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A Sanctuary from Violence A collection from the Oasis community September 2012

Cover Image: Angel, Jet Schneider


What’s Inside? In the following pages you will find a gathering of reflections from some of the amazing people who make up the community associated with Oasis Ministries for Spiritual Development. The call for submissions stated: “With recent news of gun violence and intolerance, we are inviting the community to share submissions for A Sanctuary from Violence, a free eBook from the Oasis community.” Enclosed are the submissions we received: photos, poetry, artwork, reflections, and a sermon. It is a diverse, thought-provoking, prayer-evoking, meditative collection of pieces to ponder and to spur action. Our thanks to all who submitted material. I have been blessed by you. Thank you to all who continue to support Oasis, especially through prayer. As you read and reflect, may you be inspired to find and create sanctuary from violence with us. Cindy Garis, Executive Director Oasis Ministries for Spiritual Development 419 Deerfield Road, Camp Hill, PA 17011 717.737.8222 * www.oasismin.org

Table of Contents Angel, Jet Schneider.................................................................................................................................. Cover Silence: My Forgotten Friend, Celeste Lauritsen ..............................................................................................3 Butterfly in Butterfly Bush, Sarah Bailey ......................................................................................................... 3 Solitude, Marie Rodichok ................................................................................................................................ 4 Ahhhhh, Marie Rodichok ..................................................................................................................................4 Permeable Sanctuary, Lynda Myers ................................................................................................................ 5 Brook 2011, Judy Clark .................................................................................................................................... 5 Chalk Drawings, Lynda Myers ......................................................................................................................... 6 Yard, Fall 2011, Judy Clark .............................................................................................................................. 7 God Is In This!, Sarah Bailey ............................................................................................................................ 7 Heart of Shells, Sarah Bailey ............................................................................................................................ 8 Family Secrets, Megan Malick ................................................................................................................... 9-15 Omnipresence, Diane Brandt .........................................................................................................................12 Easter 10:15 am, Diane Brandt ..................................................................................................................... 16 Peaceful Sanctuary, Marie Rodichok ............................................................................................................ 16 Flower Power, Sarah Bailey ........................................................................................................................... 17 Chippy in Tree, Sarah Bailey .......................................................................................................................... 17 Blessings of Labyrinth Building, Jet Schneider ........................................................................................ 18-22 Message from Nature to Your Soul in Autumn, Sarah Bailey ........................................................................ 23 Winter Sunset, Sarah Bailey .......................................................................................................................... 23 List of Contributors .........................................................................................................................................24

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Silence: My Forgotten Friend What are the sounds of silence? A vapor vanishing? A felt, but not heard breeze? A tip-toeing insect that appears on my paper? Shoes lying in my closet? My TV in the off position? Sometimes I get nervous in too much quiet… I must be missing something… Maybe there is something going on in this world that I need to know about Silence is also not reading email – even if the room is silent, my brain is engaged… Do I really need the store coupons for 25% off that appear in my email? ….for more comfortable shoes that I really, really don’t need to stuff into my closet! Silence came to me on Saturday evening when I held my three month old grandson asleep in my arms. In the early morning as I notice the dew on the grass…it arrived in silence. The bread that I bake used to rise in silence too, until I got the noisy, but efficient bread maker. I think I could even wash dishes in silence —but instead I turn on the noisiest dishwasher in the world (it really is) Thinking that sanitary hot water washing with noise is really healthier. My life is SCREAMING for more silence Begging for more silence I need to listen….in silence! ~ Celeste Lauritsen

Photo submission: Butterfly in Butterfly Bush, Sarah Bailey 3


Solitude, Original artwork by Marie Rodichok

Ahhhhh, Original artwork by Marie Rodichok 4


Permeable Sanctuary He did not live to use a cell phone, surf the Internet, or witness the election of an African-American president of the United States but met death one morning with a bullet from a friend’s gun at little more than twenty-one. Another statistic for young black men. Not even an English teacher’s prescient sanctuary crafted of a collection of stories and poems of Langston Hughes and Leroi Jones and an excerpt from Norman Mailer’s account of Ali and Frasier’s Fight of the Century could shield him once he stepped outside the sanctity of the eighth grade classroom where he was often center of attention. He was never on the yearbook staff. He did not hold first chair in the orchestra, run for student government, or make honor roll, But, he endeared himself to faculty and classmates, alike.

Photo submission: Brook 2011, Judy Clark

Then, we saw a hope and a future, not his end, a teenager with cherubic countenance, gold-flecked brown eyes, impish grin. Whatever happened? Why could we not protect him? ~ Lynda Myers

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Original artwork by Lynda Myers

Chalk Drawings I leave Safe Harbor and walk atop drawings in colored chalk, read upper case alphabets of children’s names I recognize as middle school boys, once regulars in our now-defunct after school program The hard, flat sidewalk surface a perfect canvas for after-hours handiwork, a place to unleash creative energies once channeled into making pizza with organic heirloom tomatoes, playing basketball in the gym or reading out loud together with a college mentor.

Collage/mixed media. Found fibers, recycled paper, pen, marker, ink.

One less island in an archipelago of sanctuaries set up to protect vulnerable youth who now trace outlines of their half-grown bodies and print their names impermanently upon the concrete. Harbinger? ~ Lynda Myers

"Chalk Drawings" is about my walking atop the colored chalk drawings of two of our after school program outside James Wilson Safe Harbor, our transitional housing facility in Carlisle, PA.

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Photo submission: Yard Fall 2011, Judy Clark

GOD IS IN THIS! Brilliant contrasts of Maple, Oak and Pine, Of fallow fields readied For new life, Of crows and corn, and Pumpkins waiting for Frost's first bite. GOD IS IN THIS! So Truth with life, My life in Autumn rhythm Dares show true colors now. The self exposed, no longer threatened. Free, unbound from fettered tyrants That undermine the beauty one dares own. GOD IS IN THIS!

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So, welcome Autumn, Knowing Winter is at hand. In the Autumn of my life, I know the icy blast awaits That wracks the bone Deep to the soul, And calls one's essence into Peace at Home. GOD IS IN ME! Written by Joan S Kuiken, October 11, 2009 Submitted by Sarah Balley


And Where Do We Go From Here And where do we go from here? Just a question my soul asked From a former life. One step at a time. Trust, trust, trust All shall be well. God is in this mess. It is not too late to See the Light on our path; The Light reflected from the Christ within. Stay centered in the source of the gift. It will guide you through. What you feel is where you need to follow. Think what you feel-feel what you think. I saw a vision. We all loved each other Loving each other. Written by Joan S Kuiken, August 4, 2003 Submitted by Sarah Balley

Photo submission: Sunrise over Mountains, Sarah Bailey There is life inside the shell. Dare we to be as brave To show our inner selves. The beauty of the sea shell Survives inspite of being Tossed through perilous seas. Uniquely it is this turmoil Which hones its beauty.

Photo submission: Heart of Shells, Sarah Bailey

Look into the face of another And you will be reminded That life's pressure makes us Or breaks us. You will see it in the sea shell. The echo in the conch, The sound of the sea Is nature's way of naming Eternity. Written by Joan S Kuiken, July 19, 2004 Submitted by Sarah Balley

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In July 2012 I preached a sermon on Mark 6:14-29. I looked at the story of the Beheading of John the Baptist from Herod's daughter's perspective. To some she is nameless, to some Herodias, to some Salome It's not about gun violence but violence, shame, and secrecy within families that I believe fuels gun violence. I titled the sermon Family Secrets.

~ Megan Malick

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Omnipresence, Original Artwork by Diane Brandt

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Easter 10:15am, Original artwork by Diane Brandt

Peaceful Sanctuary, Original artwork by Marie Rodichok 16


Flower Power by Sarah Bailey FLOWER POWER is of artwork I do, using flower petals as paint and my fingernail as a "brush." I stroke the "petal paint" onto paper and then highlight / outline with an ink pen. It looks like a water color, but it is only the color that comes from the squished petals and leaves.

Chippy in Tree, Sarah Bailey 17


Blessings of Labyrinth Building After several years of letting the idea of building a labyrinth in our back yard grow in our minds and hearts, it happened this summer: our community peace labyrinth became a reality. The Journey began with walking the great labyrinth at the Bethany Retreat Center many years ago and eventually attending a labyrinth-walking weekend there. Walking the labyrinth, a form of body prayer, resonated deeply with me in both its simplicity and profoundness: everyone could do this, regardless of religious background, and find the spiritual in walking a spiraling path to the center and out again into the world*. The seed was planted to perhaps build a labyrinth in our back yard one day. Now and then a gentle nudging would come: wouldn't it be wonderful if we could build a labyrinth? Where in the back yard would we build it? My husband Don and I had an idea for a possible location, but was it right? One evening several years ago we walked in the garden with a spiritually very sensitive friend, and asked her where would be a good spot to build one. After walking down the hill to a flat area largely surrounded by trees she remarked, "Do you notice it being a little warmer here? This would be a good spot." The question of where to build a labyrinth was answered; our friend's answer had affirmed what Don and I had thought. Now the questions of what kind of labyrinth, which building materials, and especially who could help us build it, could be addressed. It wasn't until after completing my studies at Oasis Ministries for Spiritual Development three years later (where, among many things having to do with Spiritual Direction, I had also learned more about labyrinths), and beginning my ministry of offering Spiritual Direction, that the nudging came that it was time to continue the project. Don and I had talked about a simple labyrinth, which would be easy to maintain. One day we came upon a picture of a labyrinth with the lines made out of bricks, which were dug into the ground flush with the grass, while the paths were made out of grass, so the labyrinth could simply be mowed for easy maintenance. We didn't know labyrinths could be built this way, and it exactly met our needs! We also loved the kind of labyrinth that was in the picture - a classical, 7-circuit Cretan (Continued on page 19)

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labyrinth, a very ancient design. Who could help us build the labyrinth? We wanted this to be a community-building project where everyone who wanted to could participate in building the labyrinth in their own way some by praying, others by digging lines and/or placing bricks. But we knew we also needed an expert to supervise and guide the project. Tom**, a very kind and gentle fellow parent we met when the children were in elementary school, is a contractor. He had recently lost his wife Jane**, and was searching for ways to help him in healing his loss. We described the project to him and asked if he could be our expert supervisor, and he said yes. Announcements about "Labyrinth Building Evenings" were made, and the project was under way! Don had designed a labyrinth layout with exact measurements on the computer, Tom had spray painted the design on the grass, and then people came to help us - people of very different ages, backgrounds, and all over the political and religious spectrum, all working together harmoniously on building the labyrinth. We never knew who would appear on a given evening; people would just come, build, drink some lemonade, and enjoy each other's company. It was such a blessing and a wonderful practice of healing for many of us, a practice of peacemaking. Friend Justine** offered advice on how to build a labyrinth (she had built labyrinths before, as we found out later), and mentioned there had to be water close to the surface in the center of the labyrinth (something we were unaware of when laying out the labyrinth- it just "felt right" where it was, to us). After dowsing, she discovered there indeed was water close to the surface - yet another confirmation that it was the right spot. As we were starting to build the labyrinth, friend Mary**, a gifted spiritual director and healer, informed me that her church in the Carlisle, PA area had been looking into building a labyrinth there. She asked if they could please use the information /knowledge we had gathered so far in how to build. A sister labyrinth is now in the process of being built there. (Continued on page 20)

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One evening it started raining, which felt very refreshing after the heat of the previous days, and then it started pouring! All builders that evening were soaked to the skin, and rediscovered the joy of playing in the rain, like little children enjoy doing.

The labyrinth holds all, a paradox of both joy and sorrow. One evening while working on a flowerbed near the partly dug-out labyrinth (the trenches were about 8 inches deep to accommodate a layer of gravel with a brick on top), I accidentally stepped into a trench and dislocated my elbow while trying to catch myself. Literally falling into the labyrinth (as our oldest son pointed out), I realized there were lessons to be learned. It helped me to become much more aware of the suffering around me, in all the fellow builders, and also in the world. As the hot summer days continued into the dog days of August, building in the evening was becoming more and more difficult for Tom (who helped us with the labyrinth after working his outside day job where he was exposed to the relentless heat), and for the volunteers alike. Don and I had just started to privately wonder if the labyrinth would be completed before the ground would freeze, when our gardener brought over his friend Henry** to look at our garden to possibly trim some of our tall bushes. Henry was very excited about the labyrinth as a way of prayer, and then mentioned quietly that he was a contractor and would be happy to help Tom by coming over with a small crew and finish the work for us in the course of a few days. After thinking about it, talking it over (Continued on page 21)

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with Tom, noticing that people weren't able to help as much anymore because of the heat, and hearing from friend Mary** that my injured arm really needed rest, I decided to give Henry a call. He and his crew Mark** and John** finished the labyrinth for us - a new experience for all of them. They did a beautiful job, and we're extremely grateful to Tom, Henry, Mark, John, and all the volunteer builders for all the hard work they put in to build the labyrinth. The day the labyrinth was finished, we noticed beautiful, purple butterflies flying over the labyrinth - an instant reminder of Tom's wife Jane's outdoor memorial service two years before, where purple butterflies appeared out of nowhere, flying among the rows of people gathered. Purple was Jane's favorite color, and seeing the butterflies flying over the labyrinth that Tom helped build (and that contains a little of Jane's ashes) was a wonderful affirmation that All is One, and we are all connected to the same Source (whatever we may name it) beyond our physical boundaries, time and place. As the Native Americans say: "As Above, So Below," or in Christian tradition "On earth, as it is in heaven..." The labyrinth serves as a poignant reminder of this. We had never before seen purple butterflies in our garden, and yet here they were, flying only above the labyrinth, and nowhere else. The next day when Henry was adding grass seed to the labyrinth, a purple butterfly flew between him and his rake. We waited 3 weeks before walking the labyrinth to allow the grass to grow. The day I started walking the labyrinth, I noticed another purple butterfly. Now the labyrinth is completed. We are planning to have a dedication ceremony on Saturday, September 22 at 10 am - a date chosen for its proximity to the International Day of World Peace (Friday September 21st) and the Autumn Equinox. After September 22, Don and I intend to have the labyrinth be available for whomever wants to walk it - all we ask is a phone call the day you intend to come and walk. We are deeply grateful for all the guidance, help and blessings we received in unexpected places along the way in bringing this project to fruition. Blessings abound....may all who walk (Continued on page 22)

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the labyrinth be blessed, and may the labyrinth help them to be open to nurturing Peace in themselves and thus in the world. In gratitude, Jet Schneider Contact information for the labyrinth: Don & Jet Schneider 814-238-0010 *For people who are suffering from an ailment that prevents them from walking, there are finger labyrinths on the market based on the same principle, while some labyrinths are wheelchair accessible, as well. ** Names changed to protect privacy.

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Photo submission: Winter Sunset, Sarah Bailey

Message from Nature to your Soul in Autumn "Keep your roots strong - nourished - watered - and deep in the ground of your being; Bend with Ruach and release what's no longer needed; New life will grow from you again." ~ Sarah Bailey 2009

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Our deepest gratitude to all of our contributors and our heartfelt thanks to our proof-readers. Our apologies if we inadvertently omitted someone’s submission.

Many of the contributors have participated in various day or overnight retreats. All are friends of Oasis. Ones that have completed year-long programs are identified by the following Oasis acronyms: CL = Contemplative Living: The Spirituality of Daily Life (one-year contemplative program) SDSG = Spiritual Direction for Spiritual Guides (two-year training in spiritual direction) DYDM = Deepening Year for Direction Ministries (one-year program for spiritual directors)

List of Contributors In alphabetical order Sarah Bailey (pages 3, 8, 17, 23) Diane Brandt (pages 12, 16) — SDSG grad (2001-2002), DYDM grad (2005-2006), CL grad (2011-2012) Judy Clark (pages 5, 7) — DYDM graduate (2011-2012) Joan Kuiken (pages 7, 8) Celeste Lauritsen (page 3) Megan Malick (pages 9-15) — CL graduate (2011-2012) Lynda Myers (pages 5, 6) Marie Rodichok (pages 4, 16) — SDSG graduate (2007-2008) Jet Schneider (pages 18-22) — SDSG graduate (2009-2010), DYDM graduate (2010-2011)

If you are interested in participating in the Oasis community and programming, please explore www.oasismin.org, call 717.737.8222, or email oasismin@oasismin.org. Receive brochures by becoming a part of our mailing list, or receive free news, updates and prayers by joining our email list at www.oasismin.org. Thank you.

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Sanctuary from Violence  

With recent news of gun violence and intolerance, we invited submissions for A Sanctuary from Violence, a free eBook from the Oasis communit...

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