UNITY & WCCM CHRISTIAN MEDITATION
Fr. Laurence Freeman is a Benedictine monk, spiritual successor to John Main OSB and the Director of The World Community for Christian Meditation (WCCM), author, retreat leader and international speaker, who sees the contemplative as the essential dimension of all spirituality.
The WCCM ecumenical community serves all, UK and internationally, with an outreach in the spirit of unity as a “Monastery Without Walls”. It is part of the World Benedictine Monastic Family. There are now over 120 countries and 275 locations in the UK where Christian Meditation groups meet to encourage, support the peaceful contemplative practice and nurture communities of unity, borne out of these “Sacred Spaces” of silence and stillness. Meditators are encouraged to build bridges with neighbouring communities.
The Meditatio Centre, based in London, is part of The World Community for Christian Meditation and intends to continue to initiate and participates in many interfaith endeavours at the local and global level. Its programs continue to be ecumenical drawing on the world’s wisdom traditions of Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity with an outreach, also, to those of secular beliefs and backgrounds.
The Way of Peace
In 1994 His Holiness the Dalai Lama led a WCCM interfaith event, “The Good Heart Seminar”. The historic seminar was to be the foundation of the “Way of Peace” initiative. It was a 3-year journey, between December 1998 to October 2000, led by the Dalai Lama and Fr. Laurence Freeman, held in three global locations through which they continued their work of serving the unity of religions and world peace.
After the 2000 event, the WCCM continued staging the “Way of Peace” initiatives as circumstances presented themselves, internationally and in the UK. Its previous, “Prayer as Meeting”.
2016, experienced Muslims and Christians from Britain and abroad met in York.
25 May 2018. Manchester Cathedral, "Meditation for Peace", lead by Fr. Laurence Freeman, organisers Regional Coordinators Joanne Caine & Pat Higgins. Fr. Laurence Freeman hopes that the WCCM interfaith event held at Manchester Cathedral, involving The World Peace Prayer Society, will be an impetus for the “Way of Peace”. The goal is to continue reaching out, over time, to the contemplative communities of all other religions and sacred traditions.
Bonnevaux, near Poitiers in France, still retains parts of an original Benedictine monastery. It is an ideal space for an International ecumenical contemplative retreat centre open to all in an inclusive spirit, welcoming everyone of any faith or background with whom we share a contemplative approach to the problems of our world, to unify minds and heal divided hearts. A main renovation and building project has begun which will give birth to this vision. Bonnevaux will contribute to the peace-building and mutual understanding so much needed in our world now.
Local Interfaith Friends
Whilst sharing the news of the WCCM Interfaith at Manchester Cathedral we have become known to the Bolton Interfaith Council and the Christian Muslim Forum (Bury). In July 2018, we took part and encouraged other WCCM Christian Meditators, within the region, to take part in the Bolton Interfaith Councils community walk, in which all visited Bolton Town Hall, the Methodist Mission Hall, Bolton Hindu Temple and Muslim Mosque. Resulting from taking part and encouraging others to take part, we were invited to join their AGM, whereupon, we made many friends within Bolton Interfaith Council.
Noor Ul Islam Mosque, Bury is a centre for Rumi education, i.e. it embraces, encourages the contemplative teachings of the Sufi poet and mystic Rumi. The Mosque community leader has warmly encouraged the initiation of regular visits of a small group of three, in addition to, accompanied by Rev Keith Travassie and myself, to share, join in, experience the evening of the Mosques way of Islamic meditation (Dhikr). A type of verbalised melodic chanting, sometimes appearing to correlate to short repetitive, singing of Psalms to quick, repetitive, single words. After the hour, or so, period of meditation (Dhikr), their hospitality is extended, expressed by a short period of sharing a simple two course meal with the Muslim meditators/community and visitors, before all depart. Their hospitality and acceptance has been such that I now attend the Mosques evening meditation (Dhikr), unaccompanied, as and when I am able.
For further information on our interfaith outreach in the region contact
David Mckenna WCCM UK Oblate Coordinator