Finding ‘Sacred Spaces’ for Spiritual Growth

Post a Comment » Written on January 10th, 2006     
Filed under: News
REDWOOD CITY, CA (January 10, 2006) – Members of Peninsula Covenant Church have been finding sacred spaces in their relationship with God.

The church has laid out a path on its 14-acre campus that members can walk year-round as they develop and try new spiritual disciplines. “The original intent was to help our congregation experience more of the spiritual disciplines that led people into the contemplative mode of the faith,” says Brian Rhen, the associate pastor of spiritual formation.

Reaching deeper into the interior spiritual life is important if members are going to continue reaching out, Rhen says. “We’re a great word-focused church that wants to do social justice, but do people really know how to hear from God?” He adds that like other evangelicals, “we are not good at silence and solitude.”

The grand opening for the path was during a 10-week prayer series last fall, Rhen says. The path also has 10 “spaces.” Each focuses on a different discipline.

As people walk the path and stop at each space, they are encouraged to take time to journal their experience, Rhen says. The ten spaces are:

  • Releasing
  • Centering
  • Confession
  • Suffering
  • Faith
  • Compassion
  • Focus
  • Awe
  • Expression
  • Gratitude

Participants are given a guide with suggestions for each space. At the “Awe” space, for example, members are encouraged to sit on a bench beneath a huge oak tree. While sitting on the bench, they are asked to reflect on the large tree. “Think of how many years it took for it to grow from a mere seed to this glorious creation of God.”

The “Expression” space is near the choir room’s patio area. Participants are encouraged to use chalk and on the nearby wall “express your thoughts to God in picture or word form. In the gravel area, use the stones to make an altar to God, marking your recommitment to Him as was done in the Old Testament.”

The guidebook also includes a scripture passage for each space in addition to suggested questions to consider.

Those who have walked the path have given positive feedback, Rhen says. One member wrote to say, “The ten-step journey that we take in prayer was just amazing. I did it on Tuesday and figured that it would take me an hour. And I ended up spending an hour and 45 minutes in a really special time and felt such peace from the Spirit . . . in places I really didn’t expect at all.”

Rhen came up with the idea after many early morning walks around the campus. While at a playground, he realized, “It’s almost as if this place was here and just waiting to be tapped.”

Three church members laid out the path design and the facilities team did the labor. “They worked hard,” Rhen says.

To learn more about this pathway discipline or other ministries at Peninsula Covenant, email Rhen at or call him at 650-365-8094, extension 238.

Editor’s note: the importance of prayer in spiritual growth is the focus of other prayer-centered experiences that have been featured in previously published stories, from prayer pathways to prayer rooms. To read these stories, please select from the following:

Copyright © 2011 The Evangelical Covenant Church.

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