Newsletter

March 29 2020 

 
 

For your prayer and reflection this week:

There are one of two directions we can go on the spiritual path- 
upward or downward.
Upward is the path of expansion- 
seeing the light of God in all beings; 
knowing that the Divine is present in the human form 
as in the smallest atom.
This earth is aflame with God, 
if only we would open our eyes.
The other direction- downward- 
is the path of contraction.
It is defining happiness by me, my, mine.
Confined by narrow boundaries, 
the small ego always seeks to serve itself 
and uplift its own.

In a disaster such as we are in, 
we see this contrast ever so clearly.
The choice before us is stark- 
serve our ego, 
or serve our Higher Self, 
which includes all.
God is Oneness, 
and that Oneness includes all things.
The spiritual path is the journey towards awakening to that Oneness 
bit by bit, 
until we know, 
as Jesus did, 
that “I and my Father are One.”
This mystical Oneness was not for Jesus alone, 
but was his invitation for each and every one of us.

The journey to Oneness is different for everyone, 
because we all start in different places.
The one constant is that God meets us where we are at.
We are loved now, 
just as we are.
AND, that love is too great to let us stay as we are 
when we are still controlled by the ego.
This ever-inviting, never-coercive love 
ever draws us to itself, 
that we might know we are not separate from it, 
have never been separate from it, 
and will never be separate from it.

Friends, last week Agape began a pilot for two weeks to create more virtual spaces in this time to connect socially and spiritually.  In addition to our Zoom meditations the next two Tuesdays, we will host a Wednesday 11am Zoom gathering open to children, their families and loved ones for 20 minutes of mindfulness and storytime. All are welcome, whether people have been to Agape or not.  This is a ministry open to all.  This week we will also connect by Zoom Thursday night at 7:15pm for a brief 30 minutes of meditation and mindfulness.  

Please share these resources with friends and others looking for connection and to be uplifted.  More information is below.  The Agape Core Visioning team will meet soon to discuss about continuing these virtual options, so please let This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  know what would be most helpful to you.  

This is a challenging time for parents who are now at home full-time with their children.  Below are several faith-formation resources for you as parents in these unprecedented times.  The home is the primary place where spiritual formation begins.  We want to assist you in providing spaces for spiritual reflection and nurture during this time when families are home together.  Two resources for this week:
- This Self-Care at Home E-Reader from The Salt Project.  Click here to open.
- Check out this page from the larger UCC Southern New England Conference, which has some good suggestions for activities in this time:
https://www.sneucc.org/blogdetail/what-can-i-do-outreach-in-the-time-of-corona-13537143

During this pandemic, many people are adversely affected right here in Waltham.  Chaplains on the Way continues to raise support to extend their morning program, provide McDonald’s gift cards to those in need, and cover emergency costs for those in need in this pandemic.  More information is below, and you can Donate here.

I hope you can join us sometime during the week, or for our two upcoming virtual services on Palm Sunday and Easter, April 5th and 12th, both at 4:30pm.  

Peace to you friends.  I pray that you continue to keep your heart open and receptive to the Infinite, ever-expansive peace of the One who holds us in Eternal love.  May you create sacred spaces to nurture your soul, and may your heart overflow in service to others, in whatever ways are appropriate in this time.

With you in living into our Oneness with all life,

Matt

Agape Virtual Events, open to ALL:

Spiritual Practices to Fill Your Cup
Four Tuesday nights starting March 17th
7:15-8:45pm: Virtually via Zoom (login info and instructions below)
March 31, and April 7  
https://brandeis.zoom.us/j/5628480180  
Join us to connect and check-in with one another, and engage in spiritual practices such as meditation, mindfulness, and lectio divina together.

Virtual Mindfulness and Storytime for Children and Families
Wednesdays March 25 and April 1
11am to 11:20am
Virtually via Zoom (login info and instructions below)
https://brandeis.zoom.us/j/5628480180
For children, families, and those who love them, join for 20 minutes of virtual age-appropriate mindfulness and storytelling.  Mindfulness led by Rev. Matt Carriker, who is trained in the Mindful Schools curriculum.  Storytelling led by Lynn Carriker, a former elementary school teacher, who has written several children's books for kids, including "Hope" and "Where Did You Go, Uncle Marty?"  These sessions are open and inclusive to all, no matter your spiritual or religious background.  Would you like to see these gatherings continue past next week?  Let Matt know (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

Let's Meditate Together!
Two Thursday nights: March 26th and April 2nd
7:15-7:45pm: Virtually via Zoom (login info and instructions below)
https://brandeis.zoom.us/j/5628480180  
Join us to fill your cup with various meditation, mindfulness, and contemplative practices.  All are welcome.  Led by Rev. Matt Carriker and Agape leaders.  Rev. Matt has been practicing meditation and mindfulness for almost 20 years, and has practiced meditation in the tradition of Paramhansa Yogananda since 2006.  Would you like to see these gatherings continue past next week?  Let Matt know (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

Palm Sunday Virtual Service
Sunday, April 5th at 4:30pm via Zoom
https://brandeis.zoom.us/j/5628480180
Come, be uplifted with song, prayer, faith sharing, silence and spiritual reflection in a supportive spiritual community.  Connect to the Holy, to your neighbors, and to your deepest self.

Agape Easter Virtual Service
Sunday, April 12th at 4:30pm via Zoom
https://brandeis.zoom.us/j/5628480180
Come, celebrate Easter with Agape! 

Offering Love, Breakfast and Support to those in Need in Waltham
From our friends at Chaplains on the Way:
“As you can imagine, life for folks sleeping outside and in the shelters has changed considerably in the last few weeks. The library is closed. The Day Center is closed. The soup kitchen offers folks a bagged lunch, but no place to sit down and eat. People sleeping in the shelters are not allowed to stay there between 7:45am and 4pm. There are no public indoor spaces available in Waltham, and our community is stuck outside most of the day.

“In the midst of all of this, it is crucial for our community to know that they are still seen and loved. And our new morning program is one of the best ways for us to offer this care. Every weekday morning, Becky, Korte, Alan, or Justi stand on the sidewalk outside McDonald's with a stack of $5 gift cards. Each gift card allows someone to buy themselves a cup of coffee and breakfast sandwich and use the bathroom. Just as importantly, as we stand outside McDonald’s we offer our presence and companionship to a community that is even more isolated than normal during this pandemic.

“Our goal is to raise $10,000 dollars to support our response to COVID-19 in two ways. First, we want to extend our new morning program for as long as everything else is shut down. As such, we anticipate needing $6,000 to cover the costs of the McDonald’s gift cards over the next eight weeks. Second, we know that the situation will continue to change quickly and will require us to respond in ways we may not yet be able to imagine. Thus, we hope to raise an additional $4,000 to cover emergency costs so that we can respond to unexpected demands of this pandemic. Regardless of how much you are able to give, every contribution allows us to respond as quickly and compassionately as possible for our community in Waltham. Donate here!”

 


Instructions for Joining our Virtual Zoom Gatherings:
Mobile Device (iPhone, iPad, Android phone, Android tablet)
First, visit your app store to download the Zoom app. Its logo is a blue background with a white camera image on it. Just before the start time click here to automatically open the meeting in your app: https://brandeis.zoom.us/j/5628480180
 
Computer (Windows or Mac, Desktop or Laptop)
Click this link: https://brandeis.zoom.us/j/5628480180  before the meeting. A few of these tutorial videos may help: Joining a Meeting, Testing your Audio, Managing Controls in the Meeting
 
Telephone (audio only)
Mobile phone: click 1 312 626 6799, 5628480180#
Land line: Dial 1- 312 626 6799. When prompted for the Meeting ID, enter 5628480180 followed by the pound key (#).

Instructions for Joining our Virtual Zoom Gatherings:
Mobile Device (iPhone, iPad, Android phone, Android tablet)
First, visit your app store to download the Zoom app. Its logo is a blue background with a white camera image on it. Just before the start time click here to automatically open the meeting in your app: https://brandeis.zoom.us/j/5628480180
 
Computer (Windows or Mac, Desktop or Laptop)
Click this link: https://brandeis.zoom.us/j/5628480180  before the meeting. A few of these tutorial videos may help: Joining a Meeting, Testing your Audio, Managing Controls in the Meeting
 
Telephone (audio only)
Mobile phone: click 1 312 626 6799, 5628480180#
Land line: Dial 1- 312 626 6799. When prompted for the Meeting ID, enter 5628480180 followed by the pound key (#).

Agape upcoming events and directions are at this link: http://www.agapewaltham.org/getinvolved/upcoming

www.agapewaltham.org
(This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 774-270-2185).  

If you would like to make a love donation to support the unfoldment of Agape's vision in the world of living and spreading unconditional love, you can do so at the link below, or checks can be made out to "MACUCC" with "Agape" in the memo line (and mailed to 106 Stearns Hill Rd., Waltham, MA 02451).
https://macucc-reg.brtapp.com/Agape