Hope highlighted for Advent's first week

Dear Middleway Urban Monastery friends,

The season of Advent has begun, and we have several opportunities available for people of all ages. One of the beauties of offering programs virtually is that you can enjoy them as they happen OR come back when it's convenient for you.

Two such offerings are already available to mark this first week of Advent. We have a children's devotional and a meditation on the topic of hope available on our Facebook group page. You'll also note that our daily services -- morning, noonday and evening prayer -- include the scriptures and prayers appropriate for this season of preparation and anticipation.

Read about these and other special options below. Make a note to check them out on our Facebook group page or website.

Children's Advent devotional begin

Each Sunday through Advent as the children in your family start to settle down to prepare for the coming week, introduce them to a special series of weekly devotionals written and led by Dr. Heidi Campbell. At 4 p.m., Campbell gathers children on the Facebook group page to share an Advent story and encourage them to think about the spiritual side of the season leading up to Christmas. The first one is already posted, and you can visit it with the kids in your life as convenient this week.

Meditations offered on the weekly themes of Advent

Our special Advent meditation series has begun. Dr. Amy Thompson guides participants each Sunday at 5 p.m. on the theme of the week. The first week of Advent is about hope. It is available throughout the first week of Advent. The following weeks will be about joy, love and peace.

Book club continues on Tuesdays

On Dec. 1 at 7 p.m., Middleway's book club continues the study of "Following Jesus: Finding Our Way Home in an Age of Anxiety," by Henri Nouwen. Nouwen, who passed away in 1996, penned this as a series of lectures when he was in the deepest despair of his life. These talks were collected and published in 2019 for the first time. Everyone is welcome to join in the discussion, and it's easy to catch up if you missed part of this book. We talk about one chapter per week, so it's low pressure, and there are lots of great insights we glean from each other. This week: Chapter 4.

Plan come on Zoom at: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86289918385?pwd=SjcwUW5NMlZnWUtlNFFYd01waVZzUT09 Meeting ID: 862 8991 8385 Passcode: 164675 OR find your local number to dial in: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kdizMlCaXm

First Friday Finger Labyrinth is back

The labyrinth is most commonly known as a walking meditation. When we are unable to walk labyrinths, we can practice the meditation using our fingers to trace the ancient path as we hope to quiet our minds and settle our souls.

During Advent, the labyrinth can help us cross the threshold from the busyness of the season to a softer, gentler time if even only for a few moments. Leader Aneya Elbert invites you to download a paper labyrinth from the Facebook group page and perhaps light a candle to create a holy space when you join her video meditation on the Facebook group page Friday, Dec. 4 at 12:30 p.m.

Soul Care Advent Retreat set for Dec. 13

Soul Care Sabbath Advent Retreat is an opportunity for a spiritual check-in with a spiritual director through poetry, art, reflection, and quiet moments to create a rhythm soft like a Sunday afternoon. To prepare for the retreat, create a space where you can sit comfortably and turn off the outside noise inside your home. You may light a candle, find comfortable earphones and bring other objects that help you create a space that even though you are on the computer feels holy and sacred.

Bring a journal, paper, markers, colored pencils or anything you may want to use to write, draw, doodle. Email aneya.kay@gmail.com for questions about the retreat.


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