In the midst of many transitions, The Minnesota Chapter of Contemplative Outreach continues to embody the vision of Contemplative Outreach International: embracing the transformative process in Christ through the practice of Centering Prayer.
Several Centering Prayer (CP) groups have returned to in-person gatherings, while others continue to meet online. We have over 55 groups listed on our webpage across the state. The daily 7:00 a.m. CP Zoom gathering, initiated during the pandemic, thrives with forty or more participants, including many from beyond our state's borders.
Changes in Leadership and Structure
In January 2023, Laurie Erickson gracefully stepped down from her role as Co-coordinator after more than six years of dedicated service. John Keller assumed the interim role alongside Adam Gordon as chapter coordinators, leading an evolving team of approximately 12 volunteers. The 2024 leadership team has established four standing committees, inviting regular Centering Prayer practitioners to contribute:
- Intro to Centering Prayer/Presenter Training
- CP Small Group and Facilitators
- Retreats and Enrichment Events
- Chapter Support/Communication
To foster fellowship and service, the chapter held two gatherings in October: an in-person event at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Mahtomedi on October 7 and a Zoom meeting on October 23. These meetings are planned to be held annually.
Online and Hybrid Meetings
Zoom meetings became the norm during the pandemic, and the increased opportunities for connection and the convenience of online interactions remains a draw. Many CP groups, the leadership team, and United in Prayer Day now meet online. The annual fall retreat has adopted a hybrid format, balancing the complexities of both in-person and online elements. Several of our members have organized meetings on the Meditation Chapel, including Laurie Erickson (Peace Chapel, Thursdays at 7:00 p.m.) and Mary Lapham (Thomas Keating Chapel, Thursdays at 11:00 a.m.). And the Sunday Gathering group convenes by Zoom at 8:00 a.m. each week to more deeply consider contemplative authors and practices. Striking the right balance between online, in-person, and hybrid events remains a priority.
Efforts are underway to enhance communication within and beyond the chapter. The website, diligently maintained by Adam Gordon and volunteers, serves as a valuable resource. As we transition into the new leadership structure, the chapter seeks a volunteer editor/communication director to organize a regular email newsletter and facilitate ongoing communication.
While coordinators, facilitators, and presenters serve as volunteers, the chapter incurs expenses for Zoom hosting, web services, printing, administrative costs, and speaker honorariums. Generous donations totaling over $3,000 contributed to the budget last year, keeping the chapter financially healthy. Continued support is welcomed in 2024, with contributions accepted through our Donations page.
Minnesota Contemplative Outreach is incorporated as a non-profit in the state of Minnesota, but is not 501(c)(3) tax-exempt. Gifts over $250 intended for tax deductions are suggested to be made directly to the national organization, Contemplative Outreach.
The Leadership Team is thankful for all who served to strengthen the chapter: group facilitators, presenters, retreat speakers, and so many others. Together we are the stewards of this beautiful practice of consenting to God’s presence and action within. Together, we trust in the Holy Spirit to guide and strengthen our chapter in 2024.
Minnesota Contemplative Outreach Leadership Team
Adam Gordon and John Keller Co-coordinators