The Spiritual Life Ministry at East Liberty Presbyterian Church focuses on helping us to become aware of God's action and presence in our lives, and to assist in this transformation through the practice of spiritual disciplines that make us more open and responsive to the Spirit's touch. Spiritual Life offers us a variety of ways to deepen our spiritual connection with God.
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Music, Poetry, Mandalas. Each can be tools for prayer; but what happens when these elements are combined to enhance each other and lead us deeper? Join the Spiritual Life Committee following worship on Sunday June 2 as Sister Donna Marie Beck will guide us in exploring our spiritual depths and enhancing our prayer life using the arts. Sister Donna Marie is a trained spiritual director, Professor Emeritus of Music Therapy at Duquesne and Professor at the Music Psychotherapy Center. Please join us for this unique opportunity! A light lunch will be served. (No “First Sunday” in May due to the Pittsburgh Marathon.)
For more information, call Rev. Callahan, (412) 441-3800 x41.
The Spiritual Life Committee invites you to visit the new Prayer Room, (Room 235), a special space just for you. Come to experience the quiet in the midst of the wonderful busy-ness that is ELPC. Come to sit and pray in silence. Come to listen for the still small voice of God. In the midst of all the good that we do here at ELPC, this quiet space comes alongside to bear witness to who we are as a people of prayer. Our spiritual life, the life of prayer, informs our call and response to mission and ministry and, in turn, our ministry and mission give life and depth to our prayer. Each is incomplete without the other. So, we encourage you to try something new as you go about your ministry and mission at the church, take a moment also to seek spiritual grounding in a space devoted to prayer – just for you. Blessings!
For more information, call Rev. Callahan, (412) 441-3800 x41.
The Spiritual Life Committee invites you to a series of Lectio Divina workshops. The workshops aim to deepen the relationship of participants with the Divine through a practice based on two approaches: Lectio Divina and the four senses of scripture. Lectio Divina is an ancient practice for meditating on scripture, listening and responding to the scripture as if in conversation with God. Leah Marmo and Ben Rainey will facilitate these workshops over a series of dates from January through May. Join us as you can; attendance at all sessions is not mandatory. All sessions are Sunday evenings beginning at 6pm.
Call Rev. Callahan, (412) 441-3800 x41 with questions for more information.
Drawn from the ancient Christian contemplative tradition, centering prayer is presented in an updated, accessible four-step method. The Centering Prayer group aims to sit in silence for 20 minutes of prayer, and supports its members in their ongoing practice of this transforming way of being with God. Centering Prayer is a relationship with God and a discipline to foster that relationship. This method of prayer is a movement beyond conversation with Christ to communion with Christ. Attendance every week is not required--you are welcome to join us anytime. The group meets every Tuesday evening in the second floor library from 7:00 to 8:30 pm. Contact Jon Nelson by or by phone (412) 363-8099.
After the Apostle, Paul, invited believers in Colossae 3:1 to “… seek the things that are above, where Christ is…” it seems practical and reasonable that he would tell the people just how to approach this task. It’s a lesson I know I need to learn over and over again: how do I keep my mind set on Jesus, cast out evil desires and disobedient behaviors so that I may receive and enjoy the gift of God’s love and peace instead?
For me, the first hurdle is to fully believe that I really am God’s chosen and beloved. It’s just too good to be true. The very idea contradicts so much of the evidence I confront in daily life; some are certainly less worthy than others of being forgiven, holy and beloved. I know when “bad” thoughts, words and actions explode in my mind, mouth and hands only to make matters worse rather than better. I am guilty.
My next hurdle is being anxious and distracted. There is too much on my plate already and I have so little time left or resources available to do anything effective about all that needs to be addressed in this broken world, beginning with myself. I am helpless.
So I return to the Word for reassurance that new life for me is in Christ who has already taken the punishment for all sin. It doesn’t depend upon my own efforts; my life is “hidden in Christ with God. (v. 3)” It’s a mystery to me; nevertheless a clear promise given in writing. I am insecure.
Over the past few years, I have been introduced to the ecumenical Centering Prayer movement. It is an ancient Christian discipline revived by Father Thomas Keating, a Cistercian monk. When I quit talking aloud or mentally, I can listen to God. In silence, my thoughts do not stop; but I simply let them pass as if they were feathers floating away. I pray without words. By being still, I receive spiritual nourishment and am reminded that “prayer is not work, but an attentive waiting followed by surrender.” (George W. Hunt, S.J. in Foreword to The Daily Reader for Contemplative Living compiled by S. Stephanie Iachetta). I surrender.
Jean C. Kennedy, Ruling Elder
A small group is a gathering of 3 to 12 people (sometimes more) who meet on a regular basis to share a common interest. More than a gathering for fellowship, the goals are to become involved in activities for mission or ministry as identified by the group, to offer support for personal and spiritual growth, and to provide an opportunity to pray together. Ideas for forming new groups are welcome.
Rev. Callahan is an ordained Presbyterian minister member of Pittsburgh Presbytery with almost 15 years experience in pastoral ministry. She is well-familiar with Centering Prayer and labyrinth ministries, and is an experienced Spiritual Director, trained in both contemplative and Ignatian traditions.
In addition to her staff position at ELPC, she is continuing her graduate studies at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in the areas of Ecclesiology, Spiritual Renewal, and Pastoral Care.
As ELPC’s Director of Spiritual Life ministries, Rev. Callahan’s goals are to nurture our congregation towards richer faith formation practices through small group ministries, teaching and modeling devotional practices, and exploring the spiritual dimensions of Christian mission. She leads programs and retreats while helping to build the already rich variety of ELPC’s spiritual practices.
Spiritual Direction is the term used to describe a relationship in which one person walks along the spiritual path with another: helping to listen for the movement of God in the other person’s life, and offering suggestions of practices or reading that may enhance the journey. As a part of her calling here, Rev. Callahan is available to provide Spiritual Direction for individuals in the ELPC family. If you would like to schedule an appointment, please contact Rev. Callahan at (412) 441-3800 x41.