New Wine New Skins
John Main Seminar 2023
At Bonnevaux September 14-17
Led by Cynthia Bourgeault, Andrew Harvey and Laurence Freeman
A wineskin was usually made of goat or sheep skin to store or transport wine. Putting new wine into old skins while it was still fermenting risked breaking the skin and losing the wine. Jesus uses the metaphor to illustrate the perennial freshness of the revolution he began and continues to drive – his empowering call to a renewed consciousness that will manifest new forms and structures of human life. Christians pray that this ‘reign of God will come on earth as in heaven’.
This powerful parable will inspire the trio of teachers presenting this year’s John Main Seminar, the 39th. Each sees the urgency of a renewed global Christianity empowering the breakthrough in consciousness and behaviour that humanity needs to survive. With very different voices, minds and life-experience, they are friends, serving a common cause, who believe in the transformative potential of our present Dark Night. This depends on the new wine of the mystical wisdom traditions being rediscovered and poured into new containers and into unprecedented religious and societal channels. Some forms of the community that meditation is forming and recreating are already signs of the coming new era.
Their individual presentations during the Seminar, their interactions with each other and with the participants will doubtless stretch the skin of the Seminar format to breaking point. However, the whole will include workshops led by each of the three, group discussions and a workshop on Embodiment by Giovanni Felicioni. The skin will be strengthened by the regular times of prayer and meditation.
As is the custom, the pre-Seminar meditation retreat will be led by Laurence who will invite contributions from Andrew and Cynthia. Giovanni will lead a daily embodiment session.
This retreat is both for the beginning and ongoing meditators. There will be four periods of meditation a day to accommodate your level of practice. Mornings will be in silence through breakfast and lunch, with the afternoon opening to times of rest and solitude and a convivial dinner where you can get to know your neighbour.
This event takes place at Bonnevaux and offers an opportunity to discover the rich cultural and historical French and European heritage of the 12th-century Abbaye de Bonnevaux, as well as to explore the varied and natural beauty of the land which we cultivate as a model of ecological responsibility.
Why Practice Does not make Perfect
Pre-Seminar Meditation Retreat
Laurence Freeman with Cynthia Bourgeault, Andrew Harvey and Giovanni Felicioni
This retreat is both for the beginning and ongoing meditator. There will be four periods of meditation a day to accommodate your level of practice. Mornings will be in silence through breakfast and lunch, with the afternoon opening to times of rest and solitude and a convivial dinner where you can get to know your neighbour.
|Arrival||Monday 11 September, check-in: 14h00 – 17h00|
|Participation in this Pre-Seminar retreat requires participation in the John Main Seminar.|
|Departure at close of seminar||Sunday 17 September, 15h00|
Cynthia Bourgeault is a modern day mystic, Episcopal priest, writer, and internationally acclaimed retreat leader. She divides her time between solitude in her seaside hermitage in Maine and a demanding schedule traveling globally to spread the recovery of the Christian contemplative and Wisdom paths. She is a faculty member emeritus of the Center for Action and Contemplation and the founding director of an international network of Wisdom schools, uniting classic Christian mystical and monastic teaching with contemporary practices of mindfulness and embodied presence. She has been honored as one of the 100 most spiritually influential living people in 2021.
Andrew Harvey was born in India where he lived until the age of nine. He credits this as shaping his sense of the inner unity of all religions and a vision of the world infused with the sacred. His friendship with Laurence began when they were students at Oxford. He is Founder-Director of the Institute for Sacred Activism, inspiring people to become, effective, and practical agents of systemic change, in order to create peace and sustainability. Sacred Activism is a transforming force of compassion-in-action that is born of a fusion of deep spiritual knowledge, courage, love, and passion, with wise radical action in the world. More on Andrew.
Laurence Freeman is a Benedictine monk and Director of the World Community for Christian meditation and its international home Bonnevaux. While serving at the heart of the community that meditation creates he has, through his writing, retreats and dialogue with other faiths and the secular world, contributed to the renewal of contemplative Christianity as a force for peace and unity in the world and to the nurturing of a daily practice that informs and transforms the partitioners and their world. More on Laurence.
Giovanni is Associate Director of Bonnevaux, the international home of the WCCM, of which he has been a part since its beginning. He is a Rolfer and Yoga Teacher and has served on the faculty of the Rolf Institute. Giovanni’s unique teaching style combines the ancient and contemporary bodywork arts of Yoga and Rolfing. It was formed over two decades of clinical study with movement researcher Hubert Godard (Tonic Function Theory).
|September 11 – 17|
Pre-seminar Meditation Retreat ‘”Why Practice Does not make Perfect” & John Main Seminar “New Wine New Skins“
|Shared/Twin rooms||750€, includes the 37% discount|
|Accommodation at Bonnevaux is limited so please book early.|
September 14 – 17
|Off campus||570€, includes all the seminar events, meals and twice daily bus service|
For assistance with the registration process or other questions please contact Marie-Christine Duperrier at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please register for the pre-seminar retreat (option above) if you would like on-site accommodation at Bonnevaux.
The prices reflect the need to achieve self sufficiency. Therefore if you’re able to give a little more we would be very grateful. Please, click here to donate.
If you need a concession please let us know. We do not turn anybody away for lack of resources.
At Bonnevaux, we aim for healthy, well-rounded, and nutritious meals. Please indicate your meal preference (non-vegetarian, vegetarian) below within the registration process.
* Unfortunately, we cannot cater to specific intolerances and allergies — we do not have the team or facilities for this. Please also be aware that traces of allergens (e.g. nuts) may be found in the food at Bonnevaux.
* We are committed to balancing protein, carbohydrates, fats and fiber from organic meat, plant-based proteins, vegetables, un-processed carbs, grains, legumes and fruit.
* Gluten and Lactose intolerance: we cannot create individually tailored meals. Should the main course at lunch contain your intolerance, you can always choose from the vegetables on offer and rice (plus non-gluten bread). The salad and soup bar in the evening will offer you a variety to balance out and complement what you have eaten for breakfast and lunch.
* Should you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us at: email@example.com.
Registration On-the-Ground Retreat
Two registration options are available:
Option 1, September 11 – 17
Option 2, September 14 – 17
All rooms on-campus are already taken. Remaining places for this event have accommodation only off-campus. These include all meals and instruction. To register for Option 1 or Option 2, please contact Marie-Christine Duperrier at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Event is fully booked
This event will also be available online
— Please ensure you have travel insurance in place as we cannot refund cancelled travel for any reason.
— If you cancel your Bonnevaux booking up to 30 days before the event starts, you will be refunded the full cost of the event. Cancellations occurring within 30 days of the event start will be offered a voucher for a future event. Bonnevaux reserves the right to cancel events at any point – cancellations occurring within 30 days prior to the event start date will be subject to the voucher refund policy only.
Membership Fee ** – 10€
Membership fee is paid once per year, valid from Jan – Dec.
** by French law you must be a ‘member‘ of the charity (association ABP) Abbaye de Bonnevaux – Centre Pour la Paix in order to participate at an on-the-ground event at Bonnevaux – 86370 Marçay, France.
Membership is non-binding. It simply means that you are invited to attend the annual general meeting if you wish and that you may receive information about our events during the year.
The Abbey of Bonnevaux is the spiritual home of the World Community for Christian Meditation (WCCM) which includes a Conference and Retreat Centre dedicated to peace. The on-the-ground activities of the Abbey are organized under the responsibility of l’Association Abbaye de Bonnevaux – Centre pour le Paix (ABP). The Association, which is governed by the French law of 1st July 1901, is registered in Poitiers under the reference RNA: W863007299.
Address : Bonnevaux, 86370 Marçay, France.
Phone number : 06 33 43 71 71 / 06 61 96 57 74.
José Pype (President of the Association); Giovanni Felicioni (Associate Director and Programme Manager)
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