Dear Middleway Urban Monastery friends,
While it seems everyone around is enjoying the colorful lights and all the trimmings, "Christmas" isn't a joyful holiday for many. It can feel lifeless, bland, stark and downright sad - rather like the tree in the picture.
There are numerous reasons why the holiday season might cause one to get the blues, and any of the spiritual directors at Middleway would be glad to hear you out on the matter. Just contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a time.
We also will acknowledge this in a special "Blue Christmas" service on Dec. 22. More information about that, and other things coming up at Middleway, is below.
If you haven't been to our physical location yet, check out our new virtual tour on our website to get an idea of what we offer.
Blue Christmas service Dec. 22
This service, on the Middleway Urban Monastery Facebook page, acknowledges that Christmas can be a hard season for many who have experienced loss and struggles. The pandemic has accentuated this grief for many. Join us for this short service at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 22 , led by Heidi Campbell, for prayer, scripture and reflection for those who mourn and find Christmas time challenging. And, if you want to stop by Middleway in person during the Christmas season - which runs through Jan. 6 - we have a special memento to mark your Blue Christmas journey. You are not alone.
12 Days Christmas meditation Dec. 25-Jan. 5
We will be hosting a 12 days of Christmas meditation online over the holidays. Starting Christmas Day, join us daily at 2 p.m. on our Facebook group page for a 3-5 minute spiritual reflection on the meaning behind each of the symbols shared in the song about 12 Days of Christmas, and take time for some holy listening. These short devotional prayer times are meant to help prepare your heart and mind for the coming year.
Gearing up for the new year
As we bring 2021 to a close, we hope that you will consider volunteering at Middleway in the new year. The "how-to" is described below, but know that the new January schedules are posted and the sooner you go to the Time Counts site, the easier it will be for you to find a day that works for your schedule.
In addition to the daily duties of reception, hospitality and spiritual direction, we plan to get the plant/garden circle together to plan the small greenspace behind the building. If you're interested, select that option on our Time Counts site so you can be included.
Middleway is 100 percent volunteer operated, so we depend on people like you. It's sure to be one of the most peaceful volunteering experiences you've ever had!
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.
Pass the word. Ask your frieds to subscribe to this newsletter by going to https://www.middlewayurbanmonastery.org/contact Enter the email address at the Subscribe button on the lower right.