Centering Prayer News ~ September 2020
Heart of Texas Contemplative Outreach (HoTCO) is the local chapter of Contemplative Outreach, a spiritual network of individuals and small faith communities committed to living the contemplative dimension of the Gospel, primarily expressed through a commitment to a daily Centering Prayer practice.
“May the Lord of peace give you peace
at all times and in every way.
The Lord be with all of you.”
2 Thessalonians 3:16
“In peace, in the midst of virus, fire and hurricane,
and all manner of personal trials,
the Lord is with us.
The Lord stated that his peace was not of this world.
Thus, it was not born of the peacefulness of circumstance,
rather the peace of disposition of heart,
of awareness of the ever-presence of grace.
May it be so for us today
and may we transmit this peace to all in the radius
of our being.
(Reflection from Mary Anne Best, August 26, 2020)
As I recently read these words in a morning reflection, I thought, once again, how blessed we are to have the gift of Centering Prayer in our lives. Through the many challenges of these past months, so many of us have found this practice to be a steady anchor as it has allowed us a time apart from the chaos that so much of our planet is experiencing; and through God’s grace, we have been able to experience times of inner stillness and a peace that passes understanding.
When the great “Staying in Place” began, I remember how drawn I was to several on-line contemplative offerings—opportunities to share in the silence and to listen and learn with groups of friends from our region, from across the country, and even from across our world. It felt to me as though this strange set of circumstances had actually coincided into an opportunity for a contemplative coming together that none of us would previously have been able to imagine.
As these months have passed, I have felt so blessed to be a part of the HoTCO region where so many have been willing to adapt to our changing world by creating virtual groups so that members could continue to come together in this shared and sacred Silence. As I have met with some of our virtual groups, I have found that each one has its own unique flavor and gifts to offer, and many of the group leaders have reported their delight in having participants joining them from across the state and country, as well. And I look forward to visiting with more of our groups in the coming months. If you have not had an opportunity to participate in a virtual group or retreat yet, I encourage you to explore the offerings listed in this newsletter or to consider one of the Centering Prayer virtual groups offered through The Meditation Chapel (meditationchapel.org).
For me, this virtual journey has made the world seem like a much smaller place—it has confirmed that we are all interconnected and has enlivened in me an even more profound sense of our oneness. And, that too, brings me the greatest sense of peace—a peace that comes in the stillness that is one of the gifts of a practice of Centering Prayer.
During the current pandemic, our contemplative community has needed to shift its efforts from in-person events to virtual ones. The HoTCO chapter will focus on publicizing these virtual events both in the newsletter and on our website for the time being. Please help keep us informed of your virtual gatherings and we will be happy to post them. Now more than ever, we need to both embrace our Centering Prayer practice and stay connected to our community. Thanks for your help!
HoTCO Newsletter: Jan Reed and Kristi Michener
HoTCO Website: Dan Michener
The Stone in the River
You are the stone in the River.
The world’s unmoving, unchanging Center.
The Silent. The Smooth. The Unperturbed.
The engulfed but untouched Weight
That I moor myself to, until I’m not.
Again I drift unaware. Aboard some
Futile flotsam. Downstream. Away.
Until I become aware –suddenly--
I am lost. Again!
Sick. Tired. Sick and tired
Of gasping and grasping;
Of clinging and clawing
For more “life”.
Until I surrender to the inevitable. Give up.
“I let go. I let go.“
I sink beneath the flood. Down
Until I meet something solid.
I haven’t moved at all.
You are the Stone in the River.
~~By Mark Kroeker
The Church of Conscious Harmony services, retreats and workshops are all being offered virtually on Zoom and can be found here.
A Virtual 4-Day Centering Prayer Retreat - Vestibules to the Practice of Centering Prayer: The Five Dimensional Approach with Jim Reale - September 11-14
Weaving movement, breath, and chant with Centering Prayer as the pinnacle, this retreat will create a contemplative tapestry of profound calm to enrich, deepen, and ground our experience on multiple levels. This will take place along with numerous periods of prayer each day.
Participants will be emailed instructional handouts to enable you to continue with these vestibules at home. Please register here or call the church office at 512-347-9673.
Jim has been teaching contemplative practice for over 20 years. He created The Five Dimensional Approach to prayer incorporating movement, breath, and chant. He has taught at conferences with Fr. Thomas Keating and Fr. Richard Rohr.
A Virtual 1-Day Centering Prayer Retreat- September 26, 9am-3pm. This retreat is being offered through Zoom. Please register through this link: Please call the office at 512-347-9673 to register, and you will receive instructions and the Zoom meeting number. This retreat is being offered for free.
A Virtual Introduction to Centering Prayer Workshop - September 26, 10am - Noon
**With option to join the 1-Day retreat in the afternoon 1-3pm.
Please call the office at 512-347-9673 to register, and you will receive instructions and the Zoom meeting number. This retreat is being offered for free.
Centering Prayer Services at Church of Conscious Harmony on Zoom:
Sundays, 10 AM and Wednesdays, 6:30 PM
Zoom meeting link: https://zoom.us/j/254442699
Sundays, 8 AM Lectio Divina Service
Zoom meeting link: https://zoom.us/j/4909914302
Daily Centering Prayer Services, 7 AM
Zoom meeting ID: 490-991-4302
**If a password is required for these Zoom meetings, the password is: CCH
University United Methodist Church - Sundays, 9:45 AM
These Centering Prayer Groups will be holding virtual meetings on social media:
Zoom meeting link: https://us04web.zoom.us/j/598379558?pwd=cGNodk5JVjIvM0dCUUdqZjVnRG00QT09
Leader: Jan Reed
All Saints Episcopal Church - Sundays, 4:30-6 PM
Zoom meeting link: https://zoom.us/j/406974457?pwd=cXYxUjZpekszeVJjR1hScUpYUWdzQT09
Leader: Betsy Aylin
Lake Travis Area Centering Prayer - Mondays, 7-8 PM
Zoom meeting link
Leader: Marcia Dilly
Cedar Park United Methodist Church - Mondays, 7:30 PM
Zoom Meeting ID #199-984-027
Leader: Steve Hamman
St. Michael's Episcopal Church - Tuesdays, 6:30 PM
Zoom meeting link: https://zoom.us/j/158321072
Leader: Phyllis Blees
First United Methodist Church, Boerne, TX - Wednesdays, 4:55-6:30 PM
Leader: Jenny Russell - Please email Jenny ahead of time to receive the Zoom link.
Meditation Chapel - An interfaith, international online meditation community that includes Centering Prayer groups.
To register to participate with one of these groups, please visit this link.
HoTCO’s Mission is to support individuals and groups in our area who want to deepen their relationship with God through the practice of Centering Prayer. This Newsletter encourages the spirit of a larger contemplative community by communicating and promoting activities that serve this mission. Visit the HoTCO website for information on contemplative services, prayer groups, introductory workshops, retreats, and events. Connect with the HoTCO Facebook page or the HoTCO MeetUp page.
Centering Prayer Resources: HoTCO has resources for prayer groups, such as the 28 DVD set of The Spiritual Journey with Fr. Thomas Keating, a collection of appropriate books to sell at workshops and retreats, and trained presenters willing to conduct a seven-week course on The Introduction to Centering Prayer. For more information, please contact Chapter Co-Coordinators, Kristi Michener or Lynne Roy.
If your church or organization has information on contemplative activities that are appropriate for the newsletter, please submit information to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to be more involved with HoTCO, please consider attending a quarterly membership meeting.