Choirs support and comfort those at life’s thresholds

first_img The Church Pension Fund Invests $20 Million in Impact Investment Fund Designed to Preserve Workforce Housing Communities Nationwide Church Pension Group January 17, 2014 at 12:51 pm The Threshold Choir is a wonderful way for human beings to gently reach out to each oither with ‘quiet’ support. I notice that the United Kingdom was not mentioned. We could certainly use them here (in Birmingham, England). AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to PrintFriendlyPrintFriendlyShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailShare to MoreAddThis By Sharon SheridanPosted Dec 19, 2013 Comments (3) Rector/Priest in Charge (PT) Lisbon, ME Rector (FT or PT) Indian River, MI New Berrigan Book With Episcopal Roots Cascade Books Featured Events Associate Rector Columbus, GA Inaugural Diocesan Feast Day Celebrating Juneteenth San Francisco, CA (and livestream) June 19 @ 2 p.m. PT Ya no son extranjeros: Un diálogo acerca de inmigración Una conversación de Zoom June 22 @ 7 p.m. ET Rector and Chaplain Eugene, OR Virtual Celebration of the Jerusalem Princess Basma Center Zoom Conversation June 19 @ 12 p.m. ET Members of “threshold choirs,” such as singers from the Napa Valley Threshold Choir and healing Moon Threshold Singers shown here, sing a capella in very small groups for people at the thresholds of life. Photo: Faith Echtermeyer[Episcopal News Service] It all started with a song.Twenty-three years ago, Kate Munger filled in as a bedside volunteer for a friend dying of AIDS. “All morning I did chores, and in the afternoon I was supposed to sit by his bedside. And he was comatose and agitated, and I was terrified,” she recalled. “I had no idea what to do, so I started singing. I’ve been leading community singing for many years, and there was a song in that period that comforted me, that gave me courage when I was afraid. I sang it for two-and a-half hours.”By the end of that time, he had calmed, “and I got calmer as well,” she said. “I realized that I had given him the best gift that I personally could give him and that I had given him something essential, something very deep from my soul to his soul.”Ten years later, in Berkeley, Calif., she started the first of what now are 108 “threshold choirs,” who sing a capella by invitation for people on life’s thresholds. The Threshold Choir network of primarily women’s choirs stretches across the country and as far as Australia and Cambodia, although most groups are in the continental United States and Canada. Members generally visit homes, hospitals, hospices and other locations in groups of two to four, singing softly in what Munger calls “lullaby voice.”Although Threshold Choir is not a religious organization, members will sing a hymn if asked. Some choirs rehearse at Episcopal churches or have Episcopal members, and at least one choir in Illinois operates as a ministry in an Episcopal parish.“This is prayer and not performance,” said Munger, the organization’s creative director. “I think people that are not religious have access to prayer just like people who are religious.” A threshold choir can provide support for those who don’t necessarily have a church to meet their beliefs and needs, she noted.The definition of “threshold” is somewhat flexible. “We focus on end of life, and some choirs sing for people who are ill and in treatment and struggling,” said Munger, the organization’s creative director. “Our official wording is that we sing for people who are struggling, some with living, some with dying.”In Oregon, the Portland Threshold Choir rehearses at St. David of Wales Episcopal Church and sings for certain communal events as well as for individuals. On Dec. 20 at 6, the group will provide musical accompaniment for a Longest Night Service at the church.While the holidays are portrayed as “a time of sweetness, joy, happiness, light,” this service acknowledges “that there are a lot of people for whom the holiday season has got the other side of that spectrum, too: grief, depression, despair, sadness, anger,” said Kri Schlafer, the choir’s director. The group sings while worshipers have a chance to light a candle and leave a photo or other reminder of someone who died or needs healing. The singers leave space within the music “where people can speak their name into the silence,” she said.“Some people call it a Blue Mass,” said Rector Sara Fischer, adding that the singers “do an absolutely beautiful job helping us to create a really meaningful service every year.”The group also sings at local labyrinth walks and at Portland’s 24-hour Chants for Peace, where groups connected with a variety of traditions each sing for an hour in a kind of musical relay to raise awareness of peace and peace-building.And the choir sings for individuals or families, with groups of one to three people visiting homes, adult foster cares or hospitals, finding out how to be most supportive and singing the songs that would be meaningful to them.“The intention is really to be companions on the journey, whatever journey they’re on,” Schlafer said. “We keep things fairly open in Portland in terms of wanting to honor a variety of thresholds.” Their first call was for a family with a new baby. They’ve also sung for a wedding – “pretty much any significant threshold crossing where that kind of presence is called for,” she said.“We’re not a performance choir; we’re a presence choir,” said Schlafer. And, although the singers rehearse at a church, they are not connected to any particular religion, she said. She herself was raised Episcopalian and now follows the Zen Buddhist mindfulness practice of Thich Nhat Hanh.The choir will sing secular songs or songs from a religious tradition, if that is what will be most meaningful to the listener, she said. “We want to meet them where they are.”The choirs work from a songbook, with many of the songs sung as rounds or with harmony, said Georgia Duncan, who sings with the Flagstaff Threshold Choir in Flagstaff, Arizona. The choir rehearses at the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany, where she is a member.“They’re mostly ones that have been composed for this situation. They’re very simple, spiritual, quiet songs,” she said. On one occasion, the church’s deacon called to say a woman at the hospice where she is chaplain wanted them to come and sing “Whispering Hope.”“It’s not like a performance,” she said. “It’s singing very quietly.”Afterwards, the individuals they sing for seem more relaxed, she said. “Sometimes we’ll sing in the living room area [of a medical institution]. People have remarked that it just seems to lend a note of peace to the whole facility.”The work affects the singers as well. “I feel quieted and uplifted” after singing, Duncan said.For her, the threshold choir is a ministry. “Ministries take all forms,” she said. “I try to be aware of all sorts of situations where one can be a minister without thinking of it in the traditional sense.”In Burr Ridge, Illinois, the St. Helena’s Threshold Singers are not all church members, but the choir is among the ministries of St. Helena’s Episcopal Church, said Daryce Hoff Nolan, choir musical director and co-founder, who is a pastoral associate and diaconal aspirant at the church.“When we rehearse, we start with a prayer intention, which is a little unusual,” she said. “We also have prayer before we go in to sing for someone to settle ourselves. It’s a little bit nerve-wracking, at least at the beginning. You want to be your best.”Many of the members are or have been choral singers, she said. “You’re programmed to be perfect. This does not have to be perfect. We practice in order for it to be as good as it can be for the listener. … The intention is really what drives all of us together, to support and bring healing and comfort.”They sing the music compiled by Threshold Choir, much of it written by choir members, some from folk sources, she said. “For anyone in Christian circles, particularly that’s been involved in meditation … I would liken it to Taize music. It tends to be simple and repetitive, [of a] gentle, lullaby nature.”While they sing to people at the end of life, “it can also be people who are struggling emotionally and need support,” she said. As a music teacher by profession who has worked as a health-care chaplain in a hospital and hospice, “this for me is just the perfect blend … to be able to combine my two great loves.”She recalled singing at the bedside of a parishioner in hospice and later being asked to sing at her memorial service. “The response that people give when they’re being sung to is just profound. This lady’s response was, she sat up in her bed and just smiled and looked at each one of us in the eye.”On another occasion, choir members were doing a workshop for staff in a memory-care unit. As they were leaving, one dementia patient became very agitated, and the staff asked them to sing to her.“At the beginning, she got a little more agitated, but there was a very interesting moment when she took a deep breath and just her whole countenance quieted,” Nolan said. “Actually her breath began to match our song, the breath in the song. It was incredible. And it was really the first some of my choir members had actually had an experience with a patient, so it just made them so acutely aware of what our work was going to do, and it also made them excited to do it.”Early on, the group also sang to St. Helena’s member Chris DiBartelo, a close friend of Nolan’s with chronic back pain.“At first, I kind of felt a little, I don’t know, awkward, because most of these people I knew,” she recounted. “Once the opened their mouths to sing, it was just unbelievably beautiful. It just took me to another place, mentally and emotionally. … It was extremely soothing.”Using a slightly different approach, the Threshold Choir of New York City focuses its efforts on specific hospitals rather than visiting homes. “We don’t have cars. We’re in Manhattan, and it really is difficult to move around,” explained Sue Ribaudo, founder and director. “We decided to go where the people were, and that’s how we decided to be hospital-based.”They began with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. “It’s a little different there, because it’s not hospice,” she said. “The patients that we’re singing to are just there temporarily in the hospital.”They subsequently added singing on the hospice floors of two other hospitals. They try to visit each hospital once a week, with different song leaders directing groups of three or four people. They’ll visit a hospital floor and sing for different patients, if they wish. Most welcome the experience, she said. “They’re usually surprised. They’re used to getting flowers, not songs.”The cancer patients often applaud, “which we don’t ask for,” Ribaudo said. “We’re not performance-oriented really so much as offering, I’d say, almost a prayer.“Music is spiritual. It speaks to that part of us,” she said. “Many of the songs I think of as being very spiritual, that they speak to something beyond us. And also, we do have in our repertoire … some religious songs in case people request them or if we sense that something like that would be appropriate. No one’s against religion. We just want to be open, especially in New York City. It’s so multicultural, we want to be open to the fact that not everybody’s a Christian.”— Sharon Sheridan is an ENS correspondent. Course Director Jerusalem, Israel Daryce Hoff Nolan says: Rector Pittsburgh, PA Rector Knoxville, TN Associate Rector for Family Ministries Anchorage, AK Family Ministry Coordinator Baton Rouge, LA Rector Martinsville, VA The Church Investment Group Commends the Taskforce on the Theology of Money on its report, The Theology of Money and Investing as Doing Theology Church Investment Group Episcopal Migration Ministries’ Virtual Prayer Vigil for World Refugee Day Facebook Live Prayer Vigil June 20 @ 7 p.m. ET This Summer’s Anti-Racism Training Online Course (Diocese of New Jersey) June 18-July 16 Priest Associate or Director of Adult Ministries Greenville, SC Episcopal Church releases new prayer book translations into Spanish and French, solicits feedback Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs Rector Albany, NY Missioner for Disaster Resilience Sacramento, CA Submit a Press Release In-person Retreat: Thanksgiving Trinity Retreat Center (West Cornwall, CT) Nov. 24-28 TryTank Experimental Lab and York St. John University of England Launch Survey to Study the Impact of Covid-19 on the Episcopal Church TryTank Experimental Lab January 15, 2014 at 11:59 pm Wow, what a ministry. I would never have thought of using voices and singing in this way. Keep up the good work. Cathedral Dean Boise, ID Rector Washington, DC James M. Gibbs says: center_img Featured Jobs & Calls An Evening with Aliya Cycon Playing the Oud Lancaster, PA (and streaming online) July 3 @ 7 p.m. ET Curate Diocese of Nebraska Virtual Episcopal Latino Ministry Competency Course Online Course Aug. 9-13 Choirs support and comfort those at life’s thresholds Canon for Family Ministry Jackson, MS May 2, 2014 at 7:07 pm Thank you Very much. Please keep us in your prayers. 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Patrick O’Donovan announces €420,000 in funding for Limerick Greenway

first_imgFacebook Limerick Fine Gael TD and Minister of State Patrick O’DonovanLOCAL Minister Patrick O’Donovan has announced €420,000 in funding for the Limerick Greenway between Abbeyfeale, Newcastle West and Rathkeale. The funding comes from the Department of Rural and Community Development and is being made available by Minister Heather Humphreys  under the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up  Patrick O’Donovan said “I am thrilled to be able to announce this. This is fantastic news for the Limerick Greenway. Over the last number of years, I have announced literally millions of euro in funding for this amenity and we have seen the benefit of it, particularly now during the recent lockdown. The investment that we are making now is part of continuing to improve it for locals and visitors alike.” “The latest round of funding is to improve the signage and the Greenway itself and is being done in conjunction with Failte Ireland and Limerick City and County Council. Over the recent past I have worked with the Council to help refurbish the tunnel in Barnagh which has been restored to its former glory also secure the two old stations in Ardagh and Barnagh for the Greenway. Today, more good news from the Government and Minister Humphreys, which I know will be welcomed locally.” “As Minister for Tourism I laid out a plan and a vision that would see the Greenway go from Lough Derg to the Atlantic through Clare, Limerick, and Kerry. The main corner stones of that are I believe being put in place bit by bit and with continued investment Kline this, and with the good news on the Kerry side, we are really making steady but positive progress to a major Greenway here in this part of Munster.” Patrick O’Donovan concluded by saying that the last twelve months have shown how impotent how important local parks, walkways, trails, and amenities area. “As a Government we have made big investments into our area through the Council and local voluntary groups, sporting organisations and clubs. I am committed to getting more good news like this for other parts of Limerick so that the greatest number of people can enjoy our outdoor spaces and what Limerick has to offer our locals and visitors alike.” WhatsApp Limerick Ladies National Football League opener to be streamed live NewsCommunityLimerickPatrick O’Donovan announces €420,000 in funding for Limerick GreenwayBy Staff Reporter – March 22, 2021 437 Linkedin Previous articleWATCH: “Dreams come true” – CJ Stander reflects on final Irish appearanceNext articleWATCH: Farrell and Sexton reflect on win over England and pay tribute to CJ Stander Staff Reporter Billy Lee names strong Limerick side to take on Wicklow in crucial Division 3 clash Email Donal Ryan names Limerick Ladies Football team for League opener center_img WATCH: “Everyone is fighting so hard to get on” – Pat Ryan on competitive camogie squads Advertisement Limerick’s National Camogie League double header to be streamed live Roisin Upton excited by “hockey talent coming through” in Limerick Twitter Print TAGSDepartment of Rural and Community DevelopmentKeeping Limerick PostedlimerickLimerick GreenwayLimerick PostPatrick O’Donovan RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHORlast_img read more

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Ravens hope running game won’t be sluggish in Seattle

first_imgOWINGS MILLS, Md. — Riding high at 6-2 and owning a share of the AFC North lead with the Cincinnati Bengals, the Ravens hope to continue the offensive momentum built over their last six quarters of play that have produced 47 points when they travel to Seattle this Sunday.The passing offense is trending upward after back-to-back 300-yard performances by quarterback Joe Flacco, but a byproduct has been the sputtering nature of the running game in recent weeks. In fairness, Flacco’s 98 passing attempts over the last two games have squashed opportunities on the ground, but the Ravens have struggled to run the football since a good first quarter of the 16-game schedule.The Ravens rushed for 495 yards  through their first four games — including a 170-yard performance against the Pittsburgh run defense in Week 1 — but that total has dipped to just 321 yards over their last four contests. Baltimore currently ranks 22nd in rushing offense and is 25th in yards per attempt at 3.9 yards per carry.“There are some simple things we’ve got to get cleaned up,” offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. “It’s mostly technique stuff. It’s not the line. It’s not the backs. It’s not the tight ends. It’s just a combination of things we have to continue to get better at. We’re going to get some pretty challenging defenses against the run; this week is another one.”The absence of left guard Ben Grubbs has certainly been a factor as former Pro Bowl center Andre Gurode filled in for five games despite having never played the position at the professional level. Grubbs’ absence and the late arrival of starting left tackle Bryant McKinnie — known more for his pass blocking — in the preseason have led to struggles gaining ground on the left side of the offensive line.The run woes — and frustration — came to a head when the Ravens ran for a paltry 34 yards against the Jacksonville Jaguars and Rice received only eight carries.“We don’t have to force the run game,” Rice said. “One thing about it now, I told Cam, I told the guys, I am not going to be a guy that begs for the ball. I want it to be a situation where he is calling the game, and he is comfortable. Any time you try to force any situation, bad things happen. We are where we are. The run game, I think, is still effective. Guys have to go into the game respecting it.”The Baltimore rushing attack has struggled more noticeably against the 4-3 defense, with its two lowest rushing totals this season coming against Jacksonville and Tennessee (45). The Ravens’ only other opportunity against a 4-3 attack came against the St. Louis Rams, who own the league’s worst run defense. In their 37-7 Week 3 win, the Ravens were able to run for 168 yards, but have found no other success against four-man fronts.A 4-3 defense typically includes more athletic defensive linemen as opposed to a traditional 3-4 scheme with bulkier defensive linemen. The Ravens will face Seattle’s 4-3 defense a week after facing Pittsburgh’s traditional 3-4 alignment.“You have to attack them,” Rice said. “The thing is with the 4-3 fronts, obviously it’s a different structure of defense. You can’t run the same kind of runs against a 3-4 that you are going to run against a 4-3. A lot of the stuff, blocking assignments are probably a little bit more downhill rather than east and west. A lot of the stretch and cut things still apply, [but] you can’t go into the game plan thinking that you are going to run the same plays you ran against the Steelers – or any 3-4 team – that you are going to come in and run the same against a 4-3. It’s a totally different defense.”Though ranked 16th in total defense, the Seahawks have shown the ability to play well against the run. Ranked 13th in ground defense, Seattle is allowing only 3.4 yards per attempt, which ranks third in the NFL. With the Seahawks owning the 29th-ranked offense in the NFL, opposing teams have decided not to take chances and have attempted 257 rushes in eight games, third-most in the league. Seahawks middle linebacker David Hawthorne leads the team with 54 tackles while safety Earl Thomas is right behind him with 53.Playing at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, labeled the “loudest stadium” in the league by Cameron, the Ravens hope to control the tempo of the game via the ground attack and to avoid the need to go to the no-huddle attack as they did in Pittsburgh — mostly out of necessity. And with a 40 percent chance of rain and a predicted high of 49 degrees in Seattle on Sunday afternoon, unleashing Rice and backup Ricky Williams would be the best weapon to combat any inclement weather.“We’ve got good backs,” Cameron said. “Especially as the weather turns and we’re heading down the stretch here, we have to pick up our running game a little bit.”last_img read more

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