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Add spirituality to new year's goals

Updated: Dec 28, 2021

Dear Middleway Urban Monastery friends,

Jan. 1 is coming and it is often a trigger date for starting something new, something healthy.

People resolve to start eating a more healthy diet, get more in shape, or clean out closets. Those are the top three choices people make every year.

We offer a fourth idea: Tend to your spiritual health.

Middleway is uniquely arranged to help with that. It's simple. We have a peaceful, quiet space. You can use it as a getaway to read or sit quietly by yourself. Or, you can use some of the prayer or thought-proviking ideas we have available. We even have trained spiritual directors willing to listen to you with a holy ear as you discover where God is in your life.

We don't judge, we don't proselytize, and we don't tell you how to think. We meet you in the middle with a willingness to accompany you on your journey as a spiritual friend.

Whether you're still in Christmas mode or starting to make plans for the new year, put "Check out Middleway Urban Monastery" on your list.

Read about what's going on at Middleway. Then check out our Facebook group page or website.

12 Days Christmas meditation continues through Jan. 5

We are hosting a 12 days of Christmas meditation online over the holidays. From now until Jan. 5, join us daily at 2 p.m. on our Facebook group page for a 3-5 minute spiritual reflection on the meaning behind each of the symbols shared in the song about 12 Days of Christmas. Take time for some holy listening through short, devotional prayer times meant to help prepare your heart and mind for the coming year.

Children's program added on Centering Prayer evenings

Centering prayer will continue in January on the first and third Thursdays beginning at 5:30 p.m. Adults are encouraged to join in the 30-minute quiet prayer time led by Rich Nelson.

For the children's program, leader Aneya Elbert quoted Rebecca Nye, Children's Spirituality specialist,"We need to take a generous, trusting attitude to what may constitute prayerful activity for children. It may look as if a child is just doodling or idly rolling balls of play dough or gazing blankly out of the window. But in these moments God and the child may be in deep communion."

Among the techniques available are painted rocks like those pictured in this newsletter. A child may be encouraged to select a rock and describe what God is saying in that, for example.

Elbert will lead the children in spiritual activities while the adults are in centering prayer, 5:30-6 p.m. Dates for both activities this month are Jan. 6 and 20.

Gearing up for the new year

As we bring 2021 to a close, we hope that you will consider volunteering at Middleway in the new year. The "how-to" is described below, but know that the new January schedules are posted and the sooner you go to the Time Counts site, the easier it will be for you to find a day that works for your schedule.

In addition to the daily duties of reception, hospitality and spiritual direction, we plan to get the plant/garden circle together to plan the small greenspace behind the building. If you're interested, select that option on our Time Counts site so you can be included.

Middleway is 100 percent volunteer operated, so we depend on people like you. It's sure to be one of the most peaceful volunteering experiences you've ever had!

Book club's hybrid gathering to continue in January

Get the January Middleway book and start reading "The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are" by Brene Brown. Our next meeting will be Tuesday, Jan. 18 at 10:30 a.m. Our gatherings are hybrid, meaning we will have Zoom for those unable to be in person while others will gather in a room here at the monastery. Together we will discuss our book of the month.

The link for Zoom attendance:

Volunteer at Middleway

Come be a part of the Middleway community! Your presence is the main thing we need. It's easy, and you'll be able to enjoy the hope, peace and comfort while you are there as a volunteer. Just help us welcome others into this space.

You also can offer your talents in administration, reception, hospitality, plants/greenery, library, arts, technology/information, worship, cleaning, and growth/sustainability. Each of these areas are called Circles of Stewards, which are groups of people within the community who share similar interests and want to help make Middleway as special, sacred space for all. If you're not sure which area you'd enjoy most, just pick general interest, and we'll let you know what volunteer opportunities are open.

You can sign up at Simply fill in the form and make your choices. Then when opportunities become available in the Circle(s) of your choice, you will be notified and can decide if you are able to participate at particular times.

These opportunities are more than volunteering -- they are community forming. Being at Middleway will be less of the typical "doing" associated with most volunteer activities and more of the "being," that is, being present to welcome visitors and enjoy the surroundings yourself! With this in mind, our volunteers are in community with the Middleway Urban Monastery's Guide for Life:

  • Conversion of Life “Conversatio”: Living our life as if it were a conversation with God, in a commitment to personal spiritual disciplines.

  • Humility: Living our life in perspective, in a commitment to assess and honor one’s own gifts and those of others.

  • Hospitality: Living our life in service of others, in a commitment to welcome guests in love and a spirit of prayer.

  • Prayer: Practicing a spiritual discipline that includes daily prayer.

  • Ecumenism: Honoring all expressions of Christian faith and respecting in Jesus’ name all persons of other religions and faiths.

Other ways to experience Middleway Urban Monastery

Ready to dig a little deeper spiritually?

Join our Facebook group page. Doing so will let you receive notices about events as well comment and see what others in the Middleway community are saying.

Come to our website and explore the offerings, including links to our Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube accounts, if you like those formats and want to follow.

Pass the word. Ask your frieds to subscribe to this newsletter by going to Enter the email address at the Subscribe button on the lower right.

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