Dear Middleway Urban Monastery friends,
Technically, we are five weeks from autumn. But everyone knows that "fall" actually starts right now. Families are gearing up for back-to-school and already filling calendars with all the schedules supplied by their myriad activities. People are likely settling into jobs post-vacation with the mind-set that the next time off will revolve around holidays. Retired folks are pencilling in volunteer activities and other events. Even entertainment for everyone may get scheduled -- game weekends come to mind as we cheer for our teams from middleschool to pro.
Schedule some hope, comfort and peace for yourself, while you're at it. Put it in ink, so it can't be erased. Type it in and print it out befor you can delete. Allow yourself an hour to listen and share in the weekly book club, partake of one of the prayer times offered via our Facebook group, volunteer to be a part of the community in our physical location, for example.
If you've ever said you're looking for "my people" as in those who also are seeking a deeper spirituality, we just might be them.
"Halleluja Anyway: Rediscoverying Mercy" topic of weekly book club
“Reflecting on Jesus’ actions in the Lazarus story, (author Anne) Lamott believes, “Mercy means I don’t run away from this and go shopping, just because you and your smelly family disappoint me. I stay.” How has a commitment to “stay” in spite of difficulties affected your important relationships?
That's an example of the questions we will discuss at the book club meeting Thursday of our August selection, "Halleluja Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy" by Anne Lamott.
On Aug. 19, we will talk about Chapters 5 and 6. We are using a study guide from the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship at https://cbf.net/bookclubreadingguides-17-18
The book club meets weekly on Thursdays and is open to all. Here's how to join:
Meeting ID: 862 8991 8385 Passcode: 164675
or call in 1 346 248 7799
Other upcoming books are:
September - "An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith" by Barbara Brown Taylor
October - "Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus" by Ann Spangler and Lois Tverberg
November - "Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith" by Kathleen Norris
December - No meetings
January 2022 - "The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are" by Brene Brown
Volunteer at Middleway through a Circle of Stewards
Come be a part of the Middleway community almost literally from the ground up. As we prepare to move into a physical location, we need volunteers who have talents in administration, reception, hospitality, plants/greenery, library, arts, technology/information, worship, cleaning, and growth/sustainability. You will soon receive an invitation to become a volunteer in one or more of those areas. If you want to go ahead and get on board, 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.
We consider these opportunities more than volunteering. Our volunteers are part of the Middleway community. 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 Rule of 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.
Prayer Series for August: Real Prayers for Tough Times
Heidi Campbell continues a new prayer series this month called, “Real Prayers for Tough Times.” The series, posted on our Facebook group every Tuesday and Thursday at 2 p.m., uses the prayers of David in the Psalms as a model, to show how we can pray about hard, emotional topics using everyday images and language. These feature themes such as the Prayer of Why?, When Lacking Motivation and a Pandemic Lament.
Each prayer video is inspired by a different verses of the Psalms. They begin with a short non-traditional prayer, followed by 60 seconds of quiet where people can either meditate on the prayer offered, or add their own prayer on the theme. Each video ends a reading of one or two select verses that inspired the prayer. All sessions are no more than two minutes.
How to Visit Middleway Urban Monastery
Ready to dig a little deeper spiritually? We're here for you. Very soon, we hope to have our physical space in Bryan, Texas ready for in-person visits. And even after we open that space, we will continue with our virtual offerings.
You're a "member" if you are receiving this newsletter. Come and see what the monastery has for you online. When you enter our URL, https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheMiddlewayUrbanMonastery, it is like opening the door of a physical building, and you will find all that is offered there.
Likewise, you can 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.
If you know others who would like to "join," ask them to subscribe to our weekly newsletter by going to https://www.middlewayurbanmonastery.org/contact and entering their email address at the Subscribe button on the lower right.