Category Archives: Icon Retreats

Prayed Up?

Christine’s PBS broadcast has received a lot of attention and great responses, if you missed it here is a link . Indeed last month Christine had an article in Guideposts, the PBS video and she placed a in-house show of icons at the facility where Michael works. It has been wonderful to hear all the different positive reactions to her work and particularly from non believers and those of the evangelistic traditions which tend to be unfamiliar with icons.

She is now being contacted by another television station to possibly do another video which has a very large audience base. The wonderful part behind all of this is that these opportunities came to Christine without her physically seeking them, although praying for new doors to open for Christine have been consistently offered by us for years.
Christine also completed teaching another icon writing class online and has built up a healthy group of students who love to take the classes with her, this class wrote an icon of Mary Magdalene.

Mary Magdalene written by Christine Hales

Michael has taken on a further body of people to minister to, as well as the independent living population, who are all in need of assistant care or active nursing care. One of the hardest realities for people to face in this age group is that of loss. Loss comes in so many ways, loss of memory, loss of driving, loss of hearing or seeing, loss of independence, loss of loved ones; the list varies with each person but the pain of these losses keeps surfacing for them.

One lady recently told me of her home of many years which she had to give up to move into assisted living. Apparently her old Floridian home had a large porch and she would sit out painting water colors and get visited by a wood stork. This had been happening for nearly twenty years and she called the stork, ‘Ugly, because wood storks are.’ She missed that stork so much and she was sure it missed her.

Orchid photo by Mick Hales

Different stories rise to the surface of lives once lived, memories which can not be experienced again except as memories. Bodies become slowly unresponsive, tired and slow, until they can’t do what they could do a month before.

I have come to realize this is a work, a ministry, which can not be done if I am not prayed up. Of course that is so obvious, and yet so easy to fall down on.
Global Awakening always taught us, not to go into any ministry arena, without being totally in touch with God in prayer, and yet somehow I found myself dry praying for others.

I know full well that my prayer life had not been calling to be filled with the Holy Spirit as it now requires. The business of getting myself physically ready for the job had overlooked the more important responsibility of being closely in touch with God. After all it is our responsibility to pray, to open the door, for God to answer that prayer. We have a role to play from which God answers according his sovereign wisdom. At the end of Job, God says to Job’s friends, that Job will pray for them so He will ‘not deal with you according to your folly’. [Job 42:8]

Our role as believers to really focus on prayer and staying close to God is so easily lost, especially when we are in active ministry, but it is the most important role we have. That is the role God has given us to do, with which He will flow into this world.

Please keep us in your prayers, and please pray that Michael and I can focus and go deeper in prayer.

Pride

Beautiful Flower Found at RIngling Museum Garden

I had to admit it, my pride had been running my ministry. Actually, my pride had been running me. My pride was evaluating ‘my ministry’, when in reality God is the minister not me.

The Expanded Duties

Two weeks into visitations with a whole different set of residents, those receiving nursing care, short and long term, rehabilitation and memory care, I realized I was coming away exhausted and unhappy about what I judged as ‘my ministry.’ I was having a hard time making a connection with people, let alone a meaningful one. I was opening doors to doubts about myself and why I had requested to expand my Chaplain responsibilities to include these residents. It was clear that the need for a spiritual presence was there, of all the people in the large elderly residential facility, these were the most challenged and by extension, the nurses and staff were as well.

Talking with an independent counselor and Christian, I was able to recognize I was attempting to minister through my own abilities, rather than placing it in God’s hands. It was then the phrase, ‘You have a big spitball of pride,’ was born in my brain and I just had to verbalize it.

Proverbs 16:18 is succinct. Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

My counselor had been able to turn my inward thinking, outward. Pride can be a difficult sin to see in oneself, it is inherently so by it’s very nature. It can take a large dose of truth to recognize pride at work.

Sea Shell photo by Mick Hales

What Does Pride Do To Us?

So what happens when pride is set free to operate within a power rich arena, where counseling and criticism are not happening or not allowed? Unfortunately, we see this too often in the workplace, even in the church, we see it in state and national politics, and we are having a text book review of how pride’s deadly consequences are realized, in the Ukraine. Putin’s pride has been working to restore the Soviet Union era’s position that Russia held, no matter what the consequences are for lives of innocent people.

Pride is such a powerful and insidious sin it is placed as first on the fictitious list of ‘seven deadly sins’, since all sins separate us from the love of God, spiritually they are all on a par with each other. However, within the affects they have on other people’s lives in our physical world, some are much more deadly than others.

Photo by Mick Hales

So the question arises, and perhaps it is too vague to be answered. Is pride more prevalent in our highly visible social media lives now, than it was even twenty years ago?

And here is another question, which is not vague at all, is pride trying to lead your life?

Please partner with me over the next month, for God to reveal ways that pride might be getting a foothold in our lives. Let us pray also for God to remove all vestiges of it and replace it with knowledge of our utter dependence on Him, His mercy, and His love. More of You Lord!

Christine’s News

Mary Magdalene Icon in Progress

I’m working on a double commission to paint a new and original icon of Saint Paul- as a young man and as a tentmaker. I’ve spent countless hours researching, drawing, and painting studies. And now I’m ready to start painting! Yay! My favorite part!

I’ll be teaching another online Icon writing class May 24-27 that I am very excited about. The subject is Mary Magdalene. I’ve written a blog about her that you might also want to read. I can’t remember if I shared the link to the Guidepost article about my work, so here it is.

Sending you all lots of love and prayers- and we very much appreciate yours! We can’t do this without each other!

Love and Prayers, Christine and Michael

Michael’s Photography Christine’s Icons

What is Heaven Really Like?

Bok Garden, Orlando, FL.

Yesterday we watched an old film on TV and to my delight, I recognized one of the actors who was a pupil at school with me in Taunton, England, many decades ago. It was wonderful to see his face making all the facial expressions I could remember from that time. He was a gifted actor.

It made me think, how a random reappearance of a person from my past, so well portrayed on film, how could I forget about him? Then the question became serious when I ask, how could I forget about most of the friends in my past life?  Obviously, I have a terrible memory, and our lives have followed different paths; I now live thousands of miles from Taunton and most likely so does he.  After all, there is only so long one will send a Christmas card to an old friend! That is if he is even still amongst the living.

Bok Garden, photo by Mick Hales

From there, the thought emerged or perhaps it was a question, what will it be like to meet old friends in heaven? What will it be like to meet past loved ones; parents and siblings? Will that even be a valid question because we will be overcome by the presence and glory of God? We will be totally in awe and worship of the lamb of God.

Mick Hales Photo

Sometimes, people have told me, once they get to heaven they will ask a theological question of Elijah or Moses. Of course the one to ask is Jesus, but how close could one get to him and there would always be people ahead of me, probably millions, right?

A loud buzzer goes off with an uuurrr sound, WRONG!!!

There I go again. Trying to place God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit into my logical totally inadequate human brain. I try to formulate what heaven is like and who will be there. From my human context, I attempt a manmade virtual reality, of heaven. Of course my musings have to be wrong or totally inadequate to describe heaven. So lets see what Revelation tells us.

Photo by Mick Hales

And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” 5:13.

Also from 1:12-16.

 “and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest.14 The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, 15 his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.

Photo by Mick Hales

John’s book of Revelation gives me enough to know that thoughts of asking theological questions or looking for old friends, will be long gone, when I come into the full presence of God. All of our experience of God on earth has been veiled, or like smoke in a mirror. The concept of being completely filled by God’s love and to be always in His presence is the beginning of an understanding of eternal life, but really just a peep into heaven.

Living life on earth is really just middle ground for what we have to look forward to after we turn to the Lord. So watching an old movie took my mind back to the past, a past life, and that is what we tend to do as we get older; however, in reality we have something much more wonderful to look forward to and to keep our eyes on, our life to come. As Romans 8:38-39 affirms.

” For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,  nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

At this difficult time in our world, let us all join together and pray for peace in the Ukraine and in the world. Let God’s peace cover this world, and bring Godly leaders forward into positions of power. Amen

Love and prayers,

Christine and Michael

Michael’s Photography Christine’s Icons

Seeking The Approval of Man or God?

Icon of the Bridegroom by Christine Hales

One of the visiting teachers who came to Global Awakening School of Supernatural Ministry, while I was a student there, was Pastor Surprise Sithole. God called him out of a family of witchdoctors when he was a boy of fifteen. He was literally called out, by an audible voice of God, awakening him from sleep in his family hut in Mozambique. Consequently, he went on being powerfully led by God to minister in Malawi, Mozambique and throughout Southern Africa, starting countless churches and God is still working through him powerfully.

Pastor Surprise

Photo by Mick Hales

The story of his life is recorded in a book, Voice in the Night, published by Chosen Books and it has been my choice to read and accompany with video scenes of nature, for the elderly community at Freedom Village.  

It is wonderful to relate, through this book, how God can work incredibly powerfully through someone’s life who started with no material wealth, little education but had the willingness to be available to be used by God. His heralding of Jesus is refreshingly direct and wholehearted.

Availablility

Photo by Mick Hales

So much of the Christian walk is about our availability and not our ability. People will measure our usefulness by our abilities, our qualifications, our university degrees. God knows our usefulness depends on our willingness to step out and be available. God wants to work through people’s hearts, not through qualifications. God provides the quality.

This is reflected in Jesus’s choice of his disciples, mostly just regular people, who became willing to follow and eventually to continue God’s purposes after Jesus’ death.

The question of availability has come up for me, Michael, as there may be an opportunity to do a ‘work’, which would require being always available; 24 : 7. There are many professions which require that sought of life style; to be always available, firemen, police, doctors etc.

The hardest part of it is, to be available in one area means your less available in others, that is where discernment and prayer are needed to be sure God is initiating the ‘work’, not our own pride.

10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.  ‘Galatians 1:10’

But as the years add up and our life expectancy diminishes, making certain we are doing what God has called us to, becomes more and more pressing. This last month I took part in a memorial service for a nurse who had died very quickly, after Covid initiated other health issues to kick in. He was young, with a wife and four children, a natural leader and an exceptional care giver. His team were deeply affected by his loss as of course his family was, but they all knew he was doing the work he had been called to do; to lead the night team on the Covid ward.

The question is: What am I available for? Can I make the choices that lead to my being available to hear God’s still, small voice in the night? I hope I can and do!

Christine’s News:

Photo of Christine’s studio by Mick Hales

Christine loves teaching icon writing online! She puts a tremendous amount into preparing her material and delivery but it is so rewarding to her to carry on the tradition and see her students grow in ability and excitement. She will be teaching another class May 24-27 online on Zoom where they will be painting an Icon of Mary Magdalene.

She has two large commissions that are occupying her time and thoughts- one of Saint Paul and the other of Saint James. Such great people to think and pray about and with!

Please do keep us in your prayers- we need them! And let us know how we can pray for you!

May God bless you and keep you healthy,

Until next month,

Michael Hales

Michael’s photography Christine’s icons

Wake Up Call

Driving to the beach on a Sunday morning to take communion by the sea and away from our gathered church family, was sad. However, we had to pass on the way a Covid testing site and the queue of cars extended outside the gates, down the road and around the corner as far as the eye could see.  Omicron has reared its ugly presence in our neighborhood and I just can not risk being in crowds of people, like at church, in case I carry it into my workplace, a community of the elderly. So the two of us, received communion on the beach and it was a real blessing.

Photo by MIck Hales

Looking back over 2021 it seems to have been a year of national shaking and loss. Possibly the biggest loss has been the brazen attempt to under mind democracy, to purposely ferment untruth in news reporting and to drag arms of the church into partisan political activity. The depth of that loss, one can only hope, will not dig itself deeper with the well worn shovel of denial and self interest, in the year to come.  With that as a background context, spiced with the bitter truth of 800,000 dead from Covid and Climate Change we see all around us but are still unable to believe, it would seem we are all due for a wake up call!

Photo by Mick Hales

Perhaps the only question is, what will it take to finally wake us up?

Or maybe, the real question is more personal, and should be why am I looking at the troubles around me and not focusing on Jesus? Just as the disciples did in the boat when the storm hit them on the lake.

24 And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. 25 And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” 26 And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. [Mathew 8:24-26]

Photo by MIck Hales

I know in a lot of ways in my life, I do fall down, in not looking to Jesus first. I do have the faith that God will carry me through whatever it is we have to deal with in the future and that gives me great peace, but I do not expect Jesus to stand up and irradicate all my problems. I do not expect Jesus to stop me catching Covid because I am a Christian, just as I would not expect him to pay taxes for me if I tithe. I will not hold to a narrative that says one political party owns Jesus or that by not taking a vaccine I am a stronger believer.

Jesus came not Lording it over us, but serving us, even though He is Lord of all.

So looking forward to a new year, I hope I can be better at putting Jesus first in my life, and looking for what service He would have me do. Perhaps my biggest wake up call would start with, being more loving and less judgmental. Does that work for you, too?

Christine’s News:

It is indeed sad not to be able to attend church in person again these days. It is always a highlight of my week, being lifted up by the Liturgy, Communion, and worshipping with friends. We do watch it online, though, and are very grateful for the internet.

Donated quilts

One of my friends donated some beautiful handmade quilts that were made by her sewing circle, to Freedom Village residents who are in an acute care facility and they were very grateful for them.

Next Online Icon Writing Retreat January 25-28, 2022

I am drawing studies for two new icon commissions and a new series of icons God has inspired me to do for this New Year. I’m teaching an online icon writing class at the end of January and I love the community of iconographers that are part of this school. Mostly we start each morning by prayer walking and seeking God’s healing and guidance for all on our prayer list. Please do let us know how we can pray for you!

Until next month,

Love and Prayers,

Michael and Christine

Michael’s Photography Christine’s Icons

Giving Thanks

Heading to Boston

An early morning flight carried Christine and me to Boston for a family visit, the first in two years. Going North at this time of year is counter intuitive, but it was a very wonderful trip and so good to be with family. Of course the planes were packed as many families are finally getting the chance to reconnect after long times of separation and Thanksgiving had some degree of normalcy with people gathering in person.

Freedom Village

For Thanksgiving, Freedom Village residents raised $1050 worth of gift vouchers for food, which went to 52 different families, through Turning Points, a Bradenton mission to the homeless. Buying turkeys in bulk was not an option this year, but the gift vouchers, although not as symbolic as turkeys, were much appreciated. 

Giving Food Vouchers to the Homeless

Veterans Day this year saw 45 veterans over 90 years old, receive a special pinning for their military services. The event is hosted by the Chaplaincy and it had been in planning mode for about six months with many meetings, discussions and options depending on Covid’s activities. Very thankfully, about 150 people could attend and it all came together, as they say ‘in the end.’ Again, that was the first time that many of the community had joined together in nearly two years.

Sadly, in November, I led three memorial services and we now have two more scheduled. One of these losses has hit our community particularly hard as it was one of the staff, a young man who was killed in a motorcycle accident, leaving a four year old son.

One of the hardest aspects of growing old is loosing who we once were and what we once could do. That is the case anyway in our own minds and we tend to imagine it so for those around us. We may not be able to drive any more, walk any more, do the buttons of our shirt up or go to the restroom alone. We may forget the names of our family members or not recognize them when they walk in. Some of these losses can grow slowly or arrive quickly with a stroke. One thing I now know is, and a friend keeps reminding me, ‘Growing old is not for sissies.’  The mental and emotional struggles we go through, as we loose our physical ability to live an active life we previously enjoyed, becomes ‘‘the work’, not for sissies”.

Hannukah Celebration

As our society in America appears to be living longer in years, through medical developments, we may be living through the ‘older years’, for longer. One projection recently on the news, suggested that a child born today, might experience a life expectancy in the 150 years range. I shudder at the thought and wonder if with every thing which appears ‘to be going down the tubes’ in the world, particularly our changing climate, if anyone will be here in 150 years.

The Saving Grace of Getting Older

However, living an elderly life can be especially blessed by actively living a full spiritual life. What starts to lack in the physical can grow and be restored in the spiritual side of our lives. God does not view us as any less, if we are unable to do up our own shirt buttons. God looks for what our hearts are focused on, not on our physical accomplishments. I have had a productive career as a photographer, but I believe God cares much more about how I seek Him and care for others.

The power of a growing elderly population developing their spiritual lives, as their physical abilities decline, is as incredible and formidable as the power of the Holy Spirit and prayer. Far more than we can possibly think or imagine. It is one of the church’s resources not one of it’s burdens. There is a need for a proactive paradigm shift within the church to actively equip and encourage the elderly to develop the gifts of the Spirit. Many elderly have never seen the gifts of the Spirit in action, never seen someone get healed or witnessed a deaf person hear for the first time in their lives. How meaningful and fulfilling it could be for them to be introduced to the power of our living God.

Jesus told the disciples not to leave Jerusalem, before they received the power of the Holy Spirit. The church was never intended to function with out the help of the Holy Spirit and yet many life long church attendees were never discipled to seek out the gifts or the Spirit. They have been dedicated, faithful and sacrificial but sheltered from being proactive with the Holy Spirit.  I would love to see those mature 80 and 90 year olds full and overflowing with God’s loving, living Holy Spirit, as well. After all it is God who does the heavy lifting, He just wants us to join in.

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.’ Philippians 1:6.

Please pray that Christine and I can complete the work God has called us to, that all people will be filled with God’s Holy Spirit, and that the work of our hands will lead people to God. And don’t forget to let us know how we can pray for you!

Love and Prayers,

Michael and Christine Hales

Mick’s Photography Christine’s Icons

What Am I Here For?

‘What am I here for and what happens next?’

An orange plastic band was tied around the trunk of the tree. It really caught my eye because the early morning sun light was hitting the trunk. There are three or four trees in our housing community with those bands on them. They have been ear marked for cutting down. One can see why, there are hardly any leaves on them and they have fallen branches around them. Even so, they will be missed. Fortunately, our community is mindful to replace old trees with saplings.

We all have known since childhood that life is temporary and part of nature’s cycles; birth, life, death, birth and the cycle continues repeating with different hosts. Sometimes it takes an ugly orange band, to remind me, I cannot assume I know how much longer ‘my earth cycle’ is going to run. You see, I am pretty comfortable thinking, if I eat well, exercise well and be a good person, all will be well. But there has to be more to ‘this life cycle’, which we have been GIVEN, than doing it ‘well’ or for some, just surviving endless hardships.

Of course, I am asking those fundamental questions which all generations have done before me. What am I here for and what happens after this?

Recently, I officiated a memorial service for a nurse who had died with Covid, the second from that hospital in a month. The nurses have been living for nearly two years now under such pressure from Covid, working long hours in very stressful situations and limited staff. I was asked to keep the memorial service to less than fifteen minutes, because the nurses’ hands were needed working the wards. It was held outside on a very hot Florida afternoon and probably twenty nurses came. There was closure; a rose bush was planted, but I have to admit I left after all was done, heavy hearted because no one could tell me of that nurses’ spiritual life, no one.

So many of us are so absorbed in the activities of life, in the this case working long hours, that we don’t always get to really answer, ‘What am I here for and what happens next?’ 

For me, the most important part of that question is, ‘what happens next?’  I know in my heart, without a doubt, the truth of the words, Romans 10:13, “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”  Because I can stand on that knowledge, then I can answer, ‘What am I here for and what happens next?’

But, that is my choice. 

Everyone needs to choose for themselves their spiritual life and destination. My plea would be, be sure you have answered those questions, before the tree crews come by with their chain saws buzzing. The freedom God has given us to choose in our lives, has responsibilities too. In this case, the decisions and choices we live by, are between ourselves and God, only. There is no other party, not a family member, a spouse, a parent, a political affiliation, our choice on vaccines, masks, our belief in climate change actions, not even the government, we can blame. This is just between me and God.

But God does not want us to answer these questions in a cold hearted clinical way. He is a God of love and his desire is to be in relationship with us, which activates love, lives love.

So I want to share a wedding I officiated between a bride of 84 and groom of 98, this last weekend. This was an affirmation of their love for each other, being placed before God, in a humble way. They just wanted the chance to affirm what God had already been doing in their lives; activating love and living lives of love.

So of course we read, 1 Corinthians 13, which ends so beautifully, ‘So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.’ That is a rock I choose to remember.

Christine just finished teaching a four day online icon painting retreat. She has a large following of people all over the world now, who are dedicated to praying, painting, and walking closer to God through their visual prayers. We are so grateful for how God is working in our lives. Thank you all for your prayers, they make a BIG DIFFERENCE!

We pray for you too, and send our very best love,

Michael and Christine Hales

Michael’s Photo Website Christine’s Icons

The Right Place

Spanish Point Chapel, photo by Mick Hales

In the Right Place at the….

Working as a Chaplain in an elderly persons community I find myself asking the question, ‘Is this really where God wants me?’

Then I reason, ‘this is my selfish thinking getting in the way of serving God and my pride is trying to make my ministry expectations more significant than is appropriate.’

OK, so in that case, I am exactly where I should be, and God has not deserted me, but I still  wish I could serve Him more.

A little voice says, ‘What does that have to do with you? It is really up to God how he wants to use you.’ 

I am serving as Chaplain in an old people’s community.   I question it because my ‘Vespers’ services appear so boring that everyone goes to sleep.

Actually, it is just what they need, a chance to sleep, in the presence of the Holy Spirit. In the service this last Sunday, I had to shake awake my violinist, the only source of music we have, for him to play. 

But when you are approaching 80, 90 or your into your 100 years, it is an achievement to make it to the Sunday service in the auditorium. That is a big deal for each of them and if you catch a nap so much the better.

I often ask myself, well what can I really give or teach people who have gone to church for thirty five years before I ever read through the bible.

But there goes my thinking again, placing the burden on myself to be ‘doing the work’, when in fact only God can do it.

Most of my flock can not see to read, they cannot hear even with hearing aids, they do not move without a walker or an electric cart. They have continued as well as they could through the pandemic, trying to keep their thoughts positive, but it has hurt everyone. You can see the sadness in their eyes, as they pull down their masks and ask, ‘How long is this going on for?’

I have the luxury of movement, hearing, seeing and asking myself, ‘am I in the right place?’ 

My flock does not; they are staying where they are. Thankfully they can always ask, ‘God are you still with me, do you still hear me? Are you really as powerful as the Chaplain says you are and do you really love me as much as he says you do?’

That is when God silently answers and his love begins to flow and they are reborn again. Their smiles come back again and they are so glad they were able to make Vespers this week, even if they may have missed a part of it. They were present and so was the gentle Holy Spirit touching each one with wisdom, grace and power, in a very personal way.

God is always in the right place and I just want to be with Him as He ministers, in His presence.

 1 Corinthians 3:7    “So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.”

Christine’s News

I’ve been finishing the “lamentation” commission and now that has been shipped off to it’s new home! I’m also finishing up a commission for st. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross.

I’m preparing for teaching my next online icon painting class, April 13-16. And I’ve successfully submitted my application for post graduate work at the Prince’s Foundation School in London for advanced Iconography research. In the next month or so I should hear the status of that.

Another Church Icon Talk

Tomorrow I’ve been asked to give a talk on my work for the Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Bradenton, Florida. I feel so blessed to be here, working in my studio everyday. The winds are gently blowing, the sun is shining and I have all my icon materials and books all around me. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for your goodness and blessings!

Mick Hales Photography

We send you all our love and best wishes for staying healthy and safe. Do be in touch with your prayer requests- it is our joy to pray for you!

Love and prayers,

Christine and Michael Hales

Michael’s Photography Website Christine’s Icon Website

Worthy to Be Praised

Dear Friends and Family:

Mick Hales Photography 1
Mick Hales Photography 1

A boiling pot of hate and frustration has erupted in the nation due to the consistent unfair treatment of black people. There are 40 million people unemployed and 100,000 dead through Covid 19 and likely many more of both to come. America stands in a perilous place. It is my view that the national leadership has been taken over by the spirit of Jezebel and the evangelistic wing can not recognize the depth of denial they stand in. The country is politically divided with a leader who is prepared to be as divisive and untruthful and do what ever it takes to hold onto his power within the nation. A nation which in the last three years, has lost respect and confidence around the world for retracting into isolation on world issues of climate, health, pollution and food. This is a kind summation of where we are. It does not dive into the pain of the people around us.

Mick Hales Photography 1
Mick Hales Photography 1

But God. But God.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. [Philippians 4:8]

Mick Hales Photography 1
Mick Hales Photography 1

 

On the other hand I do know Jesus Christ is Lord of my life. Thank God, I know that. I also know that Jesus is still healing today, physically, spiritually and emotionally.

In the Chaplaincy work I do, I sometimes hear people talk of how, could there be a God who would allow all this to happen? Or, how God has taken all the good things I ever had?

Mick Hales Photography 1
Mick Hales Photography

I find it hard to find the words to answer their thoughts in a convincing way. But I do know that Jesus Christ is Lord of my life, and I thank God for that. I stand on that knowledge with deep thanks. My job is to try to share that with others so they can receive a real relationship with Jesus.

Chaplaincy

Each week I give my elderly community, prayer slides which get shown one a day on the in house television. They are very simple and broad, with a scripture and a very short prayer, see the ones included.

I also create a video for them for Vespers once a week, here is the link for Pentecost.

https://youtu.be/bEHHen9VG9U

Since the lockdown started 12 people have passed on in my community, not due to the virus but because of the age of the community, none of their families have had a chance for memorial services. So, it seems like the next step will be to create online memorial services.

We live in a changing world, but I thank God I know Jesus Christ. I pray you all do as well and you all stay safe.

Mick Hales Photography 1
Mick Hales Photography 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christine’s News

Christine is experiencing a lull in commissions and teaching – some of her classes have been cancelled due to the virus quarantine.  She is praying and working to understand God’s next steps for her and her beautiful work.

Christine's Studio
Christine’s Studio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, please keep us in your prayers- as you are in ours daily.

May God’s Blessings and real Joy fill all your lives.

Michael and Christine

Michael’s Photography   Michael’s New Print Shop

Christine’s Icons

 

 

 

Jesus Never Forgets

Dear Friends and Family:

Ringing Art Museum
Ringing Art Museum

Christine is off to Santa Barbara to teach an iconography class at the monastery of Mount Calvary, Santa Barbara. Mount Calvary is a brother house to Holy Cross Monastery in the Hudson Valley, NY, where she also holds iconography classes. She has a full class of students and has had to turn some away. There is a growing interest in writing icons and how they are a part of Christian life across the different denominations. Christine has been very proactive in widening the appreciation and purpose of icons through the creation of the American Associations Of Iconographers. Her trip is also a reconnection to Brother William who helped Michael in the early stages of developing the book, Monastic Gardens, the instrument through which Christine was first introduced to iconography in a small monastery in France.

Gail Levin, Author with Christine at the Ringling Museum
Gail Levin, Author with Christine at the Ringling Museum

Michael had a quick trip to photograph a house near Great Barrington, MA, and managed to time it with a good snow storm. Taken in small doses snow can be intriguing especially when one has not had to deal with shoveling  and scraping ice for the best part of a year.  Just a short immersion into winter weather was enough to confirm that moving South from New York was a good decision!

Great Barrington, Photo by Mick Hales
Great Barrington, Photo by Mick Hales

 

 

 

It was on that shoot, after a full day’s photography with snow falling, that Michael headed out to his car to drive to his hotel and found he had no notes of his hotel reservation for that night. It had been prepaid so he could not just abandon it for an alternative. It took nearly 20 minutes of searching the web in the snowy driveway to find a familiar hotel photo he thought he recognized, not being able to remember the hotel’s name!

Frozen, photo by Mick Hales
Frozen, photo by Mick Hales

 

Not a big issue perhaps, but it gave another small window into experiencing how it is when our brains are tired and unable to deliver what our bodies need at any given point. As we get older- so it happens more often. Our minds begin to let us down. It is in moments like these that prayer is so essential. When our minds are a void and we cannot recall a common word or name, or why we walked to another part of the house. It is time to call on Jesus because He will never forget us.

Seeing the Light
Seeing the Light

 

Many of our elderly population are dealing with memory loss, dementia and physical limitations much more serious than being unable to remember a hotel’s name. Fear, confusion, memory loss become more prevalent with age. Mental failures are hard to assess when they are happening within someone else’s mind, especially so with loved ones, and can build up tensions within a relationship.
Dealing with Dementia

Michael’s Chaplaincy ministry has had to deal with many older married couples slowly realizing their spouse’s mind is failing. Situations develop which are heart breaking, couples becoming separated after 50 or 60 years of happily married life.  Mothers being unable to recognize or remember their own children. Dementia can create the worst living situations for those suffering from it and those caring for them.

God’s Word

Isaiah 49:15. “Can a woman forget her nursing child,
that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb?
Even these may forget,
yet I will not forget you.

Mick Hales photo
Mick Hales photo

The elderly need that reinforcement, that God will never forget them. At one time they may have had very active Christian lives and known that simple truth. But then they loose it along with their minds. They often have been forgotten by their own families or are unable to recognize who their own children are. So our job as Christians is to visit and visit again, letting them know that Jesus will never forget them. Never stop loving them.

James 1:27

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

Mick Hales photo
Mick Hales photo

 

Please let us know how we can pray for you and we always need prayer too.

Michael and Christine   Mick’s Photography     Christine’s Icons

Mick Hales Photography
Mick Hales Photography