Beginning with the New Year observance in 2018, and later expanding at the ecumenical celebration of the Season of Creation, the Thomas Berry Forum for Ecological Dialogue at Iona College has been hosting a monthly “Contemplative Circle” for dialogue and exploration of the thoughts of Thomas Berry. Originally located at the Iona College Edmund Rice Chapel, the Circle has now migrated online as the world reshapes in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the second Thursday of each month an invitation is extended to the circle of Berry Forum subscribers and also those listed as supporters of the Deignan Institute for Earth and Spirit at Iona College. A lectio is suggested for reading and reflection as preparation for the event. At 7 pm Eastern time on the Thursday evening, a moderator from the Berry Forum welcomes participants to the online meeting and a brief prayer and recollection is offered to gather the group. The floor is then opened up. Participants are encouraged to offer brief reflections on the lectio and from time to time a keynote may be offered to start the evening discussion. Conversation is limited to one speaker at a time as is the custom with the Zoom format. The moderator observes the participants and calls on each in turn as they indicate their wish to speak. The hour passes quickly as it is clear that the speakers have done careful reflection and the quality of the offerings enriches all.
Geography is not an obstacle- we recently have had callers from British Columbia, North Dakota, Florida and several states in the Northeast USA. The common thread is a deep regard for the thought of Thomas Berry along with the drive to hear others with similar passion share their insight.
Recent topics included the wonder of the natural world as complementing the inner journey, the need for a greater courtesy toward the Earth, intimacy with the Earth as a primary manifestation of the awakening of the human consciousness, the implications for the human arising from the universe as the supreme manifestation of the sacred and the arising of the human as the moment when the unfolding universe becomes conscious of itself.
All are welcome to join the online discussion. Simply click the link on the emailed invitation each month to join us to deepen the intention and eco spirituality to serve our "Common Home”. To join the mailing list, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thomas Berry photo courtesy of Lou Niznik.