Hi, friends! I obviously let posting go for way too long!
Our Lenten video series didn't pan out quite the way we had hoped, but the videos that were submitted have been uploaded to our Facebook page if you'd like to explore! I do hope we can try again in Lent 2019, or maybe do a seasonal podcast. So much of what is said in our groups is incredible that I want to share it with others.
Our retreat to Loon Lake was a real adventure as the snow hemmed us in on every side! Barring some stress about how we would get there, once we made it to the lodge it was actually quite peaceful. Hinenites liked the quiet time we had and enjoyed the freedom we were given. The retreat itself is a pilot program of the Diocese of New Westminster and we think the format is pretty good! They will be running it again in October but we have made plans to be at Rivendell for the the weekend of All Saints/All Souls, so we will be giving it a pass this time,
In Holy Week we instituted a service that we hope will become a yearly tradition at Hineni House: an anointing ritual. Using holy oil from St. Margaret's, we anointed each other's hands and prayed that we would take the lovingkindness and growth from our time at Hineni House out into the world with us as we prepared for the last few weeks of programming. I brought the big harp to help us with our music and personally found it all to be quite powerful.
On our last official day of programming, we had some time to reflect on and offer feedback about what the house has been for us. Here are some of the amazing quotes I collected:
"Hineni House has been my ecology of prayer, the oikos, the dwelling place of prayer. It's been the container for my prayer life."
"I was looking for a soft landing when I moved into this house, but as soon as I moved in I knew good things were going to happen here."
"I remember feeling like I was falling and somebody caught me; it was a place I could stop and breathe. I have found a place here where I could be at peace. ...For too long I functioned without a sacred space, a space that's dedicated to something outside of the ordinary function of work and everything. I don't think I'd like to go forward without it."
"What I want to keep with me from my time here is this sense of community. There's been a lot of laughter and fun...and then we come here [to program] and we can have some intense and personal, sometimes hard discussions about things, and that's totally okay."
I also conducted exit interviews for everyone, and asked in particular for advice from residents to those who would come onboard this year. Here is what some of our Hinenites said:
"Community takes time. Don't fret if it's not gelling right away. Trust takes time, but if you work hard with an open mind it will come in the end."
"Be honest with yourself about why you're coming here. Have a conversation with yourself about why you want to live here. You should be seeking something, and you should know something about yourself."
Good advice, I think! And although I haven't checked yet, I did tell residents to leave inspirational and helpful messages for future residents in a huge book we were left by my predecessor Hannah. If they remembered to do that, I'll make sure I share some with you.
Peace! I'm going to split this post so the next one will be an update on where we are now.
For the season of Lent, we asked residents and other folks affiliated with Hineni House to share short reflections on particular words chosen for their spiritual or seasonal relevance.
Here's me (go figure) with some thoughts on "glory."
It seems impossible, but here we are in Lent already! So far we've had a fun year. We welcomed a new resident (and said tearful goodbyes to Miranda, who is already at her adventure in London), and have settled into a routine of dinners, activities, and now in Lent, of course, fasting.
Our first guest speaker of the year was the Rev. Sharon Smith, who spoke to us about Sanctuary Mental Health Ministries and how we can support our friends and fellow faithful who struggle with mental illness. In March we will welcome the unparalleled Dr. David Kuhl to talk about end of life issues and spirituality.
We decided to have our own pancake supper on our usual Monday night, so we called it Lundi Gras and cooked up a most scrumptious pile of pancakes. The next day, Haley and Jen came to help Heidi, me, and other members of St. Margaret's and Open Way Christian Community give out waffles on a stick to folks waiting in line at the Food Bank! We had a lot of fun and gave away over two hundred of them! I felt like I would surely dream of endless lines of waffles to be cut, "sticked," and syruped that night...
This weekend we'll be going on retreat at Loon Lake with the new Diocesan pilot program "Prayer without Words," which should be an interesting experience and give us the chance to connect with other folks around the Diocese.
I'm so enjoying the easy laughter of our group, and the way residents support each other. I am so looking forward to the rest of this year.
Winter is definitely here and the house is abuzz with excitement over the new Hineni House Christmas tree, which will be decorated very soon!
Some surprising news we've received is that one of our residents has accepted a very exciting position in the UK! We will miss Miranda very much, but this is sure to be the beginning of an incredible time in her life!
Since she will be leaving us, that means as of January 1st we are going to have a room available! Do consider applying and becoming a part of the Hineni House community!
About the Authors
The writers of this blog are all the wonderful people who make up Hineni: the residents (or Hinenites!), the workers, the volunteers, and the folks of the St. Margaret's Cedar Cottage Church community.