You can learn more about this by talking to your financial advisor.
This Wall Street Journal article date December 7, 2018 explains how people 70.5 years and older with a traditional IRA can reduce taxes by making charitable donations directly from their IRA account. According to the article "...IRA owners who are 70½ and older have the best of both worlds: They can get a tax break for donations and take the higher standard deduction. In fact, the standard deduction rises to $13,600 for singles and $26,600 for couples age 65 and older."
You can learn more about this by talking to your financial advisor.
Mother Susan's book recommendation:
Boundless Compassion - Creating a Way of Life by Joyce Rupp.
I recommend this book for a couple of reasons.
Father Nick's book recommendation:
Faithful Families: Creating Sacred Moments at Home by Traci Smith.
Happy New Year! Yes, Advent is the beginning of the church year and looking ahead, I'd like to suggest this book not just for your FAITHFUL FAMILIES personal collection but perhaps as a gift idea for someone you know. Newly revised and expanded, Faithful Families is put together much like a recipe book. So, it is not meant to be read straight through. Rather, it is designed as a resource to have on hand or to flip through, so you can pick out what is good and useful for a particular time. Broken into three parts: Traditions, Ceremonies, and Spiritual Practices, the book focuses on simple sacramental practices in conjunction with prayerful reflection. There are also hands on projects like building a red kite for Pentecost, which seeks to draw together multiple intelligences in community. Research has indicated that faithful spirituality starts in the home and hopefully, this resource could enrich, even supplement those practices already in place. Many Blessings.
The Christian Century, February 19, 2014
Read the main article on a congregation's contemplative practices.
Susan’s Book Recommendation
Life Together, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
This month, both Fr. Nick and I, offer you books that might feed your soul. Many of you are familiar with the important work of Pastor Bonhoeffer, a renown Christian minister who resisted the Nazi movement of terror during World War II. Written from his experience of leading an underground seminary, Life Together is a must-read, at some point in your Christian walk. Bishop Russell is using this book as his premise for the upcoming Diocesan Convention in February 2019. Here, Bonhoeffer, gives us practical advice on how we might life together in community to be sustained for whatever life throws at us, the good and the bad. He demonstrates how critical community is; how life together is essential for growing in Christ and truly living. This is a thin book – easily read - and one you might consider giving as gifts to those who are looking for a book that satiates our hunger for the fullest life in Christ.
Nick’s book recommendation:
Life in Christ: Practicing Christian Spirituality. Published in 2018,
Rev. Julia Gatta, shares some of the foundational wisdom she has culled from a lifetime of serving in the Anglican tradition. She does this by grounding it in the great heritage we have received from the English mystics. Applying her years of experience as pastor and spiritual director, combined with her study of the spiritual wisdom of the past, she explores common Christian practices and their underlying theology through an Episcopal lens. In the tradition of Esther de Waal, Martin Smith, and Martin Thornton, with particular reference to scripture, The Book of Common Prayer, and the wisdom of the Christian spiritual tradition, she illuminates methods readers may already be practicing and provides insight and guidance to ones that may be new to them. Mother Julia is the beloved Professor of Pastoral Theology at The School of Theology, Sewanee, TN. The corpus of her work is truly essential reading.
Mirabai Bush, a meditation and mindfulness teacher who leads Google’s mindfulness training, “Search Inside Yourself,” pointed us to an illustration of contemplative practices, which shows the breadth of meditation and mindfulness within traditions. Although this list isn’t comprehensive, it does open up one’s imagination about how these disciplines take root and manifest themselves in our lives.
The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society goes on to explain:
"On the Tree of Contemplative Practices, the roots symbolize the two intentions that are the foundation of all contemplative practices. The roots of the tree encompass and transcend differences in the religious traditions from which many of the practices originated, and allow room for the inclusion of new practices that are being created in secular contexts.
The branches represent different groupings of practices. For example, Stillness Practices focus on quieting the mind and body in order to develop calmness and focus. Generative Practices may come in many different forms but share the common intent of generating thoughts and feelings, such as thoughts of devotion and compassion, rather than calming and quieting the mind. (Please note that such classifications are not definitive, and many practices could be included in more than one category.)
Because this illustration cannot possibly include all contemplative practices, we offer a free download of a blank Tree that you can customize to include your own practices. Activities not included on the tree (including those which may seem mundane, such as gardening or eating) may be understood to be contemplative practices when done with the intent of cultivating awareness and wisdom.”
Seeing these classifications, I’m left wondering what else in our experiences might be part of this tree. Here’s a blank tree for your own practices. Fill it in and, if you’re willing, share it with us and others.
BY TRENT T. GILLISS (@TRENTGILLISS), FOUNDING EXECUTIVE EDITOR OF ON BEING STUDIOS
A blog post from Unfolding Light, a daily reflection rooted in a contemplative, Creation-centered spirituality, often inspired by my daily walk in the woods.
Sitting with Jewish neighbors
at their temple in shock and fear
after a synagogue shooting,
feeling their heartbreak and vulnerability,
I confess: for a moment I felt safe.
I am, after all, not one of them.
Click here to read the post
Mother Susan's Recommended Book for October: Revised Office Readings by Church Publishers, 2-Volume set for $18.99
The beginning of the school year is one of those seasons when folks are motivated to be more faithful to the spiritual practice of Morning or Evening Prayer. This two-volume set, Year 1 and Year 2, has all the scripture for each daily reading, all collected, in order, each day of the year. Everything's arranged for you! It truly makes doing the offices easy. For me, especially for the Old Testament readings, I really look forward to hearing how the Revised story develops day after day when I'm faithful to doing the Office readings... There have been seasons in my life when I've wanted Readings to use my Study Bible, to flip around and find all the readings myself. But I am now finding that having a Daily Office Reader makes saying the office less fussy - and that much more efficient and inviting. Each morning - all the tabs are set, except finding
the day's psalm. Saying the Daily Office gives us a time-tested practice of knowing how you're going to start your quiet time each morning. We have these wonderful prayers and scriptures already laid out for us. "Open our lips, Lord, and our mouths shall proclaim your praise.'
Nick's book recommendation: Bodies in Motion and at Rest: On Metaphor and Mortality
Published in 2001, Thomas Lynch, poet, funeral director, and author of the highly praised The Undertaking, examines the relations between "literary and mortuary arts." All of us, I'm convinced, have questions, musings perhaps, about the circumstances that surround us and those we love when we pass away. In some sense, all of us has at one time or another entered into that space after someone we know has died and experienced a theology of remaining even if we didn't know how to put that time into words; Lynch helps here, I think. As Christians, we claim the sure and certain hope of Resurrection. Yet still, I find myself wondering how one can find a way to express what they feel as they remain and about those whom they have loved and see no more. If that is you, like me, then you will find Tom Lynch a welcome friend. Thomas Lynch's essays, poems and stories have appeared in The Atlantic, Granta, The New York Times, the New Yorker, the Paris Review, and elsewhere. He lives in Milford, Michigan where he has been the funeral director since 1974, and in Moveen, Co. Clare, Ireland where he keeps an ancestral cottage.
Susan's Recommendation: Hour By Hour, by Edward S. Gleason.
For those that want to start a daily prayer discipline and yet feel a little intimidated by the daily offices in our Book of Common, this little pocket-sized prayer book is an ideal place to start. Following the ancient practice of praying 'the hours', "Hour by Hour" offers four very short prayer offices - morning, noon, evening and compline - for each day of the week. It's perfect for opening up a prayer space in your day, and it can go with you anywhere! These reduced daily offices are truly doable - even for the very busy! I keep mine on my nightstand, which enables me to do the nightly Compline office without traipsing my BCP around the house. Using this prayer book faithfully over the years is an excellent way for learning many portions of the daily office and the Psalms. It's small, easy to use and leather-bound. So, if you are looking for a meaningful gift, this is one that folks will truly use and treasure.
Nick's Recommendation: Learning to Walk in the Dark, by Barbara Brown Taylor
Ok. I'm cheating a little on this one. I'm listening to it on Audible during my walks with Kora in the morning. Nevertheless here is what they New York Times has to say about, Learning to Walk in the Dark. “Taylor has become increasingly uncomfortable with our tendency to associate all that is good with lightness and all that is evil and dangerous with darkness. Doesn't God work in the night-time as well? In Learning to Walk in the Dark, Taylor asks us to put aside our fears and anxieties and to explore all that God has to teach us ‘in the dark. She argues that we need to move away from our “solar spirituality' and ease our way into appreciating 'lunar BARBARA BROWN TAYLOR spirituality' (since, like the moon, our experience of the light waxes and wanes). Through darkness we find courage, we understand the world in new ways, and we feel God's presence around us, guiding us through things seen and unseen. Often, it is while we are in the dark that we grow the most.” I'm liking this one y'all.
Take a journey through The Book of Common Prayer, the Christian life, and basic beliefs of our faith, guided by two Episcopal priests. Walk through the liturgical year, the sacraments of the church, habits of daily prayer, and the teachings of Anglican Christianity. See how our prayer shapes our belief and our lives and how our beliefs lead us into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ. Walk in Love is a comprehensive look at the practices and beliefs found within the Episcopal faith.
This is the companion book for the 8-week Faith Forum series on our faith and practices starting Aug 26.
Buy the book on Amazon
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry Joins Other Faith Leaders in a Statement on Family Separation at Our Borders
Recently, the Administration announced that it will begin separating families and criminally prosecuting all people who enter the U.S. without previous authorization. As religious leaders representing diverse faith perspectives, united in our concern for the wellbeing of vulnerable migrants who cross our borders fleeing from danger and threats to their lives, we are deeply disappointed and pained to hear this news.
We affirm the family as a foundational societal structure to support human community and understand the household as an estate blessed by God. The security of the family provides critical mental, physical and emotional support to the development and wellbeing of children. Our congregations and agencies serve many migrant families that have recently arrived in the United States. Leaving their communities is often the only option they have to provide safety for their children and protect them from harm. Tearing children away from parents who have made a dangerous journey to provide a safe and sufficient life for them is unnecessarily cruel and detrimental to the well-being of parents and children.
As we continue to serve and love our neighbor, we pray for the children and families that will suffer due to this policy and urge the Administration to stop their policy of separating families.