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The spiritual life can get foggy

Dear Middleway Urban Monastery friends,

In the southeastern part of Texas where Middleway is located, winter typically offers a few days of warm temperatures followed by days in which temperatures drop below freezing. The cycle repeats for weeks to the confusion of most living things.

This phenomenon also makes the early months of each year prone to fog. Cool temperatures melt into warm air with seasonal moisture to create a fog that can be both beautiful and eerie.

It is not unlike what can happen with our spiritual lives. We all have times in which we can truly warm to the presence of God and then times when we feel abandoned by the Higher Power. This can lead to a foggy spirit. Maybe we want to sit in it. Maybe we want to look the other way until the fog lifts.

Either way, Middleway offers a place where you can sit it out. Whether you are in a cold spell or a warm one, the monastery is a space you can come to let your spirit weather whatever season it is in. Everyone goes through similar times, though may not with the same regularity as the southeast Texas weather. Come and sit a spell at Middleway and see.

Read about what's going on at Middleway. Then check out our Facebook group page or website.

Common Threads group spiritual direction this Wednesday

Thread projects of any kind will be the backdrop for a new group spiritual direction gathering. Each month, women and men are encouraged to bring a thread project - cross stitch, needlepoint, crochet or knitting, for example - to work on while sharing about where God is in their life.

Common Threads meets monthly on the second Wednesday from 2-3 p.m. Kathleen Phillips will guide the group through methods of sharing stories and listening to each other with a "holy ear." Our next gathering is Jan. 12.

12 Step healing service to be offered monthly

People in recovery and their friends and supporters are invited to a monthly 12-Step healing service. The service incorporates the 12 steps through the readings. Offered on the second Wednesday of each month at 5:30 p.m., the next service will be Jan. 12.

Monthly group spiritual direction through journaling to start Jan. 22

Journaling as a way to tell one's story -- and sharing that walk in community with others -- will be the approach for a new group spiritual direction meeting. The monthly gatherings will be the fourth Saturday of each month, guided by Amy Thompson. People interested in journaling - or learning how the technique can be used in spiritual growth - are encouraged to come. The first meeting will be Jan. 22 at 10:30 a.m.

Separate children's, adult programs offered on Thursday evenings

Centering prayer is offered monthly on first and third Thursdays beginning at 5:30 p.m. Adults are encouraged to join in the 30-minute quiet prayer time led by Rich Nelson.

At the same time, children's program leader Aneya Elbert will engage children in activities and conversation about their spirituality using a variety of fun tools and topics.

The next date for both activities this month is Jan. 20.

Book club's hybrid gathering to return in January

There's still time to get the January Middleway book and start reading "The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are" by Brene Brown. The next meeting will be Tuesday, Jan. 25 at 10:30 a.m. Our gatherings are hybrid, meaning we will have Zoom for those unable to be in person while others will gather in a room here at the monastery. Together we will discuss our book of the month. This month we will also consider upcoming books for the spring. Come share your ideas of what would be good to read and discuss together.

The link for Zoom attendance:

Volunteer at Middleway

Come be a part of the Middleway community! Your presence is the main thing we need. It's easy, and you'll be able to enjoy the hope, peace and comfort while you are there as a volunteer. Just help us welcome others into this space.

You also can offer your talents in administration, reception, hospitality, plants/greenery, library, arts, technology/information, worship, cleaning, and growth/sustainability. Each of these areas are called Circles of Stewards, which are groups of people within the community who share similar interests and want to help make Middleway as special, sacred space for all. If you're not sure which area you'd enjoy most, just pick general interest, and we'll let you know what volunteer opportunities are open.

You can sign up at 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.

These opportunities are more than volunteering -- they are community forming. 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 Guide for 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.

Other ways to experience Middleway Urban Monastery

Ready to dig a little deeper spiritually?

Join our Facebook group page. Doing so will let you receive notices about events as well comment and see what others in the Middleway community are saying.

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.

Pass the word. Ask your frieds to subscribe to this newsletter by going to Enter the email address at the Subscribe button on the lower right.

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