The Circle is a gathering of individuals who are seeking to practice and explore the many dimensions of contemplative prayer. The conversations we share are grounded in the ongoing work of The New Contemplatives Exchange, a global network of contemplative scholars and practitioners gathered by Fr. Thomas Keating, OCSO, (Contemplative Outreach); Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM (The Center for Action and Contemplation), Fr. Tilden Edwards, Episcopal priest (The Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation); and Fr. Laurence Freeman, OB (The World Community for Christian Meditation). The Exchange will meet for the first time in August at St. Benedict’s Monastery in Snowmass, CO, with twenty participants from six countries.
Fr. Stuart Higginbotham will facilitate the sessions, connecting this group’s work to his experience as part of The Exchange. He will share key articles and reflections from the Exchange group with The Circle members, helping cultivate a wider conversation within Grace Church, The Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, the Gainesville area, and beyond.
The Circle takes its direction from the overall vision of The New Contemplatives Exchange: Awakening a larger embrace and expansion of Christian contemplative understanding and practice as the vital grounding of Christian life, with openness to collaboration with all streams of contemplative wisdom, in response to the urgent social and spiritual needs of our times.
There are many ways in which we can explore contemplative prayer—all of which are grounded in intentional postures of silence. The richness of The New Contemplative Exchange is seen in the dialogue between these different particular practices of contemplative prayer. Individuals may have established practices of contemplative prayer grounded in any of these (or other) traditions or schools. The desire of The Circle is to explore what growth we can share with one another in an appreciative space that is curious about the wider and deeper dimensions of contemplative studies and practice within the Christian tradition. There will be time for shared silence as well as important reflection, reading, and accountability with our daily practice. If there is a critical mass after four weeks, we will explore maintaining the group for a longer time period.
The current session is scheduled for four consecutive Sundays: September 17, 24, October 1, and 8. We will gather in the Chapel at Grace Church from 6:30 to 8:00 pm. The Chapel entrance is on Washington Street.
The current schedule is as follows:
6:30 - Gathering and settling in
6:35 - Sharing of Silence
7:05 - Conversation and reflection on articles-notes to think on this week
7:50 - Brief Evening Prayer to close…
Please contact Fr. Stuart at Stuart@gracechurchgainesville.org if you have any questions.