Dear Middleway Urban Monastery friends, Story. It's about who we are and how we came to now. Telling our stories can help us bond with others and often helps the hearer as much as the one who shares. One such story came through a peculiar print which now hangs in the meditation room at Middleway. It's a print of praying hands originally done on precious blue paper with white and black pens by German artist Albrecht Dürer, 1471-1528. It's worth looking up the background on this sketch, but that's not the story of Middleway's print. No, our copy had a different journey. Generations ago, it hung in a local church. Then, about 40 years ago, a modernization undertaken at that church resulted in it being removed. Because no one seemed to want it and the original giver of the piece could not be located, the print was taken to the trash. A young lady saw it there and inquired of the church if it belonged to someone. No, she was told, it was no longer needed because new decor was being used. She took the print home where it stayed until an online picture of the blue decor in Middleway's meditation room inspired her to offer it. But there's more to this story than hue. "Praying hands" hangs in a monastery where people who may feel no longer needed or out of place elsewhere can come to find peace, comfort and hope. This print has found a home. We invite you to come find your place at Middleway as well. Middleway's Facebook Group
How do you experience rest? Sabbath?
Soul Care Sunday is a new, monthly opportunity to engage in contemplative spiritual practices. On the first Sunday of each month, we will open Middleway from 2-4 p.m. to practice ways of bringing peaceful rest to your life. Our first Soul Care Sunday will be Feb. 6.
We offer brief introductions to tools you can call upon as you cultivate this rest in your rhythm of life and then let you try what seems comfortable to you. Please come and stay as long or as little as you are able. We will try our best to maintain quiet along with a technology free zone. Please email Aneya Elbert with any questions you have.
Spiritual growth through journaling
Journaling as a way to tell one's story -- and sharing that walk in community with others -- will be the approach for a new group spiritual direction meeting.
For those interested in a more thorough look at how journaling can be used in spiritual growth, Amy Thompson will present a two-hour workshop Feb. 12, 10 a.m.-noon. All supplies will be provided. The workshop is free, but we suggest a donation of $10 to Middleway. Information on how to contribute will be provided soon.
Then, monthly gatherings will be the fourth Saturday of each month, guided by Thompson. The next meeting will be Feb. 26 at 10:30 a.m.
Speaking of retreats and workshops
Middleway is planning one retreat or workshop monthly and topics will be announced soon. But hold these dates: Feb. 12 (noted above for journaling); March 12, April 30, May 14 and June 18.
Separate children's, adult programs offered on Thursday evenings
Centering prayer is offered monthly on 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.
At the same time, children's program leader Aneya Elbert will engage children in activities and conversation about their spirituality using a variety of fun tools and topics.
The next date for both activities this month is Feb. 3.
Book club's hybrid gathering set for Feb. 22
After months of reading non-fiction books on spirituality, the book club is taking a turn to fiction for Febraury. Our selection is "The Alchemist," by Paulo Coelho. It's about a journey that begins in search of material goods but turns into a meditation on treasures found within. Our discussion of this book will be Tuesday, Feb. 22 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, 309 N. Tabor Ave., Bryan. Together we discuss our book of the month.
The link for Zoom attendance:
We need you at Middleway
Come be a part of the Middleway community! It's as simple as being present to welcome others into this peaceful place. While there, you'll be able to enjoy the hope, peace and comfort as well.
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 https://timecounts.org/middlewaymonastery/. 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 https://www.middlewayurbanmonastery.org/contact Enter the email address at the Subscribe button on the lower right.