Why Do We Gather?

Dear Sanctuary NYC Friends,
 
Why do we gather?
What does the act of gathering for a sacred purpose mean for you?
This week I would like to suggest that the fact of gathering is at least as important as why we gather.  My grandmother and mother- in-law, both met with a group of friends weekly to play bridge. They were both fierce bridge competitors, but the fact of gathering was as important as the game.
That time together was sacrosanct. For three hours every Wednesday afternoon, this group of friends met one another for soul refreshment.
They heard the stories of family triumphs and challenges.  They shared delicious food and “bridge snacks”. They “loved one another”.
Both of these ladies also attended church regularly, and were as committed to that as they were to bridge.  And again, when listening to the their higher angels, that time of gathering at their respective churches was important for many reasons. Church for them was a place to entrust the ethical teaching and community oversight of their children to a larger group. It was a time to sing together, and mark life passages, to stop and take in the nature of a Creator force in their lives, to study spiritual truths and texts, to “be still and know”.
I don’t know that people in this time are connecting in these deep ways. I see more people- including me- recording their presence at almost every gathering rather than just being present in the gathering.  As Marshall McLuhan forecast nearly fifty years ago,” the medium” has become the message.  Is a film of us more real to you than a person standing right in front of us?
This is why I gather in spiritual community: to connect to my deeper self, to share my teaching and preaching and to be a channel for God’s love.  I also gather to be seen and to see, to re-member who and whose I am, to be present for the subtle messages of G-d’s presence in our midst.
 I would like to pose the question this week:  “When we gather, why do we gather?”  And more specifically, why do YOU gather?
I am listening… 🙂
I very much appreciate your deep reflection and comments during the week.  
 
Bless you for sharing your journey with me, 
Rev Jane
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Keep On Keepin’ On

Sanctuary Newsletter – January 17, 2013

Dear Sanctuarynyc Friends, 

  I wouldn’t take NOTHIN’ for my journey now! is our topic for January.
One quality that makes us able to truly appreciate our journey is to become a present tense person as we face life’s challenges.  We fully live the hard or painful moments that add seasoning to our lives.  If we avoid the confusion and pain, we check out and miss the joyous times too.  We just do.  
   I arrived in NYC exactly two years ago on January 17th, to take on a job that was very different from the one I had envisioned.   I am extremely sensitive to energy, but not always able to understand what I am feeling. I knew something was not right from the start but I couldn’t for the life of me understand what it was.    
I did intuit however, that if I perservered, the personal growth I would experience would help me to become a better minister, friend, counselor, and leader. And that was true.  I hung in there and I am better for having lived through one of the most difficult rights of passage of my life. And that is saying a lot. I have had some doosies!  I am sure you have too.
What has made this journey so special for me though, is the beautiful people I have met along the way.  My incredible Ministry Team of these past two years has been simply amazing! My colleagues, Revs Diane Berke and Karen Osit were two of the first people I met who looked at me like they saw a person instead of a projection. What a gift that was! 
There were others as well. Rev. Bob Brashear became a real friend, as did Jeremy Mage. And of course there were wonderful people everywhere.  So many simple acts of kindness have been simply life saving. Court Stroud made a delicious turkey pot pie and schlepped it out to my brother’s house for a lovely family dinner. I can see, as I appreciate this group of extraordinary people, that G-d had it covered all along!
As I look back at MY journey over the last two years, I am deeply grateful for all of the love and for all of the betrayals and for all of the generosity from all of you. Rev. Karen is now the Managing Director and Co Founder of Sanctuarynyc! We never would have dreamed that one up when we were first discovering our shared love of Motown!
I am sure you all were delighted to receive your year end giving statements. I was! That is thanks to Rev. Karen and our fabulous Finance Team. The upcoming documentary series is another exciting project from Rev Karen as well.
  The wonderful students from my two classes at One Spirit Interfaith Seminary continue to inspire me with their thirst for wisdom, as do the Sanctuarynyc members of course! Some of them are the same people:)  I am also tremendously grateful for our Sanctuarynyc Steering Committee.  
As we move into our second year, there will be much for us to decide about how our organization will look going forward.  We will need to raise funds to continue to offer you the great community we all love. We will want to make sure we are creating a weather worthy container for this beautiful movement of Spirit to carry on. And we will. We already are.
  I would like to ask you all to stop for one minute and look at your biggest challenge of today.  Be willing to see that challenge as the package that contains your biggest blessing.  OK? Are you willing to try?  Get back to me in two years, and let me know how you have grown into the blessing of it all.
  There is an old song that says, “Through it all, through it all, I’ve learned to trust in Spirit, I’ve learned to trust in God”
Amen to that!

See you Sunday at 2 pm at West Park Presbyterian on 86th and Amsterdam.
We love to see your face,
Peace/out,
Rev. JaneImage

Journey

 

Dear Sanctuary NYC Friends,
 
 Our theme this month is “Wouldn’t take Nothin’ For My Journey Now.”  In the over 20 years, I have been involved in ministry, I have learned that when we say “Yes” to whatever we see as our calling, we do not really have a clue what that Yes will entail.   Once we fully commit to our life’s path, however, all of the information we need for each step of the journey comes flying into our life. 
Sometimes our commitment to our purpose feels overwhelming. Other times, we don’t want to deal with what comes up. Often, we turn back, or put our finger on the pause button.  
 We are faced with a dilemma when we step into the Yes, and don’t like what comes up.  At the same time, we realize that to step backward isn’t the answer either. I am of the mind that until we get the courage to truly be who we are, then we are not able to be at peace. 
This is one of the reasons I love reading biographies of world leaders, actors, painters or biblical characters.  It is empowering to read about the lives of people who are not overcome as they encounter obstacles and struggle along their own hero’s or heroine’s journey.  
As Elvis would say, we have so much to learn from walking a mile in another person’s shoes.  Last week, I talked about the intersection of call, race, and expectations of what a minister SHOULD do and what G-d sent me to do. All this month, we will be investigating different ways to look at our most difficult life challenges, and how to turn them into wins. 
We can’t live anybody else’s life. We have to live our own. And we have to be willing to be unpopular, to face rejection and dejection and worse, if we are going to become the strong enough person who can step into a dream worth having. It seems that we are definitely in an earth school, and my hope is that we are here to help one another along the path. A good friend is a great treasure. A witness to our struggles and triumphs can sometimes make the difference for us between failure and success.
 From the vantage point of having gone through a lot of valleys, what a triumph it is, what an affirmation it is, to be able to say, for real “Even with all of that stuff, I wouldn’t take nothing for my journey now.”  Come on and go with us in this conversation.
 
Looking forward to seeing you this Sunday at 2. 
We love to see your face,
Rev. Jane
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Journey

Dear Sanctuary NYC Friends,
 
 Our theme this month is “Wouldn’t take Nothin’ For My Journey Now.”  In the over 20 years, I have been involved in ministry, I have learned that when we say “Yes” to whatever we see as our calling, we do not really have a clue what that Yes will entail.   Once we fully commit to our life’s path, however, all of the information we need for each step of the journey comes flying into our life. 
Sometimes our commitment to our purpose feels overwhelming. Other times, we don’t want to deal with what comes up. Often, we turn back, or put our finger on the pause button.  
 We are faced with a dilemma when we step into the Yes, and don’t like what comes up.  At the same time, we realize that to step backward isn’t the answer either. I am of the mind that until we get the courage to truly be who we are, then we are not able to be at peace. 
This is one of the reasons I love reading biographies of world leaders, actors, painters or biblical characters.  It is empowering to read about the lives of people who are not overcome as they encounter obstacles and struggle along their own hero’s or heroine’s journey.  
As Elvis would say, we have so much to learn from walking a mile in another person’s shoes.  Last week, I talked about the intersection of call, race, and expectations of what a minister SHOULD do and what G-d sent me to do. All this month, we will be investigating different ways to look at our most difficult life challenges, and how to turn them into wins. 
We can’t live anybody else’s life. We have to live our own. And we have to be willing to be unpopular, to face rejection and dejection and worse, if we are going to become the strong enough person who can step into a dream worth having. It seems that we are definitely in an earth school, and my hope is that we are here to help one another along the path. A good friend is a great treasure. A witness to our struggles and triumphs can sometimes make the difference for us between failure and success.
 From the vantage point of having gone through a lot of valleys, what a triumph it is, what an affirmation it is, to be able to say, for real “Even with all of that stuff, I wouldn’t take nothing for my journey now.”  Come on and go with us in this conversation.
 
Looking forward to seeing you this Sunday at 2. 
We love to see your face,
Rev. Jane
 
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” I…AM”

(by Mary Gauthier and Crit Harmon)
He’d get home at 5:30, fix his drink
And sit down in his chair
Pick a fight with mama
Complain about us kids getting in his hair
At night he’d sit alone and smoke
I’d see his frown behind his lighter’s flame
Now that same frown’s in my mirror
I got my daddy’s blood inside my veins
 
Fish swim birds fly
Daddies yell mamas cry
Old men sit and think
I drink
 
Chicken TV dinner
6 minutes on defrost, 3 on high
A beer to wash it down with
Then another, a little whiskey on the side
It’s not so bad alone here
It don’t bother me that every night’s the same
I don’t need another lover
Hanging round, trying to make me change
 
Fish swim birds fly
Lovers leave by and by
Old men sit and think
I drink
 
I know what I am
But I don’t give a damn
Fish swim birds fly
Daddies yell mamas cry
Old men sit and think
I drink
 
 Happy New Year to all!  Great song above by Mary Guathier, a wonderful artist who says she found her voice in sobriety, but ironically her career song, I drink, was about her addiction years.  In her blog, she tells the story of her journey.  One line I really relate to is, “Inside the curse, lies the blessing.”  Amen.
 This Age of Aquarius thing really is in motion, fully in MOTION.  Can you feel it?  I want to tell you about some cool stuff.
 Gabrielle Bernstein, a next generation teacher of A Course in
Miracles has just launched her new book  May Cause Miracles- A 40 Day
Guidebook of Subtle Shifts for Radical Change and Unlimited Happiness.   I strongly recommend checking out Gabrielle’s book.  I am waiting for my copy to arrive in the mail and am eager to get into Gabby’s work.  The number 40 has real significance on the spiritual path.
40 years in the wilderness- Moses
 40 days in the wilderness-Jesus
40 years old- Muhammad when he received the revelation from angel Gabriel
40 days of fasting – Hindu
40 Days and nights of rain- Noah’s ark
40 Days- Lent 
40 Day Mind Fast- Soul Feast- Michael Beckwith
40 is the number of completion in Kemetic teachings.  
To develop a truly committed practice, 40 days is a good way to go.
 Starting in January, for three months, Sanctuary NYC will be hosting an amazing Documentary film series.  Check the rest of the newsletter and the website for details.  You will not want to miss any of the films, or the discussions after the films. 
Gary Ramsey and I are working on a class combining the four paths of Creation Spirituality: Vias Positiva, Negativa, Creativa and
Transformativa, with the embodied process of Alexander technique, AND
new discoveries from brain science.
 The songwriter, Mary Gauthier, once defined herself once by the simple  description “I Drink”.  She then finally got clean, and probably now would say “I Create.”  
This month we are focusing on the one and only question
really worth answering, “Who Am I?”  Our theme is “Wouldn’t Take Nothin’ For My Journey Now.”
 To know who we are, we need to know where we have been.  And if we are not cool with where we have been, we need to get that on track, integrate our shadow integrated, start loving the whole while we let the new emerge.
 Remember, Jesus talks about the TRUTH setting us free, and the 12
Steps teach us that “We will not regret the past, nor wish to shut the
door on it.”  We will look at these ideas through wisdom texts, music, dance, and art.
Looking forward to going there with you.
 
See you Sunday at 2 pm at West Park.
Peace/out,
Jane
 
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