2022 was the year we decided to see just how far we could go with virtually no staff and a shoestring budget. We ended up with a vastly expanded network, events of many kinds, and a board that increased in number, scope, and expertise. Follow this link to see where we went and where we're going!
One of the things that people don’t say much about Lent is how many of our practices are really about connecting us–to our inner selves, to God, and to our community. That turned out to be one of my main takeaways from our Sunday webinar, led by Phoebe Farag Mikhail, content creator, writer, educator, trainer, advocate, and education diplomat. She clearly drew on her experience in church community life, family life, international development, education, human rights, and disaster risk management in the writing of the book she spoke about, Putting Joy Into Practice, which you’ve been seeing us blog about over the last four weeks (thanks, Judith, Jen, Amber, and Tenbit!).
The last in our series of reflections on the book on which our upcoming webinar is based, by Axia board member Tenbit Mitiku:
“Repentance makes room for joy within us” –Phoebe Farag Mikhail
Nearly half-way into Phoebe Farag Mikhail’s gentle guidebook, “Putting Joy into Practice: Seven Ways to Lift your Spirit from the Early Church” is a chapter on repentance. And about half-way into that chapter I set down the book. Something was snagging at the corner of my mind, flapping in the wind of introspection her words had provoked.
Phoebe Farag Mikhail offers us a book, Putting Joy into Practice, that is like a warm blanket to hold onto as we journey through Lent. During those moments when I feel myself turning to anxiety or fear, her words comfort and redirect me so that I stay in touch with joy, love, compassion, and–the true meaning of Lent for me–connecting to God.
Revoula Venizelou was born in Athens, then part of the Ottoman Empire, on November 21, 1522, the only child of an illustrious and well-off Byzantine family. At 14, her parents married her to a fellow aristocrat, Andrea Chila, who turned out to be an abusive husband. She was only 17 when he died. Although her parents wanted her to remarry, she insisted on remaining at home, where she could spend her time in prayer and works of charity. As a result, she earned the respect and love of her community. Her parents died when she was 27, and she inherited extensive property. Around a year later, she founded a women’s monastery dedicated to St. Andrew and took the name Philothei.
The first in a series of four blog posts reacting--in advance of our upcoming webinar--to Phoebe Farag Mikhail's book Putting Joy Into Practice. Tasoni Phoebe herself will be leading the webinar on March 19 at 7:30 Eastern, with a focus especially on the practices of fasting and hospitality. Here's Judith's take on reading the book in a dark time:
Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
When I fall on my knees with my face to the rising sun,
Oh Lord, have mercy on me.