Posted in Beguine Again, General Interest, TheBeZine

a story of faith, hope and love

IMG_1955I feel almost inclined to start this story with “once upon a time” since it feels that we began our adventure so long ago.  I started The Bardo Group (though it wasn’t titled that way to begin with) in 2011 as a way to encourage a sort of world without borders by having people from different cultures and religions come together to show what’s in their hearts and in doing so to demonstrate that with all our differences we have much in common: our dreams and hopes, our plans for children and grandchildren, our love of family, friends and the spiritual traditions we’ve chosen or into which we were born  . . . not to mention our love of sacred space as it is expressed in the arts and our concerns for peace, social justice and sustainability.

At one point I decided that it would be nice to have a sort of virtual Sunday service and invited Terri Stewart, a Methodist Minister, to be our “Sunday Chaplain.”  In 2008 she founded Beguine Again, an interfaith platform for clerics and spiritual teachers to offer daily solace and inspiration. I felt comfortable inviting Terri in because she didn’t want to convert anyone and seemed to appreciate the beauty and wisdom of traditions other than her own. She even incorporated the wisdom of other traditions in her rituals and writings. Terri supported our mission. She didn’t appear threatened by different opinions or beliefs.

A little over a year ago, I suggested we might throw our two efforts together, Beguine Again and The Bardo Group. I hoped that would ensure the continuation of the The Bardo Group and the wise, beautiful and valued work and ideals of our core team and guests, a group of earnest and talented poets, writers, story-tellers, essayists, artists, photographers and musicians.  Each is a strong advocate for a better – fair, peaceful and sustainable – world. Together they are a powerhouse.

Okay, yes!  I’m a bit biased.  I’ve only met one of our group in person and only talked by phone with Terri,  but I’ve read everyone’s work – their emails, messages, books, blogs and FB posts for years now.  We’ve been through deaths in families, births and birthdays, graduations, illness and recovery, major relocations, wars and gunfire, triumphs and failures. Two of our original contributors have died. I feel that our core team and our guests might be my next-door neighbors instead of residing in  Romania, England, Algeria, the Philippines, Israel, India, Greece, Bulgaria, the United States and other countries I’ve probably forgotten. We’ve featured work by people ranging in age – as near as I can guess – from 19 to nearly 90. They’ve been Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, atheists and agnostics. The growth of our readership is slow but steady, loyal and just as diverse as our core team and guests.

So what did we do to facilitate this merger: At Beguine Again daily posts continued. That team joined The Bardo Group. We stopped posting daily on The Bardo Group site and started The BeZine, a monthly online publication with a fresh theme for each issue. Terri got a grant to establish a community website from the Pacific Northwest United Methodist Church. The website has been over a year in the works. Today, we unveil it.

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The site is designed to be a spiritual networking community.  Though it is an extended ministry of the Lake Washington United Methodist Church, this effort remains both interfaith and a labor of love.

The site is supported by donations, membership (paid membership is optional) and a generous grant from Pacific Northwest United Methodist Church, which funded the design and development of the site. The grant from the church ends on December 31, 2015. Donations and membership fees will support the cost of technical assistance, web hosting and so forth. Should there be any excess funds they will go to the Youth Chaplaincy Coalition, a Seattle nonprofit (also interfaith) founded by Terri under the aegis of the church. Coalition members provide assistance to incarcerated youth. No income is earned by anyone associated with Beguine Again, The Bardo Group, The BeZine or the Youth Chaplaincy Coalition.  All are labors of love.

The BeZine can still be easily and conviently accessed directly either here at this site or through Beguine Again if you choose to become a member of the community.

Please check out the site. Any questions? Let us know … and do let us know what you think. Please be patient too.  The tech gremlins are still working behind the scenes.

A note on the name: Beguine Again.  The original Beguine community was a Christian lay order in Europe that was active between the 13th and 16th century.  Terri chose the name “Because they worked outside the religious structure and were a safe place for vulnerable people.”

© 2015, article and photograph, Jamie Dedes; Beguine Again logo, copyright Beguine Again

Posted in Bardo News, General Interest

BARDO NEWS: Terri Stewart breaking-down barriers to youth opportunity; Liliana Negoi’s birthday and book; a forward look at Spring and Poetry Month

terriIn what is probably our most exciting news this month: TERRI STEWART (http://beguineagain.com)TESTIFIED BEFORE THE WASHINGTON STATE CONGRESS in February for HB 1651 – the YOUTH OPPORTUNITIES ACT. This act would make non-violent youth records confidential. It is very important for our youth to have as much opportunity as possible and with 1 in 3 African-American young and 1 in 4 Euro-American young men affected by incarceration, we are crippling our young men before they even get a chance in life, saddling them with records that deny them housing, education, and jobs. A resounding success: HB 1651 has passed the house unanimously (on Valentine’s Day!) and is traveling through the senate. For more of Terri’s work with incarcerated youth, see the Youth Chaplaincy Coalition http://youthchaplaincycoalition.wordpress.com/.

Additionally, send all your positive karma, prayers, and energy to Terri from February 27 – March 1 as she travels – once again – with the Board of Ordained Ministry as they continue to get to know her and her work. Let them see the gifts she brings!

AND LATE BREAKING NEWS: Tomorrow Terri is speaking before the Washington State Senate Subcommittee on Human Resources and Corrections.

product_thumbnail-5.phpOn February 10 LILIANA NEGOI (http://summaryofmysoul.wordpress.com/ and http://curcubeeinalbsinegru.wordpress.com/) DECIDED TO CELEBRATE HER BIRTHDAY IN A MORE PARTICULAR MANNER, by releasing for free reading a novel that she finished writing last year. Solo Chess is the story of an online affair between Karina and Asheq, weaved from love and passion and obsessions, proving eventually that there can be a reality beyond reality and that our lives can always be the image of a Matryoshka doll. Solo Chess can be read HERE,  or you can read and download it from Scribd   HERE, and just in case anyone would like it in printed version, there is always the option of getting it from Lulu HERE, but there one has to pay for the printing and binding services provided by the publisher. These being said, Liliana would be glad to hear your opinions about the book. 🙂

Warmest wishes to Lily on her birthday and best wishes for literary success with her newest effort. Here is “Happy Birthday” in the various styles of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Liszt, Dvorak, and Stravinsky offered in celebration.

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Guest writer T.J. Therein (http://tjtherien.wordpress.com/) has also published his book, Liars, Hypocrites & the Development of Human Emotion, which is available through Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/397819.

430564_3240554249063_1337353112_n-1DR. NIAMH CLUNE (Plum Tree Books) SPEAKS FOR BABCOCK INTERNATIONAL TO SURREY SCHOOL TEACHERS ON SCIENCE THROUGH LITERACY.

These days, the aim of education is to speak across curricula, and this is something that fills me with passion. We all learn differently. And although I am not a scientist ~ rather an educational psychotherapist specialising in learning through the imagination, my knowing is science-filled, as in any serious research, Epistemology and Methodology (two glorious words) share the love.” MORE

Dr. Clune is CEO of Plum Tree Books, a partner of The Bardo Group.

800px-Container_garden_on_front_porchLOOKING TOWARD SPRING ~ OUR MOST QUOTABLE QUOTE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT goes to contributing writer and artist, Paula Kutenbrouwer (Mindful Drawing):

I see it like this: If you want to change the world, start with yourself and gradually this change enters the world, becomes more manifest, and spreads. It is the same thing with gardening. If you care about your environment, pesticide-free food or biodiversity, start gardening and create, small as it is, a new world for you, your birds, butterflies and bugs. Every act of kindness helps; every square meter of extra green helps.” Paula Kutenbrouwer

Visit Paula’s post on starting a small City Pot Garden (container garden) and view her lovely drawings and photographs link http://mindfuldrawing.com/2014/02/12/starting-small-city-pot-gardening/.

In line with Paula’s KIND IDEALS, we introduce a new blogger and a young friend of The Bardo Group, Jamaican (now living in Taiwan), Owen Alanzo Hogarth II (The Land of the Blubeegan http://blubeegan.com/). Owen posts essays and videos about living simply, crafting practical products in an EARTH GENTLE WAY and on kindly vegan-style consumption http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veganism. He also advocates for raw foods and eats a vegan diet that is 50% raw. In this way food quality is not compromised, allergens are bypassed, less particulate matter is spewed into the air, fewer fuels are used … and NO ANIMALS ARE HARMED. His ideals are real. His footprint is modest.

We also invite you to visit our Canadian friend ChrisBkm (Dancing on Bever Ponds http://chrisbim.wordpress.com/). Chris shares EXQUISITE NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY, ART AND POETRY on his blog. He says, “I believe we are shaped by our environments, that life is fascinating and that spending time here is quite a gift.”

NPM_Poster2014_SmallPageViewCOME SPRING AND APRIL WE LOOK FORWARD TO POETRY MONTH, a national event in the U.S. and one that The Bardo Group will celebrate as an international event in line with its focus and philosophy.

This annual celebration of poetry was introduced in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets as a way to increase awareness and appreciation of poetry in the United States. In 1999 Canada joined in the celebration. U.S. President Bill Clinton called it, ” “a welcome opportunity to celebrate not only the unsurpassed body of literature produced by our poets in the past, but also the vitality and diversity of voices reflected in the works of today’s American poets. . . . Their creativity and wealth of language enrich our culture and inspire a new generation of Americans to learn the power of reading and writing at its best.”

Poets.org (the website of the American Academy of Poets) has its button up for you to share on your blogs should you care to do so. They quote this year from Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself.

“Missing me one place search another
I stop somewhere waiting for you.”

You can request a free copy of the 2014 poster for your home or office HERE.

Victoria C. Slotto (Fiction, Poetry and Writing Prompts) hosts WRITER’S FOURTH WEDNESDAY this Wednesday at 7 p.m. Mister Linky will be open for you to link in your poetry, fiction or non-fiction related to the prompt. It will stay open for thirty-seven hours. Victoria will visit you and comment.

Join us on at our Facebook page, THE BARDO GROUP.

Our apologies that not all the links in this report are embedded. WordPress seems to have a hitch in its get-along this evening and there were problems with embedding. One way or another though, the proper links are here for your convenience.

– The Bardo Group

photo credit ~ container garden via Wikipedia by Shakespeare under CC-BY-SA-3.0

Posted in Peace & Justice, Spiritual Practice, Terri Stewart

LISTEN and LOVE: Working with At-Risk Youth

Listen, Listen, Love, Love: Working with At-Risk Youth, an open letter from our own Rev. Terri Stewart. I appreciate what she’s doing – I’ve worked with at-risk youth too – so I wanted to share this with everyone.  J.D.

1381796454ha80uHi! I’m Terri Stewart, the founder of the YOUTH CHAPLAINCY COALITION, Seattle, Washington. I work with youth who are affected by incarceration. That can be youth who are in prison, youth who have left prison, or youth whose parents have been or are in prison. There is a consistent theme – prison.

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38 And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39 And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ 40 And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’”(Matthew 25:37-40)

I love working with these youth and their families. My typical week is filled with driving from Woodinville to Seattle to Snoqualmie to Kirkland to Yakima and back home again. At least it isn’t all in one day!

Why do I do this crazy amount of driving? Because we practice what I call Extreme Accompaniment ministry. An Accompaniment ministry is when you walk with someone listening and loving. You don’t walk in front, leading them. You don’t walk behind, pushing them. You walk with them, wherever their path leads. Sometimes that path starts at King County Youth Detention Center and leads to Echo Glen Children’s Home in Snoqualmie and then to the Ridgeview Girl’s Group Home in Yakima! It can be a circuitous route! But Extreme Accompaniment has the possibility to cause restoration, transformation, and healing unlike any other method.

The difficulty of this method lies in its intensity and commitment. There are few called to travel with a marginalized youth for 12 months or more. But that is what makes it Extreme! And it is extremely fun! Extremely fulfilling! Extremely challenging! And Extremely transformative!

Right now, the ministry has 3 needs: volunteers, donations, and committed, daily prayer warriors.

Prayer Warriors: I always lecture the volunteers that work for me that their spiritual grounding comes first—without great spiritual practices of Bible reading, prayer, and accountability groups, they will not be able to maintain a healthy ministry. Given that, I list prayer warriors as the #1 priority! The spiritual grounding of the chaplaincy comes first.

Volunteers: We need people to join in the task of Extreme Accompaniment. If you feel called to a 12 month commitment of one-on-one relationship with a youth affected by incarceration, we need to talk!

There are three exciting ways this can be experienced:

Neighborhood Youth Mission Team: This is the Extreme Accompaniment of following a youth from incarceration at King County Youth Detention Center to wherever that youth’s path may go.

Mentors in Mission: This program works with youth before they are incarcerated who are in the at-risk category—from low-income homes and with incarcerated parents. This is a weekly mentor opportunity/meeting combined with the mission work of creating a community garden for the youth’s family. A ministry two-fer! You help a child and you feed their family!

Kairos Prison Ministry Torch Mentoring: Here, you commit to participating to a spiritual renewal retreat within a detention setting where you will meet a youth and walk beside them for the time after the retreat until they move on to their next steps.

Additionally, we need administrative support to maintain our Facebook, Twitter, and web presence. A data entry specialist to do a few hours of work a week. And traditional chaplain volunteers to enter the detention centers.

Donations: Currently, all the financing comes from what little time I have left over to devote to raising funds. That means not very much! We need donations to buy supplies, pay for gas, buy Bibles, etc.

If you would like more information about any of these items or opportunities, please contact me at YCC-Chaplain@TheChurchCouncil.org or call me at 425-531-1756.

Shalom,

Rev. Terri Stewart

Youth Chaplaincy website
Youth Chaplaincy Facebook Page
Chaplaincy Program Ministers to Some of Seattle’s Most Troubled Youngsters, The Seattle Times

WP_20131026_034REV. TERRI STEWART is Into the Bardo’s  Sunday chaplain, senior content editor, and site co-administrator. She comes from an eclectic background and considers herself to be grounded in contemplation and justice. She is the Director and Founder of the Youth Chaplaincy Coalition that serves youth affected by the justice system. As a graduate of Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry, she earned her Master’s of Divinity and a Post-Master’s Certificate in Spiritual Direction. She is a contributing author to the Abingdon Worship Annual. (The 2014 issue just released!)

Her online presence is Cloaked Monk. This speaks to her grounding in contemplative arts and the need to live it out in the world. The cloak is the disguise of normalcy as she advocates for justice and peace. You can find her at www.cloakedmonk.com, www.twitter.com/cloakedmonk, and www.facebook.com/cloakedmonk.  To reach her for conversation, send a note to cloakedmonk@outlook.com