Dear Middleway Urban Monastery friends, This Monday we celebrate Memorial Day. Officially, it's a relatively new holiday for remembering those who died in war. Historically, the concept of a Memorial Day dates back to 431 BC. In the US, Memorial Day has had some twists over the decades since the Civil War. In 1950, after two World Wars, Congress asked the president to issue a proclamation asking Americans to use the day to pray for permanent peace. Congress later passed a bill in 1968 making Memorial Day the last Monday in May, and it became an official federal holiday in 1971. Yet while it is an official federal holiday, no one dictates how you use your time on the last Monday of May. You may picnic or not. You may camp out or eat out or sleep late or go to work. Work in the yard or watch TV all day. Your freedom. Your choice. As our country remembers those who died for our freedom, we at Middleway especially emphasize and encourage religious freedom. You are free to explore God in our space. We won't dictate how you experience God's love for you. We merely provide you a sort of consistent "holiday" in a relaxing space to come and see for yourself. Read more below to find some things that may free you to see God in new ways. Middleway's Facebook Group
Last Call: Finding the Spiritual with Poetry and Nature There's still time to RSVP for this interactive workshop exploring nature, poetry, and spirituality, June 3, 10 a.m.-Noon. Click the link below to reserve your spot. 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!
Prayer flags return for Summer fun
Several activities are being planned for visitors - children and adults alike - for summer visits. We'll begin with a continuation of the prayer flag banners that started last summer. Fabric squares and markers are available in the art area. Stop by to spend some time putting your special prayer either in words or drawings on fabric and they will be added to our banner. Additional activities will be announced next week.
Becoming aware of the Beloved
Remember to go to our Facebook group page each Friday for our new program, "Becoming aware of the Beloved."
If you are "trying to discover or figure God out," but not sure how or where to look, Middleway spiritual director Iris Villareal features some ways to help in her short videos each week.
"Some connect with God through 12 step programs, or through poetry or music," she said. "So I will have brief talks on a variety of ways to become aware of the Beloved."
The videos can be found Facebook group page any time, with a new video each Friday.
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
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 email@example.com 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Middleway Urban Monastery's Guide for Life