Historical Background

Overview and Milestones

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 Eckart1986 – 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.

1989 – Fred was appointed founding Coordinator in 1989.  His many contributions at the international level included starting the prison ministry.

2004 – 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.

2008 – Christian contemplative organizations encouraged the formation of a tax-free entity to support ongoing and planned ministries, which had precedence set by several other such organizations in U.S.

2011 – 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.


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