St. Gregory’s will warmly welcome a new ministry next month: an Icon Guild.
Organized by Brooks Wilson, the guild will meet for the first time January 24-26, 2016. The group will select a name for the guild and begin writing their first icons. Anyone who has written at least one icon previously and feels called to continue is eligible to join the guild.
Eight individuals have signed up so far. Most are people who attended one or more of Brooks’ icon writing retreats or classes in 2015 and are interested in continuing their contemplative prayer journey through writing icons.
“This will be more in-depth [than the retreats and mini classes] and people will become more independent in their icon writing, and they won’t be under the gun to do it so quickly,” Brooks says. “They will have time to pray and be contemplative in the process.”
Members will learn the icon writing process fully: how to use the tools, mix the pigments according to recipes, and apply the gold. Each person will choose the size of board and the icon they feel drawn to write. There is no deadline for finishing, and Brooks actually encourages people to take adequate time for prayer and reflection.
“It’s not about how quickly you can finish, it’s about learning as you go along and focusing on the steps,” she says. “It’s about seeing icon writing as an art form and appreciating the process and the spiritual journey.”
Brooks will serve as a teacher and leader, but she will also serve as a mentor as people grow in their faith through this ancient spiritual practice. With 20 years of experience, she has been instrumental in bringing icon writing to St. Gregory’s, first with her Lenten retreats in March 2015 and then her mini icon writing classes later that summer. She has organized (and also taught or co-instructed) workshops throughout the mid-Atlantic and attended numerous retreats and classes with her friends and family.
Brooks was inspired to start an Icon Guild at St. Gregory’s after hearing a line in one of Fr. Andrew’s sermons: “We should all have a passion for Christ with zeal and humility.” Brooks says that line is also the mantra of icon writing—demonstrating passion for Christ through zealous creation of art combined with humility and learning.
“If people see the icons as sacred art, that’s great. If they see more and want to journey into them in prayer, even better,” she says.
To learn more about the Icon Guild, please contact Brooks at 561.409.2245 or Brooks44@me.com.