Dearest monks and artists,
One of my heart’s great joys is the global nature of this community. To know that there are monks and artists spread all over the world who commit to this way of life brings me tremendous comfort and encouragement.
I feel grateful daily for this vibrant and meaningful work and the amazing people I get to collaborate with to help create our programs and offerings. I am thankful every day for you and for the many notes of encouragement I receive about what our work means to you.
We will be adding a fourth week to our prayer cycle resources on the theme of pilgrimage! We are so excited to be releasing the audio podcasts starting in November.
In addition to our monthly yoga classes with Melinda and our contemplative prayer services led by Simon and me starting up again in October, Simon de Voil will also be leading a Taizé-inspired sacred chant service each month as well.
I continue to be delighted to partner with Claudia Love Mair for our monthly Lift Every Voice book club where we speak with wonderful authors and invite this community to enrich our perspectives on the contemplative life and ask deeper questions about justice and community transformation.
We also have a brand new gift for our community – a Leader’s Guide for our Monk in the World retreat . The retreat is available as a free gift to all newsletter subscribers. You can sign up to receive our newsletter here. There are options to hear from us daily, weekly, or monthly.
We plan to continue our daily and weekly email newsletters and Facebook groups as well. All of these programs above are offered without charge so they can be accessible to anyone who desires to join us. We also offer flexible payment plans, sliding scales, and scholarship assistance for any of our online retreats to those in need as well and are able to honor most requests we receive.
This is all a part of our commitment to accessibility. We believe in sliding scale models so that those who are able to support us financially do and those who are unable at this time can still participate. We know we are enriched by everyone who wants to be a part of our community and we do not want money to be a barrier.
However, these things we create all cost money. From the technical end of things to the human labor involved that we compensate for (artists and ministers need a living wage!) the expense of running an online Abbey is significant and program fees cover only part of that.
We are inviting those who are able to help support these and other programs to flourish to consider joining our Sustainers Circle for the year ahead (2022-2023). This will provide us with a regular stream of income for our many upcoming projects and create a more solid base for our scholarships. You help us thrive and in return receive access to various programs depending on the level you choose. Everyone who joins the Sustainers Circle this year will also receive a set of our 10 newest dancing monk icon cards.
If you have read this far, extra special thanks for listening to our request and considering your capacity. We are thrilled to continue offering you many rich resources to deepen your contemplative life and creative expression. Together we will bring more depth, presence, and transformation to the world. Simply showing up and doing the inner work demanded by this way helps each of us to be more present for others in a grounded way, rooted in Love.
Another free offering for our community supported by the Sustainers Circle is our Lift Every Voice book club. Our featured book this month is Art+Faith by Makoto Fujimura. Listen at the link to the rich conversation Claudia and I had with Makoto. The reflections he writes are at the heart of so much of what we do here at Abbey of the Arts.
One of the core metaphors Makoto uses is that of the Japanese process of kintsugi, where broken bowls are mended and lacquered with gold. The resulting bowl is actually more valuable than the original which is such a beautiful metaphor for how the divine works creatively in our lives to restore us to wholeness and the ways our wounds are integral to our value.
He offers this vision of the God of abundance: “God does not just mend, repair, and restore; God renews and generates, transcending our expectations of even what we desire, beyond what we dare to ask or imagine.” He invites us to see God’s creativity as an “exuberant abundance” of generosity and points to our essential role as co-creators of this magnificent new reality. Thank you for being a part of that in whatever way you participate in this vision.
New dancing monk icon: Desmond Tutu
We address God in the quiet of our hearts, in hymns and psalms, in dance and chant, with tears, with pleas, and with rejoicing. -Desmond Tutu
Desmond (1931-2021) was born and raised in South African. He was a teacher before becoming an Anglican priest and taught in seminaries and universities, as well as being one of the leading African activists in anti-apartheid and human rights. Desmond eventually became the Anglican bishop of Cape Town, where he continued to inspire and teach others. Even in retirement, Desmond continued to speak out on behalf of human rights in South Africa and around the world.
With great and growing love,
Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, REACE
PS – It is also the autumn equinox in the northern hemisphere and the spring equinox in the southern hemisphere. Click the links to read reflections from our archives on these threshold moments.
Dancing Monk icon by Marcy Hall (Icon print available at the link)