Category Archives: Ministerial Miscellany

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: interfaithspirit.org. 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: 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 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

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