Timeless Centering Prayer; New Vison – New Energy
By Kathy DiFede
The last Contemplative Outreach Conference was in 2014 so it was very exciting to have another conference this year. This conference was different from previous conferences because the focus was on listening to the local Contemplative Outreach communities, the “grass roots,” through contact people and coordinators. It was also a time for hearing about the Service Teams of Contemplative Outreach which have been formed to assist local areas throughout Contemplative Outreach with the various programs and training offered by Contemplative Outreach.
138 people attended the conference. 15 round tables were set up for the sharing, discussion and listening time. Everyone was asked to sit at a table with people they did not know. (For some this wasn’t easy)! Each table had one of the service team leaders facilitating the process.
Thursday afternoon I was standing in the lobby to greet people as they arrived. It was such fun to watch! There was lots of excitement and energy. Everyone was greeting someone they had not seen for a while or introducing themselves to someone new.
On Friday at our tables the focus was on Fr. Keating’s updated Contemplative Outreach’s Vision, Principles and Guidelines for Contemplative Service. This was a very “heart centered” day. The principles were read in a Lectio Divina manner, with reflection time and then sharing what that principle meant to us. It was a wonderful time to speak from the heart and listen from the heart. All the table groups experienced a bonding that continued throughout our time together. All of this was carried into Saturday as we looked at the programs offered by Contemplative Outreach. Many shared how the Centering Prayer workshop had touched them and they wanted to share that with others. The Welcoming Prayer and Living Flame had also had an impact on the spiritual journey.
What I felt throughout the conference was a bonding of the community in trust and love. That we were one, united with the Spirit in the deepening of Centering Prayer, was very evident. Everyone’s voice was not only heard, but deeply spoken and listened to with the heart. As someone commented, “I have great hope for the future of Contemplative Outreach.”
Blessings & Peace,