All posts by Delyth Balmer

January 2022 Ministerial Miscellany ~ Rev. Annie Kopko

Ministerial Miscellany January 2022 Happy New Year!

Well, here we are in 2022, ready or not, time to note the changes that happened last year, and think about how and why we seem to exaggerate the importance of a new year and the opportunities for rethinking some of our choices. Actually, it seems as good a time as any to make some affirmations even if you do not consider them New Year’s Resolutions. A long time ago I decided not to make resolutions that were extremely unlikely for me to keep. It is important to have goals, but not ones that set us up to feel guilty.

As we think, speak, or read positive affirmations to ourselves we simply feel better. It improves our confidence in ourselves and our perceptions of everything around us: friends, “enemies”, and life itself.

My favorite affirmation is “thank you” for everything that is. I just found an old book on my shelf this afternoon: Each Day a New Beginning, Daily Meditations for Women. The book starts Jan 1st. Seems like just the right thing right now. How could I have found this book just at the right time? Seems like a good time to say “Thank you” to the angels in my life.

Some other affirmations I love go something like this: You (Holy Spirit) will lead me to seek and find ways to be the best I can be. I know I am always in the right place at the right time to learn what I need to know. I will cherish every moment today. At any time I can lift my spirits and know that all is well. There is nothing to fear, ever. We are never alone. Love is truly all there is. Grab a piece of paper, or your computer. Be creative!

Next Saturday, January 8th is Cafe 704. Please join us at 7PM on Zoom or in person for some wonderful music. Our performers will be Julie Beutel and Bob O’Brian. Sign up to attend in person or purchase a ticket for the Zoom Livestream at: https://interfaithspirit.org/events/cafe-704-coffeehouse/

Love and Blessings for our intentions for the New Year! Annie

Ministerial Miscellany ~ Rev. Annie Kopko

Ministerial Miscellany, December 2021

Every day I hear from Swami Beyondananda, lately he’s decided he’s paranoid and also dyslexic: He says it seems that the world is plotting to make him happy, and there is not a thing he can do about it! What if each of us remembered that this is actually true? Forgive us, please, we just forgot! We can turn ourselves around if we want to, and many of us have. Some of us pay more attention to the birds and the bees, and the flowers and the trees! Some of us keep sending love around the world and know that somewhere someone is getting it!

There are quite a few not getting it and making a big squawk! These are the ones who are in the news. Let’s not stop sending love around the world just because people are not paying attention. Many are. I am listening to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s music from “Phantom of the Opera”. It makes me so happy. It is obviously part of the happiness conspiracy! Especially this Holiday time of year, remember what makes you happy and do what it takes! You are the one who you have been searching for! You are your own “savior”.

It makes me happy to be involved at Interfaith! There is enough to keep us all busy: classes, concerts, Sunday services, study groups, and weekly socials on Zoom. Check the home page of our website: interfaithspirit.org for days, times, and Zoom links.

SPECIAL EVENT: Dec. 11, Cafe 704 and a Holiday Craft Sale: 6PM the Craft Sale begins, and the concert is at 7PM featuring Peter “Madcat” Ruth with John Churchville and Tyler Duncan. In person:
Please register on our website to attend in person at https://rsvp.church/r/pI4u8kI2 and wear a mask (we have extras). You may also view the craft sale and the concert on Zoom. Concert tickets are available through our Cafe 704 webpage. The Holiday Craft Sale will also be on Sunday, December 12 from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.

Blessings to all for a gorgeous December,
Annie

November 2021 Ministerial Miscellany ~ Rev. Annie Kopko

Ministerial Miscellany November 2021
I have been thinking about compassion lately. I read the writings of several spiritual teachers, but I think it is Aaron, (coming through Barbara Brodsky) who says: “if you have compassion, forgiveness is not needed.” Others think of compassion as the step beyond forgiveness, and we must take one step at a time. But I think these ideas are intertwined and complementary. Forgiveness can come through more easily and spiritually if we can “step into another’s shoes”, if we can be aware of the pain of another that creates a situation necessary to forgive. Sometimes it may not even be the pain, but just pure lack of awareness of our common humanity. We are less likely to create a difficult situation if we are aware of how deeply connected, we are to each other, every one of us, those we like and those we do not. You may hear me say on a Sunday morning “Each one of us is part of, and necessary for, the healing of the world”.

At the same time, one true gift is one we give ourselves, forgiving ourselves when we know that we have done something that may have hurt someone. We are less likely to forgive another if we have not forgiven ourselves. Let’s decide now: We shall forgive ourselves for not being the ones we thought we should be. We shall forgive, let go, and move forward. That attitude and intention helps us create a great life for ourselves and each other.

Finding a good life at Interfaith is totally possible. All our events have their links on the Welcome page of our website: interfaithspirit.org. Some events meet in person, but not all. This month a few special events are coming up:
Nov. 13th, Cafe 704 with Eric and Mary Fithian and some of their many musical friends. 7-9PM. Come sing and dance (and wear masks for safety)
Nov. 27th, 1-3PM, We will be stuffing Holiday Gift Mugs for sale on Dec. 11 & 12. (At Cafe 704 and the next day after Sunday Service.)
Finally: Keep an eye out for our end of year letter in which you will see all the good stuff we have accomplished at Interfaith this year, and which includes an opportunity for a special donation. Blessings to all, Annie

October 2021 Rev. Annie Kopko

Ministerial Miscellany October 2021

Recently at Interfaith I was talking about opening our hearts. We need to think about this to make our lives a little gentler, more peaceful, and full of the light that we are radiating all the time.
I guess I should speak for myself when I say: “we spend a lot of time judging and resisting which produces discomfort in our bodies.” I talked about opening to what is happening with those things that confront us in our face every day: the people around us, the things going wrong in our homes, our cars, our animals, and our issues with food. There are truly countless opportunities every day to openly change our attitudes about what we live with, not to mention who we think we are. Can you notice what happens to your body when you are offering resistance and judgement? Just notice your thoughts. Then let them go, without judging yourself for thinking this way.
Then sometimes you may think, how can I do this in my world that is in such bad shape? Then, again, how can I not choose the beauty and the love that is right here with all the other stuff? You and I are truly brighter than the sun, filled with a light that cannot hurt our eyes. See this light. We know it and do not wish to see it, or as Marianne Williamson says, “are afraid of it.” Let’s look gently at that fear, and let it go, for our own good. Bring forth the peace.

Have a great October. These days there is a beautiful crescent moon in the East before sunrise in clear weather. Join us for all the opportunities at Interfaith to let your light shine! Check for classes and events that bring us all happiness and joy. Most of them are listed right on the first page of our website. Cafe 704, Saturday the 9th of October at 7 pm, will fill you with the music of Nutshell – including Linda Teaman, Tom Voiles, Glen Simon, Susie Lorand and Josh Burdick. The concert may be attended in person or via livestream on Zoom. (details on the Café 704 page of this website.)

Sending Blessings of Light! Annie

September 2021 Ministerial Miscellany Rev. Annie Kopko

Ministerial Miscellany September 2021
Good Luck, or not?

Do some people, even friends of ours, seem to have all the luck and others seem to be a magnet for misfortune? Yes, probably. Are we ever going to stop comparing ourselves to others? No, probably not. How many times have you said to yourself, “there but for the grace of God go I”. These eternal questions are not about luck at all, or whether or not we believe in the favoritism of God, but I think they are about the kind of meaning that we have ascribed to the greater landscape of our lives.

I think about the struggles of my young life, and I think this is where we begin a life-long attitude, as a “ground of creation” for our future selves. More than anything else, I remember reading a hundred books in seventh grade, maybe it was seventh and eighth grades combined, but it was a lot of books! Altogether, these had a great influence on my life, and what I began to think it meant to be alive. I learned that some things that happened made me feel good, and some things made me feel horrible, and that I could be moving forward no matter what I had to go through to get there. Still doing that, 65 years later. In only a vague kind of way do I remember my Spirit self with me all that time, but it certainly was.

We make our own luck by being in the right state of mind to perceive and take advantage of opportunities that are all around us all the time. The opportunity to laugh, be loving, not take things too seriously and notice what we are curious about. What is it we will want to explore today?

Speaking of exploring, Interfaith has so many events and groups that meet every week both on Zoom and some returning in person, wearing masks. All of our events are right there on the website, easy to find, easy to sign up (if necessary).

This month Cafe 704 is on the 11th of September starting at our new time of 7:00 p.m. and features the group: PATH with Chris Hedly (Songwriter & Guitarist), Tim Prosser (Mandolin), Scott McQuinney (Harmonica) and Don Allen (Percussion). Click on the Cafe 704 Coffeehouse link at the right of this page to sign up if you plan to come in person or to order your tickets if you prefer the Livestream on Zoom.

Blessings, Annie

August 2021 ~ Ministerial Miscellany ~ Rev. Annie Kopko

Ministerial Miscellany ~ August 2021

Listening to YouTube the other day I came upon a piece by Esther Hicks and Abraham about our self-talk, something I think we do all day long. Do we really understand how easy and destructive it can be to be negative. It is my habit when I wake up each morning and wonder how much my muscles will be aching. Soon I silently express the gratitude I feel for waking up and feeling quite good in this old body of mine. Ever since I went to Santa Fe, New Mexico to live, 42 years ago, and joined the Santa Fe Church of Religious Science, I have understood how important positive affirmations are to our state of mind and general feeling of well being. I believe all is well, no matter what the world looks like. Spirit is alive and well and living through us. We are making daily choices about how this will be.
In the piece on YouTube, Abraham took this awareness up another notch for me which I share with you (converted into “Thank You’s”):
Thank you for many new expansive ideas you bring me today.
Thank you for bringing me to places I love.
Thank you for helping me visit with others who love as I do.
Thank you for making me aware of my power.
Thank you for guiding me to thoughts in harmony with my core desires.
And, Thank you for sending me evidence of how this all works in delicious humorous ways for the goodness of all beings.

Click here https://bit.ly/interfaith-aug5 to purchase your tickets for a very special concert IN PERSON concert at the Center with Bob Sima and Shannon Plummer, Thursday, August 5th at 7 p.m. entitled: “Where the Light Gets In”

Please note that Layla will no longer be sending out a weekly email listing all of our events. Everything will be on our website; interfaithspirit.org.

Have a very happy August,
Blessings,
Annie

July 2021 ~ Ministerial Miscellany ~ Rev. Annie Kopko

Ministerial Miscellany July 2021

Happy 4th of July and a celebration of our freedom! Life will always make sure that we all continue to grow and change and adapt to something new. The circumstances differ for each of us according to our age, activities, desires, finances, hopes, circumstances, and just about anything else that you can think of!
And it is all a gift! Imagine that! Some of these recent gifts I do not like at all! A few months ago I found this quote from Winston Churchill “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” I do not think I have spent my life preparing for crises, but there is no question I have accepted some deeper challenges, so I do feel prepared for just about anything. The only thing necessary for us of course, is to be prepared spiritually. I really do spend some time each day in quiet. Contemplating “disaster” is not “planning” for it, but taking a bit of time to see the bigger picture of our lives is quite invaluable. I don’t care how positive you are, someday you will die, just like the rest of us. Nonetheless, we need to make sure that we observe the positive aspects of our lives and of the Spirit that makes it possible. We are the Spirit that makes it possible! We are that Spirit, exploring and expanding, creating and recreating human and spiritual reality, and that will go on forever. Let’s love each other and have a lot of fun!

Blessings, Annie

P.S. Join us at Interfaith or on Zoom for all the activities of our loving and vibrant community! (Many are or soon will be returning in person.) Every Monday afternoon, Layla Ananda keeps us up to date, sending out a list to our group email and posting on our website Interfaithspirit.org.

June 2021 ~ Ministerial Miscellany ~ Rev. Annie Kopko

Ministerial Miscellany June 2021

Recently, at one of our group gatherings on Zoom, someone commented that she is glad she has been able to attend services at Interfaith as it’s in alignment with her spiritual direction. She said, “It is good to be fed.” I loved this idea. To be spiritually fed, and to be able to spiritually feed others, takes conscious awareness, ample love, a sense of serving others, and broad intention of deep being and living with gratitude. What are we doing with each other that is spiritually feeding ourselves and each other? First, we are reflecting the true spirit that we are. In that radiance, in that luminescence of another, we identify and honor ourselves.

Another one of the great things about the people I interact with at Interfaith, is that we seem to be able to relax and let go in any moment of what we think should be true and go with the moment as it is and as we are. It is one of our greatest gifts, to let go and let God. Another great gift is to be able to listen to each other. Listening is not a given, we train ourselves to do this as we balance our own needs with those of others, and as we become one with one another, for a few moments, or many moments. Next time you feel someone really deeply listening to what you say, savor it, and see how you feel. It can be transcendent. Honor yourself in that moment. With gratitude we give and with gratitude we receive.

We have events and classes (some returning to in-person) that will keep you connected to your Interfaith community. All are listed on our website: Interfaithspirit.org including instructions to join our email list, if you have not done that already. Layla Ananda sends out an email every Monday containing all the Zoom links you will need for the week. Please join us. Many Blessings, Annie

P.S. We will return to in-person on Sunday mornings gradually. Watch for emails.

May 2021 Ministerial Miscellany ~ Rev. Annie Kopko

Ministerial Miscellany May 2021

It is May 2nd already. I usually write this and pass it on to Heide sooner for our newsletter, but I am glad I didn’t. I get to think more about the talk today (Sunday) from Mara Evenstar. I have been getting more emotionally moved by our services lately, and today was no exception. I had to get up at one point and walk across the room to move a box of tissues closer to me.

It seems that everyone is showing up to do very high levels of service at this time. I feel deeper and deeper levels of meaning and intention are showing up at our services and pouring out of those of us willing to be channels for deeper love than we can imagine. We are being one with each other, and allowing the expressions of our love. I know what it means when they say “We are all in this together”, that we deeply need each other to come through this particular virus event together, and to know that truth we must each take in that idea, acknowledge healing is happening, and make it happen for ourselves. For although the reminders of all that we are and have come together to share come from one another, the reality that enables it to happen is our Spiritual Loving Self deep within.

As we begin to open and feel the healing of the increasing warmth in the weather and everywhere in nature, let’s remember it is the same healing and warmth around and within ourselves for each other and the miracles it brings to our shared lives.

Throughout the week many of us attend groups and classes on Zoom. Each week on Monday, Layla Ananda sends out the links to your email. They can be found on the website also: interfaithspirit.org.

Blessings for a really great month.

Annie

March 2021, Ministerial Miscellany by Rev. Annie Kopko

HAPPY SPRING!

Today is a really exciting day! I am listening to the trill of the redwing blackbirds at my birdfeeder this morning for the first time this year! You can’t miss them because the sound is so distinct. For me, this is the beginning of Spring! It is the time of year I get outside more, and appreciate the natural world to a much greater degree than in the winter. I become much more tuned in to all the changes, and open up to my inner and outer processes. I complain and criticize less about anything and everything.

Let’s talk about trees. I have been watching the trees; there’s not much change lately, but there will be very soon. They all have blossoms of some kind, with as much variety as our favorite blossoms on the ground, mostly without as much color. We recognize trees as a higher life form. They are connected with each other and the growth of the plants of a whole area through their own unique chemical and fungal underground communication. We human beings help to restore the balance in any area by touching the trees, communicating with the trees and listening to the trees. We heal ourselves and the land. We heal our bodies and we heal our souls. We feel physically restored. This is all about our connection with our spirit, our land, and our love for each other. I ask you to listen, pay attention, be aware. Breathe deeply. You will heal.

We see that all of our events at Interfaith are healing too, in so many ways. We will find the links for the ZOOM sessions come to our email, as long as we have signed up to the group messages. If you have not, go to our website at interfaithspirit.org. Every Monday Layla Ananda sends out all the information you need to stay connected. Thank you, Layla!

Sending Love and Blessings to All, Annie