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Spirituality Beyond Religion

January 3

We had our forty-second virtual service using Zoom!  There were 44 people in attendance.

This link below will take you to the service featuring coordinator Sacra Nicholas.

Click Here for Recorded Service

Special Service coordinated by Sacra Nicholas

Release the Old – Reimagine the New

2020 has been quite a year and if you’re like most of us you’re ready to process it and let it go to make room for the opportunities and challenges coming your way in 2021. Singer songwriter Jewel Kilcher says, “In order to evolve in real time we need to do four things: introspect; let things die that need to die; replace these with new systems, tools, and thoughts; and then act on the new.” This service will offer the opportunity for you to start this process as you reimagine a new you for the New Year.

We’ll begin our service with a virtual Burning Bowl Ceremony that includes an activity to help us introspect and choose something we’d like to release in our lives. Following the ceremony, we will contemplate what might better serve us (and others) and capture these thoughts on paper that we’ll seal in an envelope to be opened in six months. In six months not only will we change, but the world will change as well so we will open our envelopes in June and reflect on the thoughts we tucked away back in early January. An opportunity will be planned for the summer for those who would like to share insights they gained from this exercise – perhaps we’ll even be able to do so in a part Zoom/ part in-person gathering.

P.S. In preparation for this service, bring two pieces of paper and an envelope.

January 10

We had our forty-third virtual service using Zoom!  There were 53 people in attendance.

This link below will take you to the service featuring speaker Mark Scandrette.

Click Here for Recorded Service

Mark Scandrette

The Ninefold Path: Hidden Wisdom of the Beatitudes

Mark Scandrette is an internationally recognized expert in practical spiritual formation. He is the cofounder of Reimagine, a center for integral Christian practice. His most recent books include Belonging and Becoming, Free, Practicing the Way of Jesus, and The Ninefold Path of Jesus: Hidden Wisdom of the Beatitudes. In addition to leading retreats and workshops for leaders and teams around the world, Mark teaches in the doctoral program at Fuller Seminary. He is on the creative team for Nine Beats Collective, an international project exploring the Beatitudes as a 21st vocabulary for the living way of Jesus. He lives with his family in San Francisco. He loves walking city streets and discovering beauty in unexpected places and is passionately engaged in sustainability practices and efforts to create just and thriving neighborhoods.

Mark writes: “In Western culture, Jesus is often reduced to a formula for achieving personal salvation. But what if his teachings, particularly in the Sermon on the Mount,* reflect the wisdom of the perennial tradition and offer a path toward higher consciousness. . .?” Mark will share insights about a Ninefold path hidden in the Beatitudes (the Blessed are the . . . verses) that has the potential to transform us and our world.

* The Sermon on the Mount  is a collection of sayings and teachings of Jesus Christ which emphasizes his moral teaching found in the Gospel of Matthew. The Sermon includes some of his best-known teachings, such as the Beatitudes, and the widely recited Lord’s Prayer. The name and location of the mountain on which this sermon takes place is unstated, however, the Mount of Beatitudes is the traditional interpretation.

January 17

We had our forty-fourth virtual service using Zoom!  There were 40 people in attendance.

This link below will take you to the service featuring speaker Jeff Tretsven.

Click Here for Recorded Service

Jeff Tretsven

Demonstrating Compassion with Speech

Jeff Tretsven, mediator and trainer, has a passion for working with Compassionate Communication (aka Nonviolent Communication).  For most of his adult life he has been a teacher – first as an electronics instructor in the Navy where he was acknowledged as a Master Training Specialist; then as a trainer in the semiconductor and aerospace industries.

As soon as Jeff discovered Nonviolent Communication (NVC) he knew he wanted to teach it. He successfully connected NVC with mediation by training with 25 certified NVC trainers for over 500 hours of instruction and taking a year-long NVC mediation immersion training program. He used the knowledge gained from this training in small claims and family mediation with the Oklahoma Supreme Court system.

Jeff is a passionate reader and his favorite subjects are spirituality, mediation, communication, and web design. He also enjoys bicycling and lives the philosophy of ahimsa (nonviolence) to the best of his ability, embracing and enjoying a vegan diet along with nonviolent communicationAt Morning Star Jeff will speak about his challenges and experiences with teaching Nonviolent Communication.

January 24

(Please see below for instructions to join our virtual Zoom service.)

Reverend Dr. Jay Speights

The Altar Within

Rev. Dr. Jay Speights wears many hats: African Prince, pastor, chaplain, author, producer, spiritual coach, and community builder. In his pastoral duties he serves as the Executive Director of The New Seminary for Interfaith studies in New York. In his role as writer/author Rev. Dr. Jay received The Punjabi Literary Award at Lincoln Center in New York in 2007. As a blogger for The Washington Times Online Edition and, one of his entries inspired the City Council of Washington, DC to declare March 20, 2010 Polite Day asking DC residents, political leaders, and commuters to be more polite and civil. As an author, Jay’s second book, 7 Days With Adam, was enthusiastically received by the interfaith and new thought communities and he is currently writing a third book #IAM, Finding The Faith and Culture of My Ancestors. His third book is based on his recent trip to Benin, West Africa, where he connected through DNA testing with his ancestral royal family and was enthroned and declared Prince Videkon Deka of The Kingdom of Allada, which is the mother kingdom of the Dahomey Empire. Along with seasoned TV and film producer, Larry Meli, Jay is also developing a feature film project on the life of civil rights icon Fannie Lou Hamer. In his daily life and work he readily urges all those he encounters to take a quantum leap into the mystery of creation and connect with their higher selves and authentic presence.

With such broad life experiences, Jay could share on many topics but he has chosen to help us explore our inner world and he has provided this Howard Thurman quote as a teaser: “There is in every person an inward sea, and in that sea there is an island and on that island there is an altar and standing guard before that altar is the ‘angel with the flaming sword’.” Nothing can get by that angel to be placed upon that altar unless it has the mark of your inner authority. Nothing passes ‘the angel with the flaming sword’ to be placed upon your altar unless it be a part of the fluid area of your consent. This is your crucial link with the Eternal.

January 31

(Please see below for instructions to join our virtual Zoom service.)

Michael Baron

The Power and Responsibility of the Theatre in Times of Crisis

Michael Baron is the Producing Artistic Director at Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma, where he has directed over 30 productions including most recently its diamond anniversary of A Christmas Carol. This was performed in an all-new outdoor venue that whisked audiences away to a magical holiday village nestled in the heart of Oklahoma City (the historic Harn Homestead).

In addition to the many productions at the Lyric, Michael has directed over 95 productions at theaters across the country working with several Toni and Emmy nominees and directing the world premiere musical Big Nate The Musical. Michael also wrote and directed a play entitled The Whore of Sheridan Square that was performed in 2005 and published in an anthology with the title Plays and Playwrights 2006.

During his professional career Michael has taken an active role in educating future theater professionals. He has held faculty positions at American University, Brown University, Holy Cross College, Rhode Island College, and participated in the National Endowment for the Arts 2010-2019 Poetry Out Loud National Competition Finals.

Michael is originally from Florida but received a B.A. in Theatre Arts from Wake Forest University and a Master of Fine Arts in Directing from Trinity Repertory Conservatory. He served as the Associate Director of Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia-winner of the 2009 Regional Theatre TONY Award.  In addition, he received the 2012 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Direction of a Resident Musical in Washington, D.C. for Adventure Theatre’s production of A Year with Frog and Toad. In 2016 he received Oklahoma Governor’s Art Award, and a special award from the Oklahoma City Mayor’s Committee on Disabilities Concerns.

When asked about what Michael would like to share with us at Morning Star, he mentioned a reflective talk “Create Dangerously: The Power and Responsibility of the Artist” by Albert Camus. Michael will weave wisdom he has gained throughout his career (including this especially challenging time for the arts), along with the ideas put forth by Camus, to enlighten us.



The virtual meeting room will be open at 9:30 a.m. for virtual visiting and the service will start at 10:00 a.m. We are trying different methods to improve our sound issues, so please be patient with us.  If you have trouble connecting or have technical issues on your end, please don’t worry or concern yourself about it.  Just disconnect, go on about your Sunday, and wait for the recording to be posted on Facebook and the website.

Instructions for you to download ZOOM and connect are included below.  This Morning Star service will be recorded in full and made available to the community on our public Facebook page (Morning Star Center for Spiritual Living) and on our website ( under the Speaker’s tab.  So, if you cannot make it Sunday morning LIVE, rest assured you can watch the recording later at your convenience.

You have 2 options.

  1. Attend by using the computer or laptop.
  2. Attend by using your mobile phone.

Choose the option that works best for you. Be sure to prepare and install ZOOM in advance. It takes a few minutes to set everything up.

Know that using ZOOM as an attendee is always free. You don’t need to buy an account.

Instructions for using ZOOM on the computer or laptop.

  1. Be sure that you have internet.
  2. Click on this link to download the software >>
  3. Install ZOOM.
  4. Accept all the features and questions (don’t worry. It’s safe!)
  5. On Sunday morning, click on this link around 9:30 to join the meeting. We want to be sure everything is working. Be on time so we can help you out!
  6. Turn up your sound so you can hear us.

Instructions for using ZOOM on your phone:

  1. Be sure that you have internet.
  2. Go to the app store on your phone and download the ZOOM app.
  3. Accept all the features and questions (don’t worry. It’s safe!)
  4. On Sunday morning around 9:30, open the app on your phone and click on ‘ join meeting’.
  5. Fill in the following meeting id number: 441-871-663.
  6. Accept using camera and phone (otherwise you can’t hear us).
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