One candle

in the dark of the darkest morning.

This evening two,

a double blessing, will be lit

and Shabbat prayers prayed.

Three on the Advent wreath,

hope, peace, and joy.

Christmas tree lights will sparkle,

and fireplaces blaze.

But this morning there is just

one candle

flickering in the still gray light.

7:47, sunrise, passes without some

blaze of glory.

No splendid rays of sunlit hope.


I look down at the page

and can see just a little bit better.

The greens and grays out the window are

a bit clearer.

The slick wet streets reflect the

grainy light.

The silhouette of damp bare trees

show the contrast

backlit by the subtle illumination,

where the leaves are no more.

–Anna Woofenden 2018

God of Possibility


O Holy One,
With what abundance You create community,
You gather together those who light up as they follow You.
You weave together people and place,
History and future,
Practical and ethereal.
All for the gift of the interconnected,
And the Whole. 

O Holy One,
God of possibility,
God who dreams dreams,
And gives visions.
May I be attune and open,
With hands held out,
Free and ready to receive
with joy.

O Holy One,
God of the questions,
The Sacred Mystery,
The now and not yet.
Hold me in Your Great Unknowing.
Calm me when I want to leap,
Nudge me when it’s time to move,
Assure me in all that is possible
in You.

It is with gratitude,
and hands open to the questions,
in service to the Holy and humanity,
I pray,


Baptism: A Poem

Part of the Pilgrimage Summer 2013 Series
Written during my time on Iona

2013-06-10 10.24.44Baptism: A Poem

I met the shore,
greeting the sea I’ve
seen now from multiple angles,
but had yet to touch.

It seemed right that
this was the moment,
in this cove where
and flesh

This place where pair
after pair
of feet have trod.

To wonder and
pay homage,
to the Saint,
but more,
to the thin space
curled within
this cove.

I stoop.

People fill the rocks,
each of us in our own moment.
Mine with this rock curled in my hand,
and the water.

I took off my glove,
and dipped the tips
of two fingers into the salt bay.

To my forehead,
and my breast,
the cross etched when I was a wee one,
just four weeks old.

The crosses I’ve traced so many times
when I greet the ocean,
the Divine Movement
throughout my life.

In the name of the Creator,
Redeemer and Sustainer.
I commit again,
To a life of service,
to my God
and fellow humans.

The wave comes and covers my boot.

I rise and step back,
hesitant to leave this moment
of ritual.

Refocused on my life
in the world.

2013-06-10 10.16.59

Prayer on Waking

Part of the Pilgrimage Summer 2013 Series 

One of the projects I was working on throughout the cross-cultural theology class to the UK was to develop some prayers for personal daily practice. These were developed orally, particularly during our time at the Iona Abbey. I’ve written some of them down to share here.

2013-06-09 14.18.18Prayer on Waking

Good morning God!
Breathing in,
O Holy One.

Thank you for rest,
Restoration to your Whole.

 Fill me with Your Light.
Fill me with Your Light.
Fill me with Your Light.

Align me in your presence,
Align me with your purpose,
Align me in your energy,
Align me for your movement this day.


2013-07-13 01.47.38

Ode to Mary Dyer

Part of the Pilgrimage Summer 2013 Series


Mary, Oh Mary,
here your statue sits.
So calmly,
hands together in your lap,
as if open to receive.


Your head is bowed slightly,
face softened.

Both feet planted firmly on the floor,
back straight on the bench.


I wonder.
Maybe you’re sitting in
Quaker Worship,
waiting in silence for the Spirit to move.

You look so calm and peaceful.

I wonder.
Is this how you looked when
they taunted you and tortured you?
Was your face full of such grace
when your fellow Christians
persecuted you
because your spirit-filled Quaker ways
didn’t fit their Puritan sensibilities?

Oh, Mary.
You loved as a martyr.
You kept showing up.
When they kicked you out of Boston,
when they jailed you,
persecuted you
When they hung you in the square.

You put liberty of truth above your life.
You moved from white martyr,
to green,
to red,
with your blood.

We look to you.
Your face that has become so familiar,
as it sits on campus back in Indiana,
in front of Stout Meeting house.

I’ve looked at your slightly lowered eyes
and lowered mine as I sit.
I’ve looked to you as a feminine example,
a faith leader to follow and emulate.

But Mary, Oh Mary.
Seeing you here in Boston,
flanking the State House,
across from the memorials,
I remember.


You, Oh Mary,
you stood for truth and faith
in ways that I only want to read about
in history books.
When you were persecuted
by the moralistic fundamentalists
within your religious tradition–
you stood up.
You spoke.

When you were jailed and silenced,
you leaned into the silence,
gained strength and courage
and stood up
and spoke

Your hands gently cupped to receive,
the same hands that grasped and fought for justice.

Your eyes lowered,
The ones that flashed and sparkled
as you proclaimed uncomfortable truth.

Your feed firmly planted,
stood your ground,
walked many miles,
kept showing up,
emerging from the Silence,
witness for the Light.


Robin’s Egg Blue

Part of the Pilgrimage Summer 2013 series.
I saw the glint.
Robin’s Egg Blue
in the grass under
the cherry tree.

I stopped
crouched down
and picked up the
tiny half-shell.
And cradled it
in my hand.

As an eight year old,
I found a similar treasure.
I remember wondering:
How could something so fragile,
so precious,
be tossed out of the nest.
As if it didn’t matter.
To be crushed by my
black rubber boot,
had I not stopped and
noticed it.

I had taken the eggshell home
and placed it carefully
in a small jewelry box
and named it among my
eight year old treasures.

Today I stop,
as I walk between
dropping off a final project
at school, and
packing another box
at home.

And I hold this eggshell in my hand.

At thirty four and on the brink
of transition,
it makes more sense to me.

This shell has not been discarded
or tossed out of lack of reverence,
or care for its use.

This shell held,
with strength,
and wisdom,
a little bird as it grew,
and was prepared.

This shell created the
boundaries and space
for the bird to become
who it is and then
patiently released
as it was pecked at,
for the bird
to emerge.

Then, its work done,
the pale blue eggshell,
ever so gracefully,
drifted to the earth,
ready to be mulched
back into the cycles,
a witness to the container
from which the bird
would fly.

2013-05-06 16.03.56

Grandma Woof

Grandma Woof1


Grandma Woof

Grandma Woof,
always had some implement
of creative usefulness
in her hands.

The knitting needles,
flashing through skein,
after skein.
Sweaters for all 24 grandkids
one Christmas.
Little sweaters for each
new baby that joined the family.
Knitted snakes,
and puppets
appearing on birthdays.

The tatting hook,
filling Christmas cards
that crossed the globe
with lace snowflakes
scattered on loved-ones trees.

The brushes,
that spread the cobalt blue
and cadmium red
as the mountains glow,
and flowers emerge on the paper.

The embroidery needle,
that attached each strand of hair,
the tiny buttons
and lips
and eyes,
noses and
on the faces of
each finger puppet.

The potato masher,
the wooden spoons,
the silver forks,
and canning tools.

The pens that signed
the letters filled
with stories of
squirrels and
garden finds,
always ending with,
love Grandma Woof.

The pencils that sketched,
the draft of Sunday School lessons,
and lists.
And the notes in the margins
of each book she absorbed.

The trowel,
and sheers.
Bringing up garden beans,
pruning apple trees,
gathering the back-eyed Susan’s.

Usefulness and beauty,
special gifts and daily care.
Love flowed from her fingertips
as each implement wove
a signature into the
tapestry of a creative life.


“Gratitude is an emotion of connectedness, which reminds us we are part of a larger universe with all living things.”
-Melanie A. Greenberg

For breath and sunshine,
Faces I know and love
And the many I don’t know,
but love as part of the human family.
For mountains and oceans,
Kindness, compassion, and consciousness.
For the reminder that we are all connected in the One.
I am grateful.