The visit to St. John the Evangelist Monastery and worship service was moving and also a lot of fun.The chapel was beautiful, and the brothers and others so welcoming.The music was uplifting and soulful, and the majesty of the service was also a surprise (although the incense was a bit intense).The highlight for me was the tour afterward, and seeing the areas where the brothers study, contemplate, and eat. Learning that Isabella Stewart Gardner gave the land for the monastery and also included in her will that the brothers would do a service at the chapel at her museum was interesting.Speaking with Brother Jeffrey about all that they do, about their other location in the country and about their routines and schedules was illuminating.The best part of all, though, was sharing the experience with the other members of our group, bonding over the shared outing was special.
We are hoping to incorporate more such outings and experiences.We all truly believe that increasing the light of tolerance and understanding is rooted in deepening our personal relationships through shared experiences.
Mindy Milberg (Jewish member)
I invited my fellow Daughters to join me at the monastery of the Society of St. John the Evangelist (SSJE) in Cambridge, where I usually worship on Sunday mornings.I thought they would find it interesting to observe worship in the monastic tradition.SSJE is the oldest order of monks in The Episcopal Church.It was a joy and a moving experience to pray with a Muslim sister on my right and a Jewish sister on my left.
Christine Navez (Christian member)
I enjoyed our visit to the monastery very much. I found the service peaceful. I loved the quiet, contemplative manner tin which the service was conducted.I found a lot of common themes that we also incorporate in our prayers such as repentance, forgiveness, mercy and giving Thanks to God. Wishing each other "may peace be with you" midway through reminded me of our greeting in Islam, "Assalaamu alaykum" which means "may peace be with you" and we respond with "wa alaykum salaam" which mean "and may peace be with you".
It was enlightening to learn about the daily lives the monks live. Interesting that they practice 6 prayers a day. The church itself too was beautiful yet simple. Unlike some of the churches and cathedrals I've been to, the monastery's church only had 2 small statues of Jesus on the crucifix. I guess it goes along with the simpler lifestyle that the monks live.
Majedah Taliep (Muslim member)