Ministerial Miscellany September 2022 ~ Rev. Annie Kopko

September 2022 How to be sick.

My home Covid test came back positive on Tuesday, Aug. 30th,. Monday it was negative, I really felt happy. Not soooo happy today, but I am actually feeling physically better today. I have had a sore throat and a headache for a couple of days. I think I picked it up at a restaurant on Friday afternoon. I am hardly ever sick, so it is a surprise, and a challenge to be sick in peace. My cancer treatment 2 years ago made me really sick, but not the cancer itself. I only knew it from the lump in my right breast and there was never any pain to tell me it was there.
Of course, I believe every sickness has something important to teach us. We are meant to love even the bugs and viruses that attack our body. They have a higher purpose. And we are meant to slow down and enjoy our extra time in contemplation. Then we reach into that intuitive self that will tell us what to do for the best outcome. Often, we have to slow down a lot to make that happen. We do need to listen to our body; it will communicate with us. It passes on information from Spiritual beings surrounding us, the messages may not always come in words, but in impressions and feelings. We are in fact very familiar with those messages. What is “Time to go outside and get some fresh air” but one of those messages. If you are at all like me, listening to my body happens when most everything else fails. Right now, I am being good to myself, being careful what I eat, getting outdoors, keeping moving, enjoying keeping connected to people even while I am alone.

Don’t let ‘all else fail’ before you join Café 704 with PATH & friends on September 10th at 7PM, on Zoom or in person. This is a tribute to our dear friend Don Allen who died last year. There will be music from many favorite musicians, dancing, and snacks. Please sign up on our website, at interfaithspirit.org. Tickets are $10 for zoom for livestream or at the door. We will very likely have some artist vendors with who give 20% of sales back to Interfaith.

Here’s what Scott McWhinney has said about this upcoming concert.
“Our concert at Cafe 704 is in memory of and celebration of PATH’s brilliant percussionist from 2016 to 2021 – our good friend Don Allen. Joining PATH (Scott McWhinney, Chris Hedly & Tim Prosser) in our celebration of Don Allen will be performances by the very talented Alaura Massaro, Craig Brann, Carol Bardenstein, Eric Fithian, Lori Fithian, Amber DiMeglio, Mary Fithian, Robert Chester, and the Lotta Love Band.”

In addition he and the other performing artists are donating ALL proceeds from ticket sales to the Interfaith Center. We are so grateful for their generosity.

Many Blessings! Annie

August 2022: Ministerial Miscellany ~ Rev. Annie Kopko

Please just listen.

We are all full of wisdom. How do we get access to our brilliant deeper mind? How do we learn everything from this wisdom to bring ourselves to a place of peace and satisfaction? How can we use our wisdom to create our best health?

Actually, it is very simple, not easy, but simple. Sit and listen. We might be amazed. We may not choose to take many opportunities to do this in our busy days, so we end up snatching a few moments here and there. But, really, don’t you think it is a good idea to listen when God talks to us? When we intend to listen with awareness, all kinds of ideas will open up from that Higher Self within who loves us so deeply and who really never stops talking to us. So, whenever we listen, there is the voice, full of love and blessings. It comes to us and through us in many forms: our work, our play, & our communication with others.

Can we listen to our inner being and speak at the same time? Yes, of course. Actually, we do this all the time without being aware of it.
My intention, for this month, will be to listen for “that still small voice from within” and watch how life can open up in interesting ways.

Speaking of interesting ways of being, join us for the next Cafe 704 on August 13th, 2022, 7-9PM with singer and songwriter Matt Watroba. If attending in person please sign up at https://rsvp.church/r/pI4u8kI2 and pay at the door; if attending via the Zoom livestream purchase your ticket at https://interfaithspirit.org/events/cafe-704-coffeehouse/. Tickets are $10. More details are on the website.

Many Blessings, Annie

Ministerial Miscellany July 2022 ~ Rev. Annie Kopko

Just For Today

Today I have been reading through and recycling copies of my seminary studies and other papers from the past: From Deepak Chopra comes a book, “Seven Spiritual Laws for Parents”. Number 4 “Don’t say no – go with the flow” Today is the day of Least Effort” This idea is a good one for me, at any time, but especially now with all the extra stuff to get rid of around my house, and trying to find the time to do it and take care of my work and my sanity at the same time. I think I get on a seriously narrow path of what I will do and what I won’t do, and forget to relax and make a game of life tasks, like watering my little garden and caring for my cats, finding wild herbs to add to my salad and doing some laundry. That should be fun, right?
So, for today let’s remember we are living fairly peacefully on a big watery blue ball spinning through endless space faster than we can imagine, and we are not even at risk of falling off. There will always be very difficult things happening and there will always be ways that our infinite creativity can solve problems, but mostly there are always ways to keep a balance in our minds and hearts. It takes willingness, imagination, and awareness. And this is what I choose for today.

Please join us for an exciting Cafe 704 with David Mosher on July 9th at 7PM-9PM. Be sure to sign up on the website, if attending in person (and pay at the door), or purchase your ticket on line if you plan to join on Zoom.

Sending Blessings and Wishes for Peaceful Choices,
Annie

Ministerial Miscellany June 2022 ~ Rev. Annie Kopko

Ministerial Miscellany June 2022
An interesting group called Mindvalley came up on YouTube the other day. There are various presenters on the subjects of getting ahead in life and business, maximizing your infinite potential to be successful, using meditation, online education, and in person group learning. Some of its hundreds of teachers are Neale Donald Walsh and Donna Eden. What was interesting was to hear the founder Vishen Lakhiani, say that the most important thing you do in life is to focus on your own spiritual growth. I feel as if I have always thought this, but never put it into words with the risk of being judged as selfish. Fortunately that does not concern me so much anymore.
One of my goals is to let others know that it is safe and fun to allow spiritual growth by letting go of things we think to be true. (not to mention letting go of the stuff we have that we think we might need someday) We have so many beliefs that do not serve us any more. Do you want to let go of thinking life is hard, or that you are not good enough, or that it is “hard” just to let go at all? I recommend it.. I am not saying that because it is easy, just that it’s worth it. I send you blessings, feeling the (difficult) feelings, and then letting go into the joyful freedom that you desire and deserve.

Please join us for Cafe 704 on Saturday June 11, at 7PM. Marlena Studer and Stephen Ragsdale will be joined by singers Christina Morales Hemenway and Steve Pierce, drummer Chris Ohmer, and Pianist Veena Kalkarni-Rankin. Our website, Interfaithspirit.org has information on how to reserve a spot in person, and how to sign up on Zoom.

Blessings, Annie

May 2022 Ministerial Miscellany ~ Rev. Annie Kopko

Ministerial Miscellany May 2022
Hoping you are having a happy spring. It is beautiful, as always, and inspiring to see everything growing so fast. The other day I had an inspiration. Some of us are concerned because we have had a significant increase in our monthly rent for the Interfaith Center. We have paid $3090.00 per month for the past 10 years without an increase. As of this month our new monthly rate is $3667.00 per month. I thought if enough of us would give $500 or $1000 adding up to cover the increase for a year, that would take away any reason for worry for another year. And thus we can devote time to planning fundraising more peacefully.
I plan to give an extra amount this month, and if some of you will do the same by designating your special donation to “rent support”, I will give another portion at the end of the month. Any amount would be wonderful and thoughtfully received. I can hardly express how important this community is to me, and I plan to do as much as I can to keep it strong and vibrant. I love you all so much. You give so much to me by your presence and your smiles. This has been a pretty awful two years for me. It does not get too much worse than cancer and a husband’s death, and you have been here for me in so many ways. Thank you so much.’ You mean the world to me. Sending Blessings, as I always do.
Have a great month. Annie

Ministerial Miscellany April 2022 Rev. Annie Kopko

Ministerial Miscellany April 2022 ~ Nutrition for the Soul

I was thinking about these words and getting nowhere until I thought “Google!” With 153,000 hits in .7 of a second, I found Martha Beck’s Six Ways to Nourish the Soul, and I thought of a few more as well. These really spoke to me as important to do every day, just as good as some foods are important, even essential, for our bodies. Begin with silence and stillness. Even a few moments are nurturing. Same with aware contemplation. Notice what you are thinking. Love your family, your friends, your pets, or the birds out your window. Enjoy some music every day. It is a profound connection to a wider world. Sing and dance, at least a little. Move your body. Nature calms our nature. (Thank goodness it is April, one of these days it will be warm.) Read to feed your mind, even if it is just your favorite quotes. Be alone = be all One. Take at least some time to be together with someone also.

It is important to allow the receiving of all of this with an open heart. Then our spiritual nutrition will naturally and easily flow into our lives. Martha says “The lessons are simple – indescribable peace is possible. Love is our highest purpose. We’re all One. Once you taste the sweetness of true wisdom, you’ll crave it every day”.

Coming up, Cafe 704 on April 9th, featuring Tim Berla and his newly formed group of musical friends: Relics of the Future: Tim Berla, Pablo Bravo, Gee Willikers and Paul Girard. Saturday, April 9th 7PM – 9PM in person or on Zoom. We know this event will be spiritually nourishing! See our website, interfaithspirit.org. for many other nourishing events all month long!

Happy Spring to Everyone! Annie

March 2022 Ministerial Miscellany – Rev. Annie Kopko

Ministerial Miscellany March 2022

Now is a good time to think about how we pray. We do not need to pray for an early Spring, that is a given. Early or late, it will always come. I heard the beautiful sounds of the red-winged blackbirds for the first time today. Peace is quite different, we are in charge of our own peace, and we also influence the Peace of others. What if we practice Peace and prayer as if it can influence the whole world. I believe it can. Right now, the world needs our help. I have a hard time accepting that it seems that world leaders (including our own) need to fight and even kill to get what they want and need for their people and their own self interest. The language we hear is one of competition and conflict. Words matter. Albert Einstein said that you do not solve a problem at the level of the problem. War will not bring Peace.

Unfortunately I am not even a good example. Today I was driving my neighbor’s son home. He had been at my house to do some cleanup work. We met his Mother on the dirt road near their house. She was picking up bags of garbage careless people intentionally drop off in the woods. She was angry about the garbage, but she was even more angry about Joe Biden’s decisions as president. I found myself disagreeing, but with nothing to say, as often happens, except to myself. (“Please get me out of here!”) I sometimes find that angry people do not want to hear from anyone, they just need room to express themselves. And it is hard not to react when we feel attacked. When we choose not to react, it is a powerful message of trust in God, in love, and in peace.

Check our website for our peaceful, loving activities, both in person and on Zoom. Especially, join us for our music at Cafe 704, on Saturday, March 12th with Paul Vornhagen and Aron Kaufman. Sign up on https://rsvp.church/r/pI4u8kI2 pay at the door if you will be coming in person or go to https://interfaithspirit.org/events/cafe-704-coffeehouse/ to purchase a ticket for the Livestream on Zoom.
Sending Love and Blessings! Annie

February 2022 ~ Ministerial Miscellany by Rev. Annie Kopko

Ministerial Miscellany February 2022
Spiritual Health and Well Being

Needless to say, many of us are constantly thinking about our physical health and well being, whether we are thinking “I would love to lose a few pounds.” or “I need to get more exercise.” or “I probably shouldn’t eat this.” or “I feel really stressed about talking to this person.” It suddenly occurred to me that I never do the same thing with my spiritual life. Sometimes I say “I should meditate, so my physical health would be better”.

I imagine that I am almost completely caught up in the physical aspects of my life, to the detriment of my spiritual life, without which there would be NO life whatsoever. It is easy to ignore the spiritual life, because physical life is in our face, in fact, it is our face, and our body. What I do know is that a strong spiritual life makes every other part of life better and easier. A strong spiritual life brings us peace and happiness. So how do we practice that?

Be the happiness that you are, and bring it wherever you go.
Practice the forgiveness that is hard, but that you know you believe in.
Find the healing everywhere in nature, in the city or in the country.
Music, art, and creativity must be part of a balanced life.
Practice faith, love, and compassion everywhere, with everyone.
Find ways to serve others that express your life meaning and purpose.
Give everything up to Spirit to arrange for you, and SHE will!

Check our website, first page, interfaithspirit.org, for all the activities that nurture a strong spiritual life: Notice that on Saturday, February 12th, 7-9PM there will be Cafe 704 featuring Abby Alwin, Douglas Lane Allen & Alexander Sobolev playing Balkan Music. Registration information will soon be available on our Cafe 704 page. These monthly concerts are so wonderful!! Thanks to everyone who makes them possible! We do require everyone to wear a mask at our indoor events. You can register for Sunday morning services in person, too!

Many Blessings! Annie

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