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Gratitude               Generosity               Joy              Stillness 
  Greetings, friends of the Portland Center!  
 The approaching season is perhaps the most festive and spiritually potent time of year. Come, be with us for deep meditations, devotional commemorative services, and fun-filled fellowship. We look forward to your spiritual companionship!
In Divine Friendship,
Portland Center  of Self-Realization Fellowship
Portland Center E-Newsletter

November-December 2017-January 2018 - Vol 8,  Issue 5             
In This Issue
From Master
Services and Activities
Christmas All-Day Meditation
New Year's Eve Meditation
Paramahansa Yogananda's Birthday Commemorative Service
Paramahansa Yogananda's Birthday Meditation
Holiday Pot Luck Luncheons
Visit from SRF Monks
Fall Silent Retreat photos
Flower Committee seeks volunteers
Christmas Toy and Book Drive
2018 Convocation announced by SRF
Book Room News
Birth Announcement
News from the Managing Council
Other Activities
Christmas Greetings
February-March E-Newsletter
Join Our Mailing List!
Contact information for SRF and nearby SRF groups
From Master
" Whether your worldly possessions be many or few, you are still rich in gifts from God. Love Him not for the outward things He may give you but for His gift to you of Himself as your Father."
      Paramahansa Yogananda 
Services and Activities 
Upcoming Events:   For information about the regular monthly schedule and additional special activities in November, December and January, please refer to the Portland Center website or pick up a copy of the Quarterly Calendar of Services in the foyer at Portland Center.
Here are some highlights in the coming months, with more details found in this edition of the newsletter:
November 2017

Long Meditation - Saturday 11/1, 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Thanksgiving Pot Luck - Sunday 11/19, 12:00 noon, following the Inspirational Service

Kirtan Meditation  - Sunday November 26, 8:00 a.m., 9:00 a.m., and 10:00 a.m.

December 2017

All-Day Christmas Meditation -
Saturday 12/16, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.   

Christmas Pot Luck - Sunday 12/17, 12:00 noon, following the Inspirational Service  
New Year's Eve Meditation - Sunday 12/31, 11:30 p.m.- 12:30 a.m.
January 2018

Paramahansa Yogananda's Birthday Commemorative Service - Friday January 5, 8:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m., preceded by optional meditation from 7:15-7:45  

Paramahansa Yogananda Birthday All-Day Meditation - Saturday January 13, 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

Christmas All-Day Meditation
A tradition started by our Guru many decades ago, the annual Christmas All-Day Meditation will be held this year on Saturday, December 16 from 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., with a short break around 1:00 p.m.  For this special meditation, please bring a fruit offering as a symbol of devotion to God and Gurus.
If you are unable to attend the entire meditation, plan to come for the morning half only.
Out of consideration for other devotees, please meditate at home if you have a cough or are possibly contagious. We also ask that you wear clothing and jewelry that do not make noise when you move, to avoid disturbing the profound meditative silence during this special time. 

"The idea of an all-day Christmas meditation was really given to me by Christ, that he might do something for you. He wants to bless you, but his hands are tied if you are not receptive.... Yet if you meditate long and deeply, and call to Christ with all the love of your soul, removing all barriers of restlessness and doubt, you will find him willingly entering in. You will know the real meaning and joy of Christmas."
                           Paramahansa Yogananda 
                        The Second Coming of Christ   

New Year's Eve Meditation 
Another tradition started by our Guru is the New Year's Eve Meditation.  
Paramahansa Yogananda said it is always beneficial to meditate and keep one's mind on God during the time of transition from the outgoing year to the incoming one.  
During this meditation, Master also encouraged devotees to think of the past year - not with sadness, but introspecting to see where we need to change so that  
we might do better in the new year.
Our meditation service will begin at 11:30 p.m. on Sunday, December 31,  
and end at 12:30 a.m. on January 1, 2018.  
Paramahansa Yogananda's Birthday Commemorative Service

"I, a tiny bubble of laughter, I am become the Sea of Mirth Itself."
(from Master's poem, Samadhi)

The anniversary of o ur divine Guru's birth will be observed in a special commemorative service on Friday January 5, beginning at 8:00 p.m.
This will b e preceded by an optional meditation from 7:15-7:45 p.m.  
After the service, we will gather in the Sunday School room to joyfully
celebrate, sharing chai and traditional birthday cake.    
Paramahansa Yogananda  Birthday Meditation 
An all-day meditation in honor of our Guru's birth will be held on
Saturday, January 13 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will be a short break at 1:30 p.m. 
If you are unable to attend the entire meditation, plan to come for the morning half only. 
As an expression of your reverence and devotion, please bring an offering of a fruit. 
Be sure to arrive a little early so that you will be comfortably settled and calm 
before the meditation begins.
Holiday Pot Luck Luncheons 
There's always plenty of wholesome food at our pot luck luncheons! 
We warmly invite you and your family to join us in celebrating the holidays at our annual Thanksgiving and Christmas pot luck luncheons, which will take place immediately following the 11:00 Sunday service. For each of these events, please bring a vegetarian dish for 8-10 people that does not need to be heated. (Preheated foods may be brought in an electric crock pot.) 
Thanksgiving pot luck: Sunday, November 19
Christmas pot luck: Sunday, December 17   
Self-Realization Fellowship monks visited Portland Center

Portland Center was honored to host Brothers Muktananda and Devananda 
for three days in September, and we kept them busy!  
Their visit began on Tuesday afternoon September 19, when the 
Brothers met with the Coordination Team and offered counsel on a number of topics. One of the decisions made was to change the C-Team's title back to Managing Council. (See Managing Council News below) 

Later that evening Brother Muktananda led Energization Exercises in the back patio and afterward, Brother Devananda led kirtan. He has a distinctive gift for singing and playing the harmonium, so this was a special treat. Brother included a guided meditation with helpful pointers to enhance our personal practice.    

The four "Little Ones" who received Master's blessings during
the Christening ceremony

Some of the many devotees who attended the closing 'Meet and Greet' session   
We have so many beautiful gardens and parks that when the monastics come to Portland there's usually an outing scheduled for all of us to enjoy nature together. The weather is so changeable that we always have an alternate plan indoors. Sadly we had heavy rain with thunder and lightning on Wednesday afternoon of the monks' visit and had to cancel our trip to the lovely Japanese Garden. But our back-up activity at the Center - an informal social gathering - was very enjoyable. Fifteen to twenty devotees attended, enjoying  refreshments and lighthearted conversation with the Brothers and each other. Later that evening the monks led back-to-back meetings with the Service Readers and Committee Chairs, giving guidance and encouragement.
On Thursday at 7 p.m. a joyful Christening took place, with four children receiving Master's blessing. This was followed by a Satsanga, where the monks answered previously submitted questions. Their responses were based on the wisdom in Master's teachings, as well as from their own many years as devotees and monastics. The monks' visit ended with a 'Meet and Greet' session where we gathered for fellowship with the Brothers and one another.
We are grateful to Center Department for arranging this visit by the two Brothers, and appreciate all their ongoing support for Portland Center.  

Fall Silent Retreat

Devotees from the Portland, Eugene and Seattle areas enjoyed three restful days at the Alton Collins Retreat Center in early October. Time was spent in silent fellowship, with long meditations, kirtan, and video presentations of Sri Daya Mata and Sri Mrinalini Mata. 

The Alton Collins Retreat Center offers a beautiful setting among the trees and nearby creek, and our schedule allowed for contemplative walks in nature.  

Sharon preparing the altar
 in the Retreat chapel

Woodland paths invited us to enjoy
silent walks and solitary reflection

A big 'thank-you' to all the devotees whose volunteer service made this another memorable and uplifting retreat.

Flower Committee Seeking Volunteers  
" In every lily and in every gentle fragrance you can perceive God's beauty....He says: 'Follow the trail of beauty. I am hidden somewhere in its heart.'
Paramahansa Yogananda
Altar arrangement created by  
Flower Committee volunteer

With delight and appreciation of God ' s beauty in myriad blossoms, members of Portland Center ' s Flower Committee have provided fresh arrangements for our altar, as well as garlands for our Special Services for over 30 years! The flowers are purchased at the wholesale flower market on Swan Island, the arrangements are created at the Center and then offered with love to God and our Gurus. A flower cooler, purchased many years ago, helps keep the arrangements fresh for 2-3 weeks - until the process of purchasing and arranging begins again.
" It is an inspiring and rewarding experience for each of us who serves in this way, " says Sharon Schaefer, chair of the Flower Committee. " Currently we have four members who create the arrangements, and another member who offers her talents specifically when each of the Special Service garlands are needed. Most of us also sign up to do the bi-weekly ' checking ' - adding water and replacing any blooms that have faded during the week. "
Sue Hathaway, who passed last July, was one of the original members of the Flower Committee that was formed in 1985. She served continuously over the years, creating beautiful floral offerings year after year, and her presence is missed.  
Portland Center' s Flower Committee is currently in need of another person or two. You do not need to have any prior experience in flower arranging to join! Training in arranging is available if that is your interest, or just having another person to assist with the watering and checking each week would be very helpful. Interested? Please complete and submit a volunteer form, available here on Portland Center's website. Printed copies are also available in the Information Room at the Center.  

     A beautiful garland and special  
     floral arrangements for the altar,  
     created by committee members  
     for the recent Lahiri Mahasaya     
     birthday commemorative service 
Christmas Toy and Book Drive
This holiday season the Community Service Committee will be collecting books and educational toys for young children, beginning Sunday November 12th through Sunday December 17th. Donating books to kids gets them reading. Help every child have a book that they can call their own!

Our donations will go to the Impact NW Holiday Hope Drive.

Impact NW's mission is to help people prosper through a community of support. They serve over 36000 annually through comprehensive anti-poverty programs. Learn more about them at https://impactnw.org/events/holiday-drive/ 
Donations can be placed in the collection box in the Information Room.

Convocation 2018

Self-Realization Fellowship has announced that next year's annual World Convocation will again be held in downtown Los Angeles, August 5 - 11. Convocation registration will be available mid-February, although hotel registrations for the 2018 Convocation will be available at participating hotels starting Thursday, February 1 . SRF recommends that you book early as hotels fill up quickly, often on the first day that registration opens. For more information and updates, visit the SRF website.

New for 2018: Simultaneous Spanish translations
will be available during most events 
Book Room News

Just in time for holiday gift giving, our Book Room has received many new items for sale - including the always popular SRF engagement and wall calendars. By purchasing directly from the Book Room, you save shipping costs as well as support our Center's operating expenses. Stop by any Sunday after the 11:00 a.m. service!


Wall calendar (above)
and Engagement Calendar (right)

Welcome to a New Member of the Portland Center Family!

We all join in celebrating the birth of Shepard Hartley Gill, born to happy parents Brendan and Mariah in October. Mom and Dad are enjoying "baby bliss" and report that Shepard already loves to meditate! Our prayers are with each one as they embark on their new life together as a family.  

News from the Managing Council 

Greetings, friends of the Portland Center!  
Several years ago our Managing Council, with advice from Center Department, changed their name to "Coordinating Team." At that time, we were having difficulty getting volunteers to serve on a seven-member Managing Council, so we were approved to lower that number to three members and change the name to Coordinating Team. Apparently we are the only Center using that name! We have decided, with Brother Devananda's approval, to go back to the standard name of Managing Council. Over time, we hope to enlarge the number of members on the Managing Council and introduce procedures that will streamline serving on this important committee. The members of this committee rotate out after serving for three years.
The chair and carpet project is still very much front and center. We are moving forward as we whittle down the choices and make final decisions. By December, we hope to have quotes and decisions ready to present to the general membership on a Sunday following the 11:00 a.m. service. The date for that meeting will be in our announcements and on our website calendar, and will be announced for three weeks prior to the meeting to give everyone time to plan to attend.
We are grateful to Brother Devananda, who is our coach, counselor and liaison with Mother Center. He has been available for some of our meetings in which we use conference calling. We look forward to his continuing guidance as we serve Master and the Portland Center.
May God and Gurus bless each one of us as we continue serving, loving, and meditating. We are truly blessed to have the teachings of these great Masters to guide us on our way home.

Portland Center viewed from front  
Jai Guru!
Sarah Floyd
Sharon Schaefer
Rebecca Field 
You may contact us via email at: PortlandCenterSRF@gmail.com. 
Other Activities
Sunday School
Sunday School classes are offered every Sunday from 11:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. for boys and girls ages 3-13 in the Sunday School Room. All children age 13 and younger are encouraged to attend Sunday School and may enroll at any time.

Sunday Socials  
Socials are held on the third Sunday of each month in the Sunday School Room following the Inspirational Service. Light refreshments are provided.  

Kirtan meditations, with devotional chanting accompanied by traditional Indian instruments, are generally held on the last Sunday of the month, from 8:00 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. 
Kirtan Services start  with the Energization Exercises at 8:00 a.m., followed by periods of devotional chanting and meditation.  During the 10:00 a.m. service, there will be chanting instead of an opening prayer and a reading. Master strongly encouraged chanting as a way to deepen one's meditations and devotion. If you are unable to  stay for the full kirtan period, you may enter or leave the chapel during the chanting at 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m.
May you have a most blessed and joyous Christmas season!
"Yet in thy dark streets shineth the  
Everlasting Light..."
(O Little Town of Bethlehem) 


February-March 2018 E-Newsletter  


The deadline for submissions to our next issue is January 20th.


Thank you!  


In Divine Friendship, 

E-Newsletter Committee
Portland Center of Self-Realization Fellowship