Advent Pauses–Harmony

This week, Advent Pauses considers the theme of ‘harmony.’  As we enter into this Advent season, how does harmony come?  How does Jesus’ coming invite us to consider the incoming harmony of Christ’s kingdom? Where are we longing for harmony in our personal lives and in the world?

This AP is hosted by Marlene Frankenfield, spiritual director for The Gathering Place.


Advent Pauses 2016

candlesThe core of The Gathering Place is centered in deepening the spiritual formation of its leaders in the Anabaptist tradition.  To this ends, TGP wants to offer an Advent resource for its leaders to delve into as they prepare for the season. We are calling these, Advent Pauses.

Join TGP’s spiritual directors, Merv Stoltzfus and Marlene Frankenfield, as they lead us through these weekly Advent reflections. These brief 15- 20 minute pauses following themes from The Leader Magazine, will breathe space into your busy holiday season reminding and re-orienting you again and again to the reason for the season (and possibly giving you new insight for worship leading and/or preaching).

We will gather for four weeks at 2pm EST–and will focus on a different weekly theme, following Leader.

Week One:    “God’s PEACE is at hand; Come walk in the way of God’s heart” Tuesday, 11/22, 2pm EST

Week Two:    “God’s HARMONY is at hand; Come walk in the way of God’s heart”Tuesday, 11/29, 2pm EST

Week Three:  “God’s HEALING is at hand; Come walk in the way of God’s heart” Tuesday, 12/6, 2pm EST

Week Four:    “God’s RESTORATION is at hand; Come walk in the way of God’s heart” Tuesday, 12/13, 2pm EST


In each Pause, we will follow the same flow:

Introduce Theme of Week

Read Scripture passage

Quiet Reflection Time

Question, “Where do you experience _________________?”

Question, “Where do you need _________________?

Opportunity for Personal Sharing

Question, “How would you wish your youth would understand this theme?”

Closing prayer


Would you consider joining us this season?

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Advent Pauses: Week 4, “Freedom Bound: The Path of Love”

A small group of pastors and lay leaders from the Gathering Place community have been meeting together each week during this Advent season to prepare for Christmas.  We’ve called this intentional spiritual formation community, Advent Pauses, as it is a brief weekly interlude in the midst of this busy season for personal reflection and contemplation. This week concluded our 4 week experience with the theme, “Freedom Bound:  The Path of Love.”  Marlene Frankenfield, TGP spiritual director, facilitated.

tGP LIVE podcast: Praying In Color

Do dimly lit spaces, quiet meditative practices, and long periods of silence make you run for the door?  Is it hard for you to sit still during prayer and you find your mind wandering every which way?

Part of this is the life-long practice of developing and deepening disciplines of spiritual formation and learning to “come home”, but maybe it doesn’t have to feel so grueling!  Maybe we need to think a bit more broadly, outside the box, when it comes to prayer and engaging with our Creator.

Marlene Bogard, Executive Director for Mennonite Women, and former Christian Formation minister for Western District shares in this tGP interview about how engaging our creativity can be a form of prayer.  What does praying in color actually mean?  How can doodling connect us with the Divine?  What does it mean to re-member again…to connect our body with our mind and spirit?

Thanks, Marlene for talking with us today!

Here are some extra fun links: 37 Art Therapy Techniques, an article from The Huffington Post

Praying In Color by Sybil MacBeth

Buy your own adult coloring sheet and support the work and ministry of Mennonite Women this holiday!

Advent Pauses: Week 3, “The Path of Trust”

We continue with our spiritual formation group, Advent Pauses, in this third week to consider the theme, “Freedom Bound:  The Path of Trust.”  Danilo Sanchez,  from Mennonite Central Committee and area youth pastor for the Lehigh Valley (PA), facilitated our reflections and conversations this week.  What does it mean to trust in God in the midst of a world that is completely un-trustworthy?

Advent Pauses: Week 2, The Path of Mercy

This week our group, facilitated by Kim Litwiller (conference minister of Illinois Mennonite Conference), considered Christ’s coming as the ‘path of mercy.’  Where do you/I/we need mercy in life?  Where have you/I/we experienced mercy?  How do we wish our youth would experience mercy in their lives today?

December Theme: ADVENT

This month our focus is:


‘Tis the season!  The stores are decked out, online ads scream at us, and holiday music is piped everywhere we turn.  Now, there is nothing inherently wrong about living into the holiday cheer and making the festive preparations for Christmas. But all too often the season of light, hope, love, mercy, peace is far too easily replaced with, stress, busyness, rushing, drama, and resentment. If we start to feel like this, I’m guessing it is because we have forgotten this one thing on our holiday “to-do” list…


The best way to prepare for our Savior’s birth is to practice Advent.  Advent literally means, “the coming.” It is the intentional time we take in the weeks leading up to Christmas day to remember Christ’s coming and await Christ return.  It is a pause in the midst of the hubbub and planning to be attentive to where God is already breaking through, how we are being invited to pay attention, to turn our hearts toward the coming Light.

This month on The Gathering Place in order to make a more spacious month, we have limited our offerings to two connections.  Please read below to see how you can connect and re-connect to your spirit this season.

  1.  Join our Advent Pauses
    Watch on Google+ Live on Tuesday at 2pm EST

The core of The Gathering Place is rooted in deepening the spiritual formation of Anabaptist youth leaders. To this end, we are offering an Advent resourcing that we are calling Advent Pauses. AP  is a group of persons who have agreed to commit themselves for the season of Advent to form a spiritual formation community to discuss, pray, and live into this Advent theme together.  This Advent Pause group is following The Leader Magazine (MennoMedia, Fall 2015) Advent resource called, “Freedom Bound.” Each Tuesday this group gathers together. You can follow along by watching live if you have a Google+ account.  Simply search for Rachel Gerber ( Advent Pauses, and you will be able to view it live from your newsfeed. Or, you can watch the recorded sessions and use the posed questions for personal reflection whenever it suits your schedule. You will find the recorded Advent Pause on Wednesday of each week posted to our webinar/podcast archive page here.

2. Sign up for the tGP Podcast:   Coloring As Spiritual PracticeThursday, 12/10, 12pm EST

Adult coloring books are the hottest item this season.  But have you ever considered how coloring might be a type of spiritual practice? Doodling as a way to pray? Creativity comes naturally to us, as we are created in the image of God, our creator. Join Marlene Bogard, executive  director of Mennonite Women USA in this conversation. Marlene is a big fan of color and so is God, so it only seems natural for her play with color and pray in color.

She is delighted to live in the Pacific Northwest where daily she gazes at enormous green pine trees. Marlene is executive director of Mennonite Women USA. Previously she served in the ministries of resourcing and Christian formation for Western District conference for 25 years. She and her husband Mike moved to Oregon last spring to be closer to their grown children and one adorable grandson.

Order your coloring pages here today! (Purchase not required to participate in podcast)

Advent Pauses–Week 1–Justice

Where do you see a need for justice in this world?  In your community? In your personal life? What do we wish for our youth to know about how to engage God’s justice today?

These were some of the questions that our Advent Pause group reflected on as we gathered mid-day to engage this Advent season.

The core of The Gathering Place is centered in deepening the spiritual formation of its leaders.  We hope that these weekly reflections will breathe space into your life as you pause in the midst of the hubbub to experience the Light that breaks in to our lives and world, offering freedom for all.