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

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