In Christian circles, ministers and lay folks talk about an idea called the “Emerging Church”. So what does that mean? Here is my poetic definition: “Emerging” is a term that should bring to mind wet butterfly wings, or the way the sun emerges from the horizon line on our Lake Huron. The caterpillar is still part of the butterfly, the sun never left, but rather, we turn toward it again each morning. It is the breathing rediscovery of a very ancient way of “being” Christian.
The First Congregational United Church of Christ in Alpena, Michigan works hard at holding the tension between the Protestant Christian tradition’s call to organic inner and outer growth and the wealth of spiritual technologies, both ancient and new, that support such maturation. Beginning February 3rd, they are adding some community classes in this Emerging Church vein. Tuesdays, a Christian Chair-Assisted yoga class will start, with a Centering Prayer period in the beautiful chapel. Wednesday, come explore a traditional mat-based yoga class framed by small elements of the Iona Community liturgy. Thursdays, students can participate in the gentle flowing movements of qigong (Chee Kung) set to quiet music. National research centers like Emory University have shown that this practice helps decrease the severity of falls in senior populations, can support aging knee joints and ease the symptoms of depression. Centering prayer will again be offered after this class in the chapel. Classes begin at 10 each day, with meditation periods lasting from 11:30-12:00. There is no set charge for any class; the instructor, Kim Beyer, a certified yoga therapist, comparative religionist and spiritual director, simply puts out a donation bowl and gratefully accepts barter products as well. Please contact the church if you have questions: http://www.uccalpena.org/