May 2014 New Growth

altar in progress for Buddha and Mary
Thank you to all who attended our special meeting: former board members, new guests and women of spirit. Special thanks to former board member and group facilitator, Phoebe Williams. Phoebe has the gift of seeing the larger picture and she expertly helped us tap into our group wisdom as we moved into the next phase of Women's Interfaith.

After five years as president of this amazing group, I knew it was time to make way for new leadership that could be shared and that could reflect the dynamic presence of spirit when this group gathers.

Some of the comments and phrases harvested from our World Cafe conversation:
  How has Women's Interfaith been meaningful for you?
    A place like no other where you can share deep conversation.
     A place to 'be,' not do.
   "A place where I could create altars, create programs..."
    Incredible food that is nurturing and created with love.
   I could learn about different faiths and traditions, as well as 'no faith.'
   A place of trust where I could be weak and vulnerable and feel supported.
   Rituals that celebrated the seasons.    
   Singing, dancing, creativity and the arts.
   A place to speak the truth.
   Tribal connection.
   Being mentored, learning from the wisdom of other women.
   Universality, the common thread running through all our separate traditions rising to the fore.
    Strong presence of Spirit when sitting together in a circle.
    Connection.
   
Looking back, here's some highlights of collaborations and outreach:
Seeing 'Heroic Girlz' in an early performance and lending support to this group with fiscal sponsorship.
Nurturing the sprout of 'Youth Alive's' Rite of Passage program.
Hearing PAX foreign exchange students share their traditions.
Supporting International Women's Day and Berkshire Festival of Women Writers.
Initiatives that helped women in the Congo, Turkey and here in the Berkshires.

More inter-generational sharing and new programs wait to be called forth.
I feel great gratitude to Dr. Alison Stokes, founder of this group; to the long line of women who served on the board over the years, to the amazing array of women who presented programs, to all those who came to share their lovingly created food, and their heart and soul. A special thanks to our administrators over the past ten years: Sandra Beer, Eileen Quinn, and Alison Gaines. Volunteer extraordinaire Laighne, thank you, as well as the many women who help greet, set up and make the space new again.

With much excitement I look forward to supporting  the new wave of  shared leadership that arose at our meeting.
Amber Chand explained, 'The threshold is a strong place to be.'
And so we move, from strength to strength.

Wednesday, April 16


Tales of Life Beyond Life
with Bonney Rega

 
As a hospice chaplain, Bonney Rega ponders the afterlife in a new short story collection, “Everyday Miracles: Tales of Life Beyond Life.” If you have a fear of dying, this presentation can allay those fears.
Bonney has seen people wrestle with questions that plague all societies: What happens when we die? What’s the transition like? How do lost loved ones reconnect with relatives and friends?

In “Everyday Miracles,” Bonney pulls together several short stories that she has collected from her patients, grieving loved ones and her own experiences. These uplifting tales provide a source of comfort for those dealing with loss while confronting age-old questions about death and life.

“People often ask me if it’s a hard job to work with the dying,” says Rega. “It’s an honor to do this work; I’m a spiritual midwife who helps souls go from a sick body to a healthy one in heavenly realms.”Bonney will share stories from her book and invite a discussion after her talk.

Bio: Bonney Rega serves as the Lexington Hospice Chaplain, ministering to hospice end-of-life care patients. She earned degrees from Bennington College and the University of Massachusetts. In 1987, she became an ordained minister in the Church of All, an inter-religious church that honors all religious traditions. This uniquely qualifies her to minister to hospice patients from a variety of backgrounds.
As a spiritual midwife, Bonney helps patients enter their next birth into the heavenly dimensions. She has also served as a meditation teacher and leader of grief groups, where some of her book’s stories emerged. She additionally has studied the human psyche, stages of grief, archetypes, dream symbolism and metaphysics in art and literature.
Now living in Chicago, Bonney taught art at BCC from 1969-1976 and was active in local theater at Pittsfield Town Players, Berkshire Theater Festival, and Mac-Haydn Theater in Chatham, N.Y

Wednesday, March 19



Poetry, Paradox and Prayer 


Reading and workshop with Jan Hutchinson
             Join event on Facebook  

          5:45-8:45 p.m.  
                   Stockbridge Congregational Church 
 4 Main St, Stockbridge   
    
After the Women's Interfaith potluck, Jan will read briefly from her new poetry collection, Raggedy Prayers and Crooked Ladders, then lead a generative poetry workshop.

Please bring paper and pen. We will write from prompts and share our rather spontaneous poems, which will have been written in the spirit of play rather than of perfectionism.

For some, the writing of poetry can be
a spiritual practice. It can help us pay sharper attention to particulars, ponder self and world, honor the Great Mysteries, and move toward equanimity. 
BIO:  Jan Hutchinson has focused on poetry, in and out of academic contexts, for more than fifty years. For over a decade, as a practice, she has written at least one poem every morning.

Her collection Poems of Prayer and Heresy came out in 2008. A second collection, Raggedy Prayers and Crooked Ladders, followed in December 2013.

During the past two Aprils, Jan has sent out daily poetry prompts to hundreds of poets in nine states who signed up to write a poem a day during National Poetry Month. 


Women's Interfaith potluck events take place at  The First Congregational Church in Stockbridge. The space is a great size for us, welcoming and easy to get to. Please join us and bring a friend!

$5-10 suggested donation
FREE FOR MEMBERS
(See Membership section below)
 

PLEASE BRING A
LABELED DISH TO SHARE
 
In the interest of simplifying and going green, we ask you to please consider bringing re-usable dinnerware (plates and flatware) for your own use to reduce disposables. We will provide dinnerware for anyone not able to bring their own.

 
WHEN AND WHERE 
 
We meet usually on the
third Wednesday, at the 
4 Main Street, Stockbridge.
Watch emails for any changes.
 
5:45 Gathering with food
6:00 Welcome Circle
6:15 Potluck Supper
7:00 Program
8:45 Closure/clean up
 

Wednesday, February 19

Freeing our Hearts
"Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future." ~Bernard Meltzer

                                                 
Our roles as women have been changing rapidly in the past several generations. In addition to the opportunities that have opened for us in the world of work, we also want satisfying intimate relationships. We don’t want to sacrifice our autonomy and lose ourselves in our relationships. To navigate the rapidly changing world of relationships, it is helpful to have “heart tools.”

In tonight’s program, Ani will offer us one of the heart tools from the her new book, written with her husband Bill, Heart Tools for Couples: 8 Ways to a Loving Relationship.
           
The Heart Tool we will focus on tonight is Transforming Hurt and Resentment into Forgiveness. Inevitably in relationships we hurt and disappoint each other. This heart tool is a step-by-step process to let go of the weight of resentments, while honoring ourselves and our partner. The workshop features guided reflection and journaling, followed by group discussion.

Ani Nadler Grosser, LICSW, is a psychotherapist in private practice in Lenox, and co-directs The Center for Compassionate Relationships. A Certified Imago Relationship therapist, she specializes in relationship issues.
Ani facilitates on-going Healing and Empowerment groups for women, which support women to grow in self-awareness, self-responsibility and self-acceptance.
Beginning April 22, Ani will again offer her popular 7 week workshop Manifesting the Love of your Life. This course focuses on learning to love yourself, and preparing yourself for the relationship you yearn for. You can learn more about these offerings at www.compassionaterelationships.com.


First Congregational Church of Stockbridge
4 Main Street     Stockbridge, MA 
5:45 Gathering with food
6:00 Welcome circle
6:15 Potluck Supper
7:00 Program

Annual Meeting and The Female Hero January 22nd

The Female Hero

Jungian analyst and psychotherapist Sarah Jackson will share her overview of the traditional hero, heretofore male, and the contemporary hero, who is not so strictly gendered. This lecture, accompanied by images, and discussion will focus on Sarah's particular interest: the new female heroes who are showing up in contemporary film-- cinema being the medium where our mythology is most visible.  We will explore what these new heroes have to tell us about our own heroism as women.



Sarah Jackson holds a BA from Bennington College, a Master's in Fine Art and a Master’s in Archetypal Psychology from Lesley University. She has studied group dream work with Robert Bosnak, archetypal & alchemical psychology with James Hillman, Sandplay Therapy at the C.G.Jung Institute in Boston, family therapy at the Family Center at BMC in Pittsfield MA,  and Process Work with Arnie Mindell. 
In addition to being a psychoanalyst and psychotherapist, Sarah is a professional visual artist, as well as a writer.  Her paintings, drawings and paperworks have been exhibited widely in the Berkshires, New York City, and elsewhere.

There will be a brief annual meeting @ 7:00.

                                                                         ***

Women's Interfaith is a proud co-sponsor of:

The Second Annual Interfaith Forum on Death, Dying and the Afterlife

Sunday, February 9, 2014 - 1:00pm to 5:00pm

Berkshire South Regional community Center
Great Barrington, MA

In Feb. 2013 Rimon held the first Interfaith Forum on Spiritual Views of Death and the Afterlife.  Upon conclusion of the event there was a resounding request for another opportunity to delve more deeply into this topic.
This 2nd Interfaith  Forum will have two parts.
Part 1 will include Jewish, Buddhist, Christian, Muslim and Hindu clergy/representatives to present their tradition's views in a question and answer format with a moderator and also in a community conversation.
Part 2 will include smaller break-out discussion groups led by experts in a variety of fields pertaining the following topics:
Topics to be covered will include: spiritual preparation for death,  the journey of the soul, traditions around preparation of the body of the diseased, perspectives on suicide including physician assisted death with dignity, hospice care, grief rituals and support systems for the bereaved, the home funeral movement.
Suggested Donation: $10, to help defray the costs of the forum.

Kwanzaa Celebration at Whitney Art Center January 18th


                                                                     *******
Over the years, Women's Interfaith's focus has been on encouraging and nurturing meaningful conversation.
Here's a link to an interesting article:
the power of conversation

Wednesday, December 18


WII altar with lights December 2011

Annual Celebration of Light 
The season of light is upon us. Now is the time to reconnect to the light within ourselves, which is the essence of our being. How can we each share that light with the world? Join the Women’s Interfaith Institute in what has become a beloved tradition on Wednesday, December 18th for our annual celebration of Light, Spirit and Community. Through sacred music, healing prayer, divine dance and guided meditation we will share the ceremonial illumination of Light as expressed through various faith traditions. Rabbi Kaya Stern Kaufman, Rev. Susan Jameson, Shirley Edgerton, JoAnne Spies and others will guide the evening as we call forth brightness and hope, and set our light-filled intentions as 2013 comes to an end and the New Year approaches.
If so moved, bring an object for the altar that represents what brings forth your light.



THIS MONTH'S QUOTE:


 "There is a crack in everything.  
 That's how the light gets in."  
Leonard  Cohen