Spiritual Warriors in Service Worldwide »

We are gathering stories from Centers for Spiritual Living communities across the globe to serve as guideposts for others and as a way to capture our own history during the global pandemic. Some of those stories will appear in upcoming issues of Guide for Spiritual Living: Science of Mind magazine. We are focusing on what we know is ours to do: Capture and share the spirit-based stories of how our communities and individuals within them are responding to these challenges. We take seriously our role in being a guide for spiritual living, just as we do in preserving our history in the making.

If you’d like to share your story, please send email Julie Mierau, julie@JMWordsmith.com.

Here are some uplifting examples of CSL communities providing support worldwide:

South Africa

Before South Africa went on lockdown on March 27, 2020, I canceled our arrangement with the venue we hired for our sacred gatherings, and I felt terribly uncomfortable about it. I thought it was unfair to our community and that I must offer something else. I asked myself, “What is mine today, here?” What immediately came to mind was to start a daily online meditation group on the first day of the lockdown. I sent out messages to the community and received a wonderful response. We started to meet every morning at 9:00 for 20 minutes on Zoom and every Sunday after meditation for a sacred gathering. This arrangement works well and has grown to be popular. There is a great need and desire for connection and sharing. The experience shows me there are always new possibilities, different ways of doing and being. I am grateful for that. I recently heard Michael Bernard Beckwith talk about how spiritual communities build immunity. I agree with him. On April 29, we had our 34th online meditation with members of our Soul Home community, and we are determined to carry on.

— Rev. Gerd Pontow, Spiritual Director, Soul Home Teaching Centre for Spiritual Living in Johannesburg, South Africa

Kenya

The effects of the pandemic on the CSL Kenya community are varied as they are everywhere. As we see in other areas around the globe, those whose lives are most disrupted are those who rely on small sales to support their families. Since they cannot leave their homes, they have no income. To support these families, we started a fund to purchase food. We will keep this in place for the duration of the pandemic. We also support a school where we teach Science of Mind. There are 10 teenage boys and two teachers living at the school, and we send money for their food as well. In March, I started three Zoom classes for the students. I remain in awe of how many of them learned to connect online and how much they love this magnificent teaching.

— Rev. Connie Phelps, Spiritual Leader, Centre for Spiritual Living Kenya

Latin America

Vida Espiritual is an online, Spanish-speaking spiritual community with students and friends throughout the Americas from Argentina, Perú, México, Venezuela, Cuba, Colombia, Spain, the United States and other countries. Our students lead our CSL communities in these countries. For the past six years, we offered Sunday online services for the last six years, with a steady attendance. As a result of the pandemic, attendance for our Sunday service more than doubled, and we realized we needed to do something extra to help keep spirits up. To assist our followers during these days of enormous emotional and economic impact, our practitioners provide free practitioner sessions via Zoom. Our ministry of prayer is inundated with requests, which we respond to gratefully. Collectively, we decided to offer a series of two-hour workshops on Sundays after the service. On our first two Sundays, we averaged more than 140 guests in our Zoom room and more than 220 viewers on Facebook. We continued this outreach in May and June. You can learn more at www.vidaespiritual.org.

— Rev. Dr. Rebeka Piña Alonso, Decana, CSL Escuela de Liderazgo Espiritual, Campus Virtual Hispano Hablante

Ukraine

An unforeseen crisis seriously and powerfully affects all of us. Our office and classroom have been closed for weeks. Living conditions are quite difficult, as most people live in apartments, often with three generations sharing a two-bedroom flat. This stay-at-home process, or “time in/time out” as we call it, exposes what lurks in the corners and inspires us to stand for a new humanity for all. We are using the time in for our highest good, preparing to live as our best selves when it’s time to go back out. The TEMENOS CSL practitioners have two circles now. One offers group online treatment and prayer for wholeness of peace, health and financial prosperity. The group conducts an online class for eight people studying “The Four Agreements” and a drop-in self-mastery group, both led by practitioners.

The other practitioner group meets online weekly and is dedicated to a wide-reaching education pilot program called “The Season of Peace and Understanding.” We had a completion ceremony at the end of April. Of the almost 2,000 students in the pilot program, fewer than half were able to continue. But thanks to the valiant work of 47 teachers, we were able to finish.

— Rev. Dr. Barbra Leger, Founder, TEMENOS CSL and TEMENOS Center for Self-Realization

www.temenoscsl.org

Geneva, Switzerland

On March 16, Switzerland went into nationwide lockdown with the closing of schools and shops. By March 20, gatherings of more than five people were prohibited. For CSL Geneva, it was a no-brainer to go virtual. Within a week, Spiritual Director Rev. Beth Linguri was hosting Sunday Sacred Circle services via Zoom. Since early April, we have now grown in size to include all members in Switzerland, not just Geneva. It was also decided to form two virtual chat groups — a Tuesday coffee morning and a “TGIF” Friday evening apéro) to bring all members of spiritual community together to connect, share and uplift. The ideas have worked so well that we are thinking of integrating them into our monthly program schedule. The pandemic has helped us create something new and positive and shown us better ways of growing and connecting.

— The CSL Geneva Team