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Rethinking retreats

Dear Middleway Urban Monastery friends,

The weeks leading up to Easter are traditionally a good time to go on a retreat. That's a spiritual practice in which one gets away from the normal hustle-bustle of life in order to spend a little time getting closer to God. As spring unfolds and new life begins to take shape in the plants and animals in our environment, the season can signal new beginnings in our spiritual journey.

But since so many of us have been isolated for a year now, the idea of retreating may not have the same appeal as in the past.

Time to rethink a retreat. Perhaps we could think of it as meaning "to treat again."

This year, treat yourself to something you haven't been able to do much of for the past year. This might mean a picnic in an open-air park, a walk on a sunny day, or an afternoon of removing garden or flower bed debris after the recent historic winter freeze. Whatever you've been kept from could be a real treat to experience again and to give thanks for the opportunity to enjoy again. Keep a journal and a pen handy for any inspirations that come to mind while retreating in this way, because all lend themselves to being in God's presence.

And where ever you retreat to, know that you're always just a few clicks away from Middleway where we offer prayer times, devotionals, and meditations daily for your use.

Read about what's going on at Middleway below. Make a note to check out our Facebook group page or website.

The Way of the Wilderness: The Path to Fullness of Life in the Season of Lent

The Way of the Wilderness continues as a Lenten program in cooperation with Middleway. Participants are using the Second Breath app, a resource overflowing with simple and transformative spiritual practices. Through teaching, spiritual practice, conversation, and shared experience, the program follows Jesus of Nazareth into the Lenten wilderness to cultivate and discover a dynamic inward spiritual journey that leads to “fullness of life." It's not too late to join.

The Way of the Wilderness includes:

  • The Second Breath app with full access to all premium content through Holy Week. (Available in both the Apple App Store and Google Play.) Email once you download the app to extend your use of the app.

  • A weekly group spiritual direction session facilitated by a spiritual director with Middleway Urban Monastery.

  • A participant guide for each person including recommended practices, encouragements, and instructions to walk the Way of the Wilderness throughout the season of Lent.

Program Details:

Sundays through March 28, 6:45-8 p.m. Aneya Elbert, facilitator and spiritual director, can answer questions sent to

Zoom Instructions:

Register at the link below and you will receive the link in your email

Book club to ponder The Magnificent Defeat for March

Member Kathy Ritter is leading a discussion of the March book, "The Magnificent Defeat" by Frederick Buechner. She provided an extensive overview of Buechner's life and writings during the first meeting last week. Discussion of the book's first six chapters will continue this week on Tuesday, March 9. at 7 p.m. Central time. The group is open to all. Here's how to join:

Meeting ID: 862 8991 8385 Passcode: 164675

or call in 1 346 248 7799

Other books chosen for coming months:

  • April - Soul Making: The Desert Way of Spirituality by Alan Jones

  • May - Streams of Living Water by Richard Foster

How to Visit Middleway Urban Monastery

Ready to dig a little deeper spiritually? We're here for you.

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,, 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 and entering their email address at the Subscribe button on the lower right.

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