Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Nurturing Spirit and Body; Seeking to Nurture Earth


JOY’s 7-circuit canvas labyrinth

By Diane Waddell

 The Justice, Outreach and Yoga (JOY) New Worshiping Community is a part of the 1001 NWC program of the PCUSA. The group gathers in St. Joseph, Missouri, in a sacred, beautiful space where the prairie has flourished, offering solace and quietude for the restoration of body and soul.

 JOY was birthed from a Laudato Si understanding of seeking equity in both environmental and social justice. Leaders and others who are part of the community share opportunities for sacred connection. We are a Matthew 25 community, seeking justice, and are particularly grateful for the three recently added intersectional priorities” to Matthew 25, including the importance of working as faithful stewards of God’s Creation to respond to Climate Change.

 Our Community meets at least three times a month. Our spiritual gatherings begin with candle or sage burning, prayer vigil for local or global needs, and the music of singing bowls. Our themes have been based on Celtic spirituality which keeps us grounded and centered in Creation. Alternate months we share and are amazed by the work of the mystics such as Hildegard of Bingen, who offered an essence of “greenness.”

 We have been gifted by one of the members, Rev. Dr. Krista Kiger, with a 7-circuit canvas labyrinth, and have been able to share a special sacred time of a labyrinth walk at least twice yearly. Our hearts, minds, and spirits are enriched by the sacred walk.

 We are strengthened and nurtured in our space and through our community. Our next steps are those in which we reach out to the wider community — our neighborhood and the wider region to advocate for the healing of the Earth. (Refuse, reuse, recycle; limit or refuse single-use plastics; plant native flowers, shrubs, trees; care for our gift of water, air, earth…)

 Indeed, for we ourselves to be healed and whole, we must nurture and care for this beautiful home called Earth.


Diane Waddell is Leader of JOY New Worshiping Community.

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