Facilitating is a ministry that empowers people and enables group process. As a ministry, it helps group members to become more aware and more loving. Empowering others in this way is the heart of Christian ministry.
Good facilitating enables the growth of a Centering Prayer support group, empowering the group to feel capable and strengthened for the spiritual journey. Support group growth begins with the facilitator's attitude. A successful facilitator should be on the same faith journey as other group members. No one wants to feel divided into classes or levels because of a "leader" who has all the answers. Humility before God and one another creates mutuality in relationship.
A good facilitator needs to be a prayerful person. Prayerfulness is basic to this ministry. It is foundational for the ministry of hospitality – the most important part of facilitating. A facilitator who genuinely offers hospitality creates a warm, welcoming experience and provides the group with an island of safety. This includes the physical setting: temperature, lighting and chairs arranged comfortably.
A support group is generally composed of people who desire to journey together and are oriented toward contemplative prayer and practice Centering Prayer for two twenty-minute periods daily. Their values and practice of silence and solitude are integrated into their ordinary daily life experience. They meet regularly (once a week is ideal) to share in the practice of Centering Prayer.
When the Centering Prayer support groups has settled in and there is a commitment to Centering Prayer, deep sharing usually begins. Some ground rules are important at this point in the process. Be careful to share time equally. Keep sharing confidential. Don't try to solve problems. With the proper environment, members will listen with empathy and affirm one another, each acknowledging the other's contributions. From this mutual affirmation comes growth and success of the Centering Prayer group.
by Mary Mrozowski
Note: Mary Mrozowski was a founding member of Contemplative Outreach and was instrumental in the early days of the community. She is often remembered for her extensive work with Centering Prayer groups in the New York area, and also for her work with what has come to be known as the Welcoming Prayer. Mary died in 1993.