to the first A.R.E. Spiritual Outreach E-Newsletter!
hope this finds you well and happy as we begin the New Year together. We
are so grateful to be involved with you and with this wonderful work!
focus of our first issue is the study group, but this will change with each issue as we
focus on different aspects of our team's work. (See News
from the Beach! story below.) There will be four parts to this new issue:
First, a note on inviting Spirit into our study groups, and second, the announcement of a
new study guide for one of Kevin Todeschi's books. Third, a bit of news about our
new team here in Virginia Beach, and, along the right edge, some resources for spiritual
growth and study groups.
Lynn Cayce used to say that the study group material may well be the Edgar Cayce readings'
greatest contribution to the world, and that we should expect this activity to be very
much alive and well as we move into the twenty-first century. Soul development is
why we are all here, according to the readings, and we know of no better path than the
Edgar Cayce study group experience!
in your experiences and conclusions about what makes your study group meetings really
work, and we'll share as many as we can in upcoming e-newsletters. What follows are
some thoughts I've had over the years, though I'm speaking here strictly as a study group
member, not as a coordinator (which I do with my dear friend and mentor, Jim Dixon).
Blessings to all!
makes for a deep and moving study group evening?
am often asked what I think are the essential ingredients of a successful study group
experience, besides the good spiritual material we are so blessed to be working with. In
the groups I've been in, I have watched for many years to find out what makes an evening
"come alive" and be "moving" in the sense that we are all touched in
some way. I've only found two such conditions, and they form an equal-armed cross. The
vertical line represents the stated invitation to Spirit to participate actively and
fully. The horizontal line stands for mutual respect and loving openness with one another.
though Spirit is always with us, it helps greatly for there to be a real and heartfelt
invitation for It to be fully and actively present. Often, when Spirit has indeed
been with us actively, it has turned out later that one or more of the group members has
prayed for our meeting. Partly, of course, having a real desire for the active
presence of Spirit comes with age, as we become less impressed by the things of the world
and by mental acuity. But mostly it seems to just come with spending enough
individual time on attuning to the highest and best growth experience for everyone.
I do feel that if the group arrives without this individual work having been done, it is
possible, but not easy, to make up for it.
dear friends, seems to be the practice of allowing each person equal time and importance
in expressing their experience with a discipline or their perspective on a passage from
the book. As Herb Puryear wrote so beautifully in his Covenant
lesson, the true purpose of the study group is not intellectual, but learning how to love.
And the "purpose of discussing each chapter and paragraph is for clarification and
perspective, not to come to some agreement about what is the right or wrong meaning."
The heart seems to stay open as long as we focus more on our sameness as children of God
and less on finding differences between our points of view.
When I am myself preparing for a group get-together, I focus on these two thoughts, and if
something seems off the mark in the meeting itself, I simply hold the equal-armed cross in
my heart. When balance is present, the one Spirit that is in us all can make Itself felt,
much as the dove appears in the center of the cross, bringing us into that wonderful peace
of mind and heart that makes us all new.
in your own thoughts about what allows study group meetings to really touch your heart,
and we'll share as many as we can in upcoming e-newsletters.
New Study Guide
It is with great
pleasure that we announce the availability of a new study guide, to accompany Kevin
Todeschi's masterwork (to date), Soul
Development, which came out last year. There is a page of intriguing
questions and activities for each chapter of Kevin's book, and it is a wonderful
Study Groups (or
individuals) that would like to try out the new guide may order it directly from Outreach
Services Team; c/o A.R.E.; 215 67th Street; Virginia Beach, VA 23451. Please include
your name and mailing address with your request. We ask, whenever
possible, that a contribution be made to cover the costs of printing and
mailing. Thank you.
If you would like to purchase a copy of the Soul Development, you can
order it from: Your Region book service; A.R.E.
Press at 1-800-723-1112. Or, at the A.R.E. Bookstore on the Web: http://www.Edgar Cayce
News from the Beach!
I am so grateful that the
Study Group Department, the International Department and North American Outreach (my work
with Regions) began working as a team several months ago. Since then, our team has
expanded to include Prayer Services and Prison Outreach. We are now called the Outreach Services Team.
One advantage of working with a
team - and especially with this team - is
the breadth and depth of the collective wisdom that the individual members bring to the
team. What a privilege to work with Meredith Puryear, Jim Dixon, Stuart Dean, Alice
Bonnefoi, and Opal Rogers under the leadership of Dick Peterson.
Another advantage is the benefit of
shared planning, cross training, and the synergy of the team working with a common ideal,
purpose, and goals. I believe we can find ways to be more efficient and effective as we
pool our resources.
We will appreciate your prayers as we
endeavor to create many avenues "to help people change their lives for the better
through applying the concepts in the Edgar Cayce readings." These are exciting times
to be involved with spiritual development.
In Joyous Loving Service,
Opportunities are expressions of appreciation
from thy Maker. Embrace them - not for self but for the glory of thy Maker.
Possibilities for Group
In Addition to
Soul Development: Edgar
Kevin J. Todeschi
Dreams: Your Magic Mirror
Your Mind: Unlocking Your
Consider using the information you received in
your membership newsletters:
Read a good book lately?
Here are just a few
of the ones we've been reading:
-The Way of
Solomon: Finding Joy and Contentment in the Wisdom of Ecclesiastes,
a new translation
and interpretation by Ramie Shapiro
Effect: Decoding the Lost Science of Prayer and Prophecy,
by Gregg Braden
-Give God a
Chance: Christian Spirituality from the Edgar Cayce Readings,
by James Brown (Jim
Dixon really likes this book. Look for his
review in an upcoming issue of Venture Inward.)
The Art and the Practice
by David Spangler
Copyright 2002 A.R.E.®,Inc. All rights reserved.
Edgar Cayce Readings © 1971, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996
by the Edgar Cayce Foundation.