Contemplative Collaboration

At the initiative of Thomas Keating, the founder of Contemplative Outreach, the founders of three other major Christian contemplative organizations were invited to meet with him in early October at St. Benedict’s Monastery in Snowmass, Colorado: Tilden Edwards of the Shalem Institute, Richard Rohr of the Center for Action and Contemplation, and Laurence Freeman of The World Community of Christian Meditation. Subsequently, the executive directors and appointed representatives of their respective organizations met in Washington, DC.

These meetings were focused on deepening our friendships and beginning to explore the possibility of collaboration in furthering the contemplative awakening in the world today. As a first step, the founders are inviting a group of 16 young contemplative “thought leaders” to meet with them in Colorado next August to share their views, concerns and hopes for the contemplative movement in the world today. A second step may be a major contemplative conference growing out of next August’s gathering.

Here is the statement that came out of the second meeting (which includes the statement from the first meeting):

On October 5-8, 2016, our founders met and released the following statement:

In October of 2016, we met in Snowmass, Colorado, to deepen our friendship and to gather and nurture a communion of Christian contemplatives. In order of age, Thomas Keating, Tilden Edwards, Richard Rohr, and Laurence Freeman are united in our commitment to renewing the practices of the Christian contemplative tradition as the center of all forms of Christian life.

This communion is open to collaboration with all streams of contemplative wisdom in response to the urgent social needs of our time.

In the immediate future, we look forward to encouraging dialogue with and among young Christian contemplatives in particular.

On October 19-20, 2016, when the directors and appointed representatives of each founder’s organization met in Washington, DC, we affirmed our founders’ statement and mirrored their own deepening friendship with a commitment to deepen ties among all of our organizations in our shared mission to support the awakening of the Christian contemplative tradition. We acknowledged a common desire for greater inclusivity and diversity of experience within our communities.

We will hold each other in our hearts and prayer as we explore opportunities for further collaboration.

Those meeting in Washington, DC were: Margaret Benefiel, Shalem Institute; Mary Anne Best, Contemplative Outreach; Gail Fitzpatrick-Hopler, Contemplative Outreach; Dennis Mcauliffe, World Community of Christian Meditation; and Michael Poffenberger, Center for Action and Contemplation.

These meetings were a first step toward deepening friendship and exploring collaboration. All involved look forward to what emerges. We welcome your prayers as we seek to hear the Spirit’s invitation to us all.

by Margaret Benefiel