Prepare for hope, joy, love and peace

Dear Middleway Urban Monastery friends,

Chances are, you're anticipating a busy holiday season about to begin with Thanksgiving this week quickly blurring into Christmas and New Years.

For liturgical Christians, this week means a move into the season known as Advent, which is a time to prepare for the coming of the Christ child. Because of all the flurry of activity around the commercialized Christmas, it may be hard for individuals to focus on what it means that the baby Jesus is about to be born into the world.

We at Middleway Urban Monastery have been busy as well -- busy preparing to help you prepare. Our spiritual directors have some fresh meditations, devotions, liturgy, music, devotions and even humor to help you find the hope, joy, love and peace that Advent seeks to instill in each of us. Sunday, Nov. 29 is the first day of Advent, so check out the calendar below and mark these special offerings on your calendar so you perhaps may enjoy more of the true meaning of Christmas this year.

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

Next Sunday 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 will gather 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. This is Middleway's first event specifically for children.

Meditations offered on the weekly themes of Advent

As your weekend comes to a close next Sunday, join the special Advent meditation at 5 p.m. Dr. Amy Thompson will guide participants each week on the theme of the week, beginning with "hope" on Nov. 29 and followed by joy, love and peace on the following Sundays before Christmas.

Too much information? We have a new liturgy for you

Canterbury at Texas A&M, the student-led Episcopal fellowship, has developed a worship service specifically aimed at people hit with TMI - Too Much Information. Rev. Rich Nelson, Canterbury missioner, said it will be available on Youtube and Middleway's Facebook group beginning Nov. 29. While it is especially meaningful for student's preparing for finals and the end of the semester, the video presentation, "A Liturgy for Those Flooded by Too Much Information," likely will move everyone deeply.

Book club continues on Tuesdays

On Nov. 24 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. Everyone is welcome to join in the discussion, and it's easy to catch up if you missed the first week 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 3.

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

Thanks to St. Andrew's Endowment Fund

We wish to thank the St. Andrew's Episcopal-Bryan Endowment Fund for a $3,000 grant to help us continue our online presence and offer events and hospitality in the coming year.

It's our hope to be able to provide a physical space for spiritual formation in the Bryan-College Station area as soon as financial support is available and health/safety prospects improve. If you are interested in helping us in this way, please contact us at info@middlewayurbanmonastery.org.

How to Visit Middleway Urban Monastery

If, for whatever reason, you feel "spiritual but not religious," or you no longer have a church or you are just "done" with organized religion, no worries. We do not ask you to join the FB group page in order to participate. Just come to the monastery online as often as you want. We're about providing you space to seek hope, comfort and peace as you explore ways of experiencing God’s love. You're a "member" if you are receiving this newsletter. All are welcome, so share as you like.

Imagine our Facebook public group page as a physical building. When you enter our URL, facebook.com/groups/TheMiddlewayUrbanMonastery, it is like opening the door of a physical building, because you will find all that is offered there.

Likewise, you can come to our website and explore the offerings, including links to our Twitter and Instagram accounts, if you like those formats and want to follow.

For the time being, our monastery is online only. We plan to eventually offer a physical space in Bryan, Texas. Even then, however, we will continue to offer our prayer times, meditations, centering, contemplation and various workshops and retreats online and led by spiritual directors and leaders around the Bryan-College Station, Texas area. Participants are welcome from around the world.

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.

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