Church of Our Saviour, Cocoa Beach
by Beth Murphy
The oak trees covered with resurrection fern fill the grounds at the Church of Our Saviour in Cocoa Beach, providing a heavenly setting for our contemplative prayer. There was a Centering Prayer group at Our Saviour when the prayer was introduced to the area 30 years ago. It was led by one of the Sisters of Mercy that taught at the school. When the sisters returned to their home in Limerick, Ireland, the group disbanded.
In 2007 when we brainstormed ideas for Advent activities, and decided on four prayer talks including Contemplative Prayer, we never imagined the result. Basha Perez came to our parish to teach us about the prayer and at our invitation came back in January with Rosemary VanPelt and Barbara Smythers to present our Introductory Workshop. Adal Henriquez was with us for our six week follow up sessions. Then we were on our own, or so we thought. We were a group of twenty to start and after a year there were five of us – four year round and one winter visitor from St. Louis who has returned every year.
My husband and I became the group facilitators without any prior involvement with Centering Prayer. For the first couple of years we attended the Centering Prayer group at St. Mary’s in Rockledge to keep our own group on track. Praying and sharing with this group of experienced practitioners let us see the fruits of the prayer and encouraged us in our own prayer life and with our group. For five years the four of us gathered, prayed and shared our experiences every week – watched the Spiritual Journey – read Open Mind Open Heart, and The Invitation to Love. Then something happened and more people started showing up to the group. Last summer, Adal Henriquez gave us another Introductory Workshop and this time we had forty people attend. We now have a total of 15 people and we have split into two groups. We meet Wednesday evenings at 6:00 and Tuesday mornings at 7:00. We have four qualified facilitators who have all attended the facilitators workshops (Fr. Jim Murphy, Sharon Wright, Anne Goodin, and Beth Murphy), and three members who serve on Service Teams. Sharon Wright is the bookkeeper for the financial team and Anne Goodin and Beth Murphy serve on the event team. In March of 2014, we hosted the United Day of Prayer. We asked our winter visitor from St Louis, Rita Sturgeon, to talk about her experience on our theme of “Falling into the Arms of God.” This is when she revealed that she was the St Louis co-coordinator. We had been advised and encouraged by a chapter coordinator for 6 years. She had never mentioned it until her talk.
We are very excited to be hosting the Night of Sense Night of Spirit event with presenter Susan Komis on Friday, April 22 and Saturday, April 23, 2016. We hope that you will join us for this wonderful opportunity to learn and pray and grow in community. If we are fortunate we will have rain beforehand so that the resurrection ferns that look brown and dead when dry will be resurrected to their full regal green beauty, drawing us into the infinity beauty and mystery of God’s love.