Monday, June 30, 2008

Dear Urban Abbey,

I would like to add a word of thanks to all who helped make our Fifth Anniversary celebration a big success. Kathie Panfil and Marlee Norton did a great job organizing the community discussion and we experienced an outpouring of creative ideas thanks to Kathie’s skillful guidance of our conversation. Thanks, also, to Pat Loudis for organizing a wonderful meal of soups, breads, fruit and all sorts of goodies. Thanks, in addition, to all who contributed food and who pitched in to help set up the tables and the food and to clean up afterwards.

A special thank you to Marlee Norton, our celebrant, to Ron Crocker for assisting in the Eucharist, to our readers Anne Omelianowich and Patrick McCabe, and to Marcia Towne Devens for guiding us musically throughout the evening and playing the piano during our rousing final hymn. And thanks to all who attended and participated, making the evening such a huge success.

Please respond to Kathie’s request for corrections, additions or any other ideas you’ve had since our meeting. If you were not able to attend the meeting and would like to add your ideas to the list below, please feel free to do that as well. The leadership team will take all your input and use it to help us discern where the Abbey is being called next.

Our next community meeting is likely to be in September. Watch for an announcement of a specific date and place as these plans are firmed up over the next few weeks.

Raima Larter

Dear Urban Abbey,

On June 26, 2008, we commemorated the 5th anniversary of the Urban Abbey. We did so with simplicity, setting up for supper together, and after eating, reflecting on how the Abbey has contributed to our own lives and to our larger community. Then we celebrated the Eucharist together. I think we agreed that the evening was one of grace.

Below are the notes from our discussion. Raima Larter will use them to guide the leadership team this year. If there is something you would like to add, please send it on to all of us by using the Urban Abbey’s e-mail group.

We might have more discussion, electronically, as we move ahead.
Kathie Panfil
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Group A

Deepened sense of spirituality.
Enhanced our skills of listening to God.
Intentionality committing to listening groups Concentric rings: St Georges, and within it, Urban Abbey Support in times of difficulty Helps us recognize face of Christ in others More open heart.

Growth from retreats Helps to know others are also reflecting, listening.

What else are we looking for?
More commitment to listening groups.
Reorganize some groups and keep groups doing well together. Reawaken midday prayer.

Group B

Learn what spiritual growth means.
Others to talk with.
Community of the heart.

What else are we looking for?
Service: what else does it mean/might it mean?
Not more tasks, but want to explore ways Abbey could support our service.
Call on others through abbey channels.
Abbey members as yeast in other groups.
Deeper spiritual foundation should enable us to reach out.
Helping ourselves/others to deepen spiritually is indeed service.

Group C

Personal growth.
Healing services/Taizé.

What else are we looking for?
How do we let others know what the Abbey offers?
Difficult for new members to fully grasp focus of abbey.
We should sponsor events with theme, speaker. Invite Region 3 or others.
Add to Web presence/blog.
Use labyrinth as a ministry.

Group D

Feeling God's presence more often.
Profound friendships made in Abbey.
Experience of deep, shared prayer.
More comfort with silence.
Rule of life: makes it easier to do what we want to do anyway.
A different way of making decisions (not voting).

What else are we looking for?
We aren’t growing (but should).
We should help others find their spiritual center.
Some prayer groups have started and ended; should we start something else?
We could start a healing community: home visits for prayer Try body-centered prayer: learn from/share what we do with others.