The vows of the SSAP are simplicity, creativity and balance. The vows serve us individually and corporately as we develop patterns of living appropriate for elders, and for being in ministry with elders and the young. These vows inevitably place us in a prophetic stance in the world. Living within our vows offers us steady encouragement and constant support as well as impetus and challenge.
Each year we have three retreats which focus on our vows. Each fully vowed Anna creates a yearly regula or personal rule to provide guidance and to structure spiritual practices which promote simplicity, creativity and balance. The vows form the shape of Christ’s yoke for Annas in our Godly aging, in our ministries and in our life together as a vowed community.
Learn more about our vows in The Rule. (PDF link)
As a vowed, dispersed community, living in our own homes, and nurtured by each sister’s daily prayers for her sisters, we define our life together by our vows as a prophetic community to young and old. We are Episcopal women, committed to becoming an increasingly diverse community, and we share a vision of Godly aging. While some of us live in care centers, and some at a distance, we regularly communicate with each other via email, postal mail, telephone and the website, and in person as we can safely during the pandemic.
Annas can gather together daily at our chapter house. Here we have prayers at noon in our chapel, or on Zoom during the pandemic. We pray for each other, family, friends and issues of the day, followed by a sacred reading and contemplative prayer practice.
Most weekdays, we celebrate Holy Eucharist with one of our elder congregations. During the pandemic this has been suspended or modified for safety reasons. Normally, those on these ministry teams can enjoy noon prayer/centering prayer and lunch together before going to the care facility.
Our intention is to know God through the word, spiritual readings, through each other and those we serve. We continually practice Godly aging and celebrate the gifts of aging through our relationships. We, as a supportive community, are learning together to accept our diminishments, meet our challenges, honor our losses and to use our available time to perceive and proclaim the love of Christ.
On Sunday afternoons, we gather to connect with one another at the Anna House (or on Zoom). This is a time to speak concerns, to celebrate, to deepen our relationships, to listen and to learn.
We hold three vow retreats each year at nearby retreat centers. Through conversation and times of silence, we gain insights to keep our vows. When safe, we enjoy programs and workshops at the Anna House that inform and support our Godly aging and our ministries.
Care of our house and gardens provides many opportunities to do physical labor together. Our gardens are a constant reminder of the beauty of God’s creation. We have scheduled workdays throughout the year, and we also have created a labyrinth for a walking meditation. We often offer weekly Tai Chi classes and have Yoga sessions on our retreats.