September 2023 ~ Ministerial Miscellany Rev. Annie Kopko

When I was in Chicago 2 weeks ago for the Parliament of World Religions, one thing that surprised me was the huge number of spiritual groups and communities, including many seminaries, that almost seemed like separate Religions on their own, and yet were obviously part of larger groups as well. Some examples of these which I would like to find out more about are ProSocial Spirituality (with Wayne Teasdale’s work), Greenfaith, a movement for climate justice, and Passageways to Elderhood Alliance.  To me there was an acknowledgement that we are all part of one human family expressing our spirituality in different ways, getting together to share ideas that may not ever be shared as directly-face to face- at any other time. People were very welcoming to one another, openly sharing what beliefs and expressions were working for their spiritual and physical lives. It was especially interesting to meet people from all over the world.

I was glad that the sharing was in the spirit of Interfaith, and that this word was used widely, along with Interspiritual. The program book states that the “Parliament seeks to promote interreligious harmony, rather than unity”.  This approach respects each tradition as it is. I felt this was very much in line with our belief here at the Interfaith Center for Spiritual Growth.

The first Parliament in 1893 in Chicago is considered to be the founding event of the movement toward Interfaith, gathering people of Eastern and Western spiritual traditions.  It took another 100 years for the second Parliament to convene in 1993. This 9th Parliament of the World’s Religions held in Chicago welcomed 7000+ attendees from 95 countries, representing 210 traditions.

The theme of this meeting was “A Call to Conscience, A Call to Action”. The vision of the Parliament of the World’s Religions is a just, peaceful, and sustainable world. I will share much more about the parliament later.

There are some really great events coming up for our spiritual community. You will find more details on our website:  

September 9th, 7-9 pm, Cafe 704 features the Celtic group Nutshell, featuring 6 voices with many instruments including Linda Teaman, Tom Voiles, Glenn Simon, Susie Lorand, Josh Burdick and John Lloyd.  

September 10th, Marianne Williamson will deliver a message entitled “The Spirit of America” at our Sunday Service. Come early for a good seat. 

Sending Blessings for a great month,   Annie

August 2023 ~ Ministerial Miscellany ~ Rev. Annie Kopko

Be willing to be Foolish

I ran across a wonderful quote from the Greek Philosopher Epictetus “If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish with regard to external things“. Or as Swami Beyondananda puts it: “attain Fool Realization”.        Remember, no one is thinking about us after their initial reaction. They are thinking of the next best thing about themselves. We might as well surrender, it can happen again and again as our spiritual being explores being human. When we are willing to seem foolish, we don’t have to pretend to be perfect any more. What a relief!  Nor are we so concerned about what other people might think about us.  It is interesting, like I said, they are not thinking about us.

When we are not concerned or afraid to be laughed at we will experience more trust and peace in just being ourselves. Laughter is our own best remedy for all kinds of embarrassment. Comedians make a living at this! Part of me has always wanted to be a stand up comedian,  and sometimes I already am. The older I get, the more mistakes I make, so the easier it is to make people laugh. And it makes life a whole lot more fun for me too!  

Each of us is  the light of the world, no matter what we  think.  We  each have our own angel of Love who knows for us, nothing else matters.

Our angels will be gathering with us for events at Interfaith. More information is always on our website: 

One last Drum and Dance Jam for the year with Curtis Glatter, drummer extraordinaire is happening on Saturday, August 5, 7:30 – 9:00 p.m.  Donations gratefully accepted. Drums available at the Center or bring your own.

Cafe 704 on Saturday, August 12, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. features the Kozora Quartet: “Global Fusion music” Ken Kozora: Composer, Bass Guitar, Synth, Percussion, Dulcimer, Paul Vornhagen: Sax, Flute, Clarinet, Robert Spalding Newcomb: Guitar, Sitar composition and Enrique “Kito” Pardo: Drum Set. Tickets $10.00 in person at the door or via livestream on Zoom. Go to for more info or to purchase tickets for Zoom.

Enjoy the beautiful weather.  Enjoy being everything you are.



July 2023-Rev. Annie Kopko

“As Good as it Gets”

The other morning I was standing in my kitchen making tea for myself as I do every morning and a really good feeling came over me. I said to myself, “This is as good as it gets”. This is hardly a feeling I would expect on an ordinary morning when the dirty dishes are sitting in the sink, the floor beneath my bare feet is scattered with bits of dirt from the garden outside and the cats are demanding to be fed.  

It is helpful to me to think that if the small stuff, like making tea in the morning is for you not as good as it gets, then the big things, like a vacation in Northern Michigan, a visit to the Tulip Festival, or a great deal on a new car are not going to be as good as it gets either. Several things are happening when a feeling like this occurs. I like to think that if we are able to just be in the present moment, then all events and all experiences can be as good as it gets. Of course, in our time and space, they may not appear to be.

On those rare occasions, when we are in the present moment, all else has to fall away. All judgment has to fall away and all of our fears fall away. I think that all of our dreams and desires also fall away.  It is rare for us to allow that to happen, but this is where true freedom lies. We crave freedom, but usually not enough to let go of all that we hold dear, even for a few moments.

There are events coming up at Interfaith where you will have the opportunity to find that this is as good as it gets. Our Sunday services oftentimes guide us to make that shift in consciousness with a variety of musicians and speakers.  Check our website for more information on all of our classes and events.

Saturday, July 8th at 7PM is Cafe 704, featuring PATH (Scott McWhinney, Chris Hedly and Tim Prosser) and Folk Song Jam Along (Lori Fithian, Jean Chorazyczewski and Eric & Mary Fithian. Bring your voices, drums and folky instruments to join in the fun! The musicians are offering their talents as a special fund-raising event with all proceeds benefiting the Interfaith Center for Spiritual Growth. Tickets are $10.00, join us in person at Interfaith or on Zoom.

Many Blessings,  Annie

June 2023 Ministerial Miscellany Rev. Annie Kopko

Ministerial Miscellany June 2023 

I am writing this month about freedom, well ahead of the 4th of July holiday, so that we have a chance to really think about this idea. How much do we want freedom?  What is it that we are willing to give up in order to feel free?   The truth is, we are naturally free, but we daily heap onto ourselves all the expectations that the ego part of ourselves thinks we ought to be and do in order to be “successful” and we make ourselves into the “prisoners of production”.  Let’s give up some of our attachments to this world and remember that our true expressions of our Spiritual Self is our choice to freely be our joy and our LOVE. We really are free to be happy or not.

What I notice with the recent deaths among the members of our community: (Esther in April, Ray in May, and Rose in June) is that I miss their smiles, and their energy, and their enthusiasm in just being alive. Just to know that we are going to die forces us to make more careful choices about our lives, choices about the thoughts that go through our minds and words that come out of our mouths.  Let’s remember to be grateful for all of our freedoms.

At Interfaith we have many weekly and monthly classes and study groups. Check out our events and lots of useful information on our website at

Join the last of this series of the Community Sing with Matt Watroba on Wednesday, June 28th at 7:00-8:15 p.m. There will be joyful folk singing (always your old favorites) led by Matt, who is an extraordinary musician from Detroit. Donations are welcomed and encouraged!

Our next Cafe 704 is Saturday, July 8th. Scott McWhinney has announced this will be a fundraiser for the Interfaith Center. He and his band “PATH” and also Lori Fithian and Jean Chorazyczewski leading a “Folk Song Sing Along” will perform from 7:00-9:30 p.m. All funds raised will go to Interfaith. Tickets are $10.00 per person.

The next Drum and Dance Jam with Curtis Glatter is Saturday, August 5th at 7:30-9:00 p.m.  Bring your drum or use one of ours. We appreciate a $5.00 donation for this event.

Sending blessings of freedom to All,     Annie

May 2023 Ministerial Miscellany Rev. Annie Kopko

Ministerial Miscellany May 2023       Sometimes I Wonder

As the end of every month approaches and the deadline for Ministerial Miscellany, I am looking around and listening for ideas that I care about and ones that move me. I heard the word WONDER on NPR today. I love that word, and I love how I feel when I experience wonder: an unexpected thrill of the awareness of something new and different.

Should we worry that our life of habits and our work stiffles wonder? It can, but wonder, like many things, is a child of our thoughts; and part of that child that is still within every adult eagerly awaiting release and expression. The appearance of wonder in our experience is itself a habit that can be cultivated. I think it takes a conscious decision to see our world with eyes of wonder, because the world has decided that we must know about all the things that are going wrong. A life of wonder is outside that box.

I suggest: be aware of choosing to do something different, no matter how little, every day. Listen to and watch as Nature changes every day. Learn something new. Anything. It is so easy when we have inexpensive or free apps on our phones for identifying trees and weeds and flowers and birds. WOW. That is Wonder.

We can wonder what there is to do at Interfaith. Lots!  Check the website: Layla keeps us up to date on all the workshops, classes and special events. Every Sunday you will find an insert in the bulletin with all of this information as well.

Coming up for Cafe 704, Sat. May 13th at 7PM will be Spirit Singing Band, especially wonderful if you like to sing along to the simple songs they teach us.

On May 24th at 7PM Matt Watroba will lead a community sing. He brings songbooks with 1200 songs. Talk about wonder! I wonder if I can sing that one?  It’s worth a try, and it is worth the good mood we achieve together. The event is free but donations are encouraged and appreciated. 

On the 1st Saturday is our Drum and Dance Jam, May 6, June 3 and Aug 5 at  7:30 pm, in person, led by drummer Curtis Glatter. 

 I look forward with wonder to seeing you at Interfaith.  Blessings,   Annie

Ministerial Miscellany April 2023 ~ Rev. Annie Kopko

Ministerial Miscellany April 2023     Spring Cleaning??

Anyone ever heard of Spring Cleaning?  Well, let’s take that to another level!  I think more than we need to clean our houses, we need to refresh our minds.  We need to reach out from the daily chatter(clutter) to remember that the words we mumble to ourselves all day to ourselves are the words that are creating our future.  If we haven’t realized (in our minds and hearts) what we want now, we may never find it.  We are pretty creative, (I know we all have heard this before)..

Unfortunately we are not usually aware of what we say to ourselves all day,  so first we can be aware of what we are thinking and feeling.  How are you feeling right now:  good? Not so good?  Great!!? How you feel at any moment is a great window into your life.  Decide to feel better than you may think things really are.  I am sure that I do not have all the information I need to make any judgments whatsoever, so my next best thought might be: I am the one who decides and I might as well like what I am creating. At any moment, I can choose to feel better.

Sometimes it is easier to be happier when spring finally comes and here at Interfaith in April there are soo many interesting and delightful things to do, in person and by Zoom.  See lots of information on our website:

  • Sunday, April 2nd is our annual meeting and Board election.  It will be over by the time you read this. I hope you were able to attend this very important Interfaith community gathering.
  • Sunday, April 9, we will have an Easter Potluck after the service. Bring a dish to share.
  • Saturday, April 8th is Cafe 704 with Marlena Studer and a group of musicians and dancers in the style of the Roaring 20’s known as the Speak-Easy Sisters and the Gin-Joint Jammers!  They will teach us how to dance!  Information and tickets on our website.
  • Sunday, April 16th, Fritz Sauer is our guest speaker and he will be presenting a two part workshop on April 16th and April 22. The focus is teaching us how to manage stress. I have been in classes with Fritz, and the techniques are very simple, easy to learn, life changing practices. More information will be available soon.
  • Wednesday, April 26 come and sing with Matt Watroba at 7PM at the Center.. This is our 3rd Community sing, everybody I have talked to loves it.
  • Saturday, April 29th, last but not least, is our 25th Anniversary Silver Ball! We are almost at capacity, so please respond to your invitation if you have not done so, and if you didn’t receive an invitation, text Delyth at 734-657-5384. This event will have music by Peter Madcat Ruth and C.A.R.M.A. 

I will see you at many of these events.  Many Blessings,    Annie

Ministerial Ministry ~ February 2023 Rev. Annie Kopko

Ministerial Miscellany February 2023    Are you curious?

Have you ever thought about how being curious can change and uplift your day? Probably not. I think I am curious, but do not “use” it often enough. This possibility is one thing I brought home from our last Sunday service. Whenever I am the speaker, I am always fascinated by what other participants bring to augment my ideas. What others offer to read and say will invariably be the perfect complement to any talk I give.  

I seem to spend much time thinking about and “working on” solving my problems. I also spend a lot of time avoiding solving my problems. We all have challenges in life, big ones and little ones. I am interested in finding more peace around each one.  Imagine they are already solved and waiting for me to catch up with that reality. Our friend Barbara Brodsky from Deep Spring Center for Meditation and Spiritual Inquiry sends me a quote from Aaron every day. This week she speaks of facing her challenges and asks: “Where is love in this moment? How do I best bring it forth?”  I recommend that we relax, watch, and trust the deep rhythms of our lives. 

I also highly recommend you attend our musical events this month. Bring your friends to Cafe 704 on Feb. 11th at 7 p.m. to see and hear and dance to Ajde Aman. This group features Douglas Lane Allen, Abby Alwin, Alex Sobolev, and others “playing the folk melodies and oddly danceable rhythms of South Eastern Europe”. For more information  visit our website at Artisan 704 will also be there with handmade craft and art items for sale. On Wednesday, Feb. 14th at 7 p.m. join the Community Sing with Matt Watroba at the Interfaith Center. Be sure to check our website for many study groups and activities to stimulate your spiritual curiosities.

Blessings to All,    Annie

Ministerial Miscellany – March 2023 Rev. Annie Kopko

Ministerial Miscellany March 2023 ~ Starting Over

Have you noticed? Are you listening? Spring has arrived. On March 1st I heard the red winged blackbirds. I am always thrilled and uplifted by the sounds and sights of the first signs of spring. A time for: 

Beginning again – To change my life by selling my house and moving. To make a difference in somebody else’s life (or many lives) To Love more.  To complain less.  To let go of more stuff. To let go of fear.  Oh, I almost forgot – to laugh more.  (Last night I googled “real estate jokes” – They were not that funny)

We are part of an evolution, our own evolution.  We never stop wanting, so we never stop evolving towards what we want. It seems, our only task is to get out of the way. I know I try to stay relaxed, but there seems to be waves of reality coming in regular timing to subvert my best intentions. (Just like this afternoon’s snowstorm.)

I am reading off my iphone: “continual connection to our technological devices can make us feel trapped, with a strong desire to escape”. There is some real irony here. What!?  I am going to use the internet to escape the internet???  Oh, yes. Just like we can use food to lose weight.  Obviously, we have not figured this one out yet, and perhaps never will.  Each day, we all experience uncertainty.  Our challenge is to learn to create, as close as we can, balance in our body, peace in our mind, hope in our spirit, and love in our heart.

Look for all of these in activities at Interfaith: Sunday Service, classes, groups, in person and on Zoom, and especially music:  Every 2nd Saturday Cafe 704 at 7-9 PM live or on Zoom. Sat. March 11th, at 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. Julie Beutel and Bob O’Brien are returning. More information about Julie and Bob, ticket information including Zoom tickets is on our website:  And, on Wednesday, March 22nd, join the Community Sing with Matt Watroba 7:00 – 8:15 p.m in person.

Have a happy and blessed month, one that seems a lot like Spring!  


Ministerial Miscellany ~ January 2023 Rev. Annie Kopko

Ministerial Miscellany January 2023 New Beginnings

Welcome to a New Year!  Don’t tell me which one.  I don’t want to see any higher numbers right now, (I just gained 6 pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas) but I do love to feel the sense of starting over, the sense of renewal and release that comes with another year left behind and a new one starting.   I love to feel the sense of hope that comes with making plans for physical, mental, and emotional renewal.  I love to start setting goals for a better life and a better world: one that becomes aware of the needs to love and care for our environment, and one that begins to share the love that we have for each other, no matter how we may present ourselves.  And I hope that you will do all these things as well.  Just showing up at Interfaith with presence and connecting in that way can change the trajectory of how we experience our lives. Notice how much it helps to be willing to stretch out of our comfort zone.  Remember how fearless we were in our twenties.  We were ready to try any new thing.  If it didn’t interest us, we found something else to explore.  Exploring…that’s my word for this new year!

I will see you as you come to explore life with others at Interfaith.  Information at our website:

January 14th, Cafe 704 presents Peter Madcat Ruth and John Churchville.

Save the date for our Silver Ball, a dinner and dance celebration of 25 Years! April 29, 2023, 6PM,  dance to the music of C.A.R.M.A. with Madcat Ruth and friends.

Be well, Be happy, Be renewed by love.

Blessings,   Annie

Ministerial Miscellany December 2022 ~ Rev. Annie Kopko

The gifts we give.

      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 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.  It is also one of the best gifts we give each other. 

      Another great gift is to be able to listen to each other,  and to the Spirit within that is always communicating with us. Listening to each other is not a given.  As we train ourselves to do this we learn that 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. We can honor ourselves at that moment. Let us give ourselves the experience of listening deeply to someone else and feel how listening can change us.  Being listened to can change us. With gratitude we give and with gratitude we receive.  

Please join our special December Holiday events:

Friday, Dec. 9th, 8:00 PM  Norma Gentile ~ Candlelight Meditation Concert.

Saturday, Dec. 10th, 2:00 – 4:00 PM, Youth Education Holiday Party,  Gifts for the kids and information about our Sunday youth program.

Saturday, Dec. 10th, 7:00 PM  Cafe 704. Music by Billy King and Emily Slomovitz.  Join us in person or via zoom. For details go to the website at:

Saturday, Dec. 10th, 6:30 PM  Holiday Crafts at Artisan 704 and Sunday, Dec. 11  after service at Noon.

Wednesday, Dec. 21st, 7:00 PM Solstice Sing-Along with Jean Chorazyczewski, Lori Fithian, Eric & Mary Fithian, Alaura Massaro, Linda Teaman & Tom Voiles.

Saturday, Dec. 24th, 5:00 PM Christmas Eve “Finger Food” Potluck followed by Christmas Eve Candle-lighting Service at 7:00 PM.