Dear Middleway Urban Monastery friends,
Last weekend, about 50 people gathered for a retreat at Camp Allen near Navasota, Texas. During a brief worship service to begin the event, attendees arrived at the designated room to find vases filled with flowers, each separated by species. Everything from pristine yellow roses raised at a floral greenhouse to whimsical common sunflowers plucked from the roadside were present. Attendees were asked to select a flower of their choice to hold during the prayer time.
Later, as a guitarist picked a soft, meditative tune, attendees were asked to place their flower into a larger vase. A bouquet of color and variety grew into an enormous representation of the community present.
It is that sort of community of Middleway Urban Monastery seeks to provide; a community in which each person can discover the particular way God created them, loves them, gave them special purpose and meaning, all the while forming an even more beautiful gathering of the community of God.
We hope you will join us virtually, as well as in person when our physical space is available later this year, as often as you can.
Poetry as Prayer set for Saturday mornings in June
How can poetry be used as prayer? Find out each Saturday in June. A video will be offered on our group page to help guide you each Saturday at 10 a.m. Click here for an example. Then, on June 26 those who are in the Bryan-College Station area will be invited to an in-person gathering for the final Poetry as Prayer time. The event is led by Aneya Elbert.
The Way of the Heart topic of weekly book club
Our June book, "The Way of the Heart" by Henri Nouwen concludes Tuesday, June 15, at 7 p.m. Central time. We will be using a study guide offered by the Henri Nouwen Society. This small but deep book offers "ancient spiritual wisdom to heal our troubled modern souls." Tuesday's gathering will focus on the second chapter, "Prayer."
The book is available in many formats in print or online. 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
Also at this meeting, the group will pick the next slate of books. Having spent this year reading books by well-known male authors on spirituality, we're seeking contemporary books on spirituality written by women (but not just about female spirituality). We also will talk about the day/time of the weekly meeting to see if we want to move it to allow more to attend. So come to offer ideas or send them to email@example.com. After this, the book club will take a break until July 6.
Interested in spiritual direction or formation training?
If you've considered learning more about Christian spirituality and how the training might impact you and your ministry, check out FIND - School for Spiritual Direction and Formation. Applications are being accepted until June 30 for the ecumenical school which offers classes once a month on a Saturday so that busy lay and clergy people can attend more easily. NEW THIS YEAR: FIND is launching a second version of the school. After a successful transition to Zoom classes in 2020 to operate the school during the pandemic, the FIND board has agreed to offer a parallel school which will be exclusively online to enable anyone to attend without regard to location. The traditional school, which was founded in 1997, will return to an in-person venue at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Bryan, Texas. A person may choose to enroll in either the online or in-person school. FIND hopes to move to Middleway Urban Monastery when a physical location is established. For more information, see www.schoolforspiritualdirection.org.
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. In the meantime, come virtually.
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, facebook.com/groups/TheMiddan MonasteryReady to dig a little deeper spilewayUrbanMonastery, 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.