Coming Up in 2019-2020
Continuing Classes and Offerings
the Gospel of Thomas
1st and 3rd Thursdays, 7:30 pm
The Gospel of Thomas is new to most of us and it is at the same time ancient. It may well be the oldest of the gospel writings. This gathering of sayings of Jesus seems to have been a source for the writers of the canonical gospels. The sayings from this text, which was found in a cave in Egypt in 1945, have contributed to a new appreciation of Jesus as a wisdom teacher in the Eastern tradition. We meet twice a month to work with one or two of the 114 sayings through lectio divina, or sacred listening. All are welcome for this reflection/meditation/discussion gathering. You do not need to have attended previous meetings to participate.
December 11, 7:30 pm
Healing Arts: Art, Music, and Poetry
Balm for what can be a challenging season.
We are easily moved off center during the holidays, not only by the hectic pace of the season, but also by stories of Christmas past that can visit us at this time of year. Taking time to reflect and re-center can help us to be present and feel grounded so we can better enjoy the gifts of family, story, and tradition that the season has to offer. We invite you to spend an evening creating art, listening to gentle music and being fed by poems, prayers, and story woven into a meditative time of creating and centering.
2nd, 4th, and 5th Thursdays, 7:30 p.m.
We gather on these Thursdays for conversation about the Spiritual Life. We meet in this community of others who, with us, long to become the sound, whole persons our traditions tell us we were created to become. The leader for the evening opens with a reading, we share the guidelines for welcoming conversation, then those who wish to are invited to speak about the experience of trying to live intentionally the life to which they feel called.
Group Spiritual Direction
The singular intention of spiritual direction is companionship and support in our relationship with the “something greater” that we sense at work in our lives. In group spiritual direction, we form a community with others who share our desire for connection to the divine other. We agree to accompany and support one another on our spiritual journeys.
The process centers around silence. Trusting that the spirit is present within and among us, we weave into the sharing of our stories and experiences quiet space to sense that presence. Group members may offer a question or a reflection that comes out of our prayerful listening. At other times, silent prayer for the other will be the richest offering.
If you feel you may be called to go deeper by discerning in community, or if you have questions and would like to know more, contact Lisa Richard or John Baker. One group has already begun and meets on a monthly basis. Additional groups of three to five people may form at any time during the year when there is interest.
One-on-One Spiritual Direction
Tilden Edwards writes in Spiritual Director, Spiritual Companion of our yearning “…for a soul-friend with whom we can share our desire for the Holy One and with whom we can try to identify and embrace the hints of divine Presence and invitation in our lives. Neither soul-friends nor anyone else can fully enter our deep soul space. However, they can listen to our articulations of it, silently open these to God as soon as they are heard, and occasionally speak when something is heard in that openness that seems to be meant for [us].”
A spiritual director (or guide, or companion, or friend) is someone who holds a space for our stories of the journey and listens with us for the workings of that greater “something.” The work of the Spirit in our lives can often be heard in our own voices--seen in our own faces and our own eyes. Companions on the journey can hold up the mirror that lets us see it.
If you feel you may be called to one-on-one spiritual direction, or if you have questions and would like to know more, contact Lisa Richard or John Baker. We have contact information for a number of local directors and can help you connect with them. Note that directors generally meet with people once a month; some charge a fee, while others do not. Each director’s approach is different, so it can help to talk with more than one before you make your decision.
Every Week at St. Aidan's
Worship, Prayer, & Meditation
Tuesday and Friday mornings at 8:00 am
We light a candle and spend 25 minutes in silence. The last person out of the room blows out the candle. It is that simple. Those who seek to include meditation in their weekly practice often find it easier to do so in the company of others.
Every Sunday, 5:30 pm
Sunday Evening Celtic Service
Candles, gentle music, and silence enhance this simple Eucharist. The service includes poetry, a reading from the day’s scripture lessons, and a meditation, as well as communion where all are welcome. On the third Sunday of the month, a community dinner follows the service.
St. Aidan’s has two labyrinths for walking prayer and meditation. The outdoor labyrinth, located between the memorial garden and Riverside Road, is always available. The labyrinth in the church is available most of the year and is used during special services and retreats. We can also arrange to open the church at other times for those who would like to walk the labyrinth.
Mass on the Epiphany in Creation
Drawing on the poetry of Mary Oliver
Sunday, January 12, 2020
The Epiphany season calls us to an awareness of God’s presence among us—in the everyday, in unexpected places, and hidden sometimes right in front of us until illuminated by prophets, poets, and seers like Mary Oliver. Oliver not only draws our attention to the spectacular in the mundane—which would be reason enough to invite her vision as we celebrate our participation in the divine—but her poetry also reveals the intricate, interwoven nature of all creation, in which the mark of the creator is indistinguishable from the being of that creator. Oliver’s ability to craft words into connections often leaves one with a sense of having participated in what she is describing. In a very Eucharistic way, her poetry bridges a gap between our lives and the world she would have us experience.
We will hear Mary Oliver’s poetry in the framework of the Eucharist: in gathering, remembering, and blessing as we celebrate this season of God’s appearing in the world. We will pray, sing, reflect, and listen to meditations from one whose love affair with creation has made her beloved for so many of us. You are invited to come and share this evening of worship and music, and to honor the season of Epiphany through Oliver’s glimpses into the heart of creation where God is always to be found.
The God of Being and the Way of Wisdom
A Four-Week Course with John Baker
Monday Evenings, January 6, 13, 20, 27 7:30 pm
Wisdom teaching is about transformation. About becoming. Wisdom offers a way of growing into a lived awareness of and participation in the deepest reality of being that many of us call God. The wisdom teachings of the great traditions describe a process of opening ourselves to the “something more” that we intuit, that our hearts may recognize in fleeting moments of clarity. In the call to wisdom we hear words like realization, becoming, and enlightenment because that is where the work of wisdom is meant to take us. We also hear of practice, balance, and intention, for those are the means of achieving the growth we seek. Wisdom teaching addresses the question: where can I find guidance and support for the work of opening myself to the deeper life that calls me? Wisdom is a way of life--a way of living that moves us toward fuller participation in the ground of all being.
Western Christians may not recognize the language of wisdom and transformation as a part of our tradition. We were brought up on stories of the God of action who does great deeds, changes history, transforms nations. We know Jesus of the cross and empty tomb, savior, healer, miracle worker. We may be less familiar with the wisdom Jesus who teaches about opening ourselves to an awareness of the God of being who is near us, within us, and among us—the God in whom we live and move and have our being. We live in a time when the wisdom teaching of Jesus is being recovered and reexamined and found to be a rich resource for transforming not just individuals, but our world.
This four-week series will introduce wisdom teaching and practice, with particular attention on Jesus as a teacher of wisdom.
John Baker is an Episcopal priest who was first drawn to wisdom teaching in the writings of Lynn Bauman, in participation in and leading wisdom groups, and in the writings of Marcus Borg, who gave the world a clear vision of Jesus as a teacher who sought to transform the hearts of his followers. He has learned from Cynthia Bourgeault in her Wisdom School and from Matthew Wright, whose workshops at the Center have drawn many of us into the wisdom circle.