The Center for Spiritual Imagination is a ministry of the Community of the Incarnation, which prays, lives and serves at the Cathedral of the Incarnation, the Mother Church of the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island, serving Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau and Suffolk counties. Deeply rooted in the church, our Episcopal Visitor is the Bishop of Long Island.
The Community of the Incarnation is a new monastic community which embodies and teaches engaged contemplative spirituality in response to what Father Bede Griffiths called “the universal call to contemplation.” We affirm that intimacy with God does not belong to a special group of religious professionals but is available to all. Our practice democratizes the gifts of monastic spirituality and translates them into a form that can be lived in everyday life.
We find ourselves rooted in:
The Benedictine Rhythm of life that sanctifies the hours of the day.
The Carmelite Ways of silence and friendship with God.
The Franciscan Way of hearing the cry of the poor and the cry of the earth.
In these ways, members of our community — clergy and lay — accompany and support each other in living our vocations faithfully. We also create spaces and programs that welcome and support seekers from all walks of life, holding each others’ spiritual needs in Christ’s transforming care.
While firmly rooted in tradition, we also take seriously the insights of contemporary psychology, art, ecology and science to address some of the realities of life that historically have been ignored by religion and yet are integral to human development and the creation of a just world. Archbishop Desmond Tutu said that, “Just as we are all meant to be contemplatives and to hear the voice of God in our lives, we are all meant to answer God's call to be His partners in transfiguring the world. This calling, this encounter with God, is always to send us into the midst of human suffering.”
Given today’s crises the world over, we can no longer afford to hide all our contemplatives in monasteries. We need to reunite contemplation and action, we need spiritual activists and, indeed, spiritual warriors on the streets of our cities and in all our professions and institutions who can reinvent them with spiritual virtues and see every person in need, every structural imbalance, every cry, including the cry of the earth, as a call to be answered.
Our goal is to create initiatives and opportunities for service that integrate contemplation and action and approach just action as a spiritual practice and a fruit of contemplation.
What People Are Saying About The Center For Spiritual Imagination
"The Center for Spiritual Imagination responds to my deepest longing for transformation and invigoration of faith at the heart of diocesan life. Just actions motivated by prayer form the core of the church’s life and work. The Center for Spiritual Imagination encourages and teaches people in our diocese, the wider church and the broader public ways to live and pray justly. Deep prayer and deep friendship with Jesus Christ move us to act with healing in a hurting world. I joyfully support this work as a bishop of the church and episcopal visitor of the Community of the Incarnation.”
— The Rt. Rev. Lawrence Provenzano, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island
“The Center for Spiritual Imagination is re-envisioning an inclusive and engaged spirituality for the 21st century, where the gifts of monastic spirituality are translated into a form that can be practiced in everyday life and where one’s commitment to contemplative practice leads to justice-making.”
— Richard Rohr, author of Universal Christ and Founder of Center for Action and Contemplation
“I am profoundly moved by the emerging work of The Center or Spiritual Imagination. We find ourselves in a time of great uncertainty in which many of the structures we have taken for granted are beginning to collapse. The Center is a space of calm and courage, a community rising to meet the challenges of our global crisis with vast generosity — embodying the unconditional mercy and justice Christ represents, without ever asking its members or those they so joyfully serve to adhere to any particular belief system. This is wisdom in action, the sacred pouring into the ordinary, love wildly blossoming in the most broken of spaces.”
— Mirabai Starr, bestselling author of Wild Mercy: Living the Fierce and Tender Wisdom of the Women Mystics, Caravan of No Despair: A Memoir of Loss and Transformation and, an acclaimed translator and contemporary interpreter of the works of St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila.
“For those thirsting for community, contemplative spirituality, and justice, the Center for Spiritual Imagination is a deep and powerful well from which to draw from ancient wisdom waters. In addition to offering a spiritual home, the Center expands our collective imagination around how community can form and serve in these times. I look forward to learning alongside this bold, loving, and necessary experiment.”
— Adam Horowitz, co-founder of Nuns and Nones
"The work of the Centre for Spiritual Imagination is exactly what is needed in these times. Rooted in the nourishment and depth of ancient rhythms, this is work that can lead us back to the source. The Centre offers a call for all of us — no matter what our background — to play a part in regenerating our world from a place of Divine love. There is food for the soul here in abundance. It links our personal journeys with the collective need for transformation, which all true spirituality at this time must do. At St Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation and Peace in London, we share in this Great Work and hold you all in our hearts at this time of change."
— Justine Huxley, CEO of St Ethelburga's Centre for Reconciliation and Peace, author of Generation Y, Spirituality and Social Change.
“The Center for Spiritual Imagination provides much-needed resources and supports for living the Christian contemplative life of prayer, service and community in new and meaningful ways. Our rapidly changing world desperately needs the depths of contemplative wisdom preserved and translated for those outside the cloister, including young seekers, SBNR’s (spiritual but not religious), social justice and environmental activists. The Center is an invaluable gift for those who hunger for meaning and connection.”
— David Frenette, author of The Path of Centering Prayer
“The Center for Spiritual Imagination is serving a deep and wide need in our contemporary world, re-imagining, re-membering, and celebrating the sacred in our everyday lives. The Center's radical hospitality offers pathways for any one to enter safely into the Spirit. This invitation reminds us that we are both unique and interconnected. May the Center reach all who long to respond to such a call.”
— Mirabai Bush, founder and senior fellow of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, co-author (with Ram Dass) of Compassion in Action and Walking Each Other Home, (and with Daniel Barbezat) Contemplative Practices in Higher Education.
“Most Western post-industrial societies are shifting from enlightenment / modernity to post-secular cultures associated with a marked weakening of the Christian Church and faith. It is essential now to remember that there has never been a renewal of the Church in history without a corresponding renewal of contemplative prayer and religious life. I utterly affirm the work of the Center for Spiritual Imagination. They have a key role to play in the process of supporting new religious communities and movements at this crucial time of major cultural change.”
— The Rev’d Ian Mobsby, author of A New Monastic Handbook: From Vision to Practice, co-editor of Ancient Faith, Future Mission: New Monasticism as Fresh Expressions of Church, Guardian of the New Monastic Society of the Holy Trinity and the Assistant Dean for Fresh Expressions in the Diocese of Southwark Church of England.