​Wilson to Lead Spiritual Learning Workshop

by Bailey Basham, Messenger Staff Writer
A new workshop at St. Mary’s Sewanee will focus on providing participants with the language to talk about spiritual learning.
This Spiritual Learning Workshop will begin at 5 p.m., Sunday, June 9, and will run until 2 p.m., Tuesday, June 11. The workshop was borne from the work of Larry Todd Wilson, owner and founder of Knowledge Harvesting. Wilson has worked for more than 25 years drawing out information and insight from experts in their fields. Wilson will lead the workshop alongside Leslee Anne Terpay, who has extensive experience in spiritual direction and centering prayer.
Wilson said the catalyst for the beginning of his work was a personal need.
“After I finished an undergraduate degree, I was wondering what would happen with my career. I had a realization that if I learn everything I could learn about learning, I would not have to be concerned about jobs. It originated as a personal need, and then that became a research topic, which then became a product and a service,” he said.
Now, this is used as a tool for spiritual learning around the country. Alongside the pilot workshop in Sewanee, spiritual leaders have collaborated with Wilson, using his work and presenting it in their own ways around the country to further the reach of spiritual learning.
Spiritual learning is a set of learnable skills aimed at making meaning of individual and collective spiritual transformation. During the workshop, participants will have the opportunity to learn how to have conversations that illuminate personal stories and the stories of others in the context of relationship and prayer.
In concert with spiritual leaders and his own mentors, Wilson developed the workshop to offer an opportunity to explore spiritual transformation in community.
“The main thing that an experience like this provides, especially at a place like St. Mary’s, is a freedom and a sense of space to explore your story. When you invite someone to respond to a question, and you genuinely listen and honor what you’re hearing, that becomes a real gift,” Wilson said. “The workshop takes a topic that we may be curious about such as ‘how does my growth occur.’ Like any skill, you never get it in a few hours. If it is something you want to deepen, you need a chance to practice and deepen your own skills. What I’ve learned by sitting and engaging my elders and people I respect is learning experience is also all about relationships.”
Participants will experiment with proven techniques for evoking spiritual insights. They will increase awareness of spiritual growth, especially as a form of celebration to deepen joy, hope and trust. There will be small group participation with plenty of support and feedback. They will consider options to carry spiritual learning back home, build it into their own life in ways that expand and enrich, and share within the community.
To develop the workshop, Wilson said the process and his own ways of thinking about spiritual learning benefited greatly from the perspectives of others, specifically from Regan Schutz, director of programming at St. Mary’s Sewanee.
“Regan really shaped how this workshop has emerged. Because she is clergy and on staff and is familiar with how the seminary views formation, she is excited about the potential,” Wilson said. “It’s rewarding because I see how this moves things along and makes them more authentic. My hunch is that she will be instrumental in helping us figure out next steps.”
Schutz will be leading a conversation on next steps to give the workshop attendees an idea of how to apply what they learn when they leave.
“Anyone in ministry needs to know how to help hold up the mirror and help guide people to their deeper truths. People are inherently spiritual and inherently belong in community. We think we know ourselves, but we don’t, and this is why religion and spirituality takes community,” she said.

For more information go to https://www.stmaryssewanee.org/events/spiritual-le.... The deadline to register is June 2.