The Center for Leadership Excellence presents a workshop on spiritual practices, facilitated by Winston Charles:
Contemplative Prayer, Contemplative Living, Contemplative Leadership
Join us for an afternoon of learning and contemplative practices, and discover how these resources can be a deep source of communion and connection for your congregation and community.
Wednesday, February, 26
12:45pm – 3:45pm
St. Mark UMC, Raleigh (map)
*** Register three or more from your church and receive a 25% discount! Coupon Code: BRINGYOURTEAM. Must register by February 19 to receive discount.
A Word from Winston Charles about the Event…
The twentieth century blossomed with a renewed appreciation of the stream of contemplative spirituality, which had been largely ignored by the West for centuries. Tilden Edwards and the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation, Richard Rohr and the Center for Action and Contemplation, Thomas Keating and Contemplative Outreach, John Main and the World Community of Christian Meditation, all in their own ways opened these ancient avenues of spiritual deepening for clergy and laity in the twentieth and now the twenty-first century.
As the head pastor of congregations of many sizes, I very much appreciated learning skills and techniques of organizational leadership and pastoral ministry. Nonetheless, the keystone that would make these most effective tools of grace for me and my congregations was found somewhere else – in the reclaiming of the ancient Christian tradition of contemplative prayer.
Our time together on February 26 will offer an understanding of how contemplative prayer and spirituality can become that deep source of communion with the Beloved to which Jesus invited those whom he met. Here is found a different center of grace from which to live lives of compassion and courage in church, at home, for the world. Returning to this center – or this spiritual heart – is a constant source of resilience, discernment, conversion, and calling, which becomes the very foundation for contemplative living and leadership.
How Good It Is to Center Down
by Howard Thurman
How good it is to center down!
To sit quietly and see one’s self pass by!
The streets of our minds seethe with endless traffic;
Our spirits resound with clashings, with noisy silences,
While something deep within hungers and thirsts for the still moment and the resting lull.
With full intensity we seek, ere the quiet passes, a fresh sense of order in our living;
A direction, a strong pure purpose that will structure our confusion and bring meaning in our chaos.
We look at ourselves in this waiting moment – the kinds of people we are. The questions persist: what are we doing with our lives? –
What are the motives that order our day?
What is the end in our doings?
Where are we trying to go?
Where do we put the emphasis and where are our values focused?
For what end do we make sacrifices?
Where is my treasure and what do I love most in life?
What do I hate most in life and to what am I true?
Over and over the questions beat in upon the waiting moment.
As we listen, floating up through all the jangling echoes of our turbulence, there is a sound of another kind –
A deeper note which only the stillness of the heart makes clear.
It moves directly to the core of our being. Our questions are answered,
Our spirits refreshed, and we move back into the traffic of our daily round
With the peace of the Eternal in our step.
How good it is to center down!
Howard Thurman. Meditations of the Heart. Boston: Beacon Press, 1953, 1981. Pages 28-29.
About Winston Charles
Winston B. Charles grew up attending St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Bennettsville, a small town in South Carolina. He graduated from the University of the South (Sewanee) and Virginia Theological Seminary. Ordained as an Episcopal priest in 1974, Winston served congregations in the Dioceses of South Carolina, New York, and North Carolina before retiring from parish ministry in 2009 after fifteen years as rector of Christ Church, Raleigh. In midcourse, he earned a Ph.D. in Church History from Union Theological Seminary in New York City. For the past ten years, he has been a part of the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation community, which for over forty-five years has been dedicated to reclaiming the ancient Christian tradition of contemplative prayer and leadership for a new century. He now directs the clergy program for Shalem, Going Deeper: Clergy Spiritual Life and Leadership.