September 17th edition


Although we may be feeling isolated and alone much of the time, we may also feel stressed,

confused, and overwhelmed. Most of us are aware of the physical and mental benefits of

walking. Martin is encouraging us as a church community to engage in a mindful,

contemplative walking practice.


I invite you to walk. Seasoned walkers. Novices.

Old. Young. Henry David Thoreau penned in his journal, “Methinks that the moment my legs begin to move my thoughts begin to flow.”


Take some time alone to move mindfully through your own area: your house; your yard; a neighborhood; The Emerson Fields; Bradley Palmer State Park. The location is not important. The length of the walk is not important. You are invited to use this walking practice to envision a more human way that honors Human dignity, honors and protects our Planet, and honors our own inner journey.


Concentrate on 4 or 5 things most important to you.




Practice Christian meditation


THE WALK is a tool to help us all to detach from the confusion around us in order to have a richer attachment to God and to other human beings. There are no set guidelines. Merely suggestions. Some of the suggestions are in this writing.


  • Prep: Have a notebook; maybe pre-write some goals/pains/dreams.

  • Timing and Location: You decide but be unhurried; wherever you can be away from distractions.

  • Safety and Health: If you are near people wear a mask. Have water, comfortable shoes and clothing.

  • Before You Begin Moving: Pause and take a few deep breaths. Be as open as you can be.

  • Movement: As you begin to move, seek the realms of wonder, of space, and of reaching. After a period of time start to notice what begins to clear: notice what begins to open around your ideas, dreams, and around possible barriers. Have your notebook ready.

  • Close: Take one or two more deep breaths and commit to movement practice as a way to invite brave creativity.


See you next week, Charlotte L. Melling.







September 24th edition

Hopefully this past week you were able once or twice or maybe even three times to go on a walk by yourself with

notebook in hand.  Remember you can walk wherever you are: in your home, your yard, your neighborhood or a park.

And the amount of time spent in solitude is not important.  Just walk.


Think about cutting back on the amount of time you spend keeping

up with the news.  Create space for positive messages.   A walking meditation can sufficiently redirect our lives so that we can deal with human life successfully.  Thomas Merton wrote,  “Meditation has no point and no reality unless it is firmly rooted in Life.”


As you walk, may you appreciate your own great tolerance and even appreciation for differences---knowing that all are created in God’s

Image and are equally beloved---differences of faith, culture, language, skin color, sexuality, or other traits.  Let us seek to understand and honor others and to live in harmony with them.


Reflection/contemplation cards for your walk will be available on Friday, September 25th. The cards contain quotes from Jesus, Chief Joseph, Emerson, and Gandhi.  (Only food for thought.)  The cards measure 2 X 4.Ten cards are in each, small pouch.  You may choose to read one card per walk or all ten at once. Pouches will be located on the porch by the office door at the Emerson Center.  If you are interested in the cards and cannot come by the EC, email me and I will deliver them to you.


See you next week.

Charlotte L. Melling







October 1st edition

How is your walking progressing?  What have you written in your notebook?


Are you walking in your home or outside?  Do you find it difficult to find time to walk alone?  We are all pilgrims on this spiritual walking journey, and we each find our own path.


In Martin’s sermon this past Sunday, he referred to The Walk as The Way,   The Way being to follow Jesus to the light on the hill.  And our community, CCOT, is a significant part of that light for our larger community. 


By now I hope you are enjoying the solitude.  Also, I hope that you notice a quietening of your psyche.  You may notice this when you stop to breathe.  As you breathe out, you may say, “ ‘ I am home.’ “  Then you feel the peace. 

And you will be able to look deeply within yourself and deeply into the nature of things that will bring insight.  Meditation takes enormous patience. 


I also encourage you to look for joy as you walk and as you meditate.  Mary Oliver said in her poem, DON’T HESITATE,  “Joy is not meant to be a crumb.” 


Just a reminder, 10 meditation cards are available on the porch of the Emerson Center.  You can find them in a sack labeled THE WALK.  Also, previous articles appeared in the In-Spire on 9/17 and 9/24.


Any questions contact Charlotte Melling: 208-262-6977





October 8th edition

ALL WALKERS are invited to gather on October 14th on the Emerson Fields at 11:30. Old, young, a seasoned walker or a novice to meditative walking you are welcome to be with other walkers to share what we have experienced on our walks. I will check the weather closer to the date.

Meditative walking helps us to see more details. Just by walking, the world becomes smaller and we become more connected. This also makes us more vulnerable to absorb a little bit more of ourselves. Walking meditation helps us to find peace. Marianne Williamson has written, “Ego says, “Once everything falls into place, I’ll feel peace.” Spirit say, “Find your peace, and then everything will fall into place.”

Take a deep breath; then very slowly breathe out. Pause and return to your walk and your form of contemplation. From this pause we can return to a place that is more calm, clear, and open rather than retreating to our old ways of thinking. The more we practice meditative walking, the more we will be here for ourselves and for others in challenging moments.

In closing, Etty Hillesum (1914-1943) was a young Jewis women who suffered much injustice in the concentration camp. She wrote,”There is a really deep well inside me. And in it dwells God. Sometimes I am there, too...And that is all we can manage these days and also all that really matters: that we safeguard that little piece of You, God, in ourselves.

Charlotte L. Melling

Join us for worship!

Sundays at 9:30 am

followed by

coffee fellowship

in the Emerson Center

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The Congregational Church of Topsfield
9 East Common Street
Topsfield, MA 01983
Phone: (978) 887-2101
Fax: (978) 887-9531
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