Community invited to Active Prayer Workshop at St. Jude in Redmond; free event shows how art and movement can be part of prayer

Community members are invited to an Active Prayer Workshop from 4-7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 15 at St. Jude Catholic Church, 10526 166th Ave. NE in Redmond. The workshop is free, although donations are welcome. Sybil MacBeth, author of "Praying in Color: Drawing a New Path to God" and "Praying in Color Kids' Edition," as well as "Blessed Movements" founder Roy DeLeon, who wrote "Praying with the Body: Bringing the Psalms to Life," will demonstrate how visual art and gentle movement for all mobilities can be used for spiritual expression. The workshop was inspired by the theory of multiple intelligences, proposed by Dr. Howard Gardner, a psychologist from Harvard University. "People don't all learn the same way — we have multiple intelligences or learning styles such as linguistic, logical-mathematical, musical, spatial and kinesthetic," said Mary Kellison, pastoral assistant and director of adult faith formation programs at St. Jude, www.st-jude-redmond.org/AdultFF/AFTOC.htm. "Just as we have a natural preference toward particular learning styles, we also have a natural preference for particular prayer styles," Kellison explained. PRAYING IN COLOR MacBeth, a former math teacher, said the idea for "Praying in Color" came to her eight years ago when several friends and family members were battling cancer. "When I tried to pray for them, I lost my words," said MacBeth. "I kept saying the same things over and over and over again — "Heal them, Lord,' "Let them feel your love,' 'Please let Sue live to see her children graduate from high school.' My words felt like mush in my mouth." Although she wasn't an artist, MacBeth loved to doodle with colored markers and pens. "One day when I was doodling on my back porch, I drew a shape and added lines, dots, squiggles and color," said MacBeth. "Then I unconsciously wrote the name 'Sue' in the middle of the doodle. I continued to draw and focus on my sister-in-law Sue's name. After five or 10 minutes, I realized I was praying for her. I wasn't using words but I was spending time with her and releasing her into God's care. It felt like God, Sue and I were sitting together, holding each other." She realized she didn't need just words to pray, MacBeth noted: "Creating the drawing and taking time was the prayer." She added more doodles with the names of other people who needed help. "The drawing came back to my mind throughout the day and when it did, I could pray for each person again — either with words or just by offering them into God's care." When she's drawing, said MacBeth, "my mind wanders less and I stay focused. It also helps me to settle down so I might actually be able to listen to God rather than just talk." Children love this way of praying, but so do adults, said MacBeth. "The adults who come to my workshops are very open to a new way to pray — especially those who are fidgety and world-weary. ... Their minds wandered less than when they were trying to come up with words." To learn more about "Praying in Color," visit http://www.prayingincolor.com/ PRAYING WITH THE BODY DeLeon is a certified yoga teacher who has learned to combine body movement and prayer. In 2005, as an Oblate of St. Benedict, he represented his monastery, St. Placid Priory in Lacey, Wash., at the first World Congress of Oblates of St. Benedict in Rome. "That's where I saw the statue of St. Benedict dying, with two monks helping him raise his arms as he prayed his last. ... When I saw St. Benedict included the body in his prayer as he was dying ... Blessed Movements was conceived," said DeLeon. "It's become my ministry then to spread the joy of praying with the whole being, body, mind, heart and soul," DeLeon continued. Could this type of prayer be useful for people who don't feel close to God or creation in church, but by being outdoors, perhaps engaging in sports or recreation? "Big question," DeLeon replied. "I read somewhere that one reason people quit going to church is that they don't find God — read: love, peace, joy, patience, goodness, beauty, truthfulness in church." DeLeon added that some people feel more connected to their neighbors at sporting events, festivals or a shopping mall. "We all want to feel happiness and contentment," said DeLeon. "Some people feel God's presence while being still and quiet. Some by singing, by painting, by knitting, by reading, by dancing. God is in all of these activities if — big IF — we acknowledge and we are aware of that presence," said DeLeon. "The activeness of praying with the body is a way to gather ourselves to the center. We tend to spread ourselves thin, wear many different hats, assume many roles in our daily activities, torn apart by the demands of the marketplace we call the world." He said most movements in his workshop are "yoga-like" but he asks participants to "listen to their body and their heart and move according to what that still, small voice says. ... Ultimately, it needs to come from the heart in order for the prayer to be authentic and real." To learn more about Blessed Movements and "Praying with the Body," visit http://blessedmovements.com/default.aspx Community members are invited to an Active Prayer Workshop from 4-7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 15 at St. Jude Catholic Church, 10526 166th Ave. NE in Redmond. The workshop is free, although donations are welcome.

Roy DeLeon

Community members are invited to an Active Prayer Workshop from 4-7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 15 at St. Jude Catholic Church, 10526 166th Ave. NE in Redmond. The workshop is free, although donations are welcome.

Sybil MacBeth, author of “Praying in Color: Drawing a New Path to God” and “Praying in Color Kids’ Edition,” as well as “Blessed Movements” founder Roy DeLeon, who wrote “Praying with the Body: Bringing the Psalms to Life,” will demonstrate how visual art and gentle movement for all mobilities can be used for spiritual expression.

The workshop was inspired by the theory of multiple intelligences, proposed by Dr. Howard Gardner, a psychologist from Harvard University.

“People don’t all learn the same way — we have multiple intelligences or learning styles such as linguistic, logical-mathematical, musical, spatial and kinesthetic,” said Mary Kellison, pastoral assistant and director of adult faith formation programs at St. Jude, www.stjude-redmond.org/AdultFF/AFTOC.htm.

“Just as we have a natural preference toward particular learning styles, we also have a natural preference for particular prayer styles,” Kellison explained.

PRAYING IN COLOR

MacBeth, a former math teacher, said the idea for “Praying in Color” came to her eight years ago when several friends and family members were battling cancer.

“When I tried to pray for them, I lost my words,” said MacBeth. “I kept saying the same things over and over and over again — “Heal them, Lord,’ “Let them feel your love,’ ‘Please let Sue live to see her children graduate from high school.’ My words felt like mush in my mouth.”

Although she wasn’t an artist, MacBeth loved to doodle with colored markers and pens.

“One day when I was doodling on my back porch, I drew a shape and added lines, dots, squiggles and color,” said MacBeth. “Then I unconsciously wrote the name ‘Sue’ in the middle of the doodle. I continued to draw and focus on my sister-in-law Sue’s name. After five or 10 minutes, I realized I was praying for her. I wasn’t using words but I was spending time with her and releasing her into God’s care. It felt like God, Sue and I were sitting together, holding each other.”

She realized she didn’t need just words to pray, MacBeth noted: “Creating the drawing and taking time was the prayer.”

She added more doodles with the names of other people who needed help.

“The drawing came back to my mind throughout the day and when it did, I could pray for each person again — either with words or just by offering them into God’s care.”

When she’s drawing, said MacBeth, “my mind wanders less and I stay focused. It also helps me to settle down so I might actually be able to listen to God rather than just talk.”

Children love this way of praying, but so do adults, said MacBeth.

“The adults who come to my workshops are very open to a new way to pray — especially those who are fidgety and world-weary. … Their minds wandered less than when they were trying to come up with words.”

To learn more about “Praying in Color,” visit http://www.prayingincolor.com/

PRAYING WITH THE BODY

DeLeon is a certified yoga teacher who has learned to combine body movement and prayer.

In 2005, as an Oblate of St. Benedict, he represented his monastery, St. Placid Priory in Lacey, Wash., at the first World Congress of Oblates of St. Benedict in Rome.

“That’s where I saw the statue of St. Benedict dying, with two monks helping him raise his arms as he prayed his last. … When I saw St. Benedict included the body in his prayer as he was dying … Blessed Movements was conceived,” said DeLeon.

“It’s become my ministry then to spread the joy of praying with the whole being, body, mind, heart and soul,” DeLeon continued.

Could this type of prayer be useful for people who don’t feel close to God or creation in church, but by being outdoors, perhaps engaging in sports or recreation?

“Big question,” DeLeon replied. “I read somewhere that one reason people quit going to church is that they don’t find God — read: love, peace, joy, patience, goodness, beauty, truthfulness in church.”

DeLeon added that some people feel more connected to their neighbors at sporting events, festivals or a shopping mall.

“We all want to feel happiness and contentment,” said DeLeon. “Some people feel God’s presence while being still and quiet. Some by singing, by painting, by knitting, by reading, by dancing. God is in all of these activities if — big IF — we acknowledge and we are aware of that presence,” said DeLeon. “The activeness of praying with the body is a way to gather ourselves to the center. We tend to spread ourselves thin, wear many different hats, assume many roles in our daily activities, torn apart by the demands of the marketplace we call the world.”

He said most movements in his workshop are “yoga-like” but he asks participants to “listen to their body and their heart and move according to what that still, small voice says. … Ultimately, it needs to come from the heart in order for the prayer to be authentic and real.”

To learn more about Blessed Movements and “Praying with the Body,” visit http://blessedmovements.com/default.aspx

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