Soul Tending: Journey Into the Heart of Sabbath:

Anita Amstutz

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We live in hungry times. There is economic uncertainty, fear, violence, division, and social chaos. What is needed for times such as these is a heart full of courage and wisdom grounded in compassion and resilience. For this, we can turn to one of the practices that for so many centuries nourished people of faith through incredibly difficult life circumstances and service. Traditionally it was a communal gathering time of rest, ritual, and prayer. It is Sabbath keeping. In Soul Tending, Anita Amstutz offers field notes and a road map from her own Sabbath keeping for the 21st century — a practice rooted in tradition but whose tenets can be applied to practices fit for our present hectic and troubling world.

Anita has written the book in such a way that it can easily be adapted as a study guide! Each chapter ends with a list of questions for reflection that are perfect for use by full congregations, independent readers, and every kind of group in between. This provides an accessible and engaging method to a shared understanding of Sabbath keeping in the modern day.

"Soul Tending is an important book for everyone. It reminds us that spiritual care requires honoring the Sabbath, requires time set aside for rest, joy, and creativity. Anita Amstutz writes with personal knowledge and great clarity about the necessity of minding Sabbath. Journey back to the story of Creation, journey back to the history of this one day set aside, journey back to the essence of this Biblical commandment. Journey back to your own soul's call. Read this book and reclaim a commitment to Sabbath." —Lynn Hinton, author of Friendship Cake and The View From Here

"Told simply and with humility, the personal story augments the larger story of human longing for the divine. The real subject is not the author but that which the author seeks – to know and love God. This is memoir with a twist. It belongs in the spiritual meditation category and should be read lectio divina style, chewing one small bit at a time." —Dr. Shirley Showalter, former president of Goshen College and author of Blush: A Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World

"The Sabbath is about joy, but to keep the Sabbath isn't easy. That’s why it requires a commandment. In Soul Tending Anita Amstutz ably guides us to unlock the heart of Sabbath. With candid honesty she shares how ministry parched her soul in spite of love and passion. Then, touching into her deepest hunger she excavates and offers us the field of teachers and traditions that inspire a Sabbath Soul... As love grows in surrender to the unconditional play and rest of creation, she learns that Sabbath is not just a gift. It is a principle, a practice, and must be kept." —Cynthia Winton-Henry, Spiritual Director, Co-founder of InterPlay, an active, creative approach to unlock the wisdom of the body.

"In Soul Tending, Amstutz doesn’t just inform us about Sabbath; she makes us want to practice it. She draws on her own experience and on the writings of others to show how 'Sabbath helps us retrieve joy from the dungeons of overwork, stress and soul weariness.' The writing is accessible, and the book is designed for individual or group study." —Gordon Houser, author of Present Tense: A Mennonite Spirituality.

Rev. Anita Amstutz is an ordained minister who has led a congregation for over 15 years in New Mexico. She has also worked ecumenically at the Center for Action and Contemplation, a teaching ministry for contemplative prayer and action in the world. At the intersection of Catholic mysticism and Mennonite practicality, she has created and led liturgy, taught spiritual formation, preached, counseled and personally wrestled with what it means to live from “Sabbath Mind”.  She has an avocational passion for beekeeping and education/advocacy of pollinators, and founded the non-profit Think Like a Bee.  She is currently the grant writer and project manager for this organization.