Labyrinth Ministry

Help spread and stow the labyrinth in the Great Hall. Light Candles, Supervise, train and partake in this excellent Christian practice.

The labyrinth is a combinaton of walking and prayer, with roots in ancient history.  These "paths for prayer" have been part of Christian prayer and pilgrimage since the middle ages.  Rediscovered and re-popularized in the late twentieth century, they have once again become a powerful practice for opening ourselves and our lives to the guidance and presence of God.

Labyrinths are often confused with mazes.  But while a maze has dead ends and blind alleys, the labyrinth has only one path leading both in and out of the center.  The labyrinth is flat,  One can always see the center.  The destination is assured, so that the mind can be still and attentive. 

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Walking the labyrinth clears the mind and gives us insight into our spiritual journeys.  The labyrinth does nothing on its own.  It is simply a tool that many people have found helpful for deepening their prayer lives.  Each walk into and out of the labyrinth is a unique opportunity to meet our creative, loving God through contemplative prayer. 

St. Paul's labyrinth is based on the pattern built into the floor of Chartres Cathedral in France.  It is a full 12 circuit labyrinth that was created with volunteer labor and funding. 

We offer the opportunity to walk a portable version of this labyrinth on a monthly basis; the fourth Sunday of the month, September through May, (except December) from 1 - 4 p.m. and 6 - 7 p.m. following our evening Taize service, June through August from 1 - 4 p.m and on special occasions such as during Advent, Ash Wednesday, and Good Friday.

Contact Charlene Cunningham or Laurie Parrish for more information.

Prayer Chain Ministry

Twenty-three parishioners plus four clergy make up the Prayer Chain Ministry pray for individuals who are placed on various prayer lists which include short term (“especially pray for”), long term (on-going, chronic, elderly), and a private coordinator’s list.  Requests come from parishioners themselves, the clergy and pastoral team, the Daughters of the King, and the church office.  All requests are confidential. New members welcome.

Contact: Carole Hoerauf     choerauf@comcast.net

Healing Prayer Ministry

Each Sunday as we prepare to go to the Altar for Eucharist the announcement is made, “Prayers for healing will be offered at the Mary Altar.” A member (at 10:30 am 2 members) of St. Paul’s Healing Ministry stands ready to serve Christ’s Holy Church through Christ’s ministry of prayer for healing. Once in a while someone will come forward and say, “I’ve never done this before.” Here’s some information which we hope will overcome some natural reluctance to come to the Mary Altar for prayers for healing.

 

Why come in the first place? Prayer for healing is a continuation of the ministry started by our Lord and en-trusted to the church. A growing body of evidence is revealing the relationship between health and spirituality, not to mention the efficacy of prayer for healing. Prayer for healing should not be thought of as a “last resort” when all medical and psychological tools fail to produce “results”. Prayer for healing, as practiced at St. Paul’s, is in partnership with the medical and psychological communities. All healing, including modern medical and psychological healing comes from God. Research has shown that people who are prayed for are more at peace before major medical procedures and heal faster after.

What do I do when I come for prayer? Some people like to kneel for prayer. Others prefer (or must) stand. The healing minister will ask how they may pray for you. At some point they will ask your permission to anoint you with the oil of healing (blessed by our Bishop) and perhaps lay hands on you (the ancient biblical sign of blessing). They will pray a prayer based upon your expressed need.

For what can I ask prayers? Human persons are complex combinations of body, mind, spirit, and relationships. Scientific research has long shown the interrelationship between these aspects of our being. Dysfunction in one aspect can have a negative effect on the others. Prayer for healing ap-plies spiritual therapy on any and all aspects of our humanity. Whether it’s the beginning of a cold, facing surgery or other medical procedure, a troubled marriage, concern for a troubled family member or friend, God is waiting and willing to touch you with God’s healing balm. Many come to bid prayers for healing on behalf of someone else.

I’m a little embarrassed to come for prayer. Most of us would not be embarrassed to be seen at a medical physician’s office. That’s a normal part of maintaining our physical health. Prayer for healing at the Mary Altar is a normal part of worship at St. Paul’s -- just as normal as coming to receive the bread and wine of the Eucharist. Everything we say at the Altar stays at the Altar. Confidentiality is part of the training of every healing minister and we guard your privacy.

Lee L. Cunningham,
Order of Saint Luke

Volunteers provide individual prayers for healing during the Eucharist at each of the Sunday services. Orientation and training are provided, and healing ministers are scheduled on a monthly basis.  An initial interview can be scheduled at any time.

Contact:  Lee Cunningham


In the SpotLight: Healing Ministry

At St. Paul’s church, the Healing Ministry is one way towards experiencing God’s restorative power of healing and sharing the gospel. Everyone needs healing in some way, at some time. Whether it be a troubling illness in our bodies, unsettling mental anguish, or a concerning pain in our hearts, we seek a better place of wholeness, renewal and peace. In our world today, there is a growing awareness of the delicate balance and interrelated web of connections between our physical bodies and our emotional and spiritual well-being. We go to the doctors when we are sick and so too, we can go to the Healing Ministry at the Mary Altar to receive help through prayers.
 
During the Eucharist, individuals can come up to the Mary Altar and ask for Healing Prayers in complete confidentiality. They can kneel or stand. The minister will often lay hands upon them and say a prayer for whatever is the requested need. An oil which has been blessed by the Bishop is used to anoint the individual. Leading this ministry, Lee Cunningham says,“Prayer for healing applies spiritual therapy on any and all aspects of our humanity. Whether it’s the beginning of a cold, facing surgery or other medical procedures, a troubled marriage, concern for a troubled family member or friend, God is waiting and willing to touch you with God’s healing balm. Many come to bid prayers for healing on behalf of someone else.”
 
Each kind of suffering can be helped. Recipients of Healing Prayers have experienced various effects from: having a recovery faster than expected, calming of fears about death, a growing inner peace, an unexpected healing, restored harmony of mind, body and spirit, and increased strength for prolonged illnesses or circumstances.
 
Healing Ministers are recruited lay people who have answered a special calling from God. They pray for others in the healing of the body, mind and/or relationship. Jesus commissioned his disciples to go out and heal the sick and today at St. Paul’s, this sacred work continues to be performed at each Sundayservice at the Mary Altar.
 
Among the ten healing ministers, Charlene Cunningham, says, “I believe in God’s power to heal. I believe in miracles and I’ve seen it happen so I know it’s real. God promises that it’s something we can do. It’s not magic. It’s not anything WE do. It’s God directed.” In unanimity with the other ministers, she emphasizes being the vessel or instrument for God’s glorious healing power. She also adds, “It’s good to be open to recognizing different types of healing for both those being healed and those ministering it.” 

This concurs with Mary Horton who serves during the 9 am service. She shares her Faith in Healing: “It has been such a privilege to share in others’ lives and to offer their needs in prayer. To trust in the Lord, to ask His special blessing and to know that we are surrounded by the power of the Holy Spirit. To celebrate victories, to look for that special healing light, to thank God for his presence always.”

The list of St. Paul's Healing Ministers includes: Charles Barnhill, Doug Bulthuis, Patty Bunge, Claudia Callahan, Joanne Clark, Charlene Cunningham, Lee Cunningham, Anne Edmonds, Mary Horton, Allison Jones, Gisela Loeffler, Debbie McMeel, Don Paulson, Luci Shaw, and Mary Jane Van Hoesen.

For more information or questions about the Healing Ministry, contact Lee Cunningham.

Contemplative Prayer Group

The Contemplative prayer group meets once a week on Thursday evenings at 5:30 to experience deep stillness and silent prayer. We explore contemplative and mystical aspects of several Christian traditions, including Audio Divina, Centering Prayer, Chant, Jesus Prayer, Labyrinth Walk, Lectio Divina, Guided Meditation, Audio, and Videos

On the first Thursday of the month, we go to dinner together.

Enter the church by going through the metal fence gate near the garden entry to the church. Go down the ramp on the street side. We meet in the last classroom on the lower level - all the way around to the end of the building. The door will be open, and the candles lit. Please join us.

Contemplative prayer has been called “divine therapy.” Some say it’s integral to Christian maturity.

For more information contact Laurie Parrish, Ed Sugar, or Ron Weitnauer.

Be still ... and know that I am God.


And this, from Kate Brigham, who writes on various missions of the St. Paul's parish community:

As we journey through this season of Lent and prepare for the Mystery of Easter, consider the Contemplative Prayer Group as another instrument to a new way of not just “prayer” but life. The Contemplative prayer group meets once a week on Thursday evenings at 5:30 to experience deep stillness and silent prayer. They explore contemplative and mystical aspects of several Christian traditions that include Centering Prayer and Lectio Divina in a warm and friendly gathering. Their numbers are growing and our group is a form of Outreach as several members attend from outside St. Paul's congregation.

Contemplative Prayer is…"the opening of mind and heart, our whole being, to God, the Ultimate Mystery, beyond thoughts, words and emotions.” To read more about what the Episcopal Church says about Contemplative Prayer, visit this link.

Whenever I hear about Contemplative Prayer, it always sounds so spiritual and mysterious and I wondered what it was like. One of the ways to find out, is to simply go to one of the meetings and participate. This is precisely what I did.
 

"Centering Prayer is a method of silent prayer that prepares us to receive the gift of contemplative prayer, prayer in which we experience God's presence within us, closer than breathing, closer than thinking, closer than consciousness itself. This method of prayer is both a relationship with God and a discipline to foster that relationship." -Contemplative Outreach

This group meets in room B22, which is in the basement level and has an additional access door from the outside on the north end of the property. The darkened room was lit with candles and had a serene atmosphere. Each week the group follows a specific structure to their Centering Prayer.

  1. First, a focal topic is shared which varies weekly. This particular evening, I listened to a short description of Terry Waite, an English Humanitarian, and how he survived 5 years of solitary confinement under Hezbolla with the practice of Contemplative Prayer.
  2. Then, we listened to some beautiful calming music, followed by a reading from the Scriptures. These beginning exercises each helped me connect and focus in different ways; visual imagery, auditory, sensory, and cognitive word language.
  3. Then began the first of two silent prayer sessions. The group became so still and quiet. At first, too many thoughts flooded my mind. “Don’t swallow, it will be too loud.” “What do I need to get at the grocery store again?”, “Is that guy falling asleep?” and “Twenty minutes?”. Eventually, I focused my attention properly. I chose: “Be still and know that I am God.” I thought these words slowly, consciously and repeatedly. My mind was beginning to still. Then it became repeated words of, “Be still and know that I am”. Next, it became, “Be still and know”. After some period of time it evolved into, “Be still”. Lastly, it was just “Be”…I felt so connected and calm and then the soft chime went off signaling the end of the first centering prayer. I thought to myself, “Was that really twenty minutes? It felt like everything stood still.”
  4. We all stood up and slowly and mindfully walked in a circular pattern around the chairs and sat back down again.
  5. Another scripture was read and was followed by a second twenty minute Centering Prayer. This time I wanted to pray for two friends. I used the scriptural text along with the names of my friends. Using this method to pray for those I care about was a new experience. It was deeply calming and I felt a peaceful presence encompassing me by the end of the 20 minutes.
  6. At the end of the meeting, as is done at every meeting, the group recited the Lord’s Prayer together in closing.

When we finished, I had the chance to speak to the others. Ron Weitnauer, who takes turns leading the meeting, said, “Contemplative Prayer is a fundamental Christian practice and the key to Christian maturity.“ 

There are approximately 30 total participants with about 15 at any given meeting. Only about 1/3 of the group members are from St. Paul’s. Laurie Parrish, who has been leading this group since 2008 says, “being quiet before God, listening/waiting/opening to God's presence is an integral key to Christian maturity and a whole life.”

Jesuit Father William Johnston who has written much about Contemplative Prayer said:  "Properly understood, contemplation shakes the universe, topples the powers of evil, builds a great society, and opens the doors that lead to eternal life".

In this week’s newsletter, I share my own experience, but each person will have their own unique way of exploring and experiencing this form of communing with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. If you have an interest in participating in the Contemplative Prayer Group or have any questions about it, contact Laurie Parrish