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Travel time and the spiritual journey

Dear Middleway Urban Monastery friends, This is a special, two-week edition of Middleway's newsletter. Beginning March 11, this newsletter writer will be on a vacation that was to have been taken in 2020. At long last, the family will fly together to Washington, D.C. Excitement and aprehension both are sharing parts of our baggage:

  • This trip got rescheduled due to no choice of our own.

  • We are looking forward to picking up where we left off three years ago.

  • The youngest generation of our family is approaching graduation from college, graduation from high school, Army boot camp and the junior year of high school.

  • Two who would have been on our 2020 trip are no longer with us.

There will be many forks our family road after this trip. Likewise, during Lent we can consider our spiritual journey. What has been delayed? Where might we go? Who is with us as we grow spiritually? Which fork will you take? Spiritually, a Lenten journey can be both exhilerating and uneasy. There may be many forks in one's spiritual life and you might be wondering where you're being led. Middleway is a great place to spend time discerning that. Though this newsletter writer will be away, Middleway will be open and ready to welcome you. It's also a great place to bring kids/grandkids while school is out. You can linger in a quiet area while the kids are nearby exploring art or children's spirituality offerings. Our next newsletter will be March 18.

In a world full of personality assessments, the Enneagram stands apart for the ways that it not only describes our behavior (and the basis of that behavior) but for the ways it also prescribes practices which can help us live more resourcefully. Kathy and Jim Reiter present this introductory workshop in a manner that offers the Enneagram as tool for spiritual transformation - an enriching step on the journey to resourceful, True Self living. The background of this ancient personality inventory will be explored; a narrative orientation to the nine personality types will be presented; results of an online assessment will be discussed; and a sense of next steps in the journey to True Self will be offered. Saturday, March 25, 2023 - 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Coffee and tea provided. Bring a sack lunch for yourself There is a $15 fee prior to the event in order to obtain your personal assessment which will provide insight about your Enneagram style. Please register by March 17 at and you will receive instructions for payment and next steps. Intro to the Enneagram

The Spirituality of Breadmaking: Hot Cross Buns Whether it's kneading the dough, waiting patiently for it to rise, or the yeasty smell, making bread can be a very spiritual exercise. We plan several experiences with bread this year, and the first is Hot Cross Buns, April 1, 9:30 a.m.-Noon. It's great for individuals, friends or families. The cost is $10 per registering unit (individual, friend teams or families) which will provide each unit with one dozen hot cross buns to take home. Hot cross buns are centuries old recipe and are known to have been traditionally eaten on Good Friday perhaps since the 14th Century. So we can have enough supplies, let us know you/your group is coming by registering at the button below by March 25. Hot Cross Buns Day

Calling all pastors, religious leaders Professor Scott Thumma, program director at the Hartford Institute for Religious Research in Hartford, CT., will speak on "Reimagining Religious Communities: Challenges and Possibilities in a Post-Pandemic World" March 7, 10:30-Noon at the monastery, 309 N. Tabor Ave. The event, hosted by Middleway Urban Monastery, is for pastors and religious leaders. The session is free, but registration is required by March 6 by email, Thumma, a noted sociologist and author, will present his research on how religious communities have faced multiple challenges in recent decades, and which the pandemic greatly amplified. His comments draw from an ongoing national study of U.S. churches but also explore multiple opportunities for reimagining congregational life for the future. This lecture is sponsored by the Melbern G. Glasscock Center for Humanities Research, Religious Studies at Texas A&M University, and the Tech in Churches During Covid-19 research project.

Ideas for exploring Lent

Lent continues until Easter (April 9). Some of us sort of ease into observing this holy season, so now is a good time to explore any of the resources at Middleway to help you make this time more meaningful. The library has numerous books, some of which have been pulled and placed on the top shelf for easy picking. Come check one out to take with you. You also might make time for regular visits to Middleway to be prayerful, journal, use the art area, or even add some service to your journey by volunteering time at the monastery. We'd truly love to have you. Common Threads finds similar themes on where God is

It isn't everywhere that we can meet just to share with others about where God is in our lives (even if it feels at the moment like God is absent). But when we do, there's usually a serendipitous theme - a common thread - that brings about empathy through shared stories. Common Threads at Middleway is that. Now, some bring thread projects - crochet, knitting, stitching, mending, etc. - to do while talking and listening, but that is not required. Common Threads next meeting is March 6 at 1:30 p.m. Spiritual directors lend a (holy) ear at Middleway The backbone of Middleway is a team of well-trained spiritual directors whose ministry is to listen to you with a holy ear. Think of us as spiritual companions who are willing to meet with you monthly in a non-judging atmosphere as you discern where God is in your life. We don't try to "fix" you with our solutions. Being listened to -- truly listened to -- is powerfully healing. You and your spiritual director normally meet monthly for an hour. Some directors charge varying amounts, and others do not charge. Our current spiritual directors are listed at Email us at if you need more information. Planning ahead: note these on your calendar Our Spring schedule is out, and we hope you'll find at least one special event to attend between now and July. Mark your calendars!

  • March 7 – Reimagining Religious Communities, Prof. Scott Thumma, 10:30 a.m.-Noon.

  • March 25 – Intro to the Enneagram, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., with Kathy and Jim Reiter. *Register for $15 to take the online test prior to meeting.

  • April 1 – The Spirituality of Breadmaking: Hot Cross Buns, 9:30-Noon. Make and take a dozen home! Led by Kathleen Phillips

  • June 3 – Finding the Spiritual with Poetry and Nature, 10 a.m.-1 p.m, with Sandy Soghikian.

  • July 22 – The Enneagram for Growth, going beyond the basics to explore your spirituality, 9 a.m.-Noon, with Kathy and Jim Reiter.


  • Common Threads – Bring a thread art project and join in the discussion, second Wednesdays of each month at 1:30 p.m. Next gathering is March 8.

How to experience the monastery While we offer a variety of programs you can attend, the monastery is also open at least four days a week and some Saturdays for you to just come for a dose of the relaxing atmosphere where no one will bug you. Read, retreat from the hectic pace of your world, use the free art supplies, or partake of any of our prayer techniques that are gently explained in materials throughout the monastery. Children are welcome to come with an adult and may find the art area or special children's spirituality area a way to peace away from electronic distractions. We need you at Middleway Come be one who welcomes others into this peaceful place. While there, you'll be able to enjoy the hope, peace and comfort as well. Middleway is 100 percent volunteer operated. Sign up at After you've selected the areas you want to volunteer in, you'll be able to click the Opportunities tab, then Assignments, then Available Shifts. If you need assistance, please come by the monastery or email Middleway Urban Monastery's Guide for Life

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