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Contemplation and Community: A Gathering of Fresh Voices for a Living Tradition

May 22, 2019

The Rev. Dr. Stuart Higginbotham, rector of Grace Church in Gainesville, is a co-editor and contributor to the forthcoming volume Contemplation and Community: A Gathering of Fresh Voices for a Living Tradition.  The book is being published by the Crossroad Publishing Company.  

From the publisher’s description: “All around the world a resurgence of Christian contemplative living is creating a new framework for spirituality inside and outside of formal religion. Building on and expanding from the thoughts and works of such as Richard Rohr, Thomas Keating, Tilden Edwards, Laurence Freeman, and other founders of the modern contemplative movement, a new movement carries on the work of their mentors. This collection brings together the diverse voices who have emerged as new leaders of the contemplative movement. Exploring a multitude of themes, such as silence, imagination, meditation, embodiment, community and social action, this volume introduces the new voices who reflect globally on the gifts, challenges, differences and commonalities of Christian contemplation today for communities and people of faith.”

Fr. Stuart says, “While this work is by no means exhaustive, it is illustrative of the global community that is seeking to foster a practice of faith that is grounded in an awareness of God’s presence in our lives–and the vocation we are called to embody in the world.”

Stuart worked with Dr. Jessica Smith, the Senior Executive Director for Research, Planning, and Spiritual Formation at the Governing Board for Church and Society with the United Methodist Church.  Stuart and Jessie worked with colleagues from four continents, including: Sarah Bachelard, Phileena Heuertz, Thomas J. Bushlack, Matthew Wright, Bo Karen Lee, Kirsten Oates, Leonardo Correa, Sicco Claus, and Mark Kutolowski. Tilden Edwards graciously wrote the forward while Margaret Benefiel, the Executive Director at the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation, wrote the afterword.  The combined wisdom from these colleagues expresses the rich diversity and importance of the Christian contemplative tradition in the world today.

The book itself is an outgrowth of the August 2017 gathering of the New Contemplative Exchange at St. Benedict’s Monastery in Snowmass, Colorado.  The Exchange was initiated by Fr. Thomas Keating, who had the initial idea of gathering around twenty younger contemplative scholars and practitioners from around the world to discern how the Spirit was inviting the broader community into new spaces of embodiment and partnership.  The collaborative work which has brought Contemplation and Community into being is an example of such a partnership between the various schools or organizations within the broader Christian contemplative tradition.  

The publication date will be September 1.  We will be holding a special Sunday afternoon reading, signing, and conversation on Sunday, October 6 at 3 pm in the Parish Hall at Grace.  
Questions and inquiries to Jessica Voyles at Grace Episcopal Church: