Community News – October 2018

October finds us bursting with news of some changes for the Companions. This month we wholeheartedly welcome Ernesto Medina as a Candidate for Covenant Companionship. Ernesto is a long time priest who lives in Omaha, Nebraska. We are delighted that Kaitlin Reese of Omaha and Emilie Trautman of New Paltz are joining the Covenant Group this month, also. At the Companionary we have an addition to the household with Susan Ahlstrom joining us for much of each week. Susan is a Reiki Master and is now completing certification in the Emotional Freedom Technique. She shares her time between West Park and New Haven, where she works for a nonprofit organization that works with and for people experiencing homelessness. It is a joy to have her as part of the community for awhile. Our prayer life continues to call us to the Spirit’s action in us and through our ministries. Shane participated in an Enneagram retreat at Holy Cross Monastery with Michelle Meech, has spent a good chunk of time preparing for retreats and to be part of the faculty at the Mastery Foundation School for Leadership in Newry, Ireland in early November. She continues to enjoy her work as a spiritual director. Elizabeth participated in an “Undoing Racism” Workshop in Kingston, NY, and continues that work with an ongoing group. She followed that with a two day stay at a hermitage. She spends a good amount of time providing spiritual direction at the Companionary, at Berkeley Divinity School at Yale, and preparing for upcoming...

Community News – September 2018

Fall is here! The temperature is up and down, and the “program year” has begun. August was lovely, with time off to explore the coast of Maine, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia as well as read and prepare retreats. Shadow enjoyed the company of two Holy Cross brothers during that time. Now we’re back, refreshed and ready to go. Last weekend we led a retreat on Christ Sophia at Holy Cross Monastery. The group was wonderful, and we all got a lot from it. Now Elizabeth heads back to Berkeley Divinity School to offer spiritual direction, and Shane begins her fall round of retreats with a retreat for couples in recovery at Incarnation Camp in Connecticut. We often do retreats that aren’t listed here or on our website, if a parish group or other self-contained group ask to work with us. So when you see blocks of time with no retreats listed, that’s what up. We’d love to invite you to everything, but we can’t. Annie and Dario are both in transition – Dario as a new school year begins, and Annie as her CPE residency ended and she recovers from knee replacement surgery. Our covenant group took August off, and returns this week. We’re pleased to be welcoming some new members, as we’ve decided to open the group every six months rather than once a year. They continue to delight us with their desire to live intentionally and in community. Our Board is engaged in strategic planning, looking at where we’ve been, where we are, and where we want to be. It’s a tricky thing, trying to plan...

Community News – July 2018

July was wonderful, and busy. The highlight was our Mary Magdalene celebration. This year we began with the covenant group gathering for a day of sharing. In the evening, local friends joined them and us for a Eucharist and potluck. Then Annie and Dario spent the next five days here on our annual Companions’ retreat. We spent time reflecting on and revising our charism document, looked at books to read over the coming months, took a day of silence, and also spent time just being together. Dario renewed his commitment for another year. We are always called on to supply at local churches during the summer, so that’s going on. Shane spent two weeks at the Episcopal Church of John the Evangelist in Barrytown, NY. Elizabeth is covering churches in Beacon and Shane is in Hopewell Junction, NY for three weeks. Then we’re off for a big vacation – Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. We’re very excited. The other main activity in West Park is reading and preparing for fall retreats, and making space for other forms of creativity. We’ve painted a room for crafts and spiritual direction, and made a lawn ornament out of an old plow. Thanks, Emilie, for planting bulbs around it! Shane dared the poison ivy to reclaim a flower bed with Jacob, our neighbor – and learned that the poison ivy wins. She’s on prednisone, recovering slowly. Dario is making his annual pilgrimage to the Newport Jazz Festival with his partner Paul. Annie is finishing her CPE residency in North Carolina and wondering what comes next. Please pray for discernment and ease for...

Community News – June 2018

With June we begin to turn toward summer rhythm. Shane led an AA/Al-Anon retreat in Connecticut, and then officiated at the wedding of two wonderful women. Now we are looking toward the annual Companions’ retreat in July, when our Covenant Companions and Covenant Group members join us to connect and reflect. We are also reading, preparing for the fall round of retreats. We do many retreats that are not advertised here, because they are offered to a specific group such as a parish. The fall is busy and full. The fun of the summer includes the time and spaciousness for the reading and thinking that lead to what happens in the group. AND we residential Companions have more time and space to just enjoy the beauty of the season and this place that we are blessed to live. Morning walks with the bunnies and deer–and Shadow the Cat. We witness glorious sunrises over the Hudson and are practicing a more measured pace in hopes that some of it will take root to inform our busier times. Pray that we may gain the wisdom we need around this! Dario is visiting family and friends in Italy. Shane is gone this last week for her annual 8-day retreat. Elizabeth and Shane went with Susan Mangam to celebrate Brother Don Bisson’s golden jubilee of profession as a Marist brother. We give thanks for him and his ministry! Blessings to you and on you and through you this month. Let us know if you’re going to be nearby – we’d love to see...

Community News – May 2018

May is full of flowers, rain, and retreats. Shane led a wonderful group on a Mary Magdalene retreat at Trinity Retreat Center in CT. The Center has recently reopened, and the community there is blossoming. We look forward to being there more in the future, both as retreat leaders and as guests. Thanks to you all for your hospitality, and to the participants for their open sharing. Next up was Making A Difference, which is becoming an annual event at Holy Cross. Shane and Elizabeth both worked to make this happen, and once again we reaped the benefits of being in the room with 26 other amazing people. Many of our local friends came to the workshop, so we have a gradually developing community of “graduates” with access to the tools offered by the workshop. Now we’re recovering, in different ways. Shane is preparing to lead a recovery retreat, and Elizabeth is heading out for her annual 8-day silent retreat in Massachusetts. But we are also making some time to paint the sweet little room off the basement (thanks, Cathy!) and go to a movie. If it ever stops raining, some gardening is in our future. We’ve been learning about the previous tenants as we watch daffodils, peonies, iris, and wildflowers take their turns showing off. Our Covenant Group is rolling along, becoming a real group. Our Covenant Companions text their shared prayers each day, and we two join in the thread. Other group members share with prayer partners in various ways. We are learning more about how to use online technology to foster deep connection. We’re making plans...

Community News – April 2018

Of course April began with Easter. We joined in at the sunrise Vigil at Christ the King in Stone Ridge NY. Our chapel has been full of flowers, and our fireplace-cum-tomb has been blooming as well. Outside, our daffodils are finally opening, the trees are unfurling, and the green blade riseth. Our new groups and Companions are thriving. We welcomed Janet Blair and Annie Hall as Covenant Companion Candidates, our first “reception” service done online. We will gather in person in July, but we are grateful for this means of connecting. The five of us (Dario, Elizabeth, Annie, Janet, and myself) gather each week for reading, reflection, and sharing, and we text one another prayers each day. It’s wonderful to have these gifted and loving people sharing their lives with us. The Covenant Group is a delight. They too are praying for one another and bringing their best to our meetings. Please pray for all of them: Elizabeth, Shane, Dario, Annie, Janet, Cathy, Chris, Diane, Ernesto, Joy, Lauren, and Meredith. Elizabeth went to Scottsdale AZ for a week with the Mastery Foundation. She led the production team for the Making A Difference workshop there, and she graduated from the School for Leadership. As always, when one of us is gone the one left at home feels the loss more – both Shadow and Shane rejoiced when she returned! Now all is preparation – for the retreats coming up, for the Making A Difference workshop to be held at Holy Cross in May, for – oh, you’ll have to wait for later newsletters! But in the midst of it, the...