Here are resources for you to utilize while working with Dwelling in the Word. Many diocesan organizations, including diocesan staff and Diocesan Council, have adopted this spiritual practice at the beginning of their meetings. Keep in mind, they haven’t added extra time to their meetings, they have simply built this practice into the normal flow of their meetings together. This isn’t an added-on piece – it is the foundation of the time spent together as a community.
Dwelling is a practice of discernment – listening with others for where God is connecting with you (and your congregation) through a particular scripture over an extended period of time. The Bishop’s program staff has been consistent in this practice in our regular staff meetings. We always notice something new and/or deepen our appreciation for both the text and God’s active presence.
Dwelling in scripture is an ancient practice. For us today, dwelling can help us listen and attend to places in our lives where the Spirit of God is nudging us. Listening and attending is the first step in seeking and joining God in our neighborhoods. Dwelling is accessible to a large age range. In that it relates to our ordinary lives, seminary training is not needed to engage this practice. All you need is the scripture, questions for reflection and a willingness to share your experience with others. As we practice dwelling, we listen deeply to each other. When we dwell in the same scripture over a significant period of time, we begin to form a shared sense of the challenges facing us. The act of living in the text and allowing the text to live in us shapes our imagination. In this, perhaps, we will be able to better shape how we will continue to follow Jesus together.
How does Dwelling work?
Choose one passage. We’ve provided a few already for download, as well as instructions and suggestions (attached above),
At consecutive meetings, choose different translations of the same text (one month use an NRSV of the passage, the next, use a different translation).
After reading the passage, pair off with a partner and answer the questions, then share your partner’s answers with the larger group.
After 20 minutes, continue with the purpose of your gathering as you normally would – Vestry Meeting etc.
If you have questions or would like someone to visit and get you started in Dwelling, please feel free to call or email me at 973-430-9912 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Rev. Ginny Dinsmore
Coordinator for Missional Church Strategy
Diocese of Newark
Video demonstration of Dwelling in the Word
In August 2017, seven people from around the Episcopal Diocese of Newark agreed to be videorecorded as they Dwelled on Luke 10:1-12, and that session has been distilled into this brief video. Watch and learn about this simple, ancient practice of listening deeply to God and one another.