The Prophetic Spirit
One of the many places of Prayer in Upstate NY.
Powerful spirit enhancing places are often connected and clustered together in a pattern or on a grid. It is something like a power line that can be tapped into, or like a string of beautiful Christmas tree lights that connect as one.
In Syracuse there is a line of consciousness, a straight alignment (ley line),that connects its strongest prophetic churches in spirit. All of these places of worship have a long history of advocating for social justice, adhering to Jesus’ teachings of non-violence and have served as a well spring for leadership in this struggle. This line of consciousness has influenced and been influenced by great spirit led leaders of the twentieth century such as Reverend Dr. Norman Vincent Peale and the Berrigan Brothers.
This spiritual power line of consciousness, or ley line, runs along the west side of University Ave in the city of Syracuse and goes through the heart of University United Methodist, the University Ave side of Grace church’s sanctuary, the front of Hendricks chapel and the back side of St. Andrews and runs along the street where nationally known activists Jerry Berrigan and Kathleen Rumpf live. It then heads towards the Onondaga Nation.
On the path
University United Methodist is a church that celebrates its diversity. Like the other prophetic churches, participants believe more in community than charity. From 1927 to 1932 the church was served by Reverend Dr. Norman Vincent Peale. Housing Visions, a nonprofit organization that has helped restore and provide housing for low income people in Syracuse, was conceived at the church. Onondaga Pastoral Counseling Center (OPCC), a multi-faceted social services center also sprang from the strong social conscience of this church. Several of Syracuse’s strongest peace and justice advocates are members.
Grace Episcopal Church has a long history of promoting social justice. Grace was one of the first churches to racially integrate in the 1950’s when it merged with St. Phillips, a primarily black church. David Pendleton Oakerhater, baptized at Grace, became the first Native American deacon in the Anglican Church in 1881. In his Cheyenne home in Oklahoma he “founded schools and missions, and continued to work among his people until his death on 31 August 1931.”Grace Church History He later was canonized in the Anglican Church. Congregant Betty Bone Shiess was one of the first eleven women to be ordained in the Anglican Church in 1974 in Philadelphia.
Hendricks Chapel on the Syracuse University Quadrangle has rich history of promoting ecumenism.
St. Andrews the Apostle Roman Catholic church has been playing a lead role for peace and justice in the Syracuse community since its establishment in 1959. It has its own social justice and peace committee and tithes 10% of the church’s general collection to peace and justice issues outside of the church. It was an early supporter of the plowshares movement and continues to be so. During the Griffis Plowshares in 1984 the church opened its doors and took care of visitors 24/7 for the three week trial period. It has strong links to the Catholic worker movement and members of the church lived and worked in with Dorothy Day in the Day house in NYC. Parishioners such as Bill Cuddy who started Jail Ministries have taken the prophetic spirit to the greater Central New York community.
The Prophetic line of consciousness connects many other places of note in the CNY area. It brushes up against the Lockerbie Memorial dedicated to the first act of foreign terrorism against Americans. It passes through Oakwood cemetery close to the grave of Jeremy Longuen and other well-known abolitionists in the CNY area. It passes near Temple Concord, through a clergy’ retirement home and much much more.
Where to Commune with the Prophetic Spirit
There are a myriad of opportunities to connect with and add to the prophetic spirit.
Meditation/Prayer--Welsh Gardens at Grace Episcopal Church, pictured above provides a good location to tap into this prophetic voice. I became aware of this line of consciousness while meditating on the bench in Welsh Gardens, which rests on it, in the spring of 2003. The churches mentioned all provide a great opportunity to capture the voice of the spiritual path.
In Welsh Gardens there is another line of consciousness running south along Madison Ave that connects several other prophetic places of worship such as lecture series and other programs. Although I would not be surprised if the prophetic line of consciousness is also connected with May Memorialanother place of worship on the east side of Syracuse known for its prophetic spirit. The church is named after nationally known abolitionist and reformer Samuel May who was its second pastor.
Church Services and Community—all of the churches mentioned have free and open services where all are welcome.
Service-Outreach—a great way to add to the spirit would to take part in the many programs put on by the places of worship.
Join in On An Action--What makes the prophetic spirit of all these places of worship so powerful is that they have put God’s will into action. You can add to that Witness by joining in one of their events or actions.
Technicals--A lot more than the ley lines noted are at work at the places of worship mentioned.
Hope you have a chance to pray at and give of yourself in action to the prophetic spirit.
God Bless and Praise Allah,