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Check Lent Out

Dear Middleway Urban Monastery friends, Even if you've never heard of or practiced Lent, you've probably seen some of the ways it is observed commonly in society. Fish may be prominently offered on menus. People at school or work might mention giving something up for the 40 days leading up to Easter. And you may wonder why. Search the internet and you'll find all kinds of reasons and explanations about how Christians observe Lent. In short, it's a time to look at one's life and pick a thing or two that might need to be improved. But don't worry if you're not one to eat fish or if giving up something doesn't speak to you. Above all, don't beat yourself up. Instead, look for grace. Where is God showing up to strengthen you for whatever is going on in your life. Accept that grace and go ahead with more peace, comfort and hope on your journey. The library at Middleway has numerous books that can be freely checked out to help you explore your life at this time. Come try one this Lent.

In a world full of personality assessments, the Enneagram stands apart for the ways that it not only describes our behavior (and the basis of that behavior) but for the ways it also prescribes practices which can help us live more resourcefully. Kathy and Jim Reiter present this introductory workshop in a manner that offers the Enneagram as tool for spiritual transformation - an enriching step on the journey to resourceful, True Self living. The background of this ancient personality inventory will be explored; a narrative orientation to the nine personality types will be presented; results of an online assessment will be discussed; and a sense of next steps in the journey to True Self will be offered. Saturday, March 25, 2023 - 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Coffee and tea provided. Bring a sack lunch for yourself There is a $15 fee prior to the event in order to obtain your personal assessment which will provide insight about your Enneagram style. Please register by March 17 at and you will receive instructions for payment and next steps.

The Spirituality of Breadmaking: Hot Cross Buns Whether it's kneading the dough, waiting patiently for it to rise, or the yeasty smell, making bread can be a very spiritual exercise. We plan several experiences with bread this year, and the first is Hot Cross Buns, April 1, 9:30 a.m.-Noon. It's great for individuals, friends or families. The cost is $10 per registering unit (individual, friend teams or families) which will provide each unit with one dozen hot cross buns to take home. Hot cross buns are centuries old recipe and are known to have been traditionally eaten on Good Friday perhaps since the 14th Century. So we can have enough supplies, let us know you/your group is coming by registering at the button below by March 25.

Calling all pastors, religious leaders Professor Scott Thumma, program director at the Hartford Institute for Religious Research in Hartford, CT., will speak on "Reimagining Religious Communities: Challenges and Possibilities in a Post-Pandemic World" March 7, 10:30-Noon at the monastery, 309 N. Tabor Ave. The event, hosted by Middleway Urban Monastery, is for pastors and religious leaders. The session is free, but registration is required in advance by email, Thumma, a noted sociologist and author, will present his research on how religious communities have faced multiple challenges in recent decades, and which the pandemic greatly amplified. His comments draw from an ongoing national study of U.S. churches but also explore multiple opportunities for reimagining congregational life for the future. This lecture is sponsored by the Melbern G. Glasscock Center for Humanities Research, Religious Studies at Texas A&M University, and the Tech in Churches During Covid-19 research project.

Ideas for exploring Lent

Lent began today (Feb. 26) and will continue until Easter (April 9). We have many resources available to help you make this time more meaningful. The library has numerous books, some of which have been pulled and placed on the top shelf for easy picking. Come check one out to take with you. You also might make time for regular visits to Middleway to be prayerful, journal, use the art area, or even add some service to your journey by volunteering time at the monastery. We'd truly love to have you.

Get ready for short-sleeve weather with a new T-Shirt

It's pretty much short-sleeve weather, and a new T-shirt is ready for you. And here's the deal: YOU get to name the price. Come by and get one for any amount you want to donate to Middleway. Thanks to J&J Creations owners Wayne and Lenora Johnson in Somerville, Tx, for making this possible! Spiritual directors lend a (holy) ear at Middleway The backbone of Middleway is a team of well-trained spiritual directors whose ministry is to listen to you with a holy ear. Think of us as spiritual companions who are willing to meet with you monthly in a non-judging atmosphere as you discern where God is in your life. We don't try to "fix" you with our solutions. Being listened to -- truly listened to -- is powerfully healing. You and your spiritual director normally meet monthly for an hour. Some directors charge varying amounts, and others do not charge. Our current spiritual directors are listed at Email us at if you need more information. Planning ahead: note these on your calendar Our Spring schedule is out, and we hope you'll find at least one special event to attend between now and July. Mark your calendars!

  • March 7 – Reimagining Religious Communities, Prof. Scott Thumma, 10:30 a.m.-Noon.

  • March 25 – Intro to the Enneagram, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., with Kathy and Jim Reiter. *Register for $15 to take the online test prior to meeting.

  • April 1 – The Spirituality of Breadmaking: Hot Cross Buns, 9:30-Noon. Make and take a dozen home! Led by Kathleen Phillips

  • June 3 – Finding the Spiritual with Poetry and Nature, 10 a.m.-1 p.m, with Sandy Soghikian.

  • July 22 – The Enneagram for Growth, going beyond the basics to explore your spirituality, 9 a.m.-Noon, with Kathy and Jim Reiter.

Ongoing: Common Threads – Bring a thread art project and join in the discussion, second Wednesdays of each month at 1:30 p.m. Next gathering is March 8.

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. 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 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 Middleway Urban Monastery's Guide for Life

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