Item description for Contemplative by Design: Creating Quiet Spaces for Retreats, Workshops, Churches, and Personal Settings by Gerrie L. Grimsley & Jane Jaffe Young...
Overview In our busy and fast paced world, it is often difficult to find quiet spaces to rest. In this book the reader will find ways to intentionally set aside sacred space within the home, church, garden, retreat or other settings. Included in this guide are detailed instructions for establishing such spaces, ways to use props such as artwork plus a helpful and adaptable meditation guide for the space. This helpful design guide will offer ways to create Sabbath rest within the shelter of a small, intentionally set aside sacred space.
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Reviews - What do customers think about Contemplative by Design: Creating Quiet Spaces for Retreats, Workshops, Churches, and Personal Settings?
How to's of contemplative spaces Apr 1, 2009
Contemplative by Design: Creating Quiet Spaces for Retreats, Workshops, Churches, and Personal Spaces When I first saw this wonderful book, I was intrigued by the purposeful, yet creative, examples of how to create a sacred space of contemplation. I was impressed by the way the authors, Gerri Grimsley and Jane Young, have brought together - in one book - all the details that make for a meaningful, contemplative experience. I used this book for a retreat recently and everyone was touched in some significant way by one, if not all, the 6 spaces we set up (out of 15 available in the book). As a person with passion for things contemplative, I am so thankful for this reference, as it is sometimes difficult to explain to another person how to get to a contemplative state, even when the person's own needs or desires invite gentle guidance. It can be used as a primer or for those who are already well on the journey of contemplative practices. Each person relates on his or her level of experience, so there is no gauge of proficiency to get in the way of finding that quiet, silent place where one can be with God. The book is not cluttered with predictable images that take away from the intended message. I was moved by the almost sacred simplicity of the photography and artwork in each section. Coupled with Scripture verses and inspiring poetry reflecting those Scriptures, these elements together seem a perfect visual and written set up of what is to come. It is an invitation to "come and see" what is then brought to life in each of the chapters. There are three parts to each chapter which gives you not only background for that particular space, but instruction on how to create the space, then use it. It is obvious that a lot of thought...and yes, contemplation...went into bringing this book to life for the rest of us. Grimsley and Young take you step-by-step through the fundamental process of building the space and then help you to bring that space alive so that the experience is meaningful on many levels. They have left plenty of room for one's own creative expression, and in fact, encourage it. I will be using this incredible book again and again as a tool to help others "come and see" what awaits them through contemplative living.
Not what I expected Oct 2, 2008
I originally purchased this book because it was recommended in a magazine as a book for designing creative altars. But that isn't what this is about.
What the book is actually about is creating what I have generally called "prayer stations." That is, some table (or "space") with objects or scriptures to interact with in a prayerful way. For example, in chapter 1, "All of Life," a table is set up with a Bible and some pictures (landscape and/or portrait) from National Geographic or some such and participants are invited to read Psalm 139 and contemplate where they see God in one of the pictures.
There are a total of 15 examples in the book. Each example has 2 parts: first, the "leaders" portion with a list of all the materials needed and "procedures" for executing the design and second, a "participants" portion with what participants are asked to do/read.
The "materials" section is usually quite good.
The "procedure" section is always quite silly. The first instruction is always "reserve the space". The last instruction is always "pray a blessing over the space." The middle part is pretty obvious: some variation of "set it all up."
There are no pictures, so no sense for how a tasteful looking space might actually look like.
Most of the prayer stations are designed to be used by only 1 participant at a time. This limits the possibilities and much adaption would be required if you had multiple participants at the same time.
Still, it is a nice set of prayer stations that can be used in a variety of settings, and I do plan on using some of these ideas from time-to-time.