Join Our Beloved Community
Updated: Apr 8
2018 Proposal: 2nd Annual 50 Days Of Easter
During Lent we used four levels of participation. I will use this system for our 2nd Annual 50 Days Of Easter Study. This is an explanation/review of levels.
A desire to form a Beloved Community is my passion since attending a conference offered to pastors in the Arlington District of Virginia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church by then District Superintendent, Bishop Young Jin Cho. I was inspired by Reverend Graham Standish’s description of a Beloved Community that listened for the direction of the Holy Spirit. I am serving as an Interim Pastor at Peterborough UMC during this time, and will invite them to join us.
For those who want to form a Beloved Community in Level 4, there will be specific assignments and an expectation that each person will participate at some level at least once a week. I would like to speak to each person at Level 4 at least once on an “old fashioned phone call” if possible.
Level 1 (5 Minutes): This is the easiest level, and it just involves taking time to be silent for 5 minutes. You work at your own pace, and responses are not expected but are always welcomed. Prayer should never be a burden.
Level 2 (10 Minutes): At this level, I encourage you to read the scripture prayers I will send daily. I want to stress that working at your level of comfort is important. Think of this as the time you spend with God, a very dear friend who knows you and loves you.
Level 3 (15 Minutes): This advanced level involves focusing on reading the scripture to help discern what kind of actions God might be suggesting for you. (If you have questions, please let me know, and I am happy to talk with you about how this might work.)
Level 4 (30-40 Minutes): For quite some time, I have been keeping a daily prayer journal. I created my own process based on a model I found in the late 1980s. I have tweaked that form; made it my own; and suggest, if you participate at this level, that you work on your personal style of recording prayers. I offer my system as an example, but I encourage you to find your own rhythm:
The acronym I use is the following.
First I ask, “What is my PART today?”
So before I even hop out of bed, I try to remember to ask myself four questions:
What can I PRAISE about God today?
What do I need to ADMIT needs work in me this day?
What do I want to REQUEST God to help me with today?
For what do I want to give THANKS?
Here’s an example of how I answered these questions today:
I PRAISE God for the beauty of creation I see out my window everyday.
I ADMITTED my need to stop procrastinating and write this study.
I REQUESTED inspiration from the Holy Spirit.
I THANKED God for the joy I feel when I think of my six grandchildren.
This class has four goals.
Goal 1: To provide a vehicle for establishing times of personal refection that will help to deepen individual relationships with God within a Beloved Community. I will use emails, social media, and /or my web page. (Would love to design ways to communicate as a group, too.)
Goal 2: To invite people to use multiple methods of communication: the internet, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, blogging, email, videos, (possible conference calls if I can figure out how to do that) and other methods.
Goal 3: To encourage people to record what they are learning systematically so they can see their own personal growth. If you did this last year—read what you wrote again this year.
Goal 4: To form a Beloved Community with those who feel inspired and called to participate. To find a way to have us interact with each others responses. (This is something I am trying to develop.)
If you want to participate at Level 4, I ask you to write an introductory statement (it can be one sentence) about yourself that I can share. I will set up a private page for those on Facebook. Our website is prayactprayagain.org. I am 70 years old—so using all the social media tools is a learning experience for me. As we break new ground together, and I hope we can discover new ways to shine God’s eternal image into the world using 21st Century tools.
Remember: All of these guidelines are suggestions. There are no requirements at Levels 1-3. Even Level 4 is in the process of being designed. Take what feeds your soul, and ignore or let me know about anything that does not seem relevant to you. Also, let me know if there is a way you see that might improve how people can participate. Thank you so much. Please let me know if you want to participate.
Be blessed, and know you are perfectly made in God’s image.