For the latest scheduled events at Sophia House, visit our EVENTS page.
Sr. Lois Barton, CSJ, is the program director for The Sophia Center for Spirituality.
For Christians, March 6 was a remarkable day - not because of the date itself - but because it was the beginning of the season of Lent. For that reason it is perhaps fitting that I, as the program director at the Sophia Center, have the privilege of writing the testimonial for the month of March. Hopefully, many of you have noticed that every month, beginning in January of this year, we have called on someone who participates in our offerings here to speak about one of our regularly scheduled events. You’ll find their comments on the Testimonials page on this website.
We started out over five years ago not knowing much about what we could offer. We (Barbara Kane and I) were, after all, just two women who had been involved in Church work for most of our lives and who wanted to share the goodness of God with anyone who wanted to join us for a brief moment of grace or an on-going series of events that would lead us deeper into the world of spirituality. Soon, we were joined by the talented Mary Pat Hyland whose computer skills, composition and artistic sense thrust us forward allowing us to connect with people in ways that never could have been done without her.
We are proud that we have thus far been able to maintain two venues for our programs. The first encompasses the expansive beauty of the First Concregational Church whose sanctuary is an amazing space for large gatherings and spectacular for musical offerings. We are also welcome to use the several rooms of different sizes in the Church building if they are available. FCC is illustrative of what we had hoped for from the beginning, a space dedicated to spiritual depth of all traditions. Our office is next door to the Buddhist room and the chapel downstairs holds weekly services for Christian Scientists. The parlor on the first floor is home to women’s tea events as well as studies of Conversations with God, Our book groups have been going strong in the Eden Room for two years now and we sing Taize music there once a month as well.
Our second space is in West Endicott, symbolizing our desire to broaden our reach both geographically and denominationally. The lovely, peaceful five-bedroom Cape Cod house is perfect for small groups of seekers, joining us for retreats lasting from 3 hours to 24 - in a quiet atmosphere perfect for the reflection that busy people so long for. People sit around the fireplace in quiet meditation twice a month or in a smaller room for individual spiritual guidance by appointment. And always it is good to share a meal.
We have been truly blessed with our venues, the parish staffs that have welcomed us and the participants who have come to experience our offerings. Won’t you consider a visit soon? See the main EVENTS page for the upcoming offerings that we hope will resonate with you in this holy season.
Sophia House retreats
For the latest scheduled events at Sophia House, visit our EVENTS page.
Carol Golembeski has been active in many programs offered by The Sophia Center for Spirituality. Here she discusses retreats at Sophia House.
I attend many of the events offered by the Sophia Center. The “satellite” location (Sophia House in Endicott) is a warm, welcoming and very lovely place, a beautiful home-like sanctuary. I have enjoyed peaceful gatherings with others in meditation, quiet reflection, sharing nutritious food and uplifting conversation. Like so many others with varied interests and commitments, the Saturday retreats offer a time and space to rest, refresh & renew. I am so grateful.
These testimonials highlight our regularly scheduled programs that occur monthly and bimonthly.
Held first and third Wednesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. at Sophia House, 719 W. Main St. Endicott.
Claudine Jones shares her experience with Centering Prayer.
I’ve lost track how long Ed and I have participated in Centering Prayer. We look forward to meeting with Carol Uhlman, our facilitator, on a bi-monthly basis at Sophia House in Endicott. Centering Prayer adds a depth and dimension to our other modes of praying that isn’t easy to explain. We say grace at meals, we pray in church for family and friends, most every day we pray our own silent prayers. Centering Prayer is different from our normal prayers in that it isn’t just about a close, personal relationship with God. It’s about resting quietly in His space and absorbing His warmth and grace. It’s being in the presence of a best friend who knows you so well; there is no need for words. It is living in a bubble of peace.
In today’s sometimes toxic and abrasive world, Centering Prayer is a miracle of silent prayer.
Held fourth Sunday of the month at 6 p.m. at The Sophia Center for Spirituality in Binghamton, NY.
Marge Mangan is one of the most faithful participants at our monthly Taizé services and had the following to say in answer to a question about why she keeps coming back.
“I like the format with the time for reflection and the occasional question that you ask as a prompt after a reading. It’s good to have Scripture and the five to ten minutes of silence that follows each time helps the meaning to go deeper in us. Personal, private time for reflection is enhanced by being in a group. And chanting…there’s something to be said for that! Even if we don’t have great voices we can sing along with the monks at Taize (on CD) or when we have a live musician because the chants are simple and provide repeated prayers that are uplifting."
Join us for Taizé on the fourth Sunday of the month
Lunch With the Psalms
Held on a Tuesday each month from 12:15-12:45 p.m. at The Sophia Center for Spirituality.
Colleen Kenny-Kuk shares her experience with Lunch With the Psalms.
I have been attending Lunch with the Psalms for a number of years now, and it continues to be a welcome time of restoration for me. Our days and lives can often feel very stressful, filled with so many different demands and seemingly just not enough hours in the day to meet them all. Lunch with the Psalms is such a simple practice—take a 30-minute lunch break at mid-day and spend that time together reading and reflecting on God’s word as handed down to us in the Psalms. The group is warm and welcoming, and the atmosphere is relaxed and comfortable. After we read the particular Psalm of the Day, we share our thoughts, which almost always leads to new insights and fresh perspectives—especially on Psalms with which we may be very familiar and have come to take for granted. And although Lunch with the Psalms is a quiet and reflective time, do not make the mistake of thinking it is somber! Rather, it is joyful and uplifting, and I always leave feeling refreshed and renewed.
Sr. Lois's Blog
Posted daily at thesophiacenterforspirituality.wordpress.com
Sister Kathy Fullerton lives in Wilton, Connecticut and journeys to the Spiritual Center in Windsor, NY for her annual retreat week each summer.
As she notes, she has been a faithful follower of the blog and shares it daily with her housemate, Sister Mary.
I have been reading the Sophia Center blog daily for a number of years. I find it to be very inspirational. Sr. Lois Barton has covered myriad topics over the years. She is a wise woman who uses various resources including Scripture, nature, various writers, and sometime just facts about ordinary life. It is obvious that she relies on the Holy Spirit to guide her. Sometimes I return to it during the day, which helps me feel focused. I hope she continues this wonderful work for many more years. Try it. I am sure you will like it.