Our mission is to promote and engage an interfaith contemplative prayer practice and its healing power to advance the whole being. This is accomplished through education, interfaith dialogue, research and applying the research findings to Contemplative Network ministries.
Most faiths have a contemplative tradition. We look to a future of interfaith contemplative prayer practice. Our ultimate goal is recognizing the spiritual significance of silent prayer in healing the whole being's oneness: mind, body, soul, heart, energy.
Our local Contemplative activities over the years have included many visits by leaders of the Christian contemplative communities, which were attended by thousands. Ecumenical outreach has included Catholics, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, Orthodox, Quakers, and Disciples of Christ. Charitable work has included the Prison-Homeless Outreach, women’s shelters, prisons, and hospitals. The following is a brief history of significant milestones.
Fred Eckart and Thomas Keating
The Journey Begins
We were one of the first Contemplative Outreach, Ltd. (COL) chapters, having been formed by Fred Eckart shortly after the incorporation of the national organization in 1986 under the spiritual leadership of Trappist Monk, Abbot Thomas Keating. Fred began working with the national organizers in 1985 and continued to serve at the national level.
Fred was appointed founding Coordinator in 1989. His many contributions at the international level included starting the prison ministry.
New Leadership Emerges
At a visioning day meeting, in preparation for Fred’s resignation due to health concerns following 14 years as Coordinator, Drs. Bob Hesse and Kim Kehoe were appointed the new Co-Coordinators.
A Nonprofit is Formed
Christian contemplative organizations had encouraged the formation of a tax-free entity to support ongoing and planned ministries, which had precedence set by several other such organizations in the U.S. Contemplative Network Inc. was formed and granted 501(c)(3) nonprofit status. Co-founded by Drs. Bob Hesse and Kim Kehoe, Contemplative Network (CN) has three ongoing ministries in keeping with its mission: teaching Centering Prayer and related prayer, interfaith collaboration, and scientific research.
In keeping with its mission, Contemplative Network’s board of directors consists of contemplatives, with the majority from various Christian denominations, plus a minority from other faith beliefs. Contemplative Network is self-governing and independent of any other organization. However, it has contact with representatives of various contemplative organizations, including The World Community for Christian Meditation (WCCM) and Contemplative Outreach Ltd. (COL). This assures accurate and respectful teaching of the various contemplative traditions. Additional collaboration, both interfaith and scientific, comes from common board members with the Institute for Spirituality and Health (ISH) in the Texas Medical Center (TMC). The ISH is the oldest such organization in the US, and the TMC the largest medical center in the world by four times.
All board and organization members are volunteers, receiving no salary or other compensation, with none having lifetime appointments. The following are the current board members, officers, and staff with links to some of their resumés/bios.
OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS
OFFICERS & STAFF
HERMIT MONK - SPIRITUAL ADVISOR
Our hermit friend began his contemplative God-search 57 years ago with the Trappists at the Abbey of Gethsemani, where Thomas Merton was his novice master. After six years and his simple vows completed at the Abbey, he sought more solitude living as a Camaldolese hermit, where he was ordained and then independently with a Bishop under the Code of Canon Law #603.
In sharing these thoughts on contemplation via his personal letter, he was inspired by Thomas Merton and his echo, James Finley. He wishes to remain anonymous in order to preserve his God-given eremitical calling to solitude and the hermit’s urgent need to open his awareness to the intimate love affair our abiding God is initiating within our innermost being from moment to moment.
Our hermit friend was drawn to the James Finley DVD because he considers him an authentic experiential echo of Merton, and the DVD to be a blessing for the human family (see below).
Following the Mystics through the Narrow Gate by James Finley, et al.
Convergence of Science and Religion by Robert Hesse
The monk's thoughts and letters can be read here.
Our Monk was born to eternal life on Sunday, February 22, 2023. We will miss his wise counsel and are confident he continues to pray for us and our mission.