Posted in Adult Enrichment

Healing with Hope Retreat: Food for the Soul

  • May 16, 2024

“We who have taken refuge might be strongly encouraged to seize the hope set before us. We have this hope, a sure and steadfast anchor for the soul.” -Hebrews 6: 18-19

A weekend filled with prayer, scripture, song, sharing, reflection, rest, companionship, creativity, nature, art, poetry and laughter is a perfect recipe for “Healing with Hope in Harsh Times”. This was the theme of the 2024 WCUC Women’s Retreat @ Craigville Conference Center on Cape Cod. Surrounded by beautiful scenery and the company of old and new friends, ranging in age from 25-92, the time away provided us with renewed spirits and fresh energy for the road ahead.

Navigating Transitions with Spiritual Practices

  • April 30, 2024

Life can sometimes feel like it’s one transition after another. Whether big or small, these transitions can be both exciting and challenging. There’s no one right way to get through them, but often it’s helpful to share our experiences, learn from one another, and find support for the journey. Such was the case on Saturday, April 20th when these folks pictured below came together for prayer and meditation, sharing and discernment, faith formation and food fellowship. Rev. Matt Carriker, the retreat facilitator, taught the group how to use the Quaker practice of Clearness Committees to understand liminal spaces in our lives as well as Lectio Divina, a contemplative practice of reading Scripture for deeper, more personal meanings.  Through conversation and spiritual practices, the retreat participants came away with various tools for navigating transitions in their lives as well as a few new friends for the road ahead.

Embodied Spirituality: A Lenten Journey

  • March 20, 2024

As we traveled through Lent this year with the theme of “The Body Remembers”, adults were offered opportunities to try out a few embodied spiritual practices. The series opened with a session on various forms of meditation including a body scan and breathing techniques. Next, Ellie Horwitz led us in Qi Gong teaching us about body energy and deliberate movement and balancing practices. This was followed by Nan Gibbons who led us in a drum circle – the art of using our hands to make music together, basking in sound vibrations and building community. Next we tried some hand reflexology and chair yoga. And finally, we used our hands to create warmth and comfort for others making several fleece blankets for Project Linus to be distributed to children in hospitals, shelters, and foster care. You can read about this great organization here: https://www.bostonprojectlinus.com. We had such a good time feeling the Spirit in our bodies, learning some new practices, and being creative together for the sake of our neighbors.

Sacred Time and Holy Connections

  • November 29, 2023

In a world where many feel isolated, disconnected, or even invisible, it’s increasingly important for our church to find ways to bring people together. Now that we’ve made it through the pandemic and we’re not forced to look at each other only on computer screens, our in person gatherings feel even more special. Whether we’re at Walden Pond for walking prayer enjoying the company of others in nature, at With Us Wednesdays sharing stories and laughter, or baking pies together for church members who could use some extra cheer this year, the people of WCUC – young, old, and young at heart – are finding comfort and joy in this weary world.

“With Us Wednesdays” Returns

  • September 26, 2023

On the third Wednesday of every month, the parlor at WCUC is transformed into a community space where members and friends come to enjoy refreshments, conversations, and games/puzzles. The space is open from 10:30am – 12noon and is open for adults of all ages and abilities. Transportation is also provided by volunteers so please email Joyce (joycedegreeff@gmail.com) if you need or could offer a ride. Our next two gatherings will be on November 15th and December 20th.

Embodied Spirituality: Introduction to Tai Chi

  • February 13, 2023

Tai chi has been called a “perfect exercise!” Based on Qi Gong, tai chi is an ancient Chinese mind-body practice that involves controlled breathing and movement exercises for the cultivation of your energy. It involves gently flowing strengthening and conditioning movements which increase flexibility, promote relaxation, and enhance health, strength, and balance and it has been described as a form of moving meditation. On Sunday, many WCUC members enjoyed this mind-body exercise led by our own Ellie Horwitz. Some loved it so much, there’s talk about putting together a class in the near future. If you’re interested in this, please contact Joyce DeGreeff.

And The Beat Goes On

  • February 6, 2023

Nan Gibbons, Director of Young People’s Music @ WCUC, shared her gifts in musical leadership with the people of all ages on Sunday after worship by offering an introduction to drumming. From age 8 to 90’s+, we made music in community, learned a few new skills, and most importantly had fun connecting with one another through this ancient spiritual practice. As Nan puts it: “Drumming is easily accessible and engaging, opens hearts, and connects us in prayer. In a guided drum circle, many small simple parts join to create complex beautiful patterns.” This was certainly so on Sunday.

With Us Wednesdays

  • October 17, 2022

Our first friendship gathering was filled with lively conversations, storytelling and laughs, and a spread of snacks and beverages. We had so much fun hanging out that we barely had time for the games and puzzles! There’s always next time. We meet on Wednesdays in the church parlor from 10:30am – 12noon once a month. Upcoming dates are: November 9th and December 14th. Please join us – the more the merrier!

Walking Prayer: Nurturing Friendship and Faith

  • September 19, 2022

A return to weekly walking prayer is one of the many “back to normal” blessings experienced by our church members this fall. Alternating between the path at Walden Pond and the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail path in West Concord, the prayer walkers enjoy a time of sharing followed by a walk in nature that is meant to connect us more deeply with God and one another. Both paths allow for short or longer walks, and for those who prefer something a little more stationary, the Labyrinth in the Welcome Garden at church is also an option.

Walking Prayer meets every Monday morning @ 9:30 a.m. in person as weather permits. In case of inclement weather, we also now have a Zoom option – a silver lining left over from more intense pandemic days. Newcomers are always welcome! If you’re interested, please be sure to email joycedegreeff@gmail.com to get on the weekly mailing list.

Enjoy these throwback pictures of walking prayer throughout the seasons…

Walking Prayer at Walden

  • May 3, 2022

Spring is finally here and the walking prayer group is enjoying Walden Pond once again. We meet on Monday mornings @ 9:30am for sharing and a blessing, followed by a walking meditation. Newcomers are always welcome! Email: joycedegreeff@gmail.com for more details.

This week’s blessing:

Present Moment

All is quiet on the [path] this early [May] morning.

Forsythia cry out their colors while the mist still enfolds them. 

The [pond] has nary a ripple and the trees stand silently. 

Only bird songs break the bonds of the tranquil breath of dawn. 

Inside of me it is quiet.
No forsythia are blooming there, but I feel the aura of stillness and the beauty of calm waters. 

It has been so long since silence rested her wings in my heart.
The earth has gathered me in her arms, rocking all my weariness to sleep. 

Months of running and stumbling are lain down beside the wooded path; 

I lift only beauty of the present moment, and when I place it in my heart
all my life looks differently to me. 

— Joyce Rupp,  Star in my Heart