A resurgence of Christian contemplative living by emerging young practitioners is creating a new framework for spirituality inside and outside of formal religion. Contemplation and Community: A Gathering of Fresh Voices for a Living Tradition, introduces these diverse voices, who reflect globally on the gifts, challenges, differences and commonalities of Christian contemplation today for communities and people of faith.

Join these contemplative leaders for a weekend focused on the contemplative tradition.

Two Events:

Friday, September 20, 6:30 – 8:30 pm
1890 Randolph Ave., St. Paul

Friday night begins with a public conversation and book launch of Contemplation and Community. You’ll have the opportunity to talk with co-editors Jessica (Jessie) M. Smith and Stuart Higginbotham and enjoy readings and reflections from contributing writers.




Saturday, September 21, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
1890 Randolph Ave., St. Paul

An all-day retreat on Saturday offers reflection, practice, and workshops that explore more deeply the next era of Christian contemplative movement. The day will be spent moving through three lenses of understanding contemporary Christian contemplation: Grounding in Practice, Transformation in Community, and Embodiment, Compassion and Healing.


These programs are made possible by a grant from the Trust for the Meditation Process, a charitable foundation encouraging meditation, mindfulness and contemplative prayer.


Additional co-hosts for these events with Wisdom Ways include St. Catherine University, Episcopal House of Prayer, and University of St. Thomas.


Contemplation and Community began when founders of four contemplative centers—Fr. Richard Rohr of the Center for Action and Contemplation, Fr. Thomas Keating of Contemplative Outreach, Fr. Laurence Freeman of The World Community for Christian Meditation, and Tilden Edwards of the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation—invited twenty young contemplative leaders to wonder, practice, and peer together into the future of Christian contemplative life. Along with Shalem’s executive director Margaret Benefiel, the 24 leaders shared a week of conversation, reflection and practice that inspired the book.


Brenda Bertrand
Thomas Bushlack
Phileena Heuertz
Stuart Higginbotham
Bo Karen Lee
Mark Longhurst
Mark Kutolowski
Leonard McMahon
Jessica M. Smith
Adwoa Lewis Wilson

To read full bios for the facilitators, visit either program page.

The New Contemplative Leaders Exchange:

The New Contemplative Leaders Exchange was a gathering held at St. Benedict’s Monastery in Snowmass Colorado in August 2017. Invited by the leaders of four contemplative organizations – Contemplative Outreach, The Center for Action and Contemplation, The World Community for Christian Meditation and The Shalem Institute, these young leaders gathered to listen and ponder what the Spirit is doing now.

The group developed this vision for themselves during the gathering:

Awakening a larger embrace and expansion of Christian contemplative understanding and practice as the vital grounding of Christian life, with openness to collaboration with all streams of contemplative wisdom, in response to the urgent social and spiritual needs of our time.

Articles and Reflections:

Article about the genesis and purpose of the New Contemplative Leaders Exchange
Executive Director of the Shalem Institute, Margaret Benefiel

Contemplative Exchange 2017
Reflections from the New Contemplatives Leaders Exchange.