Dear Middleway Urban Monastery friends,
For many Christian groups, today (Nov. 26) is the beginning of a new year. It's called Advent, and it begins the aniticipation of the birth of the baby who will be named Jesus. The image shown above, one of several in the icon room at Middleway, is one way of remembering that event as we enter the busyness of December.
This year, we also enter our new year at Middleway with several unique ways to experience prayerful times both on your own and with the growing community at the monastery. We shared many of those last week - and they are listed below - plus we've added a 12-step healing service and a meditative Compline. Soon, we will release a schedule for 2022 in which we plan to offer at least one special event once a month. In planning, we are offering a variety of ways to help you explore your own spiritual leanings in various days and times, hopefully to fit most any schedule.
Afterwork Centering Prayer to begin Dec. 2
Let's face it, a day's work or tasks can be stressful. Middleway will begin offering a 5:30 p.m. Centering Prayer gathering Thursday led by Rev. Rich Nelson. It will be offered on first and third Thursdays. You can attend each time or only occasionally. If you are not familiar with the practice of prayerful centering, Nelson will provide instruction.
Meditative Compline Dec. 3
At 8:45 p.m. Friday, a Meditative Compline will be offered at the monastery, led by Amy Thompson. Compline is a type of evening prayer that is normally said before turning in for the night. But Middleway will offer this service during First Friday events in downtown Bryan and everyone is invited to stop by for the short service before continuing their evening plans.
"Common Threads" group spiritual direction to start Dec. 8
Threads 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 will meet monthly on the second Wednesday from 2-3 p.m. The first gathering will be Wednesday, Dec. 8. Kathleen Phillips will guide the group through methods of sharing stories and listening to each other with a "holy ear."
12-Step Healing Service Dec. 15
Anyone interested in 12-step recovery is welcome to attend a healing service at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 15. The service includes prayers and the recitation of each of the 12 steps along with a call for healing. It will be led by Amy Thompson.
Wassail at the Monastery Dec. 18
Set aside two hours Dec. 18, 10 a.m.-noon, to escape from the busy season and explore Middleway over a welcoming cup of traditional wassail. The word "wassail" was originally thought to mean "be in good health" or "be fortunate," so we will offer some ways to explore spiritual health by trying out what's available at the monastery.
Several of our spiritual directors will be on hand to give brief explanations of what's available at Middleway and then participants will get to select three experiences to try in 15-minute concurrent sessions. Among the options are labyrinth, rosary, icons, praying the news, and art, for example.
Just a couple of peaceful hours might refuel you for other tasks in the season.
Book club's hybrid gathering to continue in January
Though our book club is taking a break from meeting in December, the onset of cooler temperatures as we go into winter will surely find many of us curled up with a good book in hand. So put the next Middleway selection on your list. Our next meeting will be Tuesday, Jan. 25 at 10:30 a.m. Our meetings 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, which is "The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are" by Brene Brown.
We'll share it again closer to the time, but here's 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 https://timecounts.org/middlewaymonastery/. 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.
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