Reverend Avena Ward
For the Rev. Avena Ward, a ritual may be traditional or innovative, but it is never commonplace.
From her base at St. Pauls United Church of Christ where she is associate pastor, Rev. Avena creates personalized rituals. She defines a ritual as "an outward and visible sign of something invisible, something that happens on the spiritual level. Ritual opens the door to transforming people and their circumstances. A personalized ritual can ease the transition from one stage of life to another.
"My spiritual life is deeply rooted in music, meditation and prayer," she says. "From an early age, I connected with the Divine and the natural world through meditation and singing. My spiritual life finds expression in traditional and non-traditional ways and my rituals reflect that.
"I recognize the Divine as a force for good, a force that is constantly seeking us, to have us recognize our connections even when they are not so obvious, and invite us to grow.
"Through my ministry, I've recognized a gift for creating and presiding over rituals, as well as for sharing my wisdom gleaned from living and studying with others."
Rev. Avena’s Life Circle Classes are for every stage of life. Based on the notion that the stories we tell about our lives have the power to shape our experiences, Avena leads participants through uncovering those stories and expectations that currently shape us. The classes are designed to nurture and encourage the creative ability that we have all been endowed with to shape our lives.