MB Herald Promotes Contemplative Centre, Again

Nearly three years after the MB Herald first promoted the contemplative Mark Centre (MB Herald, October 2007), they are doing it again. This time it’s on page 10 of the Will You Pray? insert inside the July 2010 issue (Volume 49, No. 7). The article is called Listening to God (by Steve Klassen), and says that people are listening to God speak, and that “becoming silent before God is becoming popular all over the planet as people are hearing God through times of silence” as well as through their hearts, desires, hopes and dreams within them.

In their latest newsletter, the Mark Centre (www.markcentre.org), a contemplative retreat and training ministry based in Abbotsford, British Columbia, announced that it has recently acquired access to a second retreat centre on Pender Island. See here:

Taking a Risk
http://community.icontact.com/p/markcentre/newsletters/org/posts/taking-a-risk

The hosts for this centre will be the Sieberts:

Dorothy Siebert is moving to a new role out of province – After more than 11 years of writing for FLN and managing the print department, Dorothy Siebert is moving to a new role out of province. She and her husband Harold have accepted a position with the MARK Centre on Pender Island, BC. Since 2000, MARK Centre has provided a home base for training short-term mission teams of Mennonite Brethren Missions and Services International, as well as rest and refreshment for missionaries. The centre expanded to Pender Island in April of this year. The Sieberts will be resident volunteer hosts and Dorothy will also have time to work on her own writing projects. She says, “I have loved it here at FLN – working with creative, terrific people – it’s been just wonderful! I hope to stay in close touch.” You can see more about MARK Centre at http://www.markcentre.org
-http://www.fln.ca/home/news/

This was also announced in the June 2010 MB Herald, here:
http://www.mbconf.ca/home/products_and_services/resources/publications/mb_herald/mb_herald_june_2010/people_and_events/transitions/

Also in the latest newsletter, Mark Centre founder and leader Steve Klassen writes that…

In January I traveled to India and Mongolia (Steve pictured with Rob in Mongolia). In Delhi I had the privilege of guiding about one hundred leaders in a day of listening to God. These people are part of the Global Disciple Training Alliance (www.globaldisciples.org) and came together mainly from India, Nepal, and Indonesia.
-http://community.icontact.com/p/markcentre/newsletters/org/posts/taking-a-risk

Just what kind of guidance sources about having a listening encounter with God does Steve Klassen draw from to teach these leaders? The the timeless truths in the Bible? Or the experiences of mystics from the past?

One example he draws from (according the the Mark Centre website) is the experience of ancient mystic Teresa of Avila:

Back in the sixteenth century Teresa of Avila was carrying a burden and experienced an amazing encounter with God that set her free. Here is her account in the form of a poem.

LAUGHTER CAME FROM EVERY BRICK
by Teresa of Avila

Just these two words He spoke
Changed my life,

“Enjoy Me.”

What a burden I thought I was to carry-
A crucifix, as did He.

Love once said to me “I know a song,
Would you like to hear it?”

And laughter came from every brick in the street
and from every pore
in the sky.

After a night of prayer, He
Changed my life when
He sang

“Enjoy Me.”

-www.markcentre.org/FoundationsArchive/EnjoyingGod.html

The ‘amazing encounter’ that set Spanish mystic Teresa of Avila ‘free’ came in the form of visions, raptures, trances, and levitation brought on by ancient prayer methods of detachment and stilling the mind. Her experiences can hardly be considered biblical. These only brought fear and bondage to this Roman Catholic nun, which resulted in constant ‘noise in the head’ and chronic health problems. Her symptoms were strangely akin to those of kundalini (serpent power) experienced by many ancient mystics and those who delve into Eastern religion, New Age meditation, chakras and yoga.

How strange that the Mennonite Brethren affiliated Mark Centre (and now its Pender island location) is promoting the same spirituality and bondage to Roman Catholic practices, Lectio Divina (mantra repetition), ancient contemplative prayer methods and the silence. St. Teresa is only one example of many mystics quoted by the retreat leaders at the Mark Centre as they lead a steady flow of guests (many of them pastors, missionaries, and students) in contemplative spiritual formation and direction.

For more information on the Mark Centre, see here:

Silently Retreating Mennonites
http://rollovermenno.wordpress.com/2007/12/19/silently-retreating-mennonites/

For those who are concerned about this, the following links have more information…

Upcoming Retreats at the Mark Centre for 2010
http://cathyajhardy.com/mark-centre-upcoming-retreats.php
Upcoming Retreats 2010
http://www.markcentre.org/Retreats/UpcomingRetreats2010.html

Some of the retreat facilitators who encourage silence and contemplative spiritual direction for those who attend include:

Lorie Martin (www.markcentre.org/AboutUs/People.html)
Cathy Hardy (kateaj.blogspot.com, http://www.cathyajhardy.com)
Steve Klassen
Evy Klassen

For those concerned about the spread of contemplative spirituality by this retreat centre, contact the (sincere but deceived) board of directors or advisory council of the Mark Centre. If they are not receptive, contact the (sincere but deceived) leaders of the MB Conference.

MARK Centre Board Members
Candice Green, Paul Wartman, Nancy Boothe, Jason Pohl, Blair Grabinsky, Michele Berry, Rick Berry, Marilyn Peters, Ron Peters

MARK Centre Advisory Council Members
Mark Dumerton, Dan Ratzlaff, Brent Bishop, Randy Friesen, Jim Barkman, Chris Douglas, Levi Giesbrecht, Steve Berg

Related:

What is Contemplative Spirituality and Why is It Dangerous?
http://www.faithalone.org/journal/1997ii/Caddock.html

****Additional note of concern:

The MBMS training course for students and youth called TREK begins their initial training phase at the contemplative Mark Centre:

“Our two-month training phase is based out of the MARK Centre in Abbotsford, British Columbia.”
SOURCE: Training Overview
http://www.mbmsi.org/trek/orientation/training

Also see:
Curriculum and Speakers
http://www.mbmsi.org/trek/orientation/curriculum-and-speakers

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9 thoughts on “MB Herald Promotes Contemplative Centre, Again

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