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...

Community News – May 2017

Vowed Members What a month! Shane went to Northern Ireland for the Mastery Foundation School for Leadership, where she was on the faculty for the first time. Elizabeth stayed home and comforted Shadow. Then we went for a few days of vacation to Silver Bay YMCA on Lake George, and a few days on the road exploring ministry possibilities. Then we led a retreat on Mary Magdalene at Holy Cross Monastery. Then, after a day off, Shane was back for the Making A Difference workshop. She’s tired, but so grateful to be with so many extraordinary people. In the meantime Elizabeth said goodbye to directees who graduated from Berkeley Divinity School. She continues her direction practice at home and via Skype. Covenant Companions Dario has been enjoying the end of the semester by camping in Utah. He is now in Italy, helping his father recover from surgery. We are grateful for distance technology to keep in touch! Please pray for Giorgio. Please pray for all our circles and their ministries. Blessings on you and your ministry, wherever it may...

Community News – April, 2017

We’re on Youtube! It started with Christmas messages. Then the possibility of sharing in another way grew on us. Our blog now includes an occasional video conversation. It’s nice to have another way to connect with you. Check out the Broads in Black on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCf8b7W0fIXj2HYNYBZiXfzw Let us know what you think! (If it’s good) Vowed Members Shane and Elizabeth together served Christ Church, Red Hook NY for Holy Week. Thanks for welcoming us! Elizabeth ended another year at Berkely Divinity School, offering spiritual direction to seminarians. Shane is continuing to serve at the SUNY Ulster Food Pantry. She is making recipes for the ingredients offered there to encourage healthy eating from what is available. We’re preparing for workshops and retreats, both as leaders and as participants. Covenant Companions And then there was one. Denise has stepped away from this circle, leaving Dario as our only Covenant Companion. Two years ago five bold people took on the challenge of being the “beta group” for what membership might mean for people not living in vowed community. They have all left, but their initiative has gifted us. Thanks to Amy, Margie, Rick, Lorraine, and Denise for dreaming and risking this first round of experimenting. Dario came a year ago, and he will continue with us to explore how to translate our covenant into a life that includes a job, a partner, a church – and a lot more! “So we do not lose heart” (2 Cor. 4:16). There is sadness, but also peace. God will show us the way if we don’t force solutions. We knew, we know, that this way...

Community News – March 2017

Vowed Members Shane and Elizabeth led a Quiet Day at Christ the King Episcopal Church in Stone Ridge NY. Thanks to the CTK community for letting us meet there! Elizabeth preached and presided at Christ Church, Red Hook, NY. Shane and Elizabeth will be their “clergy team” for Holy Week. Shane preached and presided at the Church of the Regeneration in Pine Plains, NY, and at St. Gregory’s in Woodstock. Shane is continuing to serve at the SUNY Ulster Food Pantry. She is making recipes for the ingredients offered there to encourage healthy eating from what is available. Covenant Companions We are sad to say that Lorraine has decided to end her time as a Covenant Companion. It’s always hard when people leave, but we know God is not done with her or her ministry. Please pray for her, and for us going forward. Denise continues to be busy responding to the increase in incidents of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia both locally and nationally. The Rochester, New York Interfaith Leaders Committee has held press conferences, vigils and educational events to bring the community together in these tough times. She’s reading Born a Crime, comedian Trevor Noah’s autobiographical account of growing up biracial in post-Apartheid South Africa, and Susan Faludi’s book In the Darkroom about her 76 year old father’s transition from male to female. Both books offer a great deal to reflect upon regarding “identity” and the politics of race, religious identity, and human sexuality and gender identity. Dario’s local community hosted a Centering Prayer workshop at St. Martha’s Episcopal Church in Omaha NE . Br. James Down OHC led...

Community News – February 2017

The Big News: Our Board of Directors met on February 4.  We have begun looking at properties, which has meant refining our mission.  We are clear that we want to be available to as many people as possible.  That means we are looking in villages and towns rather than more isolated spots.  The “people and places” prayer seems to be working: friends are showing up to share their expertise and experience.     “Hearth Tenders”:  Vowed Members Elizabeth led a retreat on monasticism for the first-year class of Berkeley Divinity School.   Shane led a retreat for Al-Anon women at Incarnation Retreat Center in Essex, CT.  She preached and presided at Christ Church, Red Hook, NY.  Shane and Elizabeth will be their “clergy team” for Holy Week.   Shane and Elizabeth attended the opening of the SUNY Ulster Food Pantry, a joyous event (and a sad commentary on our skewed economy).  Shane is continuing to serve there as pastoral presence and part of the general team. “Fire Bearers”: Covenant Companions   Denise attended the annual meeting of the National Association of College and University Chaplains where colleagues shared their trials and tribulations in the wake of recent Presidential Executive Orders, which have impacted significant populations of college students.  She travels to Baltimore this month to participate in the ARC USA Roman Catholic/Anglican dialogue representing The Episcopal Church. She’s reading Hillbilly Elegy, by JD Vance, a gripping account of working class/poor white America that sheds some light on the mindset of a significant portion of those who voted for Donald Trump. Lorraine continues to celebrate each week the Eucharist with her church community in the...