by Janice Maloney-Brooks
Walking the labyrinth, praying in the chapel privately, yoga and knitting are some practices of the contemplative.
It is about time to slow down and find that still, small voice of God speaking to you that draws people to the contemplative disciplines.
The Church of the Ascension Hamilton has a dynamic meditative ministry. It includes Centering Prayer each Thursday evening, monthly Taize services on the fourth Sundays from 7:00 p.m. and quarterly silent retreats.
The spring’s silent retreat offered an opportunity for people of different denominations and faiths to draw together to listen in silence to God’s word to them. The day was spent sharing time and activities or concentrating on singular pursuits; these opportunities meant a great day to the participants.
Walking the labyrinth is a profoundly personal and spiritual experience. It is different for each participant and is different each time someone walks the labyrinth. “For me, this time, there was a beautiful, peaceful empowerment, especially during the standing meditation I spontaneously adopted at the finish of my labyrinth walk,” said Nicole Smith who coordinates Ascension’s Contemplative Ministries.
Eydie S. Zuk spent part of the day colouring meditation artwork, opening yet another contemplative practice. It was her first experience at a silent retreat. “Although we were alone in our silence, I strongly felt a presence of community and a deep presence of God. We were free to move about as inwardly guided, so I and the other women connected to God and ourselves through the spiritual practices.”
She remarked her favourite part was when “we ended our sacred space together with Deacon Janice leading us through a silent liturgy. As a United Church of Canada member, I was overjoyed by the ecumenism we practice in Christ.”
Upcoming silent retreats are planned for July 7 and October 6. For information contact Nicole Smith below or the Parish Office (905-527-3505).
The Reverend Deacon Janice Maloney-Brooks is Assistant Deacon and Sunday School Coordinator at the Church of the Ascension Hamilton.