All posts by Delyth Balmer

January 2021 Ministerial Miscellany – Rev. Annie Kopko

Don’t tell me how glad you are that 2020 is over. I already know that! Me too. We already know that 2021 will be better. When I hear you say “Happy New Year” it means a lot more to me this year. On Valentines Day I found out I had breast cancer. Less than 2 weeks later, we were hearing very dismal messages about a new rapidly spreading virus, and 2 weeks after that we were required to shelter at home. This meant a halt on my massage therapy work. I must have needed a vacation, so I took it. I decided to take responsibility for all that was happening to me, reaffirm my decision making power, and not become a victim of anything that was happening for any reason. (And at the same time I decided to do everything the doctors told me to do.) I had an opportunity to slow down and become very quiet, more than I had chosen to be in a very long time.

In this new year it is a very good time to do some deeply healing practice and contemplation, whatever that means for each of us. All the tools we need are within us. Listen carefully and creatively. Due to the depth that I seem to need to go in this lifetime of healing, it makes me think that I have not been aware of healing needs in every lifetime. I have probably been exploring many darker choices.

What have we been learning in this time of healing? Laughter is essential. Life itself is the ultimate gift. We are not assured of much of anything else. How we express it is our choice. Attitude is everything. Every little and big challenge takes courage. Practicing trust is a really good idea. We are never alone, and we are very deeply loved, more than we can know.

I am so delighted to know that you know we are all in this together, and we are here to love and support one another. This has been a year of great love for me. Thank you!

Opportunities to show up for yourself and each other come to you via email every Monday afternoon from Layla Ananda, our Webmaster. She lists all the Zoom links for our classes, study groups, socials, and musical opportunities, including Cafe 704, featuring Madcat Ruth in January. They will also be listed on our website: interfaithspirit.org. See you there.

Many blessings for a great New Year! Annie

December 2020 Ministerial Miscellany ~ Rev. Annie Kopko

As I write these words, snow is falling on the barn and the bare trees and the green grass. It is actually quite beautiful out there. What could be a better reminder of my Peace than that? Usually when I look at snow, I feel cold, I shudder, I envision difficult driving conditions and emotional struggle. Even though I don’t complain verbally very often, I am thinking my complaints without any peace whatsoever. Of course, it was not always like this. I remember when I was a kid, I loved the snow. Where I grew up in New York State we had about 10 times as much as we have now. I did not complain then, why now?

Snow is an especially good reminder of the dual nature and contrast that guides our thinking and our lives. We may struggle, and we may suffer, but we meet every challenge. We have strength that we can hardly imagine. We really do have love for the high and low of it all. We have courage as we open our hearts, because we do not know what may surprise us next. It is so amazing to me to watch myself and others around me open up to the possibilities and to the gifts that every challenge, big or small, holds for all of us. We have proved to ourselves, again and again, that with the help of our spirit within, we have everything we need for a satisfying life.

Dare I say, even in this time of Covid 19! In fact, especially in these times, the gifts are greater, as the challenge is greater. Especially when it seems that we do not have much of a choice. My sense is to open our hearts to even more possibilities than we imagined, and just see what happens…

Every day there is something happening at Interfaith on Zoom. Please join us for classes, study groups, and socials. Every Monday, Layla Ananda sends out the links on our email list. If you are not signed up to receive email announcements the links are on our website: interfaithspirit.org. How easy is that!

November 2020 Ministerial Miscellany – Rev. Annie Kopko

Ministerial Miscellany Nov. 2020 Beyond Gratitude.

This is the time of year when we are remembering to be truly grateful for all that we are blessed to have in our lives, our job, our family, our cozy home, our bills paid. What about being grateful for what and who we are being? What about being grateful for whatever is unconditioned in ourselves and in our lives? I know how important it is to appreciate all that we have and all that we have accomplished, but all those things are conditional, and they will change over time, and pass away. And anything can change instantly and scares us when it does. Remember the last time your car “broke down” or failed you in some way? It felt like a struggle to bring it back to normal.

Are you remembering to be thankful for your courageous heart? Are you thankful for all your capacity for joy, fun, and laughter? Are you remembering all the love around you in the world that feeds your soul? Our attention is drawn to all the difficulties in the world, but can you remember the love and joy that is the underpinning of human consciousness and is experienced by most of us every day? Do you remember to look around you and feel the beauty there, no matter what you see? Like the next baby at the grocery store, and the dog you meet on your walk? When you do remember, it is because you are the beauty, you are the love that you seek. Only because of what is in you, are you able to see it everywhere.

Being in the company of this community of angels playing and exploring and giving all they’ve got to this human experience helps me remember who I really am and what I am becoming.

You will find the activities of this Interfaith community listed on our website and all the links in your email so you can join the Sunday service, study groups, and classes available to everyone each week. We love it when you join us. And we love it whenever you can make a financial contribution too. There is a spot on our website, and our address is there too, for snail mail.
Many Blessings, Annie

October 2020 Ministerial Miscellany Rev. Annie Kopko

One of my takeaways from going through breast cancer treatment all these months seems to be understanding the need to take care of myself, the need to be kind to myself, the need to think well of and to honor myself. I don’t know that I really know how to do these things very well, but I have definitely been offered ways to explore this. I have noticed that I am less in a hurry and that I give myself more time to get things done. I stop more often to take a deep breath.

It is interesting that one of the ways to take care of myself is to let others help me, especially by bringing me food and giving me rides. You are sending cards with little love notes and calling me to see how I am doing. When you say to me, “How are you?” I know that you really mean it. The outpouring of love from this community has been divinely inspired. This is just what we do and who we are. I have no doubts.

It is so easy to forget that we are magnificent expressions of our one Spiritual Source. No matter what we are going through or thinking about what life may seem to be dumping upon us, we are Divine. And we are powerful and whole enough to know that we have choices, choices that we exercise every day. We know that we deserve the love that we receive from each other. One of the highest expressions of our divine humanity is forgiveness, of course, but of equal importance is gratitude. Give thanks for everything (and I mean everything).

Our Sunday Services are on Zoom each week. Layla Ananda sends out the links for all of our activities on the Yahoo group every Monday.

Enjoy your October and the changes of Fall in the parts of our world preparing to sleep.
Blessings to All! Annie