BE the Inspiration of the Season by Rev. Jim Toole
‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all across the land, everyone was making plans, merry and grand. God was preparing with frankincense and myrrh, for the arrival of his Son, on the day of his birth. Santa was checking his list twice, to see who was naughty or nice. Another candle was lit on the menorah with love, everyone was feeling the inspiration from above. Homes are decorated with kente and fruits, to celebrate Kwanzaa and their African roots. During Yule the evergreen, holly and mistletoe is gathered with care to celebrate the tradition that is shared. On Bodhi Day there will be meditation and Peace, to celebrate Buddha’s enlightenment under the Bodhi tree.
For all of us and the rest of us, there is, of course, the holiday called Festivus.
No matter how you celebrate your holidays, be sure to share the reflection of your love and light in every way. The true gift given and received this time of year is the Spirit of the season. By looking within with gratitude for what we have and who we are, we become a blessing that is easily shared throughout this time of year and always.
They say, (whoever ‘they are ‘), that it’s the thought that counts. Let us all lay aside what we think we must give or receive, open ourselves to one another in our connection of unity beyond judgment and remember we’re all on this journey of life together. There are so many, even those near and around us, this time of year feeling empty, alone, lost and unsure.
Offer the love of your heart and the inspiration of your soul as your expression everywhere you go with everyone you meet. Give the gift of a smile, an unexpected hello or a random act of kindness. This unwrapped present can be the most precious gift shared, truly creating good will, harmony and peace on earth.
We are each a reflection of Spirit into life. Let us all join together during the holidays and be blessed by being the blessing that truly makes a difference for each and all. It is by connecting with each other heart to heart in love that we awaken the purpose and passion of our souls. May your holidays be filled with love, joy, peace as you choose to BE the Inspiration of the Season.
December Classes, Workshops, and Events
Dec. 1st, Saturday, Psychic Saturday, 10:30-1:00pm, 15 minute Readings-$20. Vibrational Healing-love donation. Davis Hall and Flexer Healing Chapel.
Dec. 2nd. Sunday, Holiday Coffee Hour hosted by Hands of Light. Please join us in Davis Hall after the morning service for eats and treats, games and prizes. Santa will be visiting!
Evening coffee hour after service will include holiday sweets.
Dec. 5th, Wednesday, Healers Healing Healers, 6:00pm, Sanctuary.
Dec. 7th, Friday, Songs of the Season, a Benefit Concert, 7:00pm. This exciting evening will include a wide range of performers, artists and musicians. Many genres and styles of music will be offered, including jazz, contemporary, global and holiday favorites. It is a fundraiser for the Center. Suggested love offering of $15. Nobody will be turned away. Sanctuary.
Starting Dec. 13, Thursday, Compassionate Heart Grief and Loss Support, a bi-weekly support group for those who have lost loved ones. Learn from one another through empathy and friendship. 2:00-3:30pm, Learning Center.
Dec. 15th, Saturday, Caroling in the Garden, 7:00pm. Carolers and musicians will be singing and leading carols in the illuminated garden for everyone to listen to and participate in. There will be refreshments and snacks to enjoy. Come be a part of the music, fun and inspiration of the season.
Dec, 24th, Monday, Divine Light Service, 7:00pm. You are invited to be a part of the sacred energy and connection of this candlelight service. Those who attend will enjoy wonderful music, an inspirational talk and receive a Spirit message from one of our mediums. Sanctuary.
Dec. 27th, Thursday, Metaphysical Manifestation – Creating a NEW New Year with Rev. Jim, 7:00-9:00pm. Reach beyond intention by using both spiritual and practical techniques to create the life you want, inside and out. Manifest the experience and prosperity you want and be the expression that brings fulfillment to your life. Learning Center, $15. Nobody turned away.
Dec. 30th, Sunday, Burning Bowl Ceremony will be held after the morning service.
ONGOING WEEKLY CLASSES
Fridays, Developing Consciousness with Rev. Jim, 6:00-7:15pm, Ed. Center, $10 love donation. Enjoy a time of connection, checking in with each other, discussing spiritual topics and joining in a channeled meditation. All are welcome.
Blessing Bowl Donations in 2018
Thanks to your generosity, we have given the following:
January Resurrection House $ 192
February Nate’s Animal Rescue 207
March Everyday Blessings – Easter 200
April Tidewell Hospice Music for Memory 212
May All Faiths Food Bank – Kids’ Summer Program 200
June Girls, Inc. 216
July Mothers Helping Mothers 202
August Humane Society of Sarasota County 398
September Pastor’s Discretionary Fund 239
October SPARCC 220
November All Faiths Food Bank, including Food 242
December Everyday Blessing Kids’ Christmas Tree/Gifts
Generosity is more than a concept; it is a practice of self-extension to others. Generosity comes in a multitude of forms. We often think of the time offered by our congregants who volunteer for many different activities and become the hands behind the scene which allow us to offer so many programs and events. We also equate generosity with financial contribution and in 2018 we experienced extraordinary giving for the capital campaign. Yet another way to view generosity is to acknowledge the people who offer their personal gifts and talents to promote the success of Sarasota Center of Light. For example, members of our leadership groups who bring education and work experience to ensure the success of the Center; the mediums and musicians who share their gifts; and the healers who offer spiritual healing both at the Center and from a distance when called upon. For the gifts received, the Board of Directors say thank you. Please know you are appreciated and celebrated.
As the calendar year closes, the Center can look to our many successes. We now have a Vision and a new Mission statement. The Education Committee has been restructured and reinvigorated with 2018 producing a very successful year of classes and workshops. A revised set of By Laws is complete and will be discussed at the Annual Meeting (AGM) in January 2019. The buildings in our campus are receiving a face lift with replacement parts as needed. And the Board created an assessment team, led by a professional, who volunteered to review the status of our rental properties. Results of the assessment shall be available at the AGM.
All in all, the Center is humbled and very grateful for the generosity of others.
Wishing everyone a blessed holiday season,
Hands of Light
Dear Members & Friends,
Many of you know that Hands of Light lovingly supports giving to three local organizations: Everyday Blessings, Stillpoint Mission, and All Faiths Food Bank. These organizations support the community as follows:
Everyday Blessings provides a stable place to keep siblings together when they have been removed from their parents due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment.
Stillpoint Mission reaches out within the community in an effort to meet the basic daily essentials of those in need.
All Faiths Food Bank’s priority is to serve the most needy and most vulnerable first: children, seniors, veterans, and those in crisis.
Members of the Hands of Light Team will deliver all donations to these organizations.
For those of us that are able to give, please give.
Thank you and a Blessed Holiday Season.
Hands of Light
Your Education Committee has been hard at work to assure that the workshops and classes offered at the Sarasota Center of Light are of high quality, on target to our mission, and coordinated with efficiency and caring. We thank all of you who have been involved.
November was a very busy month and December is now upon us. The many holiday festivities offered create inspirational, community gatherings and we hope you will attend as many as possible. Please join us for caroling in the garden on December 15th and allow the beauty of thousands of lights to envelop you. The Divine Light ceremony on December 24th is a special occasion held annually for the community. In addition we have workshops and classes in December; please see the listing in the FOCUS.
The Education Committee is pleased to announce the 2019 schedule of our visiting mediums. The Potts Brothers will be joining us the first week in February, Richard Schoeller will arrive the third week and will be with us from February 19 to the 24th. Eric Cargill will return in mid May. Plans are also underway to invite Bill Coller to return for a weekend visit sometime in 2019.
We are blessed with abundance in its many forms. Wishing you a very happy holiday.
We want to thank our healers for sharing their energy and being of service as part of our healing ministry at Sarasota Center of Light. We are excited to announce 8 new healing students are finishing the Basic Healing series and will be healing in the Sanctuary soon.
Our Healing Team headed by Robin Washburn is here to support you in your health and well-being. Whether you are facing a physical challenge or otherwise, we are here for you in your daily life. We are always available to send energy, healing and inspiration.
Anyone who would like to receive healing may call or email the Center office or go to the contact page of our website. Rev. Lisa Johnson oversees this process. Our healers are dedicated to be there with the healing you need. Someone is always there for you.
The first Wednesday, December 5th, is dedicated to Healers Healing Healers in the Sanctuary at 6:00pm.
Happy Holidays from the Healing Team.
Marketing Committee Report
“May the blessings of love be upon you. May its peace abide with you. May its essence illuminate your heart, now and forever.” -Sufi Blessing.
As 2018 comes to a close, I have been reflecting on all the new roads I have traveled this past year, including accepting this new role here at our Center. Sarasota Center of Light is the “original” Metaphysical church in Florida and the love, kindness and generosity of this spiritual family is something I want everyone in our community to experience.
With that said, our marketing efforts are in full swing with all of the wonderful holiday events and activities planned for December. From our lighting of the Healing Garden, our “Carol in the Garden”, the Divine Light Ceremony to the Burning Bowl Ceremony, December is going to be month filled with the warmth and joy of the holiday season.
Your marketing committee is diligently working to spread the word about this remarkable church and the amazing services we offer. Our primary focus for the past two months has been on social media, given that it is the fastest means of spreading our message. We are reaching far more users on Facebook than ever before. There you will find all our services, guest visitor updates, special events, classes and workshops. You will also see our “Daily Thoughts” and a weekly “Sunday Blessing” now posted to our page.
We are up and running on Twitter, so be sure to follow us @S_CenterofLight. You can also share your engagements with the Center on Twitter using #SarasotaCenterofLight. Another social media channel we are now using is LinkedIn. Here we post articles from Rev. Jim, post events held at the Center and we are networking with other “likeminded” individuals. Along with social media we continue posting in digital publications and print, and we are seeing an increase in new friends joining us at services.
I wish you all a very blessed holiday season filled with love, light and peaceful joy.
Robin Washburn, Marketing Chair
Revised Bylaws to be presented at Jan. 26th, 2019 Annual General Meeting
The Board and its Bylaw Review Committee are pleased to announce that Bylaw changes are being proposed to better serve our Center’s unique needs, and safeguard our property. The proposed Bylaw changes will be presented for a member vote at our Annual Meeting, January 26, 2019. If Center members have questions in the meantime, please reach out to Bob Sadler, Committee Chair (email firstname.lastname@example.org).
New Support Group Starting
COMPASSIONATE HEART GRIEF AND LOSS SUPPORT
A new bi-weekly support group starting for those who have lost loved ones. Join others who share similar experiences or concerns and receive loving support. We offer an opportunity to learn from one another through empathy and friendship.
Beginning Thursday, December 13th from 2:00-3:30pm at the Learning Center.
Those who have faith in the workings of universal law know that as Psalm 23 states, “…goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” When you live with faith and in harmony with spiritual law, you can look forward to blessings coming to you day in and day out.
Many people have no faith in the God Power or in the invisible help of the angels. Metaphysicians, however, understand and work with the spiritual law. They know how important it is to ask for divine help and then to do things well and with the right intent. They also know that in so doing, they activate spiritual law, thereby making it possible for goodness and mercy to follow them.
Living a good life for a few years does not give you the assurance that goodness and mercy will always manifest. You must continue to do good things and to create positive, happy conditions. Consider your life as a garden of light. Continually work the soil and seed it in order to keep things growing and developing. Till with your mental efforts and with your physical and material activities. As you continue to work in this way with the spiritual law and the angels, you will enjoy the assurance that goodness and mercy will indeed follow you all the days of your life as well as throughout all eternity.
You are loved.
Message from the Vice President
In this Season of Seasons, may you have a blessed time of sweet peaceful moments and beautiful surprises.
Over the course of 2018, I have been amazed to see so many new faces in our community. Each represents a fresh expression of Spirit in our midst. There is cause for rejoicing in this and an implicit challenge: how do we turn new friends into new members and fellow contributors to the growth of Love and Light in which we all have a share? It seems to me that extending a warm welcome at every opportunity is a good start. Then we who call the Center our spiritual home can better determine how to serve the needs of those who come to us in search of “something more” to enhance their quality of life.
Shake a hand, offer a hug and perhaps some words of welcome and encouragement in this month of Joy and beyond into the new year. Small gestures often pay big dividends in the ongoing life of a community, 69 Years strong, with a future that we collectively hold in our working hands. Today’s stranger may become tomorrow’s friend, colleague, mentor or leader. It starts with all of us. Yes, it begins with me and you.
In the Season of Light, have a wonderful Christmas, Hanukkah, Solstice, Kwanza and know that above all, you are LOVED!