The Sacred Grove
Ovid, the ancient Roman bard, ultimately exiled from Rome for his daring writing, created his most well known work, the Metamorphoses, by recasting over 250 Greco-Roman myths into stories of transformation, often in ways that shock us. 
In many of Ovid's stories, the sacred grove appears.  By means of the sacred grove, Ovid alerts the reader of what he is doing and, really who he is and who we, the readers, are.
This is a journey that requires much and offers much.  Many who hear the call into ministerial leadership and midwifery are those who have, themselves, experienced deep suffering.  Suffering is not enough, by itself, to initiate us into ministry roles. 
We must take up our suffering from its overly domesticated confines and offer it to the Wild Ones to see where they, our Wounds and our Gods, will take us for what may become our healing.


Participants will gather for dinner together at 6:00 PM on Thursday (registered participants will be notified of dinner location before July 10) and opening of the program.
The intensive continues each morning at the Community Center beginning at 9:30 AM.  Lunch will be served at the conference location.
Dinner is on your own; a list of nearby restaurants will be provided.
A noon till 1:30 lunch program will close the intensive.


Those arriving by air should fly into the Kansas City International airport (code MCI).
You may choose to rent a car, but if desired, the Oringderffs have offered to pick up and drive you to Butler.  Because of the distance, they will only be able to make one trip, so earlier arrivals may need to wait on later ones for the group ride.
Please contact David to arrange pickup (and return to the airport on Sunday afternoon) or if you have additional questions.
Myth signifies a story which encompasses deep meaning and insight into the human situation and life on this Earth.  

The sacred grove is a place where we may explore the interfaces where what is mundane and domesticated in us confronts the wild divine within and the transformation that results. The authentic spiritual life embraces both, searching for an alchemy that will move the seeker beyond the mundane.

An authentic spiritual life is not a matter of choosing the pleasant over the painful, but embraces both and searches for an alchemy that will move the seeker beyond into a new space.

We must take up our suffering from its overly-domesticated confines and offer it to the Wild Ones to see where they, our wounds and our gods will take us for what may become our healing.  

During the weeks leading up to the intensive, master's students will read and discuss online the "practice into Silence," then all participants will gather daily at the retreat for morning and evening sessions of storytelling and discussion, with bountiful time between for reflection and journaling.


Thank you, David and Willow Oringderff, for hosting this year's intensive in Sacred Well Congregation Community Center at 19 North Main Street in Butler, Missouri.

"The Electric City" is 90 miles south of Kansas City on Missouri's western border with Kansas. 

It's a small town, so hotel choices are the Days Inn and Super 8. Both serve breakfast.  Click on either link to arrange your accommodations. Tell the hotel you are with the Cherry Hill Seminary group.

Cost and Registration

All are welcome to attend; you need not be a current Cherry Hill Seminary student to attend. Registration includes lunches Friday-Saturday and all materials. We will do our best to accommodate special dietary needs if you notify us in advance; lunches will include both vegetarian and meat options.

$195 before April 10
$230 before May 10
$265 before June 10

A non-refundable $100 registration any time before June 10 will hold your reservation for the cost at the time of your deposit. Balance due (depending on when you register, see above) is payable on or before June 10.

$150 Master's students register here for additional online pre-intensive class to receive intensive credit.

Cherry Hill Seminary must have a minimum of eight registered participants.  Please make your plans as early as possible.

What's An Intensive?
Although Cherry Hill Seminary regular coursework is by distance education, periodically our students have the opportunity to meet faculty and classmates face-to-face. These are occasions of close camaraderie, discussion, bonding, mentoring and experiential learning.
Each master's student is required to complete two or three such academic intensives before graduation, depending on the particular program.
Please see the Student Catalog for the intensive attendance requirements of each degree.
Robert H. Patrick, Ph.D., Chair of the Dept. Of Ministry, Advocacy & Leadership, is the instructor for Entering the Sacred Grove.  holds a BA in Biblical Literature from Oral Roberts University, a Masters of Divinity from Emory University, and a PhD in Latin and Roman Studies from the University of Florida. His dissertation focused on the presence of sacred groves in the Metamorphoses of Ovid as nonlinear events, and he has continuing interest in sacred groves in surrounding European and near-eastern cultures, particularly Celtic cultures.

Read more here

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