Greensboro, News

Congregation Honors Thomas Berry on Walk to Monastery

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by Shelly Jungwirth

GREENSBORO – The congregation of Greensboro United Church of Christ (GUCC) joined the Sisters Gail, Bernadette, Amie and other friends of the Green Mountain Monastery on Hillcrest Road in Greensboro, in celebration of Thomas Berry’s life and work for the care of the Earth, and our place in the universe.

In silence, the group entered the surrounding forest and received gifts from the natural world: bird song, the hush of the daily grind, old but living and speaking stone walls, the new growth on trees and bees. New ideas, awareness of a much larger world often seen, horseflies that only accompanied the group but did not bite and butterflies were only a small portion of gifts available at the monastery.

The group gathered again, processing to the chiming of a bell, to Thomas Berry’s grave site where they received another blessing from the site: the breeze, the crabapple trees, tulips still in bloom and the brilliance of the sun and sky.

From a large bowl of seeds, each member of the group took a handful and scattered the seeds around Thomas Berry’s grave site as an expression of sharing and giving back to our home, the living earth.

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Lead by Sister Gail, Cilla Bonney-Smith, Paula Harmon and Eleanor Guare and the rest of the group walked to Thomas Berry’s grave site at the monastery.

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A few tired walkers (left to right) Paula Harmon, B.J. Gray, Cilla Bonney-Smith and Eleanor Guare, recover at the Green Mountain Monastery, after walking four-plus miles on a hot day from the Greensboro United Church of Christ.

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After refreshments and meeting and greeting one another at the monastery, all participants in the celebration spent reflective time focusing on a few of Thomas Berry’s words about the Earth and the human’s place on it.

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The artwork, “St. Francis in Communion with the Earth” at the Green Mountain Monastery signifies the Sisters’ focus in their community Differentiation, Subjectivity (as in “is-ness” the inner essence of each component of the universe) and Communion (as in universal participation in the whole of creation).

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