Dearest monks, artists, and pilgrims,
We are back after our July break from programs and newsletters. It is always a wonderful time for us to step back from the daily details of running an online Abbey and rest deeply. In the midst of that rested space emerges new inspiration for the year to come.
One of our projects during this time has been working with a wonderful website designer to revamp our website. It still has the feel of the previous site with easier set up for us and hopefully easier to navigate for you.
We are thrilled to continue our online retreat offerings and to add some new program options as well. Below is a rundown of what is to come this year. I recommend pouring a cup of tea and reading slowly to see what sparks your soul.
- See our Calendar for a wide array of upcoming mini-retreats including one on exploring Queer Spirituality (open to everyone!) with Simon de Voil (August 21st), celebrate Hildegard of Bingen’s feast day with Betsey Beckman and me (Sept. 17th), delve into a Jewish contemplative perspective on Sabbath with my dear friend Rabbi Zari Weiss (October 2nd), and deepen into Sufi mystical poetry with Imam Jamal Rahman (November 6th). We are especially excited to be offering these two interfaith contemplative experiences!
- Our Lift Every Voice book club returns this month with an exploration of I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown. You can watch the video conversation I had with my book club partner Claudia Love Mair and join our Facebook group. We are also going to start offering a mid-month Zoom conversation time for those of you who want to engage in the ideas we are exploring with one another in real time. Our first one will be Friday, August 20th.
- My newest book will be published in October! You can now pre-order Breath Prayer: An Ancient Practice for the Everday Sacred. Author Carl McColman had this to say: “Breath prayer — harmonizing the sacred rhythm of the body with words that sing to the soul — is a practice both ancient and universal, but often overlooked in today’s busy world. Christine Valters Paintner has blessed us with a warm and insightful guide to reclaiming this practice of the heart, in every moment and setting of the day.”
- Simon de Voil and I will be launching a series of monthly Contemplative Prayer Services on October 4th – the Feast of St. Francis. In November we’ll gather on the 1st for the feast of All Saints. Join us on First Mondays for these times of quiet reflection, song, poetry, prayer, and lectio divina. A wonderful way to pray together as a global community.
- Starting in October we are featuring an 8-week small group spiritual direction experience through the Monk Manifesto principles. If you want to deepen into your commitment to being a dancing monk with kindred souls consider joining either Melissa Layer or Simon de Voil for a dedicated and facilitated group experience via Zoom.
- Dancing Monk Icon Prayer Cards: Marcy Hall has created four new dancing monk icons for our series! Howard Thurman, Nicholas Black Elk (both of whom we explored in our book club), Sister Thea Bowman, and Abba Anthony the Great have joined our wonderful collection! We will be sharing them over the coming weeks. For those of you who already have our icon card sets we are offering you the option to pre-order Dancing Monk Icon Completion Packs. They include the four above plus Clare of Assisi, Julian of Norwich, Muirgen of Lough Neagh (the mermaid saint!), and Melangell of Powys. These need to be ordered by August 31st and will be shipped out in early September. We apologize but we can’t send out individual cards. We will be creating all new dancing monk icon card sets in a larger size with a custom box and prayer booklet that includes all 32 icons. These brand new sets will be available to order in September.
- Upcoming Projects: In October we will be sharing the video podcasts for our Monk in the World Prayer Cycle over 7 weeks. We are also currently working on a compilation album of songs about Mary to companion my book due out next spring. We will create a new 7-day prayer cycle of morning and evening prayers from this material, offer another free Novena next May to help launch these prayers, and will create a set of prayer cards from Kreg Yingst’s wonderful block print art. Lots to look forward to in spring 2022!
- Sustainer’s Circle: Abbey of the Arts offers many free programs including – the daily and weekly email newsletters, book club, Facebook groups, prayer cycles, and contemplative prayer services plus scholarship assistance to those who are in financial need. Now we are inviting those who are able to help support these and other programs to flourish to consider joining our Sustainer’s Circle for the year. You help us thrive and in return receive some extra perks and content. Read all the details here.
I am also delighted to welcome my book club co-leader Claudia Love Mair to our Wisdom Council. This work we are doing and the conversations we are having are so vital and I am grateful to Claudia for her love for this project.
With great and growing love,
Image credit: Dancing Monk Icon © Marcy Hall at Rabbit Room Arts