Dear Middleway Urban Monastery friends, Perhaps 1,600 years ago, Christians in the Middle Ages started a tradition. They gathered greenery from around their homes, fashioned it into a circle, added four candles and - for reasons lost to us - decided to burn one candle each week so that by the fourth week, all would be burning. The idea caught on and continues to this day during Advent. Over the years, the candles were given various meanings each week leading up to Christmas. Some add a white candle in the middle on Christmas Day to signify the birth of Jesus. The four candles of Middleway's Advent wreath will reflect our mission with each week's candle. The Hope candle will burn this week, followed by Peace, Comfort and God's Love. Stop by and share the light with us. Read about all our plans below. Middleway's Facebook Group
Chanting for Advent will be on our Facebook group page live at noon Dec. 17-23. Each day will feature a chant antiphon followed by a verse of O Come O Come Emmanuel. There will be a time of prayer following chanting. Check out all our events 2nd Annual Wassail Open House It won't be cold, much less snowy Saturday, but a cup of wassail and a few minutes at our monastery will help set the pace for your holiday season. No program, just our soon-to-be-famous hospitality. Dec. 3, 10-11:30 a.m., come and go. View our weekly schedule
First Friday Christmas fun Look for us Dec. 2 in the parking lot of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church during First Friday activities in downtown Bryan, 217 W. 26th St. We'll have an art activity for kids and an invitation for all to our December activities. Blue Christmas cards and month with service Dec. 21 Christmas can be a hard season for many who have experienced loss or family struggles, or find themselves alone during this season. The pandemic also may have accentuated this grief for many. If this is you, a family member or friend, join us on Wednesday Dec. 21, 7-7:30 p.m. for a short service of prayer, scripture and reflection for those who mourn and find Christmas time challenging. The service will also be live streamed on our Facebook group page. At the monastery, we will have free “holiday hope bags” for people to take. These contain prayers and meditation aids to help in the spiritual journey of the holidays. Also over the month of December, in the lead up to this service, Middleway is hosting a Blue Christmas card tree to help provide care and support for those who need hope over the weeks ahead. Stop by and get some encouragement cards for yourself, a friend or neighbor, from a display in the foyer. BCS-Area Spiritual Directors Gathering Nov. 30 Kathy Reiter will lead a discussion of "Practices at Advent." Participants are asked to bring examples of guides, practices or studies they plan to do during Advent. All spiritual directors are invited to attend, and may bring your lunch. The group normally meets the fourth Thursday of each month. 12-Step Community discussing "Breathing Under Water" People in any 12-Step program and their friends and families are welcome to our study of Richard Rohr's "Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps." Gather with us Tuesday evenings through Dec. 13. The monastery is open from 5-8 p.m. and the book discussion component, led by Amy and Michael Thompson, is part of the evening. Done with church but not your faith? If you have left the church during the past four years but still describe yourself as "Christian," a study led by Texas A&M communicators professor Heidi Campbell needs your input. Campbell, who also is a spiritual director and founding member of Middleway, is accepting surveys through Jan. 1 at http://bitly.ws/w9S9 It takes 30-45 minutes to complete the survey. Something for everyone Between now and January there surely is at least one special program of interest for you. When we say ALL are welcome, we mean it. In addition to the those described above, look ahead to these:
Blue Christmas cards of encouragement - Nov. 29-Dec. 21. Pick up a card for yourself, a family member or friend who needs a note of encouragement this season.
Wassail at the Monastery – Get a taste of our hospitality with a cup of this traditional holiday beverage. No agenda. We’ll open the doors for you to take a breather before the holiday rush, Dec. 3, 10-11:30 a.m.
Blue Christmas - The season is not so merry for lots of people. If you're one of them, this is for you. Dec. 21, 7-8 p.m.
12-Step discussion – Breathing Underwater, Tuesdays 6-8 p.m. We'll continue through Dec. 13.
Common Threads - This discussion group features a set of questions to help ponder where God has appeared in participants' lives over the previous month. Some bring thread art projects, such as crochet, knitting, or embroidery, to work on during the discussion. Monthly on second Wednesday, 1:30-2:30 p.m. Next: Dec. 14.
Friends of St. Joan - A monthly gathering for youth and young adults who identify as LGBTQIA+. Join us in a safe place to explore spirituality, third Mondays, 6-8 p.m. Next up: Dec. 19.
Post-Holiday – Celtic Women’s Christmas, Jan. 6, 1-3 p.m.; The Spirituality of Gaming, Jan. 14, 10:30 a.m.-Noon.
Journaling One’s Story – This monthly event takes place on 4th Saturdays, so it will take a break for the holidays in November and December, then return on Jan. 28.
Book Club – We will take a hiatus for November and December, Then in January our book is "Life of Pi" by Yan Martel, We'll discuss it on Jan. 31, 10:30 a.m. Participants can attend in person on via Zoom.
How to experience the monastery While we offer a variety of programs you can attend, the monastery is also open at least four days a week and some Saturdays for you to just come for a dose of the relaxing atmosphere where no one will bug you. Read, retreat from the hectic pace of your world, use the free art supplies, or partake of any of our prayer techniques that are gently explained in materials throughout the monastery. Children are welcome to come with an adult and may find the art area or special children's spirituality area a way to peace away from electronic distractions. Spiritual direction offered at Middleway A spiritual director is one who can listen to you with a holy ear and doesn't try to "fix" you with their solutions. Being listened to -- truly listened to -- is powerfully healing. You and your spiritual director normally meet monthly for an hour. Our current spiritual directors are listed at https://www.middlewayurbanmonastery.org/spiritual-direction. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if we can help you. We need you at Middleway Middleway is 100 percent volunteer operated. Come be one who welcomes others into this peaceful place. While there, you'll be able to enjoy the hope, peace and comfort as well. Sign up at https://timecounts.org/middlewaymonastery/. After you've selected the areas you want to volunteer in, you'll be able to click the Opportunities tab, then Assignments, then Available Shifts. If you need assistance, please come by the monastery or email email@example.com. Middleway Urban Monastery's Guide for Life