The Grove

6:30pm Gathering the last Tuesday of the month

There is a soft candlelit glow emanating from the sanctuary creating a cozy, inviting atmosphere as people begin to venture in and join this small circle of friends. Pastor Grace greets us each with a warm smile as soft music plays in the background and small talk is made. Hors d’oeuvres and drinks are placed on the far wall for everyone to enjoy as the night gets started.  The Grove, as we are called, meets the fourth Tuesday of each month from approximately 6:30-8:30 PM at the United Methodist Church in New Paltz. The group, made up of late 20, 30 and 40 somethings, is about asking “How is it with your soul?” and finding out what one another needs.

Amidst our busy, often isolated lives, it is a sacred space, an opportunity to slow down, connect, reflect and if you so choose, share.  There is no feeling bad if you cannot make it. You come when you can, when it makes sense for you. 

Mental health has been a topic of discussion meaningful to attendants.  Recently we had Michelle Ledesma Baer, the Chaplain & Director of The Center at SUNY New Paltz come to our meeting and let us know ways we could get involved on campus. The Center is a progressive Christian organization with creative solutions for wellness focusing on nurturing the heart, spirit, mind, and body. We discussed doing pop-up events at the University involving working with the Japanese art of Kintsugi.  This art form emphasizes the beauty of the broken places in ourselves we work on to make whole once more.  Food prep on a budget was also discussed, simple yet nourishing meals we would help students make and they could take home with them.  Another idea was using ice breaker prompt cards from organizations like Preemptive Love to get people talking with one another again in this post Covid, deeply digital world.

The Grove is a group full of hope, community, possibility, and faith.  These can be difficult to find, especially when daily life leaves you without much energy left to give.  However, sometimes it is in the showing up, working together, and helping others that we find our own beauty, our own unmistakable worth.  Therefore, we welcome you to come re-center and restore.

–Jacquiline Vedder, January 2024