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.
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.
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
Ministerial Miscellany February 2021
Relationships?….yes, this is the time of year we pay more attention to our quest to love unconditionally and to whether we think our close relationships are going well or not so well and whether we might give more attention to how we could be doing better. First of all, let’s remember there is nothing to fix. Everything is evolving in divine right order. And we truly have in consciousness everything we have ever needed to become who we were meant to be, that angel of human and divine being. This knowingness is, of course, the carrot hanging over the donkey’s head as we travel our journeys of our lifetimes.
I don’t know about you, but I just “lose it” frequently. I feel as if I overreact way too often. A disagreement may not even last long. But because we live so much in our ego consciousness, we think we are, need to be, and deserve to be in control of our own lives. Well, I think we are in control of how we respond to what is going on. And we are responsible for creating the bigger picture of our lives. However, unless we truly go about understanding everything through the eyes of our Spiritual self, we are just taking a shot in the dark, and whatever peace we find will not last.
We must consider all of our ideas, our intentions, and our decisions from our place of love, wholeness, and joy. My prayer for us is this: May we remember who we are when we stop to take a deep breath several times each day, and breathe that love into the beautiful busy world around us, and bless it all.
Come to our Sunday Services on Zoom each week. Every Monday, Layla Ananda sends out an email with all the links for each of the groups and classes that welcome our participation on Zoom.
Blessings to all for a great month, Annie
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
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!
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
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
On Sunday, April 26, the Interfaith Center held its Annual Meeting online, due to the current stay-home, stay-safe order. We voted to make a change to our bylaws to reflect the current leadership team plan, which so beautifully meets our needs for spiritual and administrative leadership! If you missed the meeting, or would like to look at the details again, here they are:
ICSG Info for Annual Meeting 2020 edited
Here’s a larger-type version of the above.
Here are the Bylaws before 4/26/20 change.
What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.
Promise this world your love–
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.
–Lynn Ungar 3/11/20