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Writing in concrete

Dear Middleway Urban Monastery friends, There's no concrete answer, but various sources indicate that, well, concrete has been around anywhere from 3500 BC to 1400 BC. Whichever is true, it is likely that for at least that long, people have yielded to the irresistible urge to scribble a name or message in freshly poured concrete. Middleway was thus christened by some unknown passerby as a new sidewalk was poured for the old building which was renovated for our space. We noticed it when we arrived for final inspection before moving in a year ago. There were the letters scratched at the threshold of our front door. D O G Was it someone's initials or did someone hold this animal in such reverence as to make it a permanent part of this space? One of us that day simply noted that "DOG" spelled backwards is GOD, and we all agreed that the permanent message at our door was fitting. Little did we realize at the time that dogs -- and cats, birds, chickens, fish, snakes, turtles, horses, cows, pigs and llamas, to name a few -- would one day be the focus for a special look at Pets and Spirituality. But after all, these critters make a permanent mark on our hearts, so we're going to explore that this month. Read about this and our other offerings below. Middleway's Facebook Group

Pets and spirituality Sniff us out in September for a look at the importance of pets and animals to our souls. For two September evenings, you and your pets (leashed or in a carrier under your control) will be our special guests. If you don't have a pet or can't bring yours, that's ok, too. We'll explore a Spiritual Autobiography with Pets on Sept. 14, and Visual Prayers with Pets on Sept. 28. We'll open from 6-8 p.m. those evenings, with the activity component from 7-8 p.m., led by Elizabeth Crouch and Kathleen Phillips. Plus, a special treat awaits you and your pet(s). This series will wrap up with a Pet Blessing at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, 217 W. 26th St., Bryan, at 11:15 a.m. Bring pets to be blessed by Rev. Daryl Hay and receive a St. Francis medallion for collars, cages or carriers. September begins something for everyone Between now and January there surely is at least one thing of interest for everyone. When we say ALL are welcome, we mean it. Mark your calendars and share with friends/family.

  • Explore 12-step spirituality through “Breathing Underwater” by Rev. Richard Rohr. This 12 week study includes a short 12-step Compline every Tuesday from 5:30-7 p.m.

  • Journeys in Prayerful Silence – Experience different ways to find God in silence. Thursdays, 6-8 p.m. for six weeks through Oct. 13.

  • Pets and Spirituality – Pets welcome! Spiritual autobiography with pets, Sept. 14; Visualizing prayers with pets, Sept. 28, both 6-8 p.m.; Pet blessing at St. Andrew’s Episcopal, Oct. 2, 11:15 a.m.

  • Friends of St Joan is a monthly gathering for youth and young adults who identify as LGBTQIA+. Join us in a safe place to explore spirituality monthly on the third Mondays beginning Sept. 19, 6-8 p.m.

  • Journaling One’s Story – Learn to write about your life to bring deeper spiritual meaning. Monthly on fourth Saturdays, 10:30 a.m.-Noon.

  • Book Club – “The Lost Page: An Archaeological Thriller” by Joe Edd Morris, discussion Sept. 27, 10:30 a.m.

  • Dia de los Muertos and a look at grief and loss, Oct. 22, 10:30-Noon.

  • Sacred chanting – Learn this ancient method of singing, Nov. 5, 10:30 a.m.-Noon.

  • Wassail at the Monastery – Get a taste of our hospitality with a cup of this traditional holiday beverage. No agenda. We’ll merely open the doors for you to take a breather before the holiday rush, Dec. 3, 10:30 a.m.-Noon.

  • Post-Holiday life – Celtic Women’s Christmas, Jan. 6, 1-3 p.m.; The Spirituality of Gaming, Jan. 14, 10:30 a.m.-Noon.

12-Step Community to discuss "Breathing Under Water" Richard Rohr's "Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps" is the topic for Tuesday evenings. 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. The study will continue for 12 weeks. Journeys in Prayerful Silence This six-week series introduces different styles of prayer and meditation focused around times of silence and stillness. Sessions each Thursday evening at 6 p.m. begin with a short teaching on the background and purpose of each type of prayer, followed by 15 minutes 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 continues through Oct. 13. Middleway is 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. Spiritual Direction and Formation School Sept. 17 Middleway hosts FIND - School for Spiritual Direction and Formation on Sept. 17 and monthly on the third Saturday through May. The 25-year-old school, which is ecumenical, teaches the ancient art of "listening with a holy ear" in a non-judgmental way that does not seek to fix a person but rather to let them heal and/or grow spiritual by telling their story and realizing where God is in their life. For more information about the school, see Friends of St. Joan This new group is a monthly gathering for youth and young adults who identify as LGBTQIA+. Join us in a safe place to explore spirituality monthly on the third Mondays beginning Sept. 19, 6-8 p.m., led by Jodie Robinson and Amy Thompson. Middleway Book Club returns The book club will discuss "The Lost Page: An Archaeological Thriller" by Joe Edd Morris. This book group is hybrid, so participants can either attend in person at the monastery or by Zoom, Sept. 27 at 10:30 a.m. Meeting ID: 862 8991 8385 Passcode: 164675 How to experience the monastery While we offer a variety of programs you can attend, the monastery is also open 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. 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. You and your spiritual director normally meet monthly for an hour. Our current spiritual directors are listed at Email us at if we can help you. We need you at Middleway We've added several programs at night, which means the monastery will be open for some new times. If you've been unable to volunteer during the days, here's your chance. 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 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. Middleway Urban Monastery's Guide for Life

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