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Bethany House is a house of prayer

Will celebrate 20-year anniversary with open house

November 1, 2008
By SANDY MICKELSON, Messenger staff writer

Bethany House - a house of prayer, a connection with God in all places, people and things.

Bethany House - where someone listens and helps others find their God.

Bethany House - about to celebrate it's 20-year anniversary of ministry and service.

"It was my hope and my vision that Bethany House would grow beyond my being here," said director Carol Joselyn. "We are not a church. We are a place for people to search, deepen and become further committed to their own church's family and community."

Close to 30 years ago Joselyn discovered a small house of prayer in Des Moines.

"It was after my father had died, and my mother was back down there for a surgery," she said. "A friend said, 'I want to take you somewhere.' After that first Mass, I just said, 'Oh my gosh, I want more.'"

Fact Box

If you go:

WHO: Bethany House of Prayer, 1024 Sixth Ave. N.

WHAT: Celebration of 20 years of ministry and service.

WHEN: 2 to 4 p.m. Nov. 9.

WHERE: Corpus Christi center, 405 N. Eighth St.

PROGRAM at 2:45 p.m., with the Rev. Al Grenbler, of Spirit Lake, speaking. Music will be provided by the Sonshine Singers.

She connected with the Rev. Gene Merz, a Jesuit priest, and started spiritual direction with him at that time.

"I didn't even know what spiritual direction was," Joselyn said. "I was a convert to Catholicism."

She learned, however.

"Spiritual direction is meeting with someone on a regular basis to discern, sort out and look at your life to deepen your relationship with God and to begin to find and connect with God in all ways," she said. "In spiritual direction, we come to see all that we have as a gift from God."

As director of Bethany House, Joselyn holds herself accountable. She does not tell people with questions what to do, but "listens carefully to ask the questions to help them find their God within."

Mass is said at noon every Monday through Friday at Bethany House, with the Rev. Joe Nooney, a retired priest, leading the service.

"He was at the first meeting when I talked about the dream of a prayer house," Joselyn said.

From 4 to 4:30 p.m. Monday, there is a centering prayer session - a quiet sitting, meditation, sitting in the presence of God. People come in quietly and leave quietly. It's not a program, it's simply a time to pray.

At 7 a.m. Tuesday, Bethany House is open to anyone for prayer.

And at 5 p.m. Wednesday, a time of prayer is followed by a potluck supper.

"And we've been doing that for the whole 20 years," Joselyn said. "We have prayers of petition on Wednesday night, too."

Numbers for the Wednesday evening potluck and prayer time vary, at one time as high as 17, now from six to eight people.

Looking toward the future, Joselyn said she hopes to see Bethany House continue well beyond another 20 years.

"This is Bethany House, even though I own the house," she said. "If the ministry ends, the money and the house will go to a charity. If there is no more Bethany House and I die, the sale of the house will go to a charity. My hope is that it doesn't end with me. That it's a community house, and many people make it work."

The Web site for Bethany House is at, and anyone interested in scheduling an appointment with Joselyn to talk about the prayer house may contact her at 570-3736.

"To me, Bethany House is a quiet spot on a busy corner," she said. "The house itself stands in the middle of the inner part of our city, a space that offers solitude and reflection, community and hospitality."

Contact Sandy Mickelson at (515) 573-2141 or



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