Newsletter

May 24, 2020

 
 

This week Agape Community would like to share with you our phasing forward plan for re-opening.  Please see our open letter below that we have shared on social media.  This letter was written by Agape's Re-Entry Task Force.  Below you will also find a Memorial Day prayer for your reflection this weekend.

With you today in being the peace we wish to see in the world,

Matt

For Immediate Release:

Agape Spiritual Community, a gathering of contemplative activists serving the heart of Waltham, has chosen to suspend in-person gatherings of all kinds throughout the summer of 2020.  In line with our belief in a radical hospitality that welcomes all, we have chosen not to return to physical in-person worship or gathering together until we can develop a careful and thorough plan that will protect everyone.  We will send another update about moving forward in mid-September.

Sunday Worship Services, Thursday Meditations, and intermittent gatherings for youth will continue online as planned. Our schedule is detailed on our website at www.agapewaltham.org.

The Governor has announced plans for a phased reopening of businesses and industries in Massachusetts. It has been widely reported that Phase One, which began Monday, May 18, includes houses of worship. While we appreciate the Governor's desire to preserve our constitutional right to worship, we will not be returning to in-person worship in the near future.

We know that this time has been stressful, that our country and our Waltham community has suffered so many losses.  We know that healthcare workers, essential employees, and those responding to this pandemic have given so much, and are still giving each day. We see and acknowledge the sacrifices that have been made by all, and we give thanks for all of the hard emotional work our community has overcome. We ask you to join us as we pray to ease the suffering, and as we trust in Love to get us through this tough time.  

Agape’s Core Visioning Team has met online to discuss our plans for re-opening.   We have appointed a Task Force that will review a large collection of resources, plans, papers, and advice columns on how and when to safely open up to meet again in-person. This Task Force will work to detail specifically what our plan will be. Our safe return to each other will depend upon individual understanding and compliance as much as anything else.

The Southern New England Conference of the United Church of Christ (of which we are members) has put together more specific guidelines and timetables for worship communities phasing forward. This will be one of the many resources your leaders will be studying. If you are curious to learn more, have a look. https://www.sneucc.org/phasingforward

We know that many of you are eager to return to our gathering spaces, to see each other and to share a meal together as we have grown accustomed to doing. We are eager to welcome you again in the future! We will do this as soon as we can be sure there is no risk to public health, and as soon as we know that everyone will be welcome and safe at our table.

We want to remind our Waltham community that even though we are not gathering in person, the spirit is still working among us!  We are offering vibrant and soul-filling online worship!  We are engaging our children by teaching them mindfulness skills that will carry them through these times and through the future.  We are expanding the skills of our leadership team by training people how to lead meditation.  Peace and action, contemplation and activism, Agape’s spirit shines through in the lives that have been changed!

Please continue to practice physical distancing, frequent handwashing, wear a mask, and if you are sick stay home!  Until we meet (physically) again, may God hold you in the light of Love.

Re-Entry Task Force of Agape Spiritual Community, Waltham
www.agapewaltham.org
Please refer questions to Dawn (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or Matt (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

A Memorial Day prayer, adapted from Pastor Steve Garnaas Holmes and his Unfolding Light blog  May 29, 2017:

I pray for all those who have given their lives
serving in our military, and for their loved ones.

I pray for soldiers of other nations,
who also have given of themselves.

I pray for civilian victims of war and militarism.

I pray for those who have sacrificed
for the sake of peace and non-violence,
for conscientious objectors and protestors
who have given their lives for the sake of healing.
I pray for those who have died or been injured
acting for nonviolence all over the world.

Give me courage and compassion, God,
to devote myself
to nonviolence, healing and reconciliation,
in the name and spirit of Christ,
who met violence with love,
the Gentle One, the Crucified and Risen One.
Amen.
                    
Agape Virtual Events, open to ALL:

Agape Virtual Service: “I am Light”
Sunday, June 7th at 4:30pm via Zoom
https://us04web.zoom.us/j/2043377541  
Be uplifted with song, prayer, faith sharing, silence in a supportive spiritual community.  Connect to the Holy, to your neighbors, and to your deepest self.  At this service, we will focus on light.

Agape Virtual Service: Celebrating Fathers and Mothers:
The Divine Masculine and the Divine Feminine
Sunday, June 21st at 4:30pm via Zoom
https://us04web.zoom.us/j/2043377541  
Be uplifted with song, prayer, faith sharing, silence in a supportive spiritual community.  Connect to the Holy, to your neighbors, and to your deepest self.  Come as we honor those who have cared for us, tapping into the unconditional love, support, and protection of the Divine Masculine and Feminine.

Let's Meditate Together!
Weekly Thursday nights through June (and twice a month starting in July)
7:15-7:45pm: Virtually via Zoom (login info and instructions below)
Use this login through May 28th:
https://brandeis.zoom.us/j/5628480180   
We’ll use this login beginning in June:
https://us04web.zoom.us/j/2043377541
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.).

Initiating Inspiration Book Group 
Monday June 8th 7pm
Via Zoom (link forthcoming)
This is a Bi-Monthly Book Group in partnership with the Waltham Public Library. The January book is "I’m Spiritual, Dammit!" by Jennifer Weigel. All are welcome whether you have read the book or not.  This book is available for free here:
https://www.hoopladigital.com/title/11768802

Virtual Mindfulness and Storytime for Children and Families
Wednesdays through June 10th
11am to 11:20am
Virtually via Zoom (login info and instructions below)
https://us04web.zoom.us/j/2043377541
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 Agape leaders and early-childhood teacher Rachel Downs and 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.   Any questions?  Let Matt know (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

Offering Love, Breakfast and Support to those in Need in Waltham
Life for folks sleeping outside and in the shelters has changed considerably in this pandemic. Chaplains on the Way continues to raise support to cover emergency costs for those in need in this pandemic.  More information is at this link, and you can Donate here!”

Agape upcoming events and directions: 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).  


To make a love donation to support the unfoldment of Agape's vision in the world of living and spreading unconditional love, you can donate 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


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