Introduction and Background

Please introduce yourself and share a bit about your background, the wisdom tradition/faith/ you most identify with, and the language you use in that tradition (Wisdom, Creator, Sacred Presence, Spirit, Universe, God, etc.).

I’m Katie Rea and I grew up in the United Methodist Church. The Methodists gave a solid educational foundation of the Bible. In one Sunday School class as a child, I remember holding musical instruments and circling the “city of Jericho” and the wall coming down. We also created character cut outs and created a timeline from Adam and Eve to Jesus throughout the year. We pasted the figures on paper around the entire room and repeated their stories for review. 

One of my favorite memories as a teen was a mission trip to Mississippi. An elderly lady’s house had been damaged by a storm and we helped to rebuild it. At the time, I didn’t know how I could help. I wasn’t strong enough to help with the timber or know how to handle a hammer or saw. I found I could help by painting the house, so I stirred the white paint and put my heart and soul to it. I learned there was a place for me in ministry. I couldn’t do everything, but I could do something to help. 

I read the entire Bible as a teenager because a Sunday School teacher gave us a Bible in a Year worksheet and we kept track of our progress.  I particularly loved helping with VBS and teaching kids the same stories I had learned. 

I sang in the children’s choir starting at age 5 and continued till the ensemble choir at the age of 25. I found I had trouble memorizing Bible verses unless they were in song. I participated in our church’s drama club and sang several solos for performances. I hated to leave my home church, but we had to move to Nashville. 

In Nashville I eventually joined the Episcopal Church. I felt this expanded my approach to spirituality. I learned about the beauty of icons and worshiping with the whole body during the service: stand for music and the Gospel reading, kneel to pray and take the sacrament, sit for the sermon and other Bible readings, and I learned to make the sign of the cross. We follow the Book of Common Prayer which has biblical roots along with Psalms, canticles, etc., which have been repeated in churches from the 5th century on. I have come to love the worship style. 

I am a member of the Order of the Daughters of the King. DOK is a religious order which is affiliated with Episcopalians, Lutherans, Anglicans and Catholics.  We focus on the rules of Prayer and Service and share our faith through Evangelism. It is a worldwide order for women which was started in 1885. An ancestor in East TN served as an officer for the Order in the 1890s. I am currently serving as an officer for the Episcopal Diocese of TN.   

Anticipate ~ Inviting Wisdom

In what ways do you invite and engage Wisdom to be present with you? What rhythms or practices help you to be present Now, in each moment, with an expectant, listening heart?

When I worked in the healthcare field, I was introduced to Mindfulness classes for continued education courses. I loved it and took a class for a Mindfulness Certification at MTSU. As I was researching mindfulness material, I came across Thomas Merton’s book about Centering Prayer. I took several Centering Prayer classes including classes from the Rev. Tom Ward in St. Mary’s at Sewanee.  I practice one or two times a week. I also participate in Kasey Hitt’s Centering Prayer sessions each Friday when I am available to do so. 

I am also passionate about Lectio Divina which I learned from a class taught by a priest in the Episcopal Church. The “Divine Reading” encourages you to read scripture and meditate, pray and contemplate. I used my imagination and found myself watching Mary and Joseph in the stable as they swaddled the baby Jesus. I watched the angels singing and the Shepards approaching the holy site. I’ve repeated Lectio Divina in many passages in the Bible. 

Resonate ~ Engaging Understanding

How do you receive Wisdom’s Life and Presence into your own self? Is there a rhythm or practice that helps you to go deeper or expand your heart, understanding, and awareness in light of each exchange and encounter?

I usually meet Wisdom on a nature trail, garden or labyrinth. Nature’s beauty is the greatest source of wisdom for me. I acknowledge the creator of the universe and the sights and sounds keep me grounded. Often, I bring my camera along for visual meditation. It helps me pay attention to my surroundings more. I see the sun lighting up a rose, an owl sitting in a tree, or a ray of sunlight glittering like diamonds on a lake. I learn to pay attention and I am often rewarded by something breathtaking. Many times, Bible passages will come to mind as I do this meditation. Such as, “Consider how the lilies grow: They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory was adorned like one of these.” – Luke 12:27 1

Translate ~ Sharing Knowledge

How do you creatively engage and reflect to others and the world around you what you have gained in the energy of this encounter?

Generally, I will share whatever Bible verse came to me in this time as well as the pictures. I encourage others to engage with nature in ways which are comfortable for them. There are many people who tell me they find God/ Wisdom in nature. It is a reminder we are not alone and are “fearfully and wonderfully made”. (Psalm 139:14.)

Emanate ~ Embodying Being

What rhythms or practices do you engage to help you become more integrated in your tradition ~ your own wholeness and well-being? Are there any practices from outside your tradition with which you also engage?

The Episcopal Church follows The Daily Office which follows a selection of readings and prayers for the year. We can participate in Morning Prayer, Noonday Prayer, Evening Prayer and Compline. I have an app on my phone with selected readings for the day, so I don’t have to look it up each time. I open the app and all the services are there and I simply follow along. 

Also, the Episcopal church has venerated saints as the Catholic church does. I use either The Daily Office app or the book Holy Women, Holy Men to follow the daily calendar. We Episcopalians differ from Catholics as we do not pray directly to the saints. We read the saint’s story and repeat a prayer in memory of them. Or we will pray a prayer they wrote and passed down to others. For example, April 29 commemorates Catherine of Siena. She was the youngest of over 20 siblings. She had a vision of Jesus Christ in his glory at the age of six. When she was sixteen, she joined the Third Order of St. Dominic, etc. Her prayer goes: “Almighty and everlasting God, who kindled the flame of they love in the heart of your servant Catherine of Siena: Grant unto us the same strength of conviction and power of love that, as we rejoice in her triumph, we may profit by her example; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” (The Daily Office, April 29, 2024.) The stories and prayers can be quite powerful. I have also read much Buddhist material written by the Dalai Lama and Thích Nhất Hạnh. I practice many of their meditations given in the books. Thích Nhất Hạnh is considered to be the father of mindfulness which is a meditation I practice often.  I use a Tibetan Singing Bowl at the beginning and end of the meditations.

Practices that inspire me …

  • When does your tradition celebrate the beginning of the new year?

The Episcopal Church starts a new liturgical year at the beginning of the season of Advent. We celebrate Advent four Sundays before Christmas. We use this time in prayer and/or fasting as we await the coming of Christ. It is a quiet and somber occasion, but we wait with joyful expectation. We acknowledge the story of John the Baptist, Mary and Joseph, the Shepards, and Jesus’ humble birth. Our denomination usually refrains from singing Christmas carols until Christmas Eve through Epiphany, (Jan 6th ) when we celebrate the arrival of the Three Wise Men who came from afar to visit young Jesus.  

  • Please share any rituals, celebrations, and/or practices your wisdom tradition engages with or celebrates on the wheel of time/seasons/cycle of the year and their respective dates.

As mentioned, we follow the liturgical calendar starting with the birth of Jesus, through his ministry, death and resurrection. The structure follows a specific three-year pattern which we call A, B, and C years. Each year had a scheduled set of readings.  

The structure is rigid and doesn’t allow for any free form style of sermons. We don’t do sermon series and such like other denominations. We follow the liturgy so that an Episcopal Church in California has a similar set of readings as a church in North Carolina. I have actually struggled a bit as I found it very constraining, but I also feel a certain level of comfort with it as well. I’ve visited Episcopal churches all over the country and the services are familiar. 

The Episcopal Church has principal feasts of the church year which are Easter Day, Ascension Day, Pentecost, Trinity Sunday, All-Saints Day (Nov. 1), Christmas Day, and Epiphany (Jan 6). 

The churches also have their own individual feast days as most are named after saints. For example, St. Philip’s Episcopal Church celebrates Philip the Apostle on May 1. St. Peter’s Episcopal Church celebrates Simon Peter on June 29. The Feast of St. Matthew is on September 21, etc. 

  • Is there anything else you would like to share about your process, practices, or your journey into your particular way of honoring the tradition(s) you currently engage???

I took a Spiritual Formation class as part of my Master’s curriculum for obtaining a degree in Religion. I thought it was going to be a waste of time as I felt the entire process of getting the degree was a type of spiritual formation in and of itself. The class ended up being life changing for me. I learned to take time being with God. We are so focused on all we need to do for God that we forget to stop and spend time with God in prayer and meditation. I learned how to slow down in contemplation. I learned about silent retreats and finding God in the everyday mundane routines and rituals. God was not reserved just on Sunday, and then I go about my week alone. God is always there. I am learning how to build the relationship with God as well as my ministry evolves.