Christ Church Cathedral is offering a new worship experience in partnership with Kate Eaton from St. John’s Cathedral in Denver, CO. This new worship is called Mishkhah and helps people explore the deep mysteries of Christ across centuries and continents. The first service will be this Sunday night, February 22nd at 5 pm. For more information and a video go to www.mishkhah.com.
Trespass is a very old idea, and although it’s often seen negatively it can lead to beauty and revolutions in understanding. Sometimes we need other people to trespass into our private preserves of thought and belief, and into our carefully curated ways of doing things. In October of 2014, artists and writers came together in the EASE Gallery to share and talk about their work over dinner. Having met each other, they formed partnerships with each other and set about creating works that address the theme of trespass.
You can view those works by downloading this .pdf file, or you can order a print copy of the book on demand by following this link. Ordering a print copy will provide a small financial benefit to the EASE Gallery.
“Choose seven from among you who are known to be full of the spirit and wisdom.” — Acts 6:3
HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED…
- how to link your concern for social issues that our communities face with your faith and understanding of the story of God?
- about being a peacemaker in your community by building bridges between different people, groups, ideas, resources
- how to connect different faith communities with each other and with businesses and non-profits using social entrepreneurial skills
- how to integrate your everyday experiences in the world around you with your daily commitment to a life of faith
- how to deepen connections and make a difference in the place where you live
- what it’s like to be filled with spirit and wisdom, and translate that faith into action
SO WHAT IS THE SEVEN? (Are you one of The Seven?)
The Seven is a part-time, 10-month hands-on spiritual and educational experience for young adults (18-30 years old) who want to engage in meaningful work and reflection while discerning their own vocational calls, in mentored relationships with Episcopal deacons. The format provides monthly mentorship meetings, formation through readings and reflection online, and two group retreats. Group forming now!
Interested to learn more? Contact:
Jane Gerdsen at 513.543.0440, firstname.lastname@example.org
Douglas Argue at 614.312.1176, email@example.com
Join us December 19th-20th for a weekend retreat to hear stories, worship together, and build relationships. This is a time for reconnecting with God, friends, and your own story. This year, we will hear from Matt and Elisa Leahy, filmmakers who just returned from filming a documentary in Peru called “The Last Bridge Master.” We will spend time reflecting on how we are building connections and following what we love wherever it may lead. There will also be plenty of time for fun and relaxation! We hope you will join us!
This retreat will take place at Procter Camp and Conference Center. We will begin on Friday night at 5 pm and will conclude on Saturday around 3 pm. The retreat is free for young adults ages 18-35.
“All you have to say is ‘Thank You,’” he said, as I breathlessly arrived at the bus stop.
“Thank you,” I said, with a look of bewilderment.
“If I hadn’t been here, the bus would have passed on without you. I know what that’s like, so all you have to do is be grateful that I was here, so you won’t have to miss the bus,” he continued.
I could tell my fellow public transit patron had watched me run down the hill with my backpack, and saw how I anxiously crossed the intersection—prepared to wave down the bus, if needed.
“I haven’t been in this country long, and I missed the bus on the way to work one day. I was at the stop, and the bus went the other way. I tried to run after it, and it made no difference. I couldn’t figure out why the bus driver was treating me this way,” my new friend shared as we waited for the bus together.
My heart rate was too high to stand still, so I side-stepped in place to help my body recognize the nearly 15 minutes of running and power-walking up and down hills in more layers of wool than necessary, had come to an end.
“I started walking and I saw a cab, and I realized I didn’t have any cash. Thankfully, the cab driver had a credit card swipe to charge my fare. But I didn’t know the address of my work, nor did I know the route from the bus. I told the driver where I worked, and he somehow knew where to go. Later he told me he worked in a company close by and that he knew enough to figure it out. I was a few minutes late to work, but that day he was there for me. God put him there for me to get to work,” my friend concluded.
I was in awe of the detail, energy and emotion with which he told this story. I felt like my “thank you” was not nearly expressive of how appreciative I was for his presence ahead of me at the bus stop. Not only would I have been wondering if the bus had already come, I would have been standing alone if not for him. As my heart rate began to decline, I realized the bus was late. In that moment, I recognized that was the goodness and mercy of God following me today. The bus was late, yet I had someone to encourage me, and empathize with my run to the bus. Even though I ran the whole way, I was thankful all the way to the stop—thankful that my body worked, thankful that I found my bus pass (which I previously thought was packed, and yet was not—hence the dash back home), and most importantly, I was thankful to see the power of those two words, “thank you,” in my bus stop conversation.
When we saw the bus arriving, I told my friend I wanted to pay for his ticket as an expression of my gratitude. He mistakenly thought I was asking him to pay for my ticket, which he was happy to do. As we pulled out our cards, I could see his balance and noticed he would only have 25 cents left over if he had covered both our fares and transfers. Thankfully, I was able to ask again to cover his fare, and he let me. I saw in that moment, how God truly does work all things together for our good. I was able to make it to the bus and my friend was able to have his fare covered, blessings that encouraged both of us to know there is still hope in the world because we are part of bringing the Kingdom of God to earth.
Even with the late departure from our stop, I was able to catch my transfer and reach my evening meeting on time. While I don’t know for certain, I choose to believe the same outcome or better happened for my friend. An attitude of gratitude allowed me to be at ease in otherwise tense situations later that evening. And I was also able to become more confident, recognizing I can do all things through Christ because His anointing strengthens me. Running to the stop was just one way I could see God faithfully providing for me—energy, endurance, perseverance, and in this case a witness to His faithfulness too.
“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” – Isaiah 43:18-19.
It’s hard not to notice all the new things that are happening around the Riddle House these days. As the community starts to form, boxes are unpacked, things and people find their place in this new shared life, and we begin to engage in practices that we believe will transform and shape us anew.
Here are just a few of the practices and new things we’ve engaged in during our first weeks together:
Morning Prayer: Each weekday morning at 8:30 we gather around our kitchen table and seek to start our days with shared focus.
Shared Meals: Food and the table are central to our practice and shared life together. This week we hosted our first of many potlucks.
Newest Members: While we’re all feeling a bit new to community, these 6 chicks are officially our newest members. They’re just a few weeks old and moved into the “Lays Inn” at Riddle House yesterday.
Compline: We’ve been saying compline at the end of our formation nights and dinners. The sense of quiet and calm that comes over the house and all of us is palpable, bringing a much needed closure to the work and noise of the day.
Viriditas is coming to the Diocese of Ohio. The name was originally coined by the 12th-century mystic Hildegarde of Bingen, whose visions of God were expressed through her music, her art, and her passion for healing and justice that came out her experience of God’s all-encompassing love. In her songs, the word “viriditas,” with its strong association with the Latin words for “green growth” and “strength,” was applied both to Mary, the mother of Jesus, and to the Holy Spirit.
Three women — The Rev. Nancy Roth, Denise Stewart, and the Rev. Lydia Bailey — met in early summer to discuss creating a present-day Viriditas opportunity for Christians to express our relationship with the holy through the arts.
This is not a new idea, but has been built on the church’s long tradition of using the arts as an alternative theological language, through architecture (“sermons in stone”), stained glass, music, and liturgical action. These “languages beyond words” not only deepen the believer’s relationship with God, but serve to draw in people from outside the faith community.
In the process of actually using these “languages beyond words” ourselves, we grow in our identity as creatures made in the image of our Creator God. Since the arts appeal to the senses, we also discover our bodies as “temples of the Spirit,” part of the intricacy and beauty of the natural world. Appreciating our creatureliness leads to an increased sense of stewardship of our earthly home: we notice that the natural world itself can reveal God, and are likely to grow in compassion for the other members of God’s creation who share life on this planet.
The first Viriditas retreat/workshop will be held on Saturday, October 4, from 10 am to 4 pm at the Red/Oak/Red Barn camp(adjoining the Holden Arboretum), 9057 Kirtland Chardon Road, Kirtland, Ohio. Sponsored by the North East MIssion Area of the Episcopal Diocese of Ohio, it is open to all, both within and outside that region..
The presenters will be the Rev. Nancy Roth, Denise Stewart, and the Rev. Lydia Bailey.
The Rev. Nancy Roth, an assisting priest at Christ Church, Oberlin, is known throughout the national church for her many books and her work as retreat and workshop leader. She has traveled extensively as a retreat and workshop leader, both in the United States and in England. A graduate of the General Theological Seminary, she was later awarded an honorary doctorate for her work in the wider church. Before moving to Ohio, she was program coordinator at Holy Cross Monastery (where the concept of aViriditas community originated), Christian Education Consultant at Trinity Church, Wall Street, NYC, and a meditation teacher at Manhattan Plaza, a housing complex for performing artists near Times Square. For several years, she was the chaplain to the spouses of the Bishops of the Episcopal Church. She graduated from Oberlin College with a major in music,and also has had extensive training in dance and movement.
Her session at “Viriditas” will include an exploration of the concept of the body as “temple of the Spirit”: how our bodies can both prepare for prayer, through gentle stretching, relaxation, and attentiveness to the breath, and how simple movement, such as meditation walking, can itself express prayer, and also be used to interpret Scripture.
Denise Stewart graduated with a BS degree in Education from Boston University and a BFA in Printmaking from the Cleveland Institute of Art. She combines teaching with her work in print by offering classes and giving lectures as a visiting artist. She is a resident artist at Zygote Press in Cleveland’s Art District. Denise is a member of the Church of the Good Shepherd in Lyndhurst where she is a member of the Music, Art in Worship, Garden and Children’s Outdoor Summer Service ministries. She is the voice and hands for Hope, a girl puppet who loves God.
Denise will lead the session “The Creative Spirit in Nature.” Inspired by the work of artist Andy Goldsworthy, participants will create small installations using materials from nature. This hands-on activity requires no former art background.
The Rev. Lydia Bailey lives with her family in Kirtland. Her contemplative form of prayer and connection with the natural world in all its seasons is key to her sense of God’s love. As a deacon in our diocese she takes this awareness to Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry’s Men’s Homeless Shelter, 2100 Lakeside Avenue, Cleveland, where she has been on full-time staff the last eight years. Lydia is the creator of the exhibit Portraits of Homelessness and has led retreats at the Cleveland Museum of Art on contemplative looking as a road leading to service in the wider world. She has a BA from Reed College, Portland, Oregon, with graduate coursesfrom the Banff School of Fine Arts, Alberta, Canada. As an option for the day, Lydia will lead a “meditation walk” in the old growth forest that surrounds Red Oak Camp.
We visualize Viriditas as a “moveable feast”: this event will be available to other areas of the Diocese in the future. Interested groups can contact the Rev. Lydia Bailey at 440-525-3219 or the Rev. Nancy Roth at 440-774-1813.
The cost of $32.00 includes continental breakfast, lunch, and registration fee.Register at:https://viriditas14.eventbrite.com
People of all artistic ability levels, all ages, and all degrees of fitness are welcome. Wear comfortable clothes for both indoors and outdoors.
Join us for a day of conversation, reflection, encouragement and good food (of course!). We will meet at Tikkun Farm, an emerging praxis community in Cincinnati. This is a gathering of our creative partners – so we look forward to deeper conversation and sharing about your communities, experiments, and insights as we deepen our own understanding of Praxis Communities.
Praxis Communities are communities fostering Christian faith and practice in Southern Ohio. Praxis communities walk in the way of Christ and represent expressions of church outside the conventional mold. We sometimes call them Fresh Expressions. Praxis groups and communities share in practices of faith such as prayer, service with the poor, creativity, study, discernment, and much more. Praxis Communities are united by our common praxis, which is the act of simply doing something – the putting of theory into action. These small groups and communities commit to walking the spiritual path together and sharing how faith practices transform their lives.
If you help lead a praxis community, or are simply interested in learning more about the work to which we are called, join us for conversation and spiritual practice meant to inspire and encourage each other. RSVP here.
I stood in Piper’s Alley, in the hallway of the Second City Training Center in Chicago, and looked at a photo of Stephen Colbert. It was taken twenty years ago, when he was a student there. He looked very young. His hair was in a messy part, and there was something unruly about his jacket and tie. His grin was manic but his eyes were shy, the same expression that he often wears now that he’s very, very famous. I was staring at his photo because I admire him and what he represents. For a segment of the population, he is America’s most public Christian. And he’s very different from other media Christians, because he combines deep faith with a sense of play.
I enrolled in a week long intensive at Second City because I wanted to learn how to live this combination. I thought that I was bringing the faith with me, and wanted to learn the play. Kevin Reome, our instructor, didn’t talk about faith, and I don’t know if he has any religious belief at all. But he taught us an ethic that compliments and amplifies the ethics that the church has taught me, a social ethic based on mysterious and interpersonal graces. “Improv is love,” he told us. Its tenants work best when its practitioners love each other.
I had read Sam Wells book, “Improvisation: The Drama of Christian Ethics,” and was already familiar with many of these tenants. I’d been trying to live them for more than a year, but without a spiritual practice to sustain me. Could actually doing improv be that practice? Sam Wells had taught me not to block, to accept other people’s ideas without automatically thinking that they wouldn’t work or, more usually, that they’d take too much of my time and energy. This has been immensely helpful in my church work, which is all about trying new things and not worrying about the possibility of failure. But I still find myself slipping into the negative mode, automatically rejecting other people’s ideas or pitting my own ideas against them in a kind of interpersonal contest. I wanted to learn how to let this go, how to accept the gifts that other people offer through their passions and their hopes.
I was worried that we’d be asked to explain our reasons for being there, and that when I told my classmates, who were mostly improv-loving college students, that I was a priest, they would either start censoring themselves or try to shock me. But Kevin didn’t have us do any traditional kind of introduction – he got us up and moving around and learning the techniques right away. The trust and intimacy that we developed throughout the week emerged from the practices of improv. “Be the person who everyone want to play with,” he told us, meaning that the people who would do best were the people who were most able to set their egos and their need for attention aside, and give gifts in a scene. He cautioned that this didn’t mean editing away our ideas or being shy about contributing, but instead meant bringing whatever we had and sharing it without fear, letting someone else take it and play with it and change it. This was a grace-filled process. “Don’t try to be funny,” he told us. “Trust that the funny will come.” Funny, in other words, is a free gift of improv practice, and grace is like it, something that we can’t work for, but which appears anyway in the midst of Christian practice.
The class ended on Friday, and that evening I went with my family to a Taize service at Fourth Presbyterian church in downtown Chicago. There was time built into the service for personal meditation, and there were icons set-up in a corner of the room. One of them was the icon of Christ Pantocrator from Saint Catherine’s Monastery in the Sinai. It’s the oldest known icon of Christ. The two sides of the face are painted differently – the left side has a drooping eye that looks away from the viewer, and a shadowed cheek; the right side stares straight ahead and the cheeks are clear of shadow. I’ve always been more attracted to the drooping, shadowed left side. I used to joke that I wanted to belong to the Church of Eternal Lent. I appreciated the sorrowful, mourning part of the church. I trusted it because it fit my nature. But looking into the right eye of Christ, I realized how much I’d changed, how ten years of serving the church had taught me joy and a spirit of play.
Which brings me back to Stephen Colbert. He uses his improv training every night on The Colbert Report. Sometimes his guests are trained in improv and know how to accept his gifts and say yes to his suggestions, lifting his interviews with them into the realm of absurd, joyful abandon. But often his guests refuse the game. They block ideas and remain self-serious. Faced with this, Colbert doesn’t give up the practice of improv – he continues to offer gifts, to accept the other person’s ideas and spin them out into hilarious, delirious webs of humor. I believe that by doing so he isn’t just practicing improv, but also practicing his Christianity. A Christianity that plays, that waits for grace, and that constantly invites others to join in the game.