Newsletter & Events
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June 11, 2014, 8:00 PM

Highly recommended article

I just read a great blog entry from Fr. Kevin Morris of the Church of the Ascension in Rockville Centre, N.Y.  It's called "Do we really believe in the Real Presence?"  Here's the web address:  http://www.inwardlydigest.org/2014/06/11/do-we-really-believe-in-the-real-presence/ .  I think it helps us appreciate the Eucharist more, and its connection to every aspect of life.

Russ+  




June 4, 2014, 10:41 AM

Opportunity for a deeper prayer life

I'm very pleased that the Rev. Danny Schieffler will lead a workshop on "Centering Prayer" here at St. John's this Saturday, 7 June, from 9 until noon.  

I just read a little article related to centering prayer in the newsletter of St. Paul's Church in Fayetteville.  The author, the Rev. Lowell Grisham, gave me permission to quote it in full.  He noted that he got this material from the Rev. Tim Patterson of Holy Trinity Church in Greensboro, N.C.

THE THREE BREATHS

One of the prayer practices that we teach in our various classes here at St. Paul's is called The Three Breaths.  It is an excellent way to shift from ordinary consciousness into an attentive state ready for prayer.  It is also a good way to recall yourself to your center whenever you are anxious or distracted.  Here's how it works:

Take three slow deep breaths.

*With the first breath, let go of everything you may have brought with you to the present moment.  Leave the past in the past.

*With the second breath, be fully present, here and now.

*With the third breath, become open to what will happen here and now--during this period of prayer or in whatever circumstances you are attending to.

The Three Breaths are a good way to begin prayer, to begin a new project that will take some concentration, or to mark the start of any passage.  They are also a good way to recall your attention and focus whenever you feel scattered or anxious.  Breathe deeply, and let your exhale last longer than your inhale.  See if your consciousness shifts just a bit to make you more aware, more centered.




June 1, 2014, 12:00 AM

The Rev. Danny Schieffler, June 7, a way to "Let go and let God"


Saturday, June 7th, St. John’s will hold a workshop on prayer led by the Rev. Danny Schieffler from St. Mark’s Little Rock.  Danny will focus on centering prayer also known as prayer of the heart.

The workshop will be from 9:00 am on Saturday, June 7 until noon.   It will begin with a talk by Danny on centering prayer  followed by a 20 minute practice session.  We will break for light refreshments followed by discussion.  Danny will conclude with a brief talk and another practice session on what we have learned.  He is also bringing books that we might be interested in reading.  The most famous book on centering prayer is Cloud of Unknowing, by an unknown 14th century author. It is a form of Christian contemplation that provides an opportunity to sit quietly in God’s presence in loving awareness.  The workshop is from 9:00 a.m. until 12:00 noon with a short break in the middle.

When asked to characterize the impact of centering prayer in his life, Danny simply summarized, "Other than the Eucharist, centering prayer has helped my spiritual life more than anything I have ever done. For nearly 20 years, it has been a way for me to 'let go and let God' and find a peace that passes all understanding." That speaks for itself, and it also tells us what a treat this will be for us at St. John's to have one of our own return to teach and share this powerfull personal committment and vision.

The class will be conducted in the undercroft. We hope you will clear your calendar and plan to attend!

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More information can be found at this website:

http://www.contemplativeoutreach.org/category/category/centering-prayer

"Centering Prayer is a receptive, deep method of silent prayer that prepares us to receive the gift of contemplative prayer, prayer in which we experience God's presence within us, closer than breathing, closer than thinking, closer than consciousness itself. This method of prayer is both a relationship with God and a discipline to foster that relationship.

Centering Prayer is not meant to replace other kinds of prayer. Rather, it adds depth of meaning to all prayer and facilitates the movement from more active modes of prayer — verbal, mental or affective prayer — into a receptive prayer of resting in God. Centering Prayer emphasizes prayer as a personal relationship with God and as a movement beyond conversation with Christ to communion with Him.

The source of Centering Prayer, as in all methods leading to contemplative prayer, is the Indwelling Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The focus of Centering Prayer is the deepening of our relationship with the living Christ. The effects of Centering Prayer are ecclesial, as the prayer tends to build communities of faith and bond the members together in mutual friendship and love."

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April 28, 2014, 4:48 PM

Musing on Easter lections

Many of our readings in this first part of the Easter season highlight how truly seeing something can lead to inner conviction, followed by profound change in our lives.  This past Sunday, this was the case in the classic account of the apostle Thomas' encounter with the risen Lord.  This coming Sunday, the same theme applies.  In the reading from Acts, Peter intends for his fellow Israelites to see, as he has, the truth of the gospel:  " . . . let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him [Jesus] both Lord and Messiah . . . ." (2:36)  According to Luke (the author of Acts), his audience's eyes were opened.  They were "cut to the heart" by Peter's message.  When they asked Peter what they should do, he said they should repent, be baptized, and receive the Holy Spirit.  Once again, as with Thomas, profound change came from seeing the truth and being inwardly convinced.

This coming Sunday's gospel also seems to bear out this theme.  Disciples walking toward Emmaus on Easter afternoon at first do not recognize the risen Christ when he joins them.  It was only after Jesus had opened up the scriptures to them and had blessed and broken bread with them that "their eyes were opened" and they saw the truth.  Looking back on the day, they reflected that their hearts had indeed burned within them "while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us."  Inner conviction came with the breaking of the bread (they "saw").  Then they knew joy beyond anything they had experienced before and their lives were forever changed.

Perhaps on Sunday I'll preach about how God lures us, one way or another, into seeing the truth and allowing our lives to be turned around, based on that truth.

 




April 18, 2014, 3:37 PM

Easter Message From Bishop Benfield


Bishop Benfield  grabs our attention with this:

     "Ongoing Easter" - A Message from Bishop Benfield

     "Easter is not an historical event. Does that comment shock you? Have I gotten your attention? I hope so...."

Read his message here: http://episcopalarkansas.org/ongoing-easter/

gt

 

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