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     Janene Ternes, Director
   Prayer in Motion, LLC
   Saline, MI  48176




February 16, 2007

Ternes looks to her cross while praying and moving in her basement dance studio. She teaches workshops in Prayer in Motion.

You can be creative in observing the Christian holy period

By Monetta L. Harr

mharr@citpat.com 768-4972

Slipping on a pair of ballet slippers nearly seven years ago was how Janene Ternes, 51, finally felt a flicker of life in her soul.

Deep in grief and distrustful of God following the death of her husband, there was something about the ballet movement that lifted her spirit.

Then, coincidentally a few months later, her Catholic priest asked her to enroll in a class to learn how to guide others on spiritual journeys through the use of Scripture and prayer.

"I thought that request was amusing because I wasn't even speaking to God then," said Ternes, of Saline. Eventually, she agreed to attend the program — a decision that led to her creating "Prayer in Motion," a different way of praying by adding movements, similar to tai chi.

Many ways to pray

Ternes and others believe there are many forms of prayer, and the 40-day period of Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday next week and culminates on Easter Sunday, may offer Christians a reason to explore new ways of nourishing the soul.

Prayer can be incorporated into such activities as meditation, journaling, walking, dance and simple movements. All differ from the style of prayer taught in childhood: to bow one's head with hands folded.

The Rev. Karen Kelley said she has a hard time sitting still in prayer, especially if she is trying to pray at night, when she is tired.

"For me, journaling is the best way to pray because I can focus on what I'm writing," said Kelley of Westminster Presbyterian Church, 2301 Ridgeway Road, who participated in a workshop conducted by Ternes.

She has chosen two books on prayer for her church members to read this Lenten season: "Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference?" by Philip Yancey and "Prayer For People Who Can't Sit Still" by William Tenny-Brittian.

The first, she said, revolves around the idea of conversing with God throughout the day, like friends do. The second is for people who struggle with the conventional way of praying and need to know there are other avenues to God.

"I started to move to the music and felt an incredible connection to God, this overwhelming feeling of love. Until then, I had an intellectual knowing, but I had never felt His love."

If you go...

Janene Ternes will present a workshop called "Praying with Body, Mind and Spirit: Moving through Worship" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 24 at The Cottage Retreat Center, 915 Airport Road. The cost is $38 and includes refreshments. Call 796-5670 or e-mail cottagere-treat@sbcglobal.net.

In addition, she will give a "Moving through Lent" workshop from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 3 at the Weber Retreat & Conference Center in Adrian. Cost of that is $50 and includes lunch.

Call (517) 266-4000.

Six months later, in 2001, she enrolled in the two-year spiritual direction program at Manresa Jesuit Retreat House in Bloomfield Hills. There, she said, she heard God speak to her and she learned to trust again.

Why the slippers

At the end of her first year there, when Ternes packed for a required five-day silent retreat, she said a voice told her to include her ballet slippers. When she told the retreat director that a song played at Mass, "You Are Mine," touched her so much, the director offered to loan Ternes her CD player and copy of the song.

"The next morning I started to move to the music and felt an incredible connection to God, this overwhelming feeling of love. Until then, I had an intellectual knowing, but I had never felt His love," she said.

The director told Ternes that her dancing was a form of prayer, that she and God were definitely communicating.

That discovery led to Ternes developing Prayer in Motion.

She has since accepted it as her calling, after her full-time management position was eliminated in a downsizing. It doesn't bring in a lot of money — "I eat a lot of peanut butter and scrambled eggs" — but the blessings continue to mount.

"I was at an assisted living facility and a priest who had had a stroke came up to me afterward and said he had never felt God like he had then," she said.

Since Ternes has been through losses — her husband as well as career — she can help people dealing with faith issues.

"My experience with people who have losses is either they grow closer to God or are sent further away. It's our choice," said Ternes. "My beginning choice was to move away from God, but I'm so blessed because God led me through this."

Not being afraid to try new forms of prayer is important, according to the Rev. Ed Ross of First United Methodist Church, 275 W. Michigan Ave.

"One of the most interesting times of prayer for me was when I was in Seoul, Korea, in 1998," said Ross, who told about attending a Pentecostal-style worship in a mega church, where people were simply told to pray aloud.

Prayer unanswered

Ternes and her late husband, Don, prayed in the traditional style during their 17-year marriage. They didn't have children.

"Our faith increased enormously as we relied on God through his two-year illness. I thought it would be a wonderful story for us to take to different churches about how he was healed and how faith can prevail. And that's not what happened at all," said Ternes. Her husband died at age 45.

"I was so taken by surprise. I plunged into deep grief and questioning my faith, God, everything. That period of life lasted several years. I continued to go to church but couldn't pray. It was very difficult to trust God because He hadn't answered my most important prayer, to cure my husband," she said.

As part of her grief work, Ternes remembered she always wanted to take ballet lessons, and she found a studio in Ann Arbor.

"I started doing simple pliers at the bar, and something dead inside me came alive. There was a lifting of grief," she said.


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