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Fashioning Life’s Working Paper in Chaotic Times: An Overnight Retreat with the Words of Howard Thurman

April 5 @ 4:00 pm April 6 @ 4:00 pm

Led by Dumas Harshaw and Phil Mathews

Participants will explore Howard Thurman’s life, legacy, and writing to discern how to continue developing and embodying humane, loving and liberating “working papers” in a time of seeming chaos and unprecedented change. The resources for this time of reflection, rejuvenation and renewal will include the documentary “Backs Against the Wall: The Howard Thurman Story,” as well as a few Thurman books including Jesus and the Disinherited, Deep is the Hunger, and Meditations of the Heart.

Meals are provided for Friday supper, and Saturday breakfast and lunch. Fruits, snacks, and beverages will be available. Special attention will be paid to dietary needs. Overnight lodging options are:

  • small, single rooms in a 6-person dormitory with two full, shared baths
  • larger rooms with two double beds for an individual or a pair. Every two rooms share a full bath. 

To see photos, visit https://avilacenter.org/lodging/


  • Single room, meals, and retreat: $155 
  • Double room for an individual, meals, and retreat: $180
  • Double room shared, meals, and retreat: $135

About the Retreat Leaders, Dumas Harshaw & Phil Mathews

Dumas Harshaw is the recently retired pastor of First Baptist Church in Raleigh and has served as an adjunct instructor at Campbell, Duke, and Shaw Divinity Schools. Howard Thurman has long been the subject of his research beginning with his doctorate and more recently with the publication of a paper, “Howard Thurman’s Spirituality and the Beloved Community.”

Phil Mathews served in pastoral ministries for nearly 40 years, retiring at the end of 2012. He believes that each of us is a unique and ever-changing expression of the manifestation of love. We’re all trying to find our way home, which means living the truth of who we really are.

Both Phil and Dumas serve as board members of Peace Hill at Avila. 

They offer the following Thurman quote they will be using as a unifying theme for the retreat.

“For every person there is a need to establish as securely as possible the lines along which they propose to live their life. In developing their life’s working paper they must take into account many factors … The life working paper of the individual is made up of a creative synthesis of what the person is in all their parts and how they react to the living process. It can never be determined just what a person will fashion.”

from Jesus and the Disinherited
$135 – $180
711 Mason Rd, Durham, NC
Durham, North Carolina 27712 United States
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