Friday, June 25, 2010

Gathering to Reflect on Sacred Texts

This week's summer solstice prompted curiosity, exploration, and reflection on creation stories - particularly those parts concerning the creation or appearance of light. This coming Sunday we will engage some of these stories and reflect together on the on-going power of their meaning. Undoubtedly, the conversation will be very "enlightening"!

Sunday, June 27, 5:30 pm, 618 Locust Street

Friday, June 18, 2010

Centering Prayer

This third Sunday of the month is our contemplative prayer time, and our theme this month is centering prayer. In the words of, "Centering Prayer is a 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." The website continues:

"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 God."

Father Thomas Keating, the priest we have seen with philosopher Ken Wilbur on the Integral Spirituality DVD, will be our model for this practice; you can find him describing the prayer method on this youtube video. Our offering will be designated for United Campus Ministries, a "prayerful place" for many students, and our potluck will be anything - with the notion that our very preparation and engagement with food can be a prayer in itself.

Sunday's Gathering, 6/20
Centering Prayer
5:30 PM, 618 Locust Street

Friday, June 11, 2010

Fresh from New Orleans

The Gathering meets this Sunday, June 13, 5:30 pm, 618 Locust Street, and I look forward to being together again as The Gathering.

After hearing Dr. Susan Thistlethwaite at the Annual Meeting of the South Central Conference of the United Church of Christ in New Orleans, I am full of energy, enthusiasm, and hope for The Gathering because she talked about The Gathering! Well, she didn't really talk about The Gathering, but she did talk about the necessity for innovation in creating a faith community - and it appears we have much of that innovative impulse. Some of the topics she covered include "the age of anxiety," "wired wisdom," and "public theology". Sunday night I will share her insights, words of wisdom, and challenges, and you'll definitely want to be part of the conversation!

Our offering will be designated for the San Angelo Kids Eat program - the summer effort to feed a healthy lunch to 10,000 local children. And speaking of eating, because it is now officially hot (100+ degrees definitely counts as "official"), let's bring things that are cool, or will cool us down . Ice cream, watermelon, chocolates anyone?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Our Loving Community

Gathering to Worship

Sunday, June 6 5:30 pm
618 Locust Street

Many thanks go to Nancy York for taking the leadership task of planning and leading worship for this coming Sunday night, June 6. As of this writing, the planning is on-going; the theme of our shared meal has been determined, and it's general potluck. To help Nancy and the community with worship, please contact her at:

South Central Conference Annual Meeting

Okay, I understand that every once in a while, as Pastor of The Gathering, I need to "take one for the team," and this weekend is my weekend of suffering. It's going to be hard, but someone's gotta do it, and since I do so love The Gathering, I'm willing. So what's the agony with which I'll be dealing? What's the sacrifice I'm ready to make? For what martyrdom will I become known far and wide? Of course - it's spending the weekend in New Orleans for the Annual Meeting of South Central Conference UCC.

When I leave early Thursday morning, I will take with me 18 personal hygiene kits, extra parts for more, and $140 we collected Sunday, May 16 for the homeless ministry at Back Bay Mission, Biloxi, Mississippi. I will also take delightfully creative Gathering brochures crafted by Jeremy Hahn, Neil Snipes, and myself. I return Monday. In between I will worship, break bread, attend workshops, participate in a skit about new church starts, visit with colleagues, talk about The Gathering, and be one of many doing the work of the South Central Conference. I suspect (and hope!) I'll also hear some mighty fine music and eat tasty Cajun food. Because no one in The Gathering is able to join me, my two sisters have volunteered (they, too, are into 'suffering') to come along. I look forward to the weekend, sharing about The Gathering while there, and sharing with you about the Annual Meeting when I return.