Community News – June 2019

May has been full, and glorious. We were back-to-back at Trinity Retreat Center: Elizabeth led a retreat for the Missioners of the Diocese of Connecticut, and then attended Shane’s Mary Retreat. She is enjoying a more evenly paced schedule with gratitude and breathing a bit of a sigh of relief! Shane is looking forward to that ease, after a retreat she will lead this weekend. We have both been supplying at some of our favorite local churches this month as well. Shane went to Albany in support of bills for farmworkers’ rights. Farmworkers are not covered by the same protections and rights granted to other workers in the U.S., a legacy from slavery that is due to end. The food pantry is closed for the summer, so she has a bit more time to read and garden. Annie attended a training entitled “Understanding and Responding to Complicated Mourning” as part of her chaplaincy work. As she said, “great stuff.” Dario has finished the semester, and will spend the summer on grants past and proposed. In the meantime he continues to play music. You can read about his passion in the UN-Omaha newsletter: Professors who Play. He’s been making videos of his guitar work, but we won’t embarrass him here. Ernesto continues his ministry in Beatriz, NE, and his work on behalf of children in the foster home system. Diane completed an icon of St. Mary Magdalene that will be blessed during the Companions’ summer retreat. She also became the guardian of an unaccompanied minor recently arrived from Central America who attends the local high school. Lauren is settling into...

Community News – May 2019

Spring has sprung! It’s time to pray outside, to be up and out early and late. Shane and Elizabeth spent Holy Week at Trinity Retreat Center in Connecticut. They joined in liturgies and reflections led by Daniel Simons, and offered a Saturday meditation exercise. The Vigil was held at 5 a.m. on Sunday, so we had a chance to really dwell in the in-between of Saturday. Elizabeth has been on the road, first at Yale for direction and then on her annual retreat at Eastern Point Retreat Center in Massachusetts. Shane has been busy preparing for “the Mary retreat.” The Covenant Companions celebrated Easter in their respective ways and places. It was Ernesto’s first Holy Week in an ELCA parish, and Annie’s first at her new work at St. Mary’s. Ernesto prepared by going on a “retreat” cruise with clergy friends. Annie, we think, had another plan. We are now seven on our regular Covenant Companion calls, and learning more about each other. With so many people, the real struggle is to find a time to meet! It’s a nice problem. As always, please pray for us to listen for what God is up to with us and among us, and to follow with open hearts and minds. Thank you for your...

Community News – April 2019

At the Companionary, the big news (well, to some of us) is animals returning or awakening. Herons, hawks, groundhogs, robins, turkeys – everyone is emerging. The stray goose or duck finds their way to our new (unintended) pond, where road improvements blocked drainage. Flowers, too, are starting to show themselves. Spring is here. Among the larger animals, Shane and Elizabeth began Lent with three days of silence. Shane served a local church for Ash Wednesday when their priest suffered a family loss, but otherwise it was a quiet three days. Then they had nine people for the mini-retreat, a wonderful day of reflection and sharing. Elizabeth got a few days away, dog sitting for friends. She returned an hour before Dario arrived for a quick, lovely visit. It was great to see him without a computer screen! Shane led a retreat for a Narcotics Anonymous group in Connecticut. This was a new group for her, a nice chance to grow in awareness and fellowship. Dario received a grant to build a supercomputer for his research. On the other side of his visit to us he gave a talk to colleagues at Princeton, and got some helpful feedback. Ernesto decided to record himself reading the Charism and Covenant, to play in the car on his way to work. It is so powerful to hear it read, to hear it alive in the world. We don’t have the recording on the website, but if you haven’t read the charism you can find it here. The covenant group completes their yearly cycle this month. On March 31 Lauren Hare and Diane Paulsell...

Community News – February 2019

Some sort of spring is approaching. The tree branches are filling up, the first bluebirds are back (crazy birds!), the light is longer. The orchids are in bloom on the windowsill. We began the month in Omaha, where Elizabeth and Shane met with Ernesto, Dario, and Kaity to explore beginning a local group. We attended services and led a forum at St. Martha’s Episcopal Church, where Ernesto is retiring at the end of this month. In March he begins another chapter as interim pastor at St. John Lutheran Church in Beatrice, NE. Annie has moved to Maryland and begun two jobs, one as a grief counselor with a hospice service and another as a lay pastoral assistant in areas of formation and congregational development. Dario has been serving as chair of a search committee at work, and now he will be the head of the search committee at St. Martha’s. So our Covenant Companions continue to be busy. In the meantime, we stay in touch and pray for one another daily. Elizabeth led the junior class at Berkeley Divinity School in their spring retreat, and then returned the next week for her usual stint of spiritual direction. She is training as a coach for the School for Leadership. Shane is preparing for retreats coming up this spring. She joined the Board of Trustees of the Mastery Foundation for their annual meeting, but managed to do it via Zoom this year – less wonderful bonding time, but a good use of resources this year. The covenant group continues to evolve. Two members will become Candidates for Covenant Companionship, and four...

Community News – January 2019

Another full month. Elizabeth and Shane rang in the new year at Holy Cross Monastery with the annual 12-Step retreat. Then they led the brothers in reflections on the feminine face of God, as part of their annual retreat. Then we had the annual winter retreat at the Companionary. Five blessed days of silence, hiking, reflection. This retreat always opens a new door into the coming year, into what is emerging among the Companions as well as what is emerging in each of us. The next thing emerging is in Omaha, Nebraska. Who’d have thought of that? Crazy God. We have two Covenant Companions and a Covenant Group member there, and they want to explore how to deepen as a local community. So next week Elizabeth and Shane will brave the winter skies for four days of conversation and connection. The covenant group members who began last March are in the process of discerning their future with the Companions, seeing where they fit and what they can commit to. So we are in conversation with each of them over these next two weeks. Please pray for clarity for each of them, and for us. It’s been an amazing year with...

Community News – November 2018

What a month! Where to start? Shane was supposed to lead a group at the end of October. She got sick the first night. God is good – Elizabeth was home, willing, and able to lead them with grace and ease. That let Shane recover for a few days before going to Northern Ireland for the School for Leadership annual 5-Day workshop (actually 8 days, with travel and preparations on site). She returned and led a recovery retreat a week later. She is now getting a few days of quiet! Next month will be quieter. Elizabeth had a quieter month, after stepping in. She went to Yale for her monthly sojourn, but otherwise tended the hearth while Shane was away. Susan had just gotten settled here when her tenants left and she needed to move back to Connecticut. We are sad to see her go, but continue to be in touch. We’re holding some things for ransom . . . The up side is that our guest room is available again. We have an aspirant visiting, discerning whether to enter as a residential member. We are excited, and aware that we never know the whole plan. Please pray for her and for us. Further afield, we now have three people in Omaha NE – a chapter waiting to form! We are making plans to visit and talk about how they can be a local community as well as part of our extended online family. You never know where seeds will blow to . . . Dario is finishing another busy semester. Annie is recovering from knee surgery. Ernesto is...

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...