All posts by Becky Rowe

Faith in Mystery

“Faith is a place of mystery, where we find the courage to believe in what we cannot see and the strength to let go of our fear of uncertainty,”

Brene Brown

This spring has brought transitions into our community like a whirlwind of air on a spring day.  It ushered in change that will soon bring about flowers of life, songs of spirituality, and community growth.  On April 1st 2018, the Interfaith Center for Spiritual Growth senior minister unexpectedly departed from our community. Following a grieving and regrouping period of two weeks the ICSG Board hosted a weekend of peace circles at ICSG. Two talented and trained mediators guided community members in attendance to speak earnestly and openly about their human experiences, hopes, and dreams for the ICSG community.

Our community spoke of the trust they invested in creating a space of emotional safety over the previous ten months. They spoke of the painful challenge of the previous three weeks of seeking the opportunity in disguise for ICSG to become more than it had been before.

The idea for the community convening developed on April 3rd. Comfort and clarity became priorities for the board when the pleasant and jovial norms of Sunday Service announcements were broken on the second and third Sundays.

Synchronistically Khristian Speelman and Layla Ananda – professional conflict resolution facilitators – reached out separately to offer their skills of holding safe space for our community to share the experience of participatory healing.

Layla created an altar of rose quartz and a single candle in the center of the circles. Khristian opened the first circle with a prayer for open heartedness, intentional presence allowing healing and moving forward.

Our wireless microphone became our spiritual talking stick. Each person had the mic for three minutes to explain what they were processing, what was most important moving forward, and what they need or want to offer for our community to heal.

Between the forty humans on Saturday and the sixty humans on Sunday exquisite care and respect for the integrity of ICSG became apparent. Two specific themes stood out: our spiritual family and home and spiritual activism.

Spiritual Family and Spiritual Home is a feeling of the power of the collective and the individual. It includes everyone’s point of view where we learn and grow together while sharing spiritual presence. It is a feeling of full hearts no matter how things go in the outside world. It is a mirror of the divinity within each of us. It holds space for studies, celebrations, spiritual experiences, and fellowship.

Spiritual Activism at ICSG needs continued support and acknowledgment. Activism takes many forms and looks different for each person. We are called to activism. We are challenged to surrender unto Love by all of our exchanges with one another. Being present in this community is a tremendously profound amount of work. The world needs more love and at ICSG we are able to expand our ability to be more loving. Internal activism is healing our own inner pollution by asking ourselves such questions as what is my opportunity for change today? We hope to inspire and draw many more people with energy to do what it takes to heal this world. To walk in the mystery, extending Love to All That Is, and having faith that we are not alone in this world.  

Thank you Khristian Speelman and Layla Ananda for creating the peace circles with intention of engaging our spiritual community.

“And while I stood there, I saw more than I can tell and I understand more than I saw; for I was seeing in a sacred manner the shapes of all things in the spirit, and the shape of all shapes as they must live together like one being”

Black Elk, Wichasha Wakan Oglala Lakota.

 

-Mary Alice Truitt

ICSG Board Chair

Heart & Soul

Heart & Soul

Rev. Annie Kopko

 

We begin with an excerpt from The Butterfly Effect by Andy An- drews.

There are generations yet unborn whose very lives will be shifted and shaped by the moves you make and the actions you take today. And to- morrow. And the next day. And the next.

Every single thing you do matters. You have been created as one of a kind. On the planet Earth, there has never been one like you …and there will never be again. Your spirit, your thoughts and feelings, your ability to reason and act all exist in no one else. The rarities that make you special are no mere accident or quirk of fate. You have been created in order that you might make a difference. You have within you the power to change the world. Know that your actions cannot be hoarded, saved for later, or used selectively. By your hand, millions—billions—of lives will be altered, caught up in a chain of events begun by you this day. The very beating of your heart has meaning and purpose. Your actions have value far greater than silver or gold. Your life… And what you do with it today …matters forever.

So how do we live, knowing this is true? We live consciously, gently, respectfully, purposefully, grateful and considerate of all things, per- ceived and not perceived. I call this leadership. And if you do not think you are a leader, think again. Everything you do, say, feel, and think matters and has consequences. We are in relationship with all living beings. Each of us pays attention to another.

So how do we live knowing we will die?  We live lovingly, knowing that what we do, think, and say fulfills a destiny we planned long before this lifetime.

We live consciously, knowing that what we think matters. We know we have the power to create change all around us.

We live deliberately, knowing that what moves us affects everyone. The love we give is the love we live.

We live with purpose, choosing what we love, and following that star.

When we love ourselves enough to choose happiness, we lift up our- selves and everyone who comes in contact with us. Happiness is not a goal, it is the way to live.

We may as well do this for ourselves and others, to honor our spirit. No one else can do it for us. That is why I write, it makes me happy and moves my life in positive ways that I don’t even know.

We are not our pain, but painful opportunities will present themselves to us, because we are spirits that have bodies. There are negative experi- ences in abundance in the world around us. When we sit up straight and take some deep breaths, we feel better physically and mentally. We might even choose to resist getting involved in our own opportunities for drama, and we automatically create the will and courage that it takes to face and embrace anything and everything.

It takes a lot of love, beginning with loving ourselves. There are a few things I recommend:

  • There is no need to judge everything you do or do not do. You are perfect in your imperfection. Let go expectations and open to unexpected inspiration.
  • Forgive yourself and others. We are all doing our best. Connect with your inner light. You have deep within unrec- ognized resources. Acknowledge the presence of your soul power and possibility. You can use this power, but first you must recognize, and accept it, then use it to heal your past.
  • Respect all people and their choices. What is most yours is your choice of your attitude. Do not let your own negative attitude or the attitude of another be your prison. Nourish your soul with beauty around you. We try to keep flowers in our house all the time.
  • Eventually everything must be given up. Letting go releases us to the self organizing power of the universe.

Don’t you want to see what is possible? I love the last part of this poem.

 

 The Summer Day

by Mary Oliver

I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down,

Into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,

How to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields, which is what I have been doing all day.

Tell me, what else should I have done?

Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do

With you one wild and precious life?

 

Snapshot of Associate Minister Annie Kopko of the Interfaith Center in Ann Arbor.

 

 

 

 

by Rev. Annie Kopko 

Ministerial Transition Press Release

ICSG Logo and Contact Info

For Immediate Release

Minister Transition at Interfaith Center for Spiritual Growth

Resignation of Senior Minister

Ann Arbor, Michigan  

— Effective Monday, April 2, 2018 —

The Interfaith Center for Spiritual Growth has accepted the resignation of Senior Minister Rev. Lauren Tatarsky. We are grateful for her leadership and insight as our minister during her ten month tenure. In the interim, Associate Ministers Rev. Delyth Balmer and Rev. Annie Kopko will lead the center. A regular schedule of events, including Sunday Services, held 10:45 a.m.–12:30 p.m., will continue at​ ​704 Airport Blvd, Ann Arbor, MI 48108​. More information can be found at​ ​interfaithspirit.org​.

The mission of the Interfaith Center for Spiritual Growth​ is a statement of active commitment: Spiritual seekers joining in community to attract others of like mind, creating an atmosphere and structure to foster and stimulate our individual and collective spiritual growth. The Interfaith Center for Spiritual Growth is a religious 501-c-3.

Contact: Mary Alice Truitt

Email: maryalice.truitt@interfaithspirit.org