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...

Community News – February 2018

February was full and lovely. We had lots to keep us busy! We both spent Ash Wednesday in service: Elizabeth led a retreat for the students at Berkeley Divinity School, and Shane gave out ashes and prayers at the Ulster Community College Food Pantry. We each continue our regular ministry with those communities. Together we led a retreat at Holy Cross, sponsored by St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Teaneck, NJ. We reflected on the “armor of God,” and left with a “rule” of practices to strengthen our spiritual lives and a community of support and accountability. Thanks to St. Mark’s for sponsoring this, and inviting us to open it up to others! In the meantime, Shane flew to San Francisco over President’s Day weekend for the annual Board meeting of the Mastery Foundation. This was her first year on the Board, and she came home inspired and exhausted by the travel. She continues to volunteer with Mastery’s School for Leadership and the Making A Difference workshop, to be offered in Phoenix and West Park this spring. Otherwise we saw individuals for direction, worshipped and prayed together, and lived our lives. Spring is arriving, temperatures have come up, and walking is again delightful. The first snowdrops are out! The sun is up before Matins! Long underwear is in the drawer – at least for today. Be well, enjoy the...

Community News – January 2018

We began 2018 in 2017, with the annual Twelve-Step retreat at Holy Cross. We rejoiced to see old friends, and many new faces. We then spent three Sundays with the people of Christ Church, Marlboro NY and the Church of the Ascension in West Park. Their rector retired on December 31, and we were glad to preach and preside with them at this tender time. We each continue with our other work: seeing people for spiritual direction, preparing for spring retreats, volunteering with the Mastery Foundation. The food pantry is closed this month, but Shane will return next month. Our new Covenant Group is shaping up, with many wonderful people signing on. Three of our former group members are moving into deeper commitment as well, so we are full of organizing and preparing for their new beginnings. We now have a serious aspirant for residential life, and we ask for prayers for discernment and courage for her and for us. Stay tuned! We each managed some days of family time in January: Dario with his family in Italy, Elizabeth at the Jersey shore, and Shane at a wedding in Chicago and Milwaukee. We are grateful to be able to visit, and ready to get back to a normal schedule! But first, Shane and Elizabeth will take their annual house retreat January 26-31. We will be in silence, listening for God rather than phones or computers. Please pray for us, that we let God lead us and teach...

Community News – Christmas 2018

Community News Elizabeth and Shane have just returned from 16 days at Christ Church Cathedral in Cincinnati, where we preached and taught as their Advent Theologians in Residence. Our theme was “Exodus and Advent,” exploring the dynamics of going out (ex-odos) and coming to (ad-vent) in the history of Israel, in the life of Jesus and the Trinity, and in our human/divine lives. Thank you to all who made our time there rich and rewarding. We found ourselves experiencing “the wilderness” of being in a strange place, out of normal time and place, and we received the gifts of the wilderness – seeing things anew, seeing new things, depending on strangers, and the joy of returning home. Dario returns to Italy to spend Christmas with his parents. We are grateful for online technology that enables us to speak and worship wherever we are (we shared Vespers in the chapel in Cincinnati, and we shared Christmas greetings). Christmas here is simple, especially since we’ve been away. We took the opportunity to focus entirely on the Incarnation, rather than gifts or plans. Beautiful antiphons, a few flowers, candles and hymns and a few friends. All is calm, all is...

Community News – November 2017

We have now had several events at the new Companionary. On November 4 we hosted a “refresher day” for graduates of the Making A Difference workshop. Then the next day we held an open house for friends of all stripes. We’ve had several people stay for retreats this month, and we’re pleased to see the new space getting some use. Of course we are hoping that we will outgrow this space, as others feel called to the vowed life. Our two covenant groups ended this month, as we begin a new process for learning and sharing covenant life. Some people are continuing on, and others are stepping away, but all of them remain in our hearts. We have learned a lot from these past years, and we pray that that learning will benefit new and continuing Companions alike. Dario has produced a booklet to introduce people to the Companions, with a history and our charism and covenant as well as a description of the threads of Companionship and the process of finding your place in the weave. We hope to have that available for groups who’d like to know more, especially as we get ready to launch a new covenant group cycle in February. If you are interested in being part of that group, which will meet once a month on line for a year, email us anytime at...

Community News – October, 2017

We are in the busy season. We are blessed with retreat and workshop opportunities, and with those we companion in spiritual direction, covenant groups, or other venues. Since moving last month, we’ve hardly been in the house at the same time for more than a few days! That should slow down a bit in November. Shane went to Tennessee with her sister for a week. They saw natural beauty in Great Smoky Mountain National Park, and in the welcome of many people. We hosted our first guest in the new house, a new friend from California. We hope to receive many more in the months and years to come. Dario has produced a booklet to introduce people to the Companions, with a history and our charism and covenant as well as a description of the threads of Companionship and the process of finding your place in the weave. We hope to have that available for groups who’d like to know more, especially as we get ready to launch a new covenant group cycle in February. If you are interested in being part of that group, which will meet once a month on line for a year, email us anytime at companionsma@gmail.com. We are working with our board on our fall appeal. Your generosity last year gave us the courage to take on this house and its expenses, and we trust that through you God will continue to make this ministry of prayer and hospitality...

Community News – September, 2017

We are in the new house, and it is wonderful. Many many friends helped us move in, and we are unpacked and (mostly) organized. Many others have sent donations to help us with the expenses involved. Thank you to all of you, and for all your prayers and good wishes. We can once again hear the monastery bells, although we worship here now. When one of us is away, it’s a blessing to be able to go next door for Eucharist. We continue to share Vespers with Dario via Zoom, and look forward to others joining us again. Our other big change involves the covenant groups. They’ve been running now for 3 1/2 years – amazing! As we see more clearly the challenges of dispersed intentional community, we continue to develop the groups. We will share more details in the coming months, but we can say now that beginning in February we will have a new cycle beginning. Each monthly call will include teaching and discussion about the covenant and charism, and a chance to share the challenges and blessings of living by the covenant. Each group will run for a year at a time, rather than the indefinite framework we currently have. The group will help people discern how they are called to be part of the Companions community, and to equip them to live that connection. Stay tuned for details, and contact us if you might like to join next year’s group. We enter into a busy fall. We will be offering several retreats, at several venues. We’re sorry we’re unable to offer a quiet day here...

Community News – August 2017

What a month!  Where do we start? Dario came out here for five days of prayer, planning, and retreat.  We had a wonderful time together, whether in Bible sharing, reflection on the charism and covenant, or just cooking and cleaning up together.  We shared music that matters to us, and “adventures” that took us beyond our usual left-brain ways of being. At the end of that time we formally received Dario’s first annual commitment as a Covenant Companion.  He has been a Candidate for the past year, and we all agreed that he is ready to commit himself.  He is free to make his commitment annually, or to eventually decide on longer periods. As part of our work together, we took a good look at our structure, our “circles.”  We will be making some real changes in the circles (now “strands,”) and in our pathways to companionship.  Stay tuned for details. But now the big news: We found a house to rent. Yes, rent.  We were turned down for a loan again, since our credit history as a community is still too brief.  We started looking for larger houses to rent. The bigger news:  It is right down the lane from our former house in West Park. The Episcopal church next door to Holy Cross has a lovely house down the lane from our old house.  We have eyed that house before, but the time wasn’t right.  The day after we heard from the bank, an ad popped up for this place. It’s a big leap in rent, but the past year has convinced us to take the risk.  We will have two guest rooms (until someone...

Community News – July 2017

Vowed Members It’s been a powerful month, but much of that has been inward spiritual growth and clarity. The biggest news concerns our discernment about place. We have had some wonderful conversations and invitations to go elsewhere, but we got really clear that we already have a community growing up around us here and this is where we need to stay. So we are taking another run at buying a property. This time, ducks in a row! Banks, pre-approvals, process. We don’t have a particular place in our sights yet, but we are looking. We’re excited to realize that although our vision of what community should look like is not manifesting yet, something real and powerful is growing. Shane’s annual retreat was simply amazing, as she wrote in her blog. She spent the first part of July re-entering and processing what showed up there. Then we moved toward celebrating Mary Magdalene Day on the 22. 15 people came for Eucharist and potluck. Once again we had rain, though not the high temperatures of last year, so we were comfortable in the house. It was glorious, joyous, hilarious. Elizabeth had a week of vacation visiting old friends in New York City, and she has been doing some supply work, in Tuxedo Park and Cornwall NY. Shane’s turn comes in August. Covenant Companions Dario has been getting a little time off in Rocky Mountain National Park and more local open spaces. He will join us here for a week in August, and we are looking forward to that! Covenant Groups Our groups continue. We meet monthly, and share prayers through the...

Community News – June 2017

Vowed Members Shane and Elizabeth each led retreats this month, Elizabeth’s with Paul Kimmerling, our Board president. Thanks to the participants who made these events powerful, and to the staff at Wisdom House and Holy Cross Monastery. Now we’re in summer. We have no retreats until the fall, no big engagements other than our own annual retreats. But we have some big things in the fall, and the space to read and talk and pray and prepare them. Last January we named this as the year of spaciousness, in which we would learn to slow down and deepen our lives. We’re finally getting there! We’re reading and pondering, and having the sorts of conversations that create new insights and possibilities. One of the places we do that is at Coffee Table Communion. Each Friday a small and dedicated group show up for reflection and worship and community. At some point we realized we are church for one another, a precious part of the mystical body of Christ. We will have that throughout the summer, and we’d love to see you there. Covenant Companions Dario is part of a team leading a pilot project on inclusive language at his church, St. Martha’s Episcopal Church in Omaha NE. We look forward to news of this initiative. Covenant Groups Our groups continue. We meet monthly, and share prayers through the month. We are always looking for how to live the covenant more fully and deeply in our different...