April Newsletter

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April 2022 Newsletter
Gathering to Grow

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In This Edition

  • Gracious Gifts by Judy Fitzgerald
  • Holy Week
  • Enneagram Workshop
  • Contemplative Conversation Groups Forming
  • Weekly Schedule

Coming Back

As many of you know Joselyn and I had the blessing and privilege of gathering last week with 14 other contemplative community leaders at St. Benedicts in Schuyler, NE. I can’t wait to share our expereince with you in our groups and the next Contemplative Connection. For now I will simply say it was more than I could have imagined or hoped. The Spirit is at work and the contemplative movement is alive and well. We are also so happy to come back to this community of love and contemplation. All groups have resumed. We have our annual Tenebrae services coming up during Holy Week as well as a enneagram workshop and our summer Contemplative Conversation groups are now forming. Check it all out below. 

Gracious Gifts

           
I recently attended the first session of a One-year Academy for Spiritual Formation, a ministry of the Upper Room of the United Methodist Church. I was privileged to sit under the teaching of Rabbi Chava (Ha-va) Bahle, Jewish Renewal. This form of Judaism doesn’t look forward to a Messiah, but to a Messianic Age where all are enlightened. They practice a deep ecumenism, using spiritual practices from many faiths, adapting them to their own faith tradition, but not co-opting them. They always give credit where credit is due.  Rabbi led us in a Buddhist meditation. She spoke of having rosary envy and making her own with one bead for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet. We were blessed by a Jewish ablution ceremony for welcoming the day, washing our hands and other parts of the body, asking with each ablution for a grace needed to perfectly reflect God’s love in the world.
           
I received so many gifts from this gracious woman–her love, which simply overwhelmed the challenges of distance and technology, to enfold and bless us… and her beautiful teaching. But the greatest gift wasn’t something she said, but something she did that gave me a deeper understanding of the cross of Christ and what it means to carry it. 

An attendee mentioned Jesus’ conflict with the Pharisees.  Rabbi Chava thoughtfully paused before responding, and then she very gently explained that the rabbinic Judaism practiced today is directly descended from Pharisaical Judaism, and that Pharisee, Greek for the Hebrew Perushim, is a loaded and derogatory word that hurts Jews very much. Then she went on with her presentation as if nothing untoward had occurred. But the next day we had a beautiful lesson in first century Judaism in its various forms, presented as friend to friend, no hard feelings. Although her pain and sorrow were evident, her love continued to flow out to us.
           
Rabbi both enlightened and humbled me. Her hospitable and gracious response showed me what Jesus meant when he said, “If any would be my disciples, let them take up their cross and follow me.” Jesus loved to the depth of his being. The cross he asks us to bear is the broken pieces of the heart and soul, shattered when we love, are misunderstood and despised because of it, and yet continue to love. 
           
How do we come to love like this? Rabbi Chava seems to have her cross glued to her shoulder. I tend to drop mine every third step. I get glimpses of it now and then—when I see beyond behavior to the suffering that impels it or when I act out of a place of compassion instead of judgment. This way of seeing and being cannot be learned; it is a gift. I cannot change my heart. But in submitting to and cooperating with being changed by the Infinite Light, I discover to my astonishment that I’ve been changed without my knowing it.
 
Pastor
Judy

Holy Week Activities On Zoom


The word “Tenebrae” comes from the Latin meaning “darkness.” The Tenebrae is an ancient Christian service that makes use of gradually diminishing light through the extinguishing of candles to symbolize the events of the last two days of Jesus life.
 

Maundy Thursday Tenebrae

Thursday, April 14
Description: A Tenebrae service reflecting on The Last Supper, communion, the new commandment, and Jesus’ arrest in Gethsemane. If you want to join us in communion have supplies nearby. Don’t worry about what you bring God will make use of it!
Optional supplies up to 6 candles if you want to extinguish candles during our journey through the story together.

Register: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMoc-yhrj8oGd3uYZM_KkJrwXXDw6kp970V


Good Friday Tenebrae

Friday, April 15
A Tenebrae service reflecting on the passion story. Our time will include liturgy, scripture, and silence. Optional supplies, up to 7 candles if you want to extinguish candles during our journey through the story together.

Register: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0lduChqDsjHdzFxP1WHEnZqYpKyJDVtM1a


Easter Sunday

Sunday, April 17
Description: A liturgical and contemplative celebration through Celtic inspired liturgies from Iona Abbey Community and music. We gather as a resurrection people in communion with all saints around the world on this sacred day to celebrate hope and resurrection.

Register: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAtdOmoqjIoH9ygGrJYmh7olAJcx5cZzPh-

A Summer of Enneagram 


NOT your ordinary personality test. Yes, you can take a test but that is not even the tip of the iceberg. With the Enneagram you will gain insight into who you are and how you got here, and maybe even why. You will learn what healthy and unhealthy changes look like, spiritual practices to move toward mature transformation. The enneagram is a life-long learning and leaning into who we are in this magnificent universe. In this 4 session course spread over 4 months Patty will take us to the depths of the wisdom of the Enneagram with the spaciousness to fold it into our lives. Cost $100 some scholarships available. Course will have some reading and require the purchase of a book.

Schedule: All classes 9:30am-12:30pm CST
May 21st 
June 18th 
July 16h 
August 13th
 
Register

Contemplative Conversation Groups:
Small Groups Journeying, Learning, and Practicing Together via Zoom.


Fierce Love by Jacqui Lewis 9-week Study. All groups start the week of May 9th. We will meet over 9 weeks with a week off (8 total meetings).

In our groups we create a safe sacred container for conversation and practice as we journey together through books on contemplation, Christianity, and spiritual growth. Through a set of shared ground rules and curiosity we learn from each other, ourselves, and the text. A safe space where we are allowed to be clumsy and curious. 

About the book: 

Jacqui Lewis, “We are living in what I call hot mess times: a world divided by politics, race, intolerance, fear, and rancor. But my experience of – of being a woman in a traditionally male domain, of being in an interracial marriage, of making peace with childhood abuse—demonstrates that our human capacity for empathy, compassion, and forgiveness is the key to reversing these ugly trends.”

Inspired by the Ubuntu philosophy “I am who I am because we are who we are” and explained through stories from her own life and those of her mentors and inspirations, in this book Jacqui Lewis details the nine daily practices necessary for transforming ourselves, our communities, and our world at large.  

Find A Group

All events are on Zoom!
Links: 

Lectio Divina Mondays 9:15am: Register via this link on zoom
Pray the scriptures. We read a passage 4 times with short silences followed by discussion.

Centering Prayer Tuesdays 9:15am: Register via this link on zoom. Simple contemplative prayer in which we consent to the transformative power of God in lives.

Contemplative Wespace Wednesday 9:15am: Register via this link on zoom. A whole body meditation awakening us to our deep connection to each other, physical reality, and each other. Our time also includes a brief check-in. 

BioSpiritual Focusing Thursdays 9:15am: Register via this link on zoom. A practice that provides a way to bring the body’s sense for grace and God into everyday awareness, helping you to become more fully present to yourself, others and to God. 

Contemplative Movement Fridays 5:30pm-6:30pm: Register via this link on zoom. A contemplative whole body experience for every body. 

House Church Sunday’s 4pm-5pm: Register via this link on zoom. Worship, conversation, and contemplation. A house church style church service with Eucharist. 

Contemplative Conversation Sundays at 2:30 PM (The Work of the People Short Films & Other Lectures and Talks) Register via this link on zoomWe watch films with today’s influential theologians and contemplatives gaining wisdom and finishing with a time of sharing. 

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