Be Still and Know
Spiritual Direction: Guidance and Support for Life's Journey
After 40 years of ordained ministry - 30 of which included working with individuals and groups in spiritual direction - the time was right to start Be Still and Know. With so many leaving organized religion I wanted to encourage individuals on their path into sacred wisdom. Douglas Steere put it well: "To listen another's soul into a condition of disclosure and discovery may be almost the greatest service that any human being ever performs for another." The Reverend Dr. Cynthia Bouregault has said that "the goal of our spiritual practices is to empower us to live as low maintenance, gentle souls in this harsh world." I couldn't agree more. To get to know me better please visit my Face Book page or blog:
Be Still and Know:
When Love Comes to Town:
What IS Spiritual Direction?
It is a public relationship built upon entering sacred space on a regular basis (usually once a month) with a discerning, time-tested companion to help you notice God and your response to the holy in your daily life. We can wrestle with core questions about God, explore beliefs and experiences, reflect on where you encounter the holy in real life, and discern how traditional spiritual practices can nourish your relationship with the sacred. Margaret Guenther calls this being a midwife to the soul: a relationship that quietly, honestly, patiently, and respectfully guides you towards new life.
I am an ordained clergy person in the United Church of Christ with a Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in NYC and a Doctor of Ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary in San Anselmo, CA. I have served four local congregations as pastor including 30 years of training and experience as a spiritual director/companion for both individuals and groups. I am a member of Spiritual Directors International, the international body for spiritual directors, which facilitates ongoing education and resources to support my work as a spiritual director
What to Expect
You can expect an attentive presence and a caring companion. My role is to create a safe space for you to notice and explore your relationship with God. I will listen carefully, ask questions, observe connections and possibilities - and encourage you to go deeper. If I offer any guidance, it is by way of invitation to wonder about the movements, questions, statements, and experiences you are discerning – and to consider those insights in relationship with God. The focus of our time is determined by you. Sessions are usually once a month for an hour. My fee is $40 per hour.
Small is Holy:
Incarnating a Spirituality of Footwashing and Feasting
Each Sunday a small circle of friends gathers virtually for Evening Prayer, song, silence, spiritual reflection, and a simple, inclusive Eucharist. The "new" commandment that Jesus gave his followers was simple - and revolutionary: Love one another as I have loved you. He said this AFTER taking on the role of servant at a feast. In our era of dysfunction and disintegration, a way of sharing compassion and nourishment could be salvific. Together we'll consider what it might mean to challenge the status quo as quiet servants of love.
A Bit of Personal Background
I am a husband, father, grandfather, writer, working musician, and part-time spiritual director/companion. I have helped found three interfaith, multiracial social justice organizations, organized with Cesar Chavez and the Farm Workers Union, and advocated for LGBTQA inclusion and justice. Currently I serve as Interim Chair of the Spirituality Committee at the Community of L'Arche Ottawa and an Associate Member of the Iona Community. I am learning to pray with the seasons, listen to the wisdom of the Earth as I garden in the Berkshire hills of Western Massachusetts, live into the blessings of being a grandfather, and remain open to caring for our special needs dog, Lucie, with compassion and humor. Baking bread has become a spiritual discipline for me as is building community across divisions through music. My commitment to continuing education is strong and I regularly participate in on-line classes at the Center for Action and Contemplation. I love good red wine, creative cooking, all types of music, walking in the woods with my wife, Dianne, British mysteries, Montreal, and laughing with those who know not to take themselves too seriously.
Spiritual Direction Options
Three Ways to Connect
Some people are looking for one-on-one spiritual discernment: for those who are fully vaccinated, this can take place in my study. Others either prefer or need to make connections via Zoom. Skype, or Messenger. That can happen, too. And still some simply want a quiet, user-friendly place to gather with others seeking spiritual refreshment. You can find that, too every Sunday afternoons @ 4:00 pm on my Face Book live streaming program: Small is Holy.
When Love Comes to Town
Periodic Postings from My Blog
I love the rock band U2: their blend of irony, groove, chutzpah, spirituality, and creativity inspires me. Their eclecticism and maturity suggest one way forward for people of any and all faiths. in this era of cultural, political and spiritual transformation. my blog, When Love Comes to Town, is drawn from their song of the same name: a wild mixture of rock, blues, lament, ecstasy and spirituality over a solid back beat and B.B. King's piercing electric guitar. I write it both as my meditation on culture and a way of connecting with others around the world beyond my small practice. Check it out...
Resources for the Spiritual Journey
A Variety of Texts That Have Helped Me
The work of spiritual direction and companionship is an art, not a science. In my practice I value dialogue and equality in the discernment process - a spiritual friend - more than a top-down director. John O'Donohue reclaims the Celtic title, anam cara - soul friend - and that works well for me. To help you understand my work, I have listed some of my favorite resources below.
Introduction to Prayer
Seven Go -To Treasures
Prayers for the Domestic Church, Ed Hays; Prayer, Richard Foster; Open Mind, Open Heart, Thomas Keating; Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening, Cynthia Bourgeault; The Word Is Very Near, Martin L. Smith; To Dance with God, Gertrud Mueller-Nelson; Common Prayers: Faith, Family and a Christian's Journey Through the Jewish Year, Harvey Cox
Seeing with the Heart
A Spirituality Named Compassion, Matthew Fox; The Wisdom Way of Knowing, Cynthia Bourgeault; Breathing Under Water (12 Step Spirituality), Richard Rohr; Learning to Walk in the Dark, Barbara Brown Taylor; Spiritual Formation and The Way of the Heart, Henri Nouwen; Rediscovering Reverence, Ralph Heintzman; Wisdom Distilled from the Daily, Joan Chittister; The Spirituality of Bread, Donna Sinclair
Praying in All Ways
Life as a Prayer
Pray All Ways and St. George and the Dragon, Ed Hays; Praying with the Earth, John Philip Newell; Spirituality of Imperfection, Ernest Kurtz/Katherine Ketchham; Befriending the Stranger, Jean Vanier; Holidays and Holy Nights, Christoper Hill; Water, Wind, Earth and Fire - Praying with the Elements, Christine Valters Paintner; The Spirituality of Music, John Bird