A small group gathers every Friday morning at 9 am in the Chapel to practice centering prayer. Generally the group engages in a brief lectio divina with one of the appointed readings of the day. Newcomers are always welcome, and gentle guidance is provided for those unfamiliar with this practice.
Approximately twice a year, often during Advent and Lent, a Quiet Day is offered on a Saturday. These are directed by visiting or local "retreat leaders" and have time for quiet, reading, prayer, talks, a sack lunch and worship.
Most recently, The Rev. Heidi Haverkamp, author, retreat leader, and Episcopal priest lead the Lenten program based on her second book, Holy Solitude: Lenten Reflections with Saints, Hermits, Prophets, and Rebels. From the back cover, "Our faith is full of heroes who experienced God powerfully in solitude. In the vast desert or a tiny room, solitude― frightening for some and a welcome reprieve for others―is far from an antisocial self-indulgence but rather is an opportunity for transformation and empowerment to serve God’s people ever more deeply."
A treasured tradition at Grace is the annual production of a book of devotions for the Lenten season. Parishioners select a day and provide a reflection on one or more of the lectionary readings appointed for that day. This practice is always one of growth—both in preparing to write our individual reflections and in savoring the variety of contributions from the others in our faith community.
This very special place for quiet prayer and meditation that is open to all in the community at any time is located on what is the right side of the church as you face the front doors. It has a beautiful wrought iron gothic arch gate at its entrance. Inside the Garden you will find three beautiful benches that can not be seen from the street that are located between the stone buttresses of the church. This affords some sense of privacy for prayer and meditation in a place away from the noise of the street. There are three prayers stations with icons and statues which change periodically. As you enter you will go by a pool of water with a fountain in the center. The sound of flowing water reminds us of our baptism and of God's creation and provides some "white noise" to drown out the sounds of the city far below the hill. The plantings and sculptures have been given by church members to make it a place of incredible beauty as well as quiet.
The chapel that was part of a 1893 addition to the church building serves as sacred space for smaller gatherings such as Centering Prayer and our Wednesday morning Eucharist. It is also a place of prayer for the wider community with its prayer desk where candles may be lighted and prayers requests entered into a book. Prayer books and works of art are available for individual contemplation. It is open daily from 7 am - 9 pm.
Drum circles are an ancient tradition being rediscovered and combined with spiritual imagery. We experience a spontaneous evolving musical groove using hand drums of various kinds, bells, shakers, and perhaps some flutes as well. The drumming can lead to meditation. At times, these sessions are related to a theme and woven with poetry and other inspirational readings.
FORWARD DAY BY DAY , a devotional booklet that includes scripture and a reflection for each day is available at the church. It can also be accessed online at The Forward Movement.
A traditional Episcopal practice is to pray the Daily Office each day. Morning, Noontime, and Evening Prayer as well as Compline may be found in the Book of Common Prayer. A number of options are also available online with and without spoken and sung prayer. The Mission of St. Clare is one of these options.
Identify a place, carve out a time, and commit. If you have tried it before, return to it yet again. Living in the fellowship of the saints is predominately a work of prayer. You will find it so much more difficult to engage in kingdom building if you are not building on a strong foundation of prayer. Bp. Andy Doyle