Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Monastery without Walls

The Urban Abbey is bringing ancient spiritual practice into the modern world and one component of that involves joining the conversation on the Internet. Or, rather, Internets, as the many modes of social networking are coming to be known. We are excited to see so many like-minded groups around the world and have linked to several of their blogs on our newly-updated sidebar (right).

Are you on FaceBook? If so, you might want to follow our blog there. We are also on Twitter (twitter username @TheUrbanAbbey) so please follow us if you are, too.

To continue reading our blog, go here. Thanks for visiting!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Esther de Waal Retreat a Success

Yesterday's special retreat with Esther de Waal, held at Washington's National Cathedral, was a huge success with 41 participants, a total that included many visitors and first-time attendees to an Urban Abbey event. Special thanks to Wayne Lewis who organized this event with the assistance of Anne Omelianowich and George DeFilippi. Thanks, also, to Seton Droppers for printing and folding a supply of Abbey meditation booklets for distribution to participants, and to all who provided refreshments.

Participants in yesterday's event were treated to a wonderful presentation by Esther on the Rublev icon of the three-personed God. Time was set aside for silent contemplation on the icon or in any number of quiet, beautiful spots around the Cathedral. Participants also attended Evensong in the Great Choir of the Cathedral before gathering one last time with Esther in the crypt of the cathedral for a final discussion.

The afternoon provided a wonderful preparation for our move into Lent, which begins this Wednesday. Thanks go to all who participated and, especially, to Esther de Waal for her time with us.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Mindful Eating

As you may have heard, the Abbey has been asked to lead the Adult Forum sessions during Lent this year. Since the parish theme for 2009 is "Feeding the Hungry," we will use this series to explore hunger in all its manifestations--physical and spiritual.

Kathie Panfil has graciously agreed to organize these sessions for the Abbey and has already started to invite other St. George's groups to participate. The dates involved are the Sundays in March (3/1, 3/8, 3/15, 3/22 and 3/29). I will be kicking off the series with an overview modeled on the first session of a curriculum entitled "Just Eating" published jointly by Church World Service and the Presbyterian Hunger Program. As the authors of this curriculum write: "Eating can be a mundane activity done with little thought or reflection; or it can be an opportunity to thoughtfully live out our faith and practice justice."

In other words, we will use this series to explore "Mindful Eating" in all its varied aspects. The Abbey will be working with other groups from the parish. I hope Abbey members will enthusiastically participate in the series. We can use this opportunity to help our fellow St. Georgian's understand how powerful mindful living can be and how the simple act of paying attention can feed us.

If you would like to help with this series, please contact either Kathie Panfil, myself or any member of the leadership team (which also includes Missie Burman and Ron Crocker).