Newsletter


 
 
 
 
 

January 18, 2020 

For your prayer and reflection this week:

Silence is the language of God.
To be truly in the silence 
asks us to be present to the stillness 
underneath the multitude of noises from the world 
and in our own mind.
Discernment is paying attention to our internal monologue 
with enough attention to gain clarity 
on which voices come from love 
and which do not.
Greater certainty comes with practice.
Be careful of the illusion of full certainty.
Faith is listening to the voice of our intuition 
which we hear in the stillness, 
but with enough spaciousness to know 
that there is more wisdom than we can hold 
in our own mind and ego.

Wisdom is awareness of ego 
without letting ego control us.
In wisdom, the ego surrenders to the soul.
This is a lifelong journey 
because the ego puts up a good fight.
But the end result is deeper liberation in the Spirit.
The more we are free, 
the more we can free others.
 
Friends, this Sunday January 19th you all are welcome to a Dinner Church in Natick that I will be leading, along with Todor helping with music. I led a dinner church last year at our Natick partner church (this is the church where I grew up!) where they generously collected an offering to support our Agape community.  They invited me back this year.  All are welcome to join!  Also, next Sunday at our Dinner Church we will be talking about the "Faces of Jesus."  There are many different images of Jesus.  What images of Jesus resonate with you?  This intergenerational service is open to all.  

On February 6th, Agape will be visiting one of our sibling churches in Boston, the Crossing.  Also, as part of this grant, we've decided on a date for our "Addicted to Hurry" retreat with my seminary professor Rev. Dr. Kirk Jones.  It will be Saturday April 25th from 9:30am to 4pm at the Congregational Church of Weston.  More details below.

Lastly, during Lent we are planning a 6-part weeknight meditation series to dive deeper into meditation, using the techniques which I practice in the tradition of Paramhansa Yogananda, author of the best-selling "Autobiography of a Yogi."  In this 6-week meditation series, I will share both the art and science of meditation as I have learned and practiced it over the years (this will be after our two-art mindfulness introduction in February at the library).  Share here which weeknight you prefer when we start in March:
https://doodle.com/poll/m54hahrbcgzfxkc4

With you in opening to transforming grace,

Matt

Dinner Church in Natick led by Pastor Matt
5:30pm Sunday January 19th
First Congregational Church of Natick
2 East Central St.
Natick, MA 01760
Next Sunday January 19th you all are welcome to a Dinner Church in Natick that Pastor Matt will be leading, along with Todor helping with music. Matt led a dinner church last year at our Natick partner church and the church collected an offering to support our Agape community.  They invited Matt back this year.  All are welcome to join!

10th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Interfaith Day of Service: "Building the Beloved Community"
Monday, January 20, 2020, 8:30am - 1pm
Brandeis University (Levin Ballroom)
Usdan Student Center
415 South St. Waltham, MA 02453
RSVP here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/10th-annual-martin-luther-king-jr-interfaith-day-of-service-tickets-83485552535 
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/809811586125423/ 
Come honor and learn from the life of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968), pack meals for food pantries & congregations that serve the homeless community and participate in social justice discussions with local non-profits.

Agape Dinner Church: "Faces of Jesus"
Sunday, January 26th at 4:30pm
Intercultural Center, Brandeis University
415 South St. Waltham, MA 02453
At this our Dinner Church we will be talking about the "Faces of Jesus."  There are many different images of Jesus.  What images of Jesus resonate with you?  This intergenerational service is open to all. 

Initiating Inspiration Book Group 
Monday January 27th 7:15-8:45pm
Waltham Public Library 
735 Main St, Waltham, MA 02453
This is a Bi-Monthly Book Group in partnership with the Waltham Public Library. The January book is "Evicted: Poverty and Profit in The American City" by Matthew Desmond. All are welcome whether you have read the book or not.  We will be joined at this discussion from our partners at Chaplains on the Way and WATCH CDC in Waltham.

Agape Visits "The Crossing" in Boston
Thursday, February 6th
For Dinner starting at 6pm, service at 7pm and conversation directly afterwards
Email Matt if you are interested in commuting together.  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
As part of our visioning and grant process, this year Agape will be having conversations with different people and communities as we discern how Agape can build off the current momentum and cultural interest in retreats in our common life and services.  Some starting questions for our partners in conversation include: How do you do what you do when you gather?  Where did the inspiration to do those activities come from?  What is your “Why” when you gather for services and retreats, and how do your activities fit into that “Why”?  More information about the Crossing here:
https://www.thecrossingboston.org/

Agape Dinner Church
Sunday, February 9th at 4:30pm
Intercultural Center, Brandeis University
415 South St. Waltham, MA 02453

Ash Wednesday Service
Wednesday, February 26th at 7pm
Harlan Chapel, Brandeis University
415 South St. Waltham, MA 02453
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the 40 days of Lent as Christians prepare for the joy of the resurrection at Easter!

An Introduction to Mindfulness for Self-Care and Stress Reduction
February 13th and 27th
7:15-8:45pm
Waltham Public Library 
735 Main St, Waltham, MA 02453
Led by Matt Carriker and Vivekanand Vimal
Come to this two-part introductory series to:
● Develop an ability to pay non-judgmental awareness to the present moment, as well as experience a diversity of skills and practices to aid in this skill
● See the relevance and necessity for mindfulness (in its varied expressions), particularly as it relates to reducing stress and taking care of one’s self
● Through mindfulness practice, and integrating practices from the “Tree of contemplative practices”, learn to foster calm, better concentration, and more openness.  
● Learn how to be kinder to ourselves and others, more confident, and less judgmental.
● Reflect on how to integrate mindfulness into our daily and weekly rituals.

"Addicted to Hurry" retreat Rev. Dr. Kirk Jones
Saturday April 25th
9:30am to 4pm at the Congregational Church of Weston
Agape applied for and received a small, non-competitive grant for 2020 from Matt's participation in the Foundations of Christian Leadership program through Duke Divinity and the Lilly Endowment.  This small grant was to address a "pressing need for innovation in your context."  What Agape has gotten approval to focus on is:
"In our changing culture of church, how can Agape Spiritual Community build off the current momentum and cultural interest in retreats in its common life and services?"

As a team, Agape Spiritual Community has identified taking time during 2020 through the Leadership Education Innovation Grant to dive deeper into the question, "How can we make our services and events more retreat-like?" and “How can Agape integrate the style of retreats into our worship services and community life?”  One of the things we are planning to do as part of this is a spring 2020 retreat.  We will also be having other conversations with different people in 2020 that we hope you all will be a part of, including our first conversation with the Crossing February 6th.

Rev. Dr. Kirk Jones was Matt's favorite seminary professor at Andover Newton.  He has agreed to lead the afternoon of our Saturday retreat for Agape in spring 2020 to reflect on his book "Addicted to Hurry."  Part of what makes retreats special is the sacred, mindful pace.  Kirk will help us reflect on and practice how can we go at a Sabbath pace (as we do in retreats) both in our individual lives, and in our services/communal life.

Agape upcoming events and directions are at this link: 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 an end-of-year or Giving Tuesday 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