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We embrace the process of transformation in Christ, both in ourselves and in others, through the practice of Centering Prayer.

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“Living Wisdom” – An Appreciation
Jack Lloyd
Voices of Community

Contemplative Outreach of Chicago recently launched a new program known as Living Wisdom, to give interested members an opportunity to explore “the wisdom tradition.”  So far, the program has offered four all-day Saturday workshops, one per month, January through April 2017.  After participating in the four workshops, I am starting to form an idea of what the wisdom tradition has to offer, and I have a strong interest in learning more.

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Welcoming Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality
In The Silence
Tom Agness
Voices of Community

A nippy spring morning in May,
Harsh winds and arc-like rains
Finally subsided,
Overdue cleanups, lengthy lawns,
Untilled gardens and untold repairs await....

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality, Liturgy
I Am the Clay in the Potter's Hand
John
Voices of Community

“God loves me!” Father Tom began our eight-day silent retreat with Pope Francis’ request to Christians to reflect on this, and so we entered into silence at Mount St. Anne’s.

John is my name and I am an Alcoholic and a recovering Catholic...

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Centering Prayer, Twelve Step
Reflections on San Antonio Board Meeting
Pat Johnson
Voices of Community

When I lean into the first impressions I had of the meeting with the Board and the Transition Advisory Team in San Antonio this past May 2017, the words that come to me are CLICKING CLOSENESS.  This was my first time at a face-to-face meeting with everyone.  What has been built among the group is total openness, honesty, respect, loads of humor, and a huge amount of love.  It was palpable and contagious.

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality
Proof of God’s Existence? Or the Experience of God’s Presence?
The Rev. Hampton Deck
Voices of Community

When I was a junior in high school I took a class on world literature... One day {a classmate} asked me, “Why are you always bring Jesus and the Bible into our discussions?”  A little stunned, I replied, “Because I’m a Christian. Aren’t you?” “No,” he answered.  “Well what are you then? Jewish, or some other religion?” I asked. “No, my parents never took me to church. I guess I’m an atheist or an agnostic. I never really thought about it,” Chris replied. Then he asked me a question that stopped me cold: “Why do you believe all that crap anyway?”

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About Contemplative Outreach Dublin
Rev'd Robert Lawson
Voices of Community

Contemplative Outreach Dublin has been in existence for 10 years and currently has 11 active volunteers on the team. As autumn approaches it signals the time for preparing for the year ahead. We are currently planning our Second Saturday Programme.

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality, Father Thomas Keating
Introduction to Conscious Work
Alan Krema, a member of Contemplative Outreach of Chicago
Voices of Community

Is prayer a retreat for you into a separate place where you find rest and peace? If so, why do you not find peace, wholeness and harmony in your daily working life? Do you think it is impossible?

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Centering Prayer, Welcoming Prayer
Seed of God
Juliana Howard
Voices of Community

The Holy Spirit works in mysterious ways to build up the Body of Christ, using us in spite of ourselves.
 
Beginning in the mid-eighties, after the death of my mother, I was inspired to write children’s songs based on the Bible. For many years, I directed the Crayons, a group of school children who performed and recorded them. The first song given to me was “Seed of God”.

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Your Table
Dian Gillmar
Voices of Community

I miss Your words in the stained glass

above the altar, “My peace I give you.”

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality
Reflections on the September Conference
John Kelsey
Voices of Community

There is a new and powerful movement of the Spirit in our community.  We are evolving toward a new level of consciousness – not only as individual practitioners, but as a contemplative community.  Our challenge is to let go of a business model of governance and allow a new framework of attitudes and practices to blossom in its place.

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality
How to Create a Weekly Intensive Retreat Experience: “The Mini Midweek Retreat”
Becky Weinberg
Voices of Community

During one of the retreats while I was in the silence of my room, I began to think about several individuals in my Centering Prayer Group who, because of medical problems, caregiving responsibilities, or lack of funds, would never be able to attend an eight-day silent retreat.

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Centering Prayer, Lectio Divina, Contemplative Spirituality
A Conversion... and A Call to Serve
Richard Fudge
Voices of Community

This letter is my response to questions that were asked at our Centering Prayer circle:

  • What can we say about the experience of inmates in learning and practicing this method?
  • What do we think is important for the wider organization to understand about this perspective?

What can we say about the experience of inmates in learning and practicing this method?

I have spent a lot of time in prayer and reflection with these questions.  The following is the fruit of my labors.  I pray that through my words you will find insight and perspective, and that we may come into unity in the Holy Spirit as we sit together at the feet of the Lord Jesus.

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Centering Prayer, Father Thomas Keating, Prison Ministry
My Experience of the Contemplative Gathering in Snowmass
Rafael Dickson Morales
Voices of Community

Last year, the founders of four contemporary Christian contemplative movements (Fr. Thomas Keating, of Contemplative Outreach; Fr. Laurence Freeman, of the World Community of Christian Meditation; Fr. Richard Rohr, of the Center for Action and Contemplation; and Tilden Edwards, of the Shalem Institute) gathered for a week of dialogue and meditation at St. Benedict’s Monastery in Snowmass, Colorado. As a result of that meeting, they came up with an extraordinary idea.

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A Contemplative Prayer Gathering In the Midst of Tragedy
Alan Krema
Voices of Community

The tragedy of the Las Vegas shootings would be devastating enough on its own.  But this unfathomable trauma has happened in the midst of other tragedies—such as the recent hurricanes affecting Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean, the major earthquake in Mexico, and the usual level of local and global violence.  Many of us feel shaken to the core, awakening in us a depth of sadness not just for the victims, but also for all of humanity.  

Yet what can we do?  We feel helpless, distant, isolated, and also needing to carry on with our own lives.

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Waking Up and Growing Up
Leslee Terpay
Voices of Community

Fr. Thomas has asked the Centering Prayer community to spend the next year going back to basics. For much of the past 12 years I have been revisiting Thomas’ teachings on Centering Prayer and the Christian spiritual journey by serving at least one long Centering Prayer intensive retreat a year in which I prepare by reading both Open Mind, Open Heart and Invitation to Love. This may seem a little over board in terms of preparation but I find each yearly reading brings me closer to absorbing the materials with my heart rather than my head.

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Centering Prayer, Lectio Divina, Contemplative Spirituality, Father Thomas Keating
Simple Sharing; Huge Impact
Martha Johnston, co-coordinator of Contemplative Outreach of Maryland and Washington (COMW)
Voices of Community

“How should we use our money?"  The team realized that we had been maintaining a healthy bank balance, and we wanted to do more than just tithe to Contemplative Outreach Ltd.  We wanted to focus the money on specific projects.

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Centering Prayer
Contemplative Movement
Robin Gates
Voices of Community

Heaven and Earth converge in our bodies. The body is our teacher. It gives us messages and grounds us in the sacred present. It is the temple of the Holy Spirit. It longs and prays for our hospitality, to be seen, heard, integrated, and welcomed back into wholeness. One way to offer hospitality is through contemplative movement ...

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Centering Prayer, Welcoming Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality
The Good News of Accompaniment
Chandra Hanson
Voices of Community

... An encounter with Divine Love captivates.  It changes us.  Sue’s “yes” brought something to life in me and in the group; it called me on and encouraged me to stretch in new ways, giving me new eyes with which to see the Spirit’s movement among us.   It prompted conversations in the circle about the miraculous paradox of God’s transcendence and immanence; more than many in the “free world,” those who are incarcerated often both better understand the Reality that transcends time and space and better appreciate the gift of in-the-flesh visitors whose simple presence communicates God’s love and care.  There is a reason God took on flesh.  I am humbled and filled with gratitude every time I travel to join the inmates for our circle, knowing that simply by showing up I participate in God’s ongoing Incarnation. ... 

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The Good News of Accompaniment
Chandra Hanson
Voices of Community

... An encounter with Divine Love captivates.  It changes us.  Sue’s “yes” brought something to life in me and in the group; it called me on and encouraged me to stretch in new ways, giving me new eyes with which to see the Spirit’s movement among us.   It prompted conversations in the circle about the miraculous paradox of God’s transcendence and immanence; more than many in the “free world,” those who are incarcerated often both better understand the Reality that transcends time and space and better appreciate the gift of in-the-flesh visitors whose simple presence communicates God’s love and care.  There is a reason God took on flesh.  I am humbled and filled with gratitude every time I travel to join the inmates for our circle, knowing that simply by showing up I participate in God’s ongoing Incarnation. ... 

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Table Discussion, Overall Summary from the Contemplative Outreach Conference in Denver, September 21-24, 2017
John Kelsey
Voices of Community

The following is an edited collection of comments generated during several hours of small group discussions at the Contemplative Outreach Conference in Denver September 21-24, 2017. 

Comments were gathered from 15 posters prepared during the course of the conference.  These are the prayerful thoughts and hopes of our contemplative community. 

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Centering Prayer: Practicing The Peace That Passes All Understanding
Josh Gilmore
Voices of Community

On the western wall of Greystone chapel within Folsom state prison hangs a mural painting. A reconstruction of Leonardo Da Vinci’s "Last Supper," painted by a Folsom inmate nearly a century ago. The faces, those of other convicts the inmate artist was serving time with, adorn the bodies of the twelve disciples who surround the central Jesus figure as they react to the news of his imminent betrayal.

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Centering Prayer and Embodied Contemplative Practices – My Experience
Josefina Fernandez
Voices of Community

The article in the January 2018 e-bulletin, "Contemplative Movement" by Robin Gates, affirmed so many experiences that I observed during the first few years of my Centering Prayer practice. I noticed that my body began asking for movement as never before during reading, working on the computer, attending conferences, etc.

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality
The Art of Divine Therapy
Bob Mischke, M.D.
Voices of Community

Fr. Thomas Keating states that two things happen in the inner room:  We get in touch with our basic core of goodness, and the process of divine therapy is initiated and unfolds.  What is divine therapy and how does that happen?

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Centering Prayer, Father Thomas Keating
Praying with the Eyes of the Heart
Carol Quest
Voices of Community

Minnesota Contemplative Outreach sponsored an event called “Praying with the Eyes of the Heart.”  We gathered at the Minneapolis Institute of Art and began with Centering Prayer and then went in groups of four into the museum, each group guided by a “museum sage.” ... 

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Centering Prayer, Lectio Divina, Contemplative Spirituality
The Song in Our Hearts
Rae England
Voices of Community

In the spring of 2002, we brought a young man from Kosovo to Dallas to be fitted with a prosthetic.  He had been living in England where he was expecting to receive immigrant status when the war broke out in his country.  “I couldn’t stand by and see my family in danger without doing something to help”, he told me and so he returned to Kosovo. 

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