Saturday, April 27, 2013

Retreat at Walnut Creek Ranch

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"Pioneering Spirit" 

The Gathering will host a day of communal and individual spiritual renewal and care, a day we will explore what it is to be spiritual pioneers and ways the Spirit invites us to keep exploring our spiritual frontiers. Sunday, 28 April 2013, leave San Angelo by 9:00 am - return to San Angelo by 4:30 pm Walnut Creek Ranch, Water Valley, TX. According to the website, "because of its family heritage, rich history and diversity in terrain and inhabitants, Walnut Creek Guest Ranch draws travelers, outdoor photographers, archeology buffs, hunters, ecologists, trail riders, birders, nature lovers and historians from all over the nation."
We will leave San Angelo by 9:00 am and return to San Angelo refreshed and renewed by about 4:30 pm. Those interested can carpool together. Meet in the parking lot of the Tom Green County offices, 3020 N. Bryant (Hwy 87 North). This is just past the Shell station and Sonic on the corner of 29th Street and N. Bryant. If you do want to carpool, please let Karen know so we don't go off and leave you.  If you do not want to carpool, let Karen know so I can send a map and the gate code to you.

Lunch, coffee, tea, and water will be provided by The Gathering. Suggested donation is $20/person to pay for facilities and food, with scholarships available for anyone who's hesitant to attend because of financial considerations.

The day will include times of community gathering, as well as individual time. The planning team anticipates the day including exploration (both internal and external), silence, walking, sitting, worship, fun, and meal sharing. Things to bring: your self; something on which to write (pad of paper, tablet, journal, etc); writing utensils; lawn chair (there are seating options outside around the lodge, but if you want to walk off a bit, bring a chair you can take with you); drinks if you'd like something other than coffee, tea, or water; money for the offering. Attire is casual - we have access to an air conditioned lodge, as well as outside patios, walking paths, and acreage. Be comfortable for a day of retreat and exploration.

For more information, to tell me you're attending,and/or to share your anticipation about the retreat, email Karen Schmeltekopf or call 325-374-1566..

Saturday, April 13, 2013

More Sacred Music

From the rhythms of the heartbeat experienced in the womb to the stirring sounds of a marching band, rhythmic patterns and music surround us. Music is central to our lives and is embedded in our culture, defining how we acknowledge milestones, rites of passage and celebrations as well as providing comfort, transformation and inspiration. Possessing a dimension of its own, music often exceeds the spoken word in expressing moods and feelings of the soul. It is, therefore, integral to our experiences of "worship."

Music is very important to Gatherers individually and to the Gathering as a whole. In fact, we had such a positive response to the invitation to share our sacred music at a February Gathering, we weren't able to share everything people brought. So this Sunday we're going to continue (there's no way to "complete" it) the experience. So again, you're invited to share any music that inspires you, moves your soul, helps you feel like you've been on holy ground. Some of the music that was shared last time included Singing Bells of Tibet, old country gospel hymns, a Middle Eastern song, and selections from musicals. And somehow, it all came together beautifully! Whatever it is that opens your ears to the voice of the Divine, you're invited to share it Sunday night with The Gathering.

You're invited to bring the music on CD, DVD, or even an old-fashioned vinyl record. If it's available on mp3, youtube, etc, please send the link to me in advance, and hopefully, I will download it and have it ready to play.

In February, our offering was appropriately designated for Playing for Change. Their thank you note is included in this week's newsletter. This Sunday, our offering will be designated for Strengthen the Church, a UCC offering that helps congregations be "church" in new ways.  For example, it helps fund new church starts like The Gathering.

Because it's the 2nd Sunday of the month, we will be nourished in many ways, but not through a shared community pot-luck meal.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Gathering to Share Resurrection

Sunday, 7 April 2013, 5:30 pm, 618 Locust Street.
You are destined to fly, but that cocoon has to go.~ Nelle Morton 

This past Sunday during our Easter service, some shared how they are "practicing resurrection", how they are living their lives in ways that are transformative - for themselves and perhaps even for our world. We will continue this theme this Sunday as we gather to further share the good news of resurrection. You are invited to bring writings, art work, film clips, scripture, music, share a story, whatever, that gives voice to your understanding and experience of "resurrection." Neil will facilitate the conversation.

Some of the things shared last week include the phrases:
- I try and see the resurrected Christ-presence in whoever is walking beside me. 
- Resurrection is grand and challenging. She was on her way back to her wings.
- Resurrection doesn't always roar; sometimes resurrection is the little voice at the end of the day that says I'll try again tomorrow. 
-I'm learning I have the opportunity to resurrect myself each new day when I try to do better than the day before. 

Our offering will be designated for an organization which literally "resurrects" people by providing drinking water in the desert - Humane Borders. Humane Borders, motivated by faith, offers humanitarian assistance to those in need through the deployment of emergency water stations on routes known to be used by migrants coming north through the Sonoran desert. Its sole mission is to take death out of the immigration equation.

For our community potluck meal, you are invited to bring "spring" foods.