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




October 2-8, 2003


Spiritual strength
Ternes sought answers and found a business, too

BY STEVE RAPHAEL sraphael@bdwbiz.com Business Direct Weekly

Janene Ternes is living proof of the power of God, perseverance, great friends and a pair of ballet shoes in righting one's life. Ternes, 48, is founder, chairman, president and CEO of a new, one-employee, for-profit business, Prayer in Motion LLC. The firm's goal is to connect people of all ages to God through music and movement. The company's promotional line: "Let the spirit move you." Ternes plays nondenominational music with a bent toward Christian music and writes her own choreography. Body language, she says, reinforces the music.

"Praying through movement is a powerful way to experience your connection with God," she says, "The movement acts as a mantra. The music opens the heart and the words reinforce the message.  All of this serves to awaken your ability to express your deepest feelings in prayer,"

Elementary school teacher, businesswoman, and ballet dancer, all those experiences and skills converged in August when Ternes incorporated Prayer in Motion. The new company culminated a journey that began under emotionally devastating circumstances.

Four years ago, Ternes' husband Don died following a two-year battle with cancer. The couple had been married 17 years, and the disease brought the couple closer than ever, says Ternes. Afterward, she says, her life nearly unraveled. Ternes went through 18 months of grief counseling, finding little solace for her loss. Her life began to brighten three years ago when she followed a girlhood dream and signed up for ballet lessons. After her first class, she says, "I felt better than I did after 18 months of therapy," Ternes wanted to help others in similar situations face their grief. 

Father Jim McDougall the priest at Ternes church, St. Francis Catholic Church in Ann Arbor, encouraged her to join a spiritual leadership program. In fall 2001, Ternes entered the program conducted by Manresa Jesuit Retreat House in Bloomfield Hills, and in May 2002 she had to attend a weekend retreat as part of the program. Ternes was packing comfortable clothes and a Bible when something told her to bring along her ballet shoes. "The first night I was there, something happened," she says. "I spent the weekend dancing and praying. I was called to know God through movement in a new and exciting way."

Thus began Ternes' road to recovery. She decided to build a ballet studio in her basement to continue the movement therapy. First she had to selectively clear out her basement where 17 years of happy marital memories lingered. Unemployed since April 2002, Ternes also had to confront the very real challenge of making a living. She saw a career counselor earlier this year who helped plant the seed of Prayer in Motion. "I got a sense that this would be my work," she says.

Ternes  was no stranger to the business world. Following a short teaching career, she spent 15 years in the business world, including operations director for Manufacturing Data Systems Inc. She oversaw purchasing, customer service shipping/receiving or "whatever it takes to get our product to the customer," she says.

Still, illness and self-doubt delayed the start of Prayer in Motion. Ternes got over the final hump by attending a startup business seminar through the Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center. Family and friends chipped in, providing brochure editing, graphics and printing for free. Others gave her quickie seminars on database marketing, accounting and finances; another helped file the incorporation papers with the state in August. A brother-in-law transformed her basement into a studio.

A shrewd businessperson, Ternes determined she had to take in $100 an hour to be profitable. She charges $10 an hour for her 90-minute classes, usually to 10 people per session. Each class is offered once a week over four weeks. Prayer in Motion's clientele range in age from five to 70, with the majority of people lumped in between the ages of 30 and 55. Ternes also lectures on spirituality in the community and is teaching Prayer in Motion classes in area churches and retreat centers. That's because Ternes still has one final hurdle: insurance. She can't teach the classes in her basement studio because she has no liability coverage. Pricing rates with carriers is "overwhelming ... it is more than what I've earned so far this year, " she says. "The quotes aren't pretty."

Steve Raphael covers health care and nonprofits for Business Direct Weekly. 


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