Dear Middleway Urban Monastery friends, Drought is a condition that we never want to have to endure. A common sentiment is that we will never wish for no rain - even if it is forecasted on the day of a most special life event. But extended periods of rain can be taxing as well, whether or not we admit it. Rain can keep you inside, prevent you from yardwork while you can almost see the grass growing too tall to mow and weeds sprouting everywhere. It can create mud that gets tracked inside. Rain pulls a heavy, grey shroud over the skies and leads one to repeatedly query long-term weather forecasts to see when blue skies might return. When will it be "normal" again? Drought and rainy days both are often used to describe our spiritual lives. During extended "dry" times it seems like God isn't around. And when it feels like we are drowning in life situations, where is God? Ultimately, we know that droughts end with replenishing rains, and the sun appears after the rain reflecting blue skies on a healthy earth beaming with beauty. Middleway is a place that can shield the droughts and stormy situations in your spiritual life. Whether your journey is currently dry, sinking in a flood of issues, or growing abundantly after such storms, we offer peace, comfort and hope. And what nourishes you at Middleway will ripple out to touch others in the community who are experiencing similar situations. Read more below to find some ways to weather what comes along in your life. Middleway's Facebook Group
Our latest Spiritual Director
We welcome Iris Villareal to our team of spiritual directors. Iris has been a spiritual director since graduating in 2000 from FIND - School for Spiritual Direction and Formation. She is a registered nurse and has served in many fields such as medical, AIDS, oncology, and home health. Iris also is a grateful AlAnon member, which she has used in her listening ministry for many family and friends of alcoholics and addicts, and she is a fluent Spanish speaker. Iris is a wife, mother of three adult children, and grandmother of five young grandkids. "It is my joy and honor to listen to your walk with God," Iris said. "Whether it's a walk filled with doubt, anger or fear, sorrow and grief, or whether it's a walk filled with wonder and inspiration, I am blessed to walk with you on that path. I will listen as you share your life and encourage you in this journey towards the Beloved." Contact Iris or another spiritual director on our website. Middleway Spiritual Directors
Finding the Spiritual with Poetry and Nature
Join us June 3, 10 a.m.-Noon, for this interactive workshop exploring nature, poetry, and spirituality. The event will start by exploring poetry from well-known mystics and folks who would not claim to be either poets or mystics, according to workshop leader Sandy Soghikian. "We will touch upon the Old Testament psalms of the Hebrews as poetry, talk about themes of spirituality, and share our thoughts on why or how poetry and nature evoke or reflect spirituality," she said. "We’ll share ideas for strengthening the spiritual dimension of our lives with poetry and nature. After that, we will read short passages with spiritual themes and work together to create poetry from the passages." Soghikian said participants are encouraged to bring poems or photos of nature to share. The event is free. Those who wish to do so may donate to the Middleway fund to help sustain the monastery. Thanks to a generous donation, all participants will receive a free Middleway T-Shirt! I'm coming to the poetry workshop, naturally!
UNWIND THURSDAY EVENINGS Middleway is on Thursdays until 7 p.m. Stop by to unwind after work. Padre Ben Sanchez, an Episcopal priest and Thursday evening host, also leads Grupo de Oracion, group prayer for Spanish speakers, 6-7 p.m.
Become a Spiritual Director FIND – School for Spiritual Direction and Formation is accepting applications for the Class of 2026 until June 30. The school, hosted by Middleway Urban Monastery in Bryan, TX, holds monthly Saturday classes for clergy and lay people 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. We are diverse and ecumenical without educational or age limits. Click the button for more information. FIND - School for Spiritual Direction
Chanting the Psalms and Contemplative Sit Deepen your spirituality by chanting the psalms. Led by Amy Thompson, this features Anglican and Gregorian chants using Psalms, followed by a 20-minute meditative sit (or centering). The next gathering is May 21 at 2 p.m. Spiritual directors lend a (holy) ear at Middleway The backbone of Middleway is a team of spiritual directors, well trained by various schools, whose ministry is to listen to you with a holy ear. We are 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 https://www.middlewayurbanmonastery.org/spiritual-direction. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org 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!
June 3 – Finding the Spiritual with Poetry and Nature, 10 a.m.-12 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.
Aug. 5 – Spirituality of Breadmaking: Buns for the grill - 9:30 a.m.-Noon, with Kathleen Phillips.
Chanting the psalms and contemplative sit - May 21.
Common Threads – Bring a thread art project (or not) and join in chatting about how our lives intertwine, second Wednesdays of each month at 1:30 p.m. Next gathering is June 14.
Grupo de Oracion – Thursday evenings, 6 p.m.
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 evenings and 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 Come volunteer as one who welcomes others into this peaceful place. While there, you'll be able to enjoy the hope, peace and comfort as well. Middleway is 100 percent volunteer operated. 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