Dear Middleway Urban Monastery friends,
Most of us hear the word "wassail" and think of a hot, citrus and spices beverage served in December. The ancient term, however, is thought to have meant 'be in good health' or 'be fortunate'.
We at Middleway feel truly fortunate to be able to offer to the Brazos Valley and beyond a place for all to tend to their spiritual health. Therefore, our special event during the Advent season, which begins Nov. 28 and includes the four weeks leading up to Christmas, will be "Wassail at the Monastery" on Dec. 18. It'll be just one of many special offerings we have planned for you and yours as we close 2021 and move into 2022. We also will be starting a Centering Prayer time, a spiritual direction group called Common Threads, a 12-Step healing service, meditative compline, journaling events and many more including some for children. Some of these new options are detailed below and others will be updated soon. So get your calendars out and add some Middleway time this season and beyond.
Book club's first hybrid gathering set
Our book club will meet Tuesday, Nov. 16 at 10:30 a.m. This will be our first hybrid meeting in that 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.
The book for November book is "Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith" by Kathleen Norris.
Here's the link for Zoom attendance:
Upcoming books are:
December - No meeting
Jan. 25, 2022 - "The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are" by Brene Brown
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 on Dec. 2. 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.
"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 Dec. 8. Kathleen Phillips will guide the group through methods of sharing stories and listening with a "holy ear."
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. Reaching back to the original meaning of the word, 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.
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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