February 16, 2007
CITIZEN PATRIOT - MERISSA FERGUSON
Ternes looks to her cross while praying and moving in her basement dance studio. She teaches workshops in Prayer in Motion.
can be creative in observing the Christian holy period
on a pair of ballet slippers nearly seven years ago was how Janene
Ternes, 51, finally felt a flicker of life in her soul.
in grief and distrustful of God following the death of her husband, there was something about the ballet movement that lifted
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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."
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.
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
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,"
director told Ternes that her dancing was a form of prayer, that
she and God were definitely communicating.
discovery led to Ternes developing Prayer in Motion.
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.
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.
Ternes has been through losses — her husband as well as
career — she can help people dealing with faith issues.
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."
being afraid to try new forms of prayer is important, according to
the Rev. Ed Ross of First United Methodist Church, 275 W. Michigan
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.
and her late husband, Don, prayed in the traditional style during
their 17-year marriage. They didn't have children.
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.
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.
of her grief work, Ternes remembered she always wanted to take
ballet lessons, and she found a studio in Ann Arbor.
started doing simple pliers at the bar, and something dead inside me came alive. There
was a lifting of grief," she said.