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: interfaithspirit.org.

  • 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 interfaithspirit.org. 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: interfaithspirit.org.  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!  

                 Annie

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:  interfaithspirit.org

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: https://interfaithspirit.org/cafe-704-coffeehouse/

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.

Ministerial Miscellany November 2022 ~ Rev. Annie Kopko

November 2022 ~ Ministerial Miscellany    DO YOU HAVE TIME?

As the months move into Fall, I start thinking more about time. I am less comfortable in Nature as her energy moves into contraction. It is easy to watch negativity creep into my thoughts. I imagine it happens to many of us as the days become darker and the air becomes colder. I start to appreciate the sunshine more and more. I begin this waiting game every year, and I say to myself “Bring it on, the sooner winter comes, the sooner it goes”. Nevertheless, winter will stay long enough to greatly interfere with my plans for my life. This time of year is a good time to remember and renew our spiritual practices. In the summer, without the challenges, I let my practices lapse. Challenges are here to keep us strong and resilient. Change is pretty constant.

Sometimes I do remember that every one of us are timeless and eternal beings. We are blessed beyond our knowing. We are never alone. I personally believe that we are surrounded by angels who are helping us navigate our complicated world with love and creativity. One of my favorite practices is to do breathing exercises every day. I am aware that even just a few deep cleansing breaths can make me feel better, more hopeful, whole and complete.

After two years of no potlucks we are happy to say we will have a Thanksgiving Day Potluck gathering this year on Nov. 24th. Come at 12:30 with a dish to share and we will eat at 1PM. You can follow this link mealtrain.com/4mo252 to tell us what you plan on bringing, or just let Delyth know via email at delyth.balmer@interfaithspirit.org. You are also welcome to bring board games and any other activities to play after dinner. All are welcome, bring your family, friends and neighbors.

This month Cafe 704 is featuring Jean Wilson and Friends on Nov. 12th. 7-9 p.m. https://interfaithspirit.org/cafe-704-coffeehouse/ Join us in person or on zoom. And be sure to check our website to see all the events and classes that are happening.

Blessings, Annie

October 2022 ~ Ministerial Miscellany: Rev. Annie Kopko

Ministerial Miscellany October 2022
A little birdie told me…. Or maybe it was one of my favorite trees: We have not been sent here to teach. We have been sent here to BE, and we have been sent here to LOVE. Somehow we do not always teach by what we say, but by the way we choose to BE. (All the really important things anyway). We learn by example more than by what anyone may say, especially as children. We learn best by showing up and connecting with each other. The smiles of joy and heartfelt laughter that we exchange are best given and received by showing up for each other. As fears of Covid began to subside, and I returned to Interfaith, I experienced awkwardness connecting with people, and it felt totally worth it.
I know some of us do not show up on Sunday at Interfaith, try it, you might just find the unique loving connection it can be. Check our website: https://interfaithspirit.org for all the details. Please wear a mask.

Join us for Cafe 704 on Saturday, Oct. 8th at 7PM featuring Katie Geddes, singing traditional and contemporary folk songs with Eric Fithian on guitar, Deb Wood and Mary Fithian on harmony vocals. Live and on Zoom. Check our website for details on how to register to attend in person, or purchase a ticket for zoom at: https://interfaithspirit.org/cafe-704-coffeehouse/.

Another new offering is an 8 week class entitled “Awakening the Heart” with Brett Koon, offered in person at the Center and on zoom. The class begins Thursday, October 6, 2022 from 7:30-8:30 p.m. Check our website for details.
Blessings,
Annie

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