The Center for Spiritual Imagination, dedicated to contemplative practice for just living, has officially launched with a new website, online opportunities for contemplative prayer and talks on spiritual practices. An Episcopal cathedral community has launched the center as a means of envisioning a vibrant human spirituality for the 21st century.
The Center for Spiritual Imagination develops opportunities for compassionate service that unite contemplation and action, approaching just action as a spiritual practice and a fruit of contemplation. Of particular interest to the center are the needs of the “spiritual but not religious,” a growing demographic that seeks revitalized spiritual practices directly connected to works of mercy and justice in the world.
Numerous leaders in contemplative spirituality shared their support of the center’s launch, including Richard Rohr, author of Universal Christ and founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation. “The Center for Spiritual Imagination is re-envisioning an inclusive and engaged spirituality for the 21st century,” said Rohr. “The gifts of monastic spirituality are translated into a form that can be practiced in everyday life and where one’s commitment to contemplative practice leads to justice-making.”
“The work of the Center for Spiritual Imagination is exactly what is needed in these times,” said Justine Huxley, CEO of St Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation and Peace in London and author of Generation Y, Spirituality and Social Change. “Rooted in the nourishment and depth of ancient rhythms, this is work that can lead us back to the source. There is food for the soul here in abundance. It links our personal journeys with the collective need for transformation, which all true spirituality at this time must do.”
The center was founded by members of the Community of the Incarnation, a new monastic community which vows to embody and teach engaged contemplative spirituality. The Community of the Incarnation prays, lives, and serves at the Cathedral of the Incarnation in the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island. The co-founders of the community and center are clergy and lay staff of the cathedral who profess a commitment to serving the spiritual needs of seekers, doubters, religious practitioners and those typically disinterested in institutional religion.
The Rev. Adam Bucko, co-founder and director of the center, is an internationally recognized teacher of engaged contemplative spirituality. He previously co-founded The Reciprocity Foundation, where he spent 15 years working with homeless youth. Co-founder the Rev. Morgan Ladd is sub-dean of the cathedral, overseeing intergenerational worship and spiritual formation programming. She specializes in translating the path of spiritual growth for people at all stages of life, particularly children and families. Co-founder the Very Rev. Dr. Michael Sniffen is dean of the cathedral and a scholar of ritual theory and the role of pilgrimage in spiritual life. He was an early organizer in the Occupy Sandy mutual aid movement in New York. Cathedral administrator Kris Vieira is a co-founder and director of communications at the center. An award-winning communicator, she is a frequent teacher of 12-step spirituality and contemplative practice.
“The Center for Spiritual Imagination responds to my deepest longing for transformation and invigoration of faith at the heart of diocesan life,” said the Right Rev. Lawrence Provenzano, Bishop of Long Island. “Just actions motivated by prayer form the core of the church’s life and work. The center encourages us all with ways to live and pray justly. Deep prayer and friendship with Jesus Christ move us to act with healing in a hurting world. I joyfully support this work as a bishop of the church and episcopal visitor of the Community of the Incarnation.”
The center’s weekly meditation and contemplative prayer experiences will be offered online as social distancing continues in New York. The co-founders of the center will also offer a six-week online course titled “Spiritual Practices for Difficult Times,” which will include a brief history of contemplative spirituality and tools for developing a daily spiritual practice. The center is continuing its response to the Covid-19 pandemic, providing thousands of meals to essential workers and communities with food insecurity through its project Operation Feed the Front.
Information on the Center for Spiritual Imagination and its projects can be found at spiritualimagination.org.