Foundation Of Contemplative Living: Audio Sessions

Exploring foundations of Contemplative Living
A Retreat with James Finley 

April 29-30 and May 1, 2016
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
Cleveland Heights, Ohio

Contemplative Outreach Northeast Ohio (CONEO) had the privilege to work with St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Cleveland Heights, Ohio for the retreat Exploring the Foundations of Contemplative Living led by Dr. James Finley on April, 29, 30 and May 1, 2016. Chuck Herbruck, from the Centering Prayer group at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Cleveland Heights, made this event possible through over a year of behind-the-scenes work. Over 350 people attended.

In keeping with Dr. Finley’s wishes, the audio files were made available to upload on the CONEO website. Click on the blue link at the beginning of each numbered item, below, to play an MP3 audio file.

Friday, April 29, 2016

A Path to Inner Peace: Freeing the Mind and Heart through Spiritual SobrietyIntroductions and thanks by the Rev. Richard Israel, Associate Rector, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.

  1. TRACK033 — Introduction by the Rev. Richard Israel, Associate Rector, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.
  2. TRACK034 — Dr. Finley speaks on how the 12 steps can help all of us to be set free from habits of the mind and heart that perpetuate suffering.
  3. TRACK035 — Questions and Answers.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Thomas Merton and Teresa of Avila.

  1. TRACK036 — Introduction by the Rev. Richard Israel, Associate Rector, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.
  2. TRACK037 — Dr. James Finley on Thomas Merton, Part I
  3. TRACK038 — Questions and Answers, Part 1
  4. TRACK039 — Reconvene after break, a note from Sarah Widener, River’s Edge
  5. TRACK040 — Dr. James Finley on Thomas Merton, Part 2
  6. TRACK041 — Dr. James Finley calls for questions (laughing!)
  7. TRACK042 — Questions and Answers Part 2.
  8. TRACK043 — A note from Cleveland Ecumenical Institute for Religious Studies
  9. TRACK044 — Dr. Finley on Teresa of Avila, Part 1
  10. TRACK045 — Questions and Answers, Part 1
  11. TRACK046 — Reconvene after break, a note from Josefina Fernandez, CONEO
  12. TRACK047 — Dr. Finley on Teresa of Avila, Part 2

May 1, 2016 Sunday

  1. 05 01 16 JF — Dr. Finley’s Homily at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church


Visioning Day Invitation



Questions and Answers

Contemplative Outreach Northeast Ohio

Q: What is a Visioning Day?  Why should I attend and what does servant leadership discernment mean?

A:  The following may be helpful for you  ….

Q:  What will we do at a Visioning Day?

A:  We will gather together to explore future options available to our Chapter, meeting in large and small groups.  We will have two Centering Prayer periods, and visit with one another over lunch!

Q:  Why should I attend?

A:  Our contemplative community is important..  Those who practice Centering Prayer know the value of being committed to a group that supports one another in practice and presence.  Understanding more about the Chapter in function and structure is valuable to the individual in the context of the community.  In the broader spectrum, in our relationship to Contemplative Outreach and the value of the teachings of Fr. Thomas Keating.  A Visioning Day gives a person the “big picture” and invites everyone to give input regarding the future direction of the Chapter.

We want to keep the door open to those who are being called to contemplative prayer and embrace a contemplative life.

Q:  What is Servant Leadership?

A:  One of the ways we put contemplation into action is through service to others in the Centering Prayer community.  The desire for service arises naturally out of one’s contemplative practice.  Servant Leadership allows people to embrace loving service to others and openness to the will of God.

Q:  What will be discerned?

A:  Our wonderful Coordinator is stepping down from that role in the near future.  We will ask participants to gather in a circle, share a period of Centering Prayer, and allow the Spirit to raise up a person who may be willing to follow in the footsteps of our current Coordinator.

There are other opportunities in the chapter for service such as enrichment, hospitality, communication, events, retreats, etc.  No pressure is put on anyone to serve in any way.  You may not be called to serve at this time, but your support and presence are greatly needed.  As the Centering Prayer groups support individual prayer practice, so does group discernment support the callings of individuals.

Susan Komis from Contemplative Outreach, Ltd. will facilitate the day for us and assist our understanding of ways/means that will strengthen our contemplative community.  We encourage you to plan to stay for the entire day.

CONEO Visioning Day
Saturday, July 23, 2016
9:00 am – 3:30 pmSt. Matthew’s Episcopal Church
9549 Highland Dr, Brecksville, OH 44141

Our Visioning Day will include:
Coffee and refreshments
Two periods of Centering Prayer
Large group and small group process

Free Will Offering

RSVP to Josefina Fernandez

and EVITE invitation

September 16-22

Centering Prayer Intensive Retreat and Post Intensive Retreat  

CONEO_CP Intensive and Post Intensive registration flyer

Villa Maria Education and Spirituality Center

2067 Evergreen St., Villa Maria, PA 16155

Trinity Homily. Fr. W. Meninger at St. Andrews Episcopal Church 2014

Fr. William Meninger


Fr. William delivered this homily  on Trinity Sunday, June 15, 2014 at St. Andrews Episcopal Church , Seattle. When he set  his notes down and began to preach, I knew I was a part of a Holy Spirit inspired moment.

The audio below is about 30 minutes in length.  Give a listen. In the seven or eight years of my close association and travels with Fr. William, I believe it to be one of his three finest teachings. (The other two in my estimation is his teaching on Julian of Norwich and the New Creation Mythology. The other is the Loving Search for God and the Spiritual Journey using the 12th-century Buddhist ox herding pictures as a paradigm for the spiritual journey developed from a paper he delivered at the annual Academy of Religion in San Diego , November 2014.)

If someone is able to transcribe the sermon , will you please let me know and email it to me in PDF. I would like to make it a part of Fr. William’s archival history. Thank you in advance.



Dan Dobbins

Fr. William Meninger

Trinity Homily by Fr. William Meninger 2016

May 22, 2016

Trinity Sunday

 The teaching of the Christian church on the holy Trinity is considered to be possibly the most sublime doctrine of divine revelation. Most churches consider that belief in the Trinity, that is three persons in one God, is the deciding factor that determines whether  a given church is a Christian church or not. Belief systems that do not embrace the Trinitarian doctrine, of necessity do not believe in the divinity of Christ and therefore are not really considered Christian,however much they may lay claim to the name.

 The word Trinity comes from two Latin words tri and unity which simply means three in one, our theological way of expressing the three persons in the one God. This teaching is a mystery and therefore is not completely open to total understanding on our part. This is not really a problem for us as we readily acknowledge that God is beyond our understanding. Nonetheless the tri unity of God is revealed to us in the Scriptures and therefore has meaning for us and we should seek some practical understanding of it because of  our faith in the Trinity.

In fact, however, what do you understand about the doctrine of the Trinity? How would you explain it to a child? To an unbeliever? Even to a fellow Christian?

I recall some 30 years ago I was invited for dinner to the home of a large extended Muslim family in the Gaza Strip. The men were all seated in a large circle on the floor of the dining room. I was seated next to the ancient patriarch of the family. In the middle of the meal (I was on the point of devouring a large piece of succulent roast lamb) he turned to me and said, “What is this Trinity all about?”.

I greatly fear that I was not adequate to the occasion and subsequently wished I had at least the presence of mind of Saint Patrick who, in a similar situation, simply said the Trinity was like the three leaf clover, that is three leaves one clover, three persons one God. But even so, how practical, how meaningful is that simple explanation?

60 years ago, in the seminary we spent an entire semester on the theology of the Trinity. It had little practical meaning for me then and today I am forced to examine what meaning it has had for me since. My response to the seminary course on the Trinity was that it was God giving us a private glimpse of what he might look like behind the shower curtain.

In the past 60 years my understanding of the Trinity has been enhanced by several significant experiences. The first was at the death of my eldest sister, Helen. As I stood by her deathbed saying the prayers for the dying these words were spoken to my very heart: Depart, Christian soul in the name of the Father who created you, in the name of the son who redeemed you, and in the name of the Holy Spirit who sanctifies you. This is very practical, isn’t it? Our creation, our redemption, and our sanctification.

 My second significant, practical experience of the Trinity came through my reading of Julian of Norwich. In her wonderful book, The Revelations of Divine Love, the Lady Julian speaks of the power of the Father, the wisdom of the Son, and the benevolent love of the Holy Spirit. She also says that where we experience one person of the Trinity, for example, the incarnation of the son in Jesus of Nazareth, we also experience the other two persons of the Trinity. This is why Jesus could say, “He who sees me sees the Father.” And” I will not leave you orphans but I will send to you the Paraclete, the Spirit of truth, who will remind you of all that I have taught.” And so, Julian reminds us, that the presence of Jesus in our lives today and the presence of the Holy Spirit and the Father is one and the same.

So as a practical understanding, as we are gathered here this morning as the church, Jesus is present in our midst and so is the Father and the Holy Spirit. As we hear the words of the Scriptures inspired by the Holy Spirit so we hear the words of Jesus and the Father. And finally as we shall be recreated in the one body of Christ through the reception of holy Communion, so we are re-created as sons and daughters of the eternal Father in the love and benevolence of his Holy Spirit. Blessed be the holy and undivided Trinity now and forever! 

May you be happy,

May you be free,

May you be loving,

May you be loved.

 Father William Meninger