Welcome to The Church Within website and to the very idea of The Church Within itself. The Church Within was founded in 1992. We are an ever-evolving spiritual community, dedicated to offering unconditional support and love to all who seek inner wisdom through a spiritual life.

The best way to get to know us is to share in the joy, spirit, and celebration of our 10:00 AM Sunday gathering. The best "brochure" we have is us.

We are folks whose pasts include other churches or no church at all. Some come simply to expand their current faith experience. As one of our members puts it, "I come to The Church Within, because it helps me discover my faith and live it out in the world."

We are a diverse, informal gathering who believes in the power of prayer, in God (whatever name you use for Source), and in each other.

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Sunday Service 4/20/14 – “Easter, Ostara, and Pesach: A Time of Resurrection and Renewal”

You can stream the audio in your browser, or download for later listening. Please enjoy!

The message begins at 25:00.

Message for 4/20/14

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Sunday Service 4/13/14 – “Palm Sunday: The Inhalation That Begins Holy Week”

ou can stream the audio in your browser, or download for later listening. Please enjoy!

Message for 4/13/14

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Sunday Service 4/6/14

You can stream the audio in your browser, or download for later listening. Please enjoy!

Message for 4/6/14

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Sunday Service 3/30/14 – “The Power to Change the Past – Another Step on the Path of Spiritual Maturity”

Meditation begins at 15:08, the message begins at 19:45

You can stream the audio in your browser, or download for later listening. Please enjoy!

Message for 3/30/14

 

Once you’ve heard the message you’ll know that there is homework assigned and that Reverend Darren is excited to get your emails! Following is an expanded version of those instructions. Email him your personal beatitudes at darren.chittick@yahoo.com

Find one or two experiences, situations, or people in your life in which or for whom you’ve already experienced the unexpected result for the given condition. For me, one of these is my having been very bullied while growing up and having believed for a very long time that it was a purely bad experience from which I needed to recover. While there are still times that hurt or anxiety will come up for me, I am also able to see that there is much of who I am that is predicated upon having grown through those experiences. I can, from that understanding, write the following personal beatitude for myself.

Blessedly ripe am I for having been bullied for this experience makes available to me the truth of my own ability to persevere what seems like weakness until it is recognizable as strength.

You have had experiences of ripening in your life. Recall the condition and the unexpected result of that in your life. From that recalling, write one or two beatitudes for yourself that follow this same construction. These will be easier because you will have less charge connected to them. What we might call less attachment or less of an imprint. Practicing with these will grease the gears for the next step.

Now, look at the people and situations in your life that are inviting you into more ripening because you are not yet at a place of resolution with them. Breathe into what is going on for you and find what it is that you will be blessed with on the other side of it. This, as you might imagine, could offer a little more resistance, depending upon the imprints and what emotional attachment you have to it remaining true as you’ve understood it until now. This could be a situation you are still living in or it could be a situation from your past. Either way, there is a doorway to liberation in allowing the hidden potential in all things unfold for you right now.

Blessings,
Darren

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Remembering the Path

Published on March 28, 2014, by in Featured.
I was in an exchange with someone recently who told me that he thought he had somehow gotten off of his path. He shared that he didn’t know how to get back; he felt lost. I responded to him that life is the path, and that there is no time that we are not on the path. While it’s easier said than done, it’s important that we all remember this. It is the case for all of us. 

With that as our foundation, then, any idea of our sacred life and our secular life being separate becomes blurred. If our spiritual work, our path, is all of our life, how can we apply mindfulness, attention, or contemplation in such a way that our next step is the best step in the moment? Even within an understanding of life being lived fully on the path, we can make a delineation in our mind of what I referred to last week as our time “on the cushion” and our time “off the cushion.” What this invites us into is creating a space in which we are safe to do our own inner work on our own terms. This is the “on the cushion” time that might look like yoga, meditation, running, chocolate, or even Sunday morning church, if you want to see your pastor extra happy. I mean, I did just include chocolate in a list of spiritual practices. Don’t you feel you owe me a little something? Regardless, when we’re in those safe places, we have the opportunity to face whatever it is that comes up for us on our own or at least in a way that allows us extra space to get through the stickiness. Having done that practice with great intention, we can then face the world with love in our eyes and a foundation of preemptive forgiveness as our path. Preemptive forgiveness is the knowing that there was never anything that needed forgiving in the first place. It is an aspect of spiritual maturity. It is part of those goals that are actually the practice as well. 

As we continue forward in this series regarding spiritual maturity, I hope you’ll join us. These are exciting times at The Church Within, and having you there would only make things better. Please do take a scroll down and see the upcoming events at the church. See something missing that you wish were happening or that you want to offer? Maybe we can make it so! Give us your ideas and let’s get growing.
 
Blessing on you,
Darren 

P.S. Because Easter is the third Sunday of April, we’ll have the Board Meeting on the second Sunday. Join us! Right after church on the 13th of April.

Please click here to offer financial support to the church and all of our outreach programs.
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“Walking the Path of Spiritual Maturity” – Sunday Service 3/23/14

Reverend Darren discusses Fred Phelps at the very beginning of the service; the message starts at 24:26.

 

You can stream the audio in your browser, or download for later listening. Please enjoy!

Message for 3/23/14

 

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The Sun’s Return

Published on March 21, 2014, by in From The Church.

We find ourselves just on the other side of the Vernal Equinox this weekend. Finally the sun has returned. The days now grow longer and the nights shorter. The Sun brings with it new growth, dawning light, rebirth, and renewal. We will soon be surrounded by the fecundity of Spring. For those who walk the wheel of the year as such, it is time for new projects and fresh beginnings. Spring cleaning is making its way onto many to-do lists for our homes. There is no reason not to consider these same ideas for our spiritual practice.

In last week’s message, we began to explore the idea of spiritual maturity. While most of us don’t think of ripeness as coming during the spring, it is a very apt metaphor in some ways. While it’s not the harvest time, the seeds and bulbs in the ground from last year have spent these dark, cold months waiting for the time to be right to burst forth into the world so that their beauty can be seen. The waiting is full for us as well. It is time for us to burst forth into the light of day and the light of spring with all our gifts.

This week we will look at another facet of spiritual maturity. We will explore what it means to walk that ripeness of spirit into the world in which we live. It will point us towards another gateway to compassion, and will invite us to find in our past, recent or distant, the invitation to bring beauty into the world. I hope you will join us there.

And, if you haven’t signed up but want to join us, there is room for more folks to meet and support the retired sisters at Oldenburg on Spa Day. If you want to be added to the list, email me and I’ll make sure Frank Z gets the word! These amazing women are wonderful mentors for a life leaning into the path of spiritual maturity. Their stories will make you laugh and maybe even cry. The light in their eyes will invite you home. There is much to be learned!

Blessings on your week,
Darren

P.S. I’ll be spending all day with 60-70 high school students on Saturday for IYG’s LGBTQ Youth Summit teaching them some self-defense and how to stand in their power. So glad to represent TCW and my dojo all at once! Please pray for these amazing and brave teens as they come together for a day of learning and fellowshipping.

 

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“The Path of Ripening” – 3/16/14

Building a definition of spiritual maturity. If you want to skip ahead to the message, it begins at 24:49.

 

You can stream the audio in your browser, or download for later listening. Please enjoy!

Message for 3/16/14

 

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“Living on the Other Side” – Sunday Service 3/9/14

 

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Message for 3/9/14

 

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Responsibilities…

Published on February 28, 2014, by in Featured.

This week’s email message from the pastor.

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I told you in last week’s message, here if you want to listen (the message itself starts just after 20m30s), about the teacher Amma who, in an interview in the documentary about her life, spoke about her frustration with God when she was young. To her young mind, the fact that there were aged and sick people in her village without enough was something God should be taking care of and wasn’t. While feeding these people with the leftovers she had collected from other villagers after their evening meal, it struck Amma that, if it is God’s responsibility to care for her neighbors, it must be her responsibility too. And so, she embarked upon a life of service that has found her to be a guru who travels all over the world.

While all of us can likely name a time or situation in our life that we were sure God had dropped the ball, we can also find times that the action of the Divine was maybe meant to come through our hands into the world. And, some of the times, we did just that. It’s an amazing entry into Grace to open ourselves to service and compassion by asking ourselves what it is that we can do. Like the Samaritan who was able to help the man on the side of the road because he could see himself there, we are invited to understand just how much our hearts can go out to others when it is giving that is our focus.

I hope that you have found the time this week to consider the times that you’ve been hurt and in heartache just long enough to realize that those around you, no matter who they are, have been through pain as well so that you can hold that tender part of them in your gentle hug. It’s through our own experience of healing that we can offer healing to others. We are all in this together.

In gratitude,
Darren

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If you like the work we’re doing and would like to help us do more of it, you can easily set up a one-time or regular donation here. We are working to always be good and better stewards of the resources we have in order to leverage them in the best ways possible to make the world a safer and more compassion-filled place for everyone. We appreciate your desire to be part of that!

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