "Christmas chaos of December."
This year Richardson is partnering with Beadisciple.com to offer the Advent experience in an online retreat format, using online course software through Southwestern College. When Richardson asked for facilitators in this "experiment," in hopes of reaching a new audience of people of faith, Quigley, a member of Willow Glen UMC in San Jose, quickly jumped on board.
"I am taking the training (this week) to be a facilitator for this Advent Retreat, and hope I can get others to join my group," she told Instant Connection a few days ago.
"While I'm not a huge fan of technology, I do use it and hope this retreat will reach folks who don't seem to be able to come to a physical (church) space to engage in spiritual reflection. I also hope to connect with others in our Conference, to share this reflective journey which is very important to me. In the past I have done my own personal reflections during Advent because it seems my local church friends don't have the time to come together much."
She says she wants to help guide others through the season of preparing hearts, homes, and spirits for the coming of the Christ child.
The online retreat, "Uncluttering Your Heart During Advent and Christmas," facilitated by Quigley, begins November 28, 2010 (the first Sunday of Advent) and goes to Epiphany, January 6, 2011.
The fee of $40 covers a facilitated small group experience, a digital copy of the book, the use of the online software, and any necessary technical support.
"The cost is less than daily trips to a meeting location and the snacks we all love to have with small groups," Quigley points out.
Participants will receive daily encouragement and receive support from others on the journey.
"This online retreat will help you make time for God during the busy days of Advent and Christmas. Plan to log in daily at a time of day which is convenient to your own schedule. A missed day may be made up the following day, but the discipline of daily study will be valuable to the journey through Advent," Quigley says.