Dear Middleway Urban Monastery friends, Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshipper, lover of living, it doesn't matter Ours is not a caravan of despair Come even if you have broken your vows a thousand times, Come, yet again, come, come. These beautiful words written by the 13th century Persian poet Rumi were spotted in a book by Christian author Henri Nouwen recently. It was as if over hundreds of years the two were agreeing on the one loving God. "Yes, yes, let us all come together." That connection speaks vividly to our hope for Middleway -- that we are place of love and acceptance for all. All. We're serious about "all." In fact, we soon will be adding some evening times that may address some more specific needs and communities of people. We are Christians of love and acceptance. There is no place for hate. If you have not experienced that before, come, yet again, come, come. Read all about it and our other plans below. Middleway's Facebook Group
First Friday Flags Aug. 5, Family day Aug. 6
Summer is ending and calendars are about to get crowded. We've got a couple of events that will help you get a good start for this fall.
First, come to Friday Friday Aug. 5 and learn to make a prayer flag as a symbolic way to let your prayers be carried in the wind. We'll be in the parking lot at 217 W. 26th, in downtown Bryan, 5:30-7 p.m.
Then, what are ways that you can incorporate intentional time together in your family? That will be the focus of our next special event -- family day at the monastery Saturday, Aug. 6, 10:30 a.m. - Noon.
"Our hope is to support your family as you together create small simple rituals that open space for the Holy to be present and create a sense of belonging that cultivates a child’s security," said Aneya Elbert, one of the day's leaders. "This retreat can be for parents, grandparents, or extended family/friends who want to try to be more intentional with the children in their lives. It's not to add another thing to your family’s already busy life. Rather it is to help create a sustainable pause for everyone, including the adults."
Elbert and co-leader Helen Flynn will help participants think of ways to spend time together that are meaningful for each different family. The workshop will also offer prayer practices for children to explore and a short guided family-friendly meditation at 11 a.m.
Have we got plans for you!
Get ready to mark your calendars through the end of 2022. We've got a slate of programs to meet a variety of interests. To begin with, our presence at First Friday in downtown Bryan is pared each month with a special program or workshop. Plus, we have extra communities that are ongoing or are being formed now. Here's a sneak preview so you can save the dates.
Monthly theme for First Friday and special events:
August - Back to the books, prayer flags, simple family rituals
September - Pets and Spirituality
October - Dia de los muertos, grief and loss
November - Learn to Chant for Advent
December - Wassail at the Monastery
We'll still have our book club, journaling group, Common Threads spirit talk, a repeat of our entrepreneurial spirituality workshop and kids spirituality programs the fall. And we'll have new gatherings for LGBTQ and 12-Step folks. Hopefully, we have something of interest for everyone. When we say ALL are welcome, we mean it. Journeys in Prayerful Silence This six-week series will introduce you to different styles of prayer and meditation focused around times of silence and stillness. On Thursday evenings starting Sept. 8 at 6 p.m., we will explore different ways of seeking silence. Sessions will begin with a short teaching on the background and purpose of each type of prayer, followed by 15 minutess of putting what is learned directly into practice. Come take a time-out with Heidi Campbell and learn how to cultivate peace and stillness through journeying into different expressions of prayerful silence. The series will continue through Oct. 13 meeting on Thursday evenings. Middleway will be open on Thursdays from 6-8 p.m. and the prayerful silence segment will be from 7-7:30 p.m. Those who wish to come early or stay late can explore the space on their own. 12-Step Community to discuss "Breathing Under Water" Richard Rohr's "Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps" will be the topic for a Tuesday evening gathering Tuesdays beginning Sept. 6. The monastery will be open from 5-8 p.m. and the book discussion component, led by Amy and Michael Thompson, will be a part of the evening. People in any 12-Step program and their friends and families are especially welcome to the monastery during this time. St. Joan - LGBTQ and friends A gathering of people who are interested in spirituality and the LCGTQ community will begin Sept. 19 and continue every other week. Led by Jodie Robinson and Amy Thompson, the gathering will begin at 6 p.m. Our birthday celebration continues We're open Tuesday-Thursday this last week of July, if you want to bring the kids by to decorate a "gift of light" candle, in recognition of our second birthday. The flameless candles in our art area can be decorated before taking home. Your presence at Middleway is a gift to us. We're open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. How to use the monastery While we offer a variety of programs you can attend, the monastery is also open for you to just come to use your time as you wish in a relaxing atmosphere where no one will bug you. Read, retreat from the hectic pace of your world, use our 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. Spiritual direction offered at Middleway A spiritual director is one who can listen to you with a holy ear and doesn't try to "fix" you with their solutions. Being listened to -- truly listened to -- is powerfully healing. Spiritual directors at Middleway are trained and vetted so we know your story will be heard and kept in confidence. After selecting a spiritual director, a person normally plans to meet with that person monthly for an hour. Our current spiritual directors are listed at https://www.middlewayurbanmonastery.org/spiritual-direction. Let us know if we can help you find a listening soul companion. We need you at Middleway Middleway is 100 percent volunteer operated. 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. Sign up at https://timecounts.org/middlewaymonastery/. 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. Current volunteers, please choose your dates for April. Middleway Urban Monastery's Guide for Life