Spiritual Formation

by | Mar 11, 2021

“Spring and Summer 2021 for the Heart of Eugene will focus on the important work of processing grief and our mission of strengthening relationships we have with one another, with God, and the world. I am thankful for the positive swirl of energy flowing through the Spiritual Formation Team as they develop activities for all ages.”

Rev. April Oristano

Co-Pastor, First Christian Church Eugene

Five Gates of Grief

Judith is offering a series of collective ‘soul hygiene’ practices through five Zoom sessions, each exploring one of the Five Gates of Grief. The format will include both a large group overview and small group discussions via Zoom breakout rooms.

Please join us for any or all of these sessions.

There is no need to pre-register.

What arises in you when you read the word – Grief? Francis Weller, a well-known psychotherapist and author who specializes in grief work states, “I consider grief a threshold emotion. In other words, when we step across that threshold and enter the room of grief, it has a way of opening up the rest of our life.” 

Weller continues, “Typically we only acknowledge the grief that occurs when someone or something that we love dies or leaves.” He’s observed that there are actually five “Gates of Grief” that speak to to the different tributaries coming into the soul as a consequence of being alive. 

The Five Gates are:

  1. Everything we love we will lose
  2. The places that have not known love
  3. The sorrows of the world
  4. What we expected yet did not receive
  5. Ancestral grief

Weller refers to utilizing practices of ‘soul hygiene’ – “To clear out the soul regularly with practices around grief is an absolute necessity…These practices become a way of maintaining a connection to our own soulful life, but then also to the soul of the world. If we don’t practice those things, we become more isolated and more disconnected.”

Now during this upended and grief-filled time in our country and world, we may hold space for our own grief experience. 

“Where two or more are gathered in my name, there am I, in the midst of them.”

Matthew 18: 20

Summer Prayer Pods 2021

Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life

FCC’s  Spiritual Formation Team has chosen Richard Rohr’s 2011 book, Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life, for this year’s book for study and reflection in prayer pods. Falling Upward explores the ways in which we develop our spiritual selves throughout our early lives and build the “container” for the second half of life. As he explains, the two stages are not necessarily chronological, but depend on what we have experienced in our spiritual journeys. As Jim Finley, author of The Contemplative Heart, shares in his review, “We begin to see, as we grow older, we are being awakened to deep, simple, and mysterious things we simply could not see when we were younger.” 

The book is available in most formats, paper and hardback, audible, ebook, etc. Sources include Tsunami Books in Eugene, Amazon Books, and other used and new bookstores in Eugene and online. Please let us know if you need help locating a copy.

The church will provide a study guide and suggestions for experiential exercises to each prayer pod.

Click HERE to watch Fr. Rohr’s discussion of Falling Upward on YouTube.

About Richard Rohr

Fr. Richard Rohr is a globally recognized ecumenical teacher bearing witness to the universal awakening within Christian mysticism and the Perennial Tradition. He is a Franciscan priest of the New Mexico Province and founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation (www.cac.org) in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he also serves as Academic Dean of the Living School for Action and Contemplation. Fr. Richard’s teaching is grounded in the Franciscan alternative orthodoxy–practices of contemplation and self-emptying, expressing itself in radical compassion, particularly for the socially marginalized.

Fr. Richard is author of numerous books, including Everything Belongs, Adam’s Return, The Naked Now, Breathing Under Water, Falling Upward, Immortal Diamond, and Eager to Love.

He has been a featured essayist on NPR’s “This I Believe,” a guest of Mehmet Oz on the Oprah and Friends radio show, and a guest of Oprah Winfrey on Super Soul Sunday. Fr. Richard was one of several spiritual leaders featured in the 2006 documentary film ONE: The Movie and was included in Watkins’ Spiritual 100 List for 2013. He has given presentations with spiritual leaders such as Rob Bell, Cynthia Bourgeault, Joan Chittister, Shane Claiborne, James Finley, Laurence Freeman, Thomas Keating, Ronald Rolheiser, Jim Wallis, and the Dalai Lama.

Source: Amazon.com

Past Events & Recordings

Seasons of Grief 3.23.21

Click here to view the recording of this event via Youtube.

Seasons of New Life 5.18.21

Click here to view the recording of this event via Youtube.

Do you have ideas for Spiritual Formation events, books, etc.? Email Spiritual Formation Chair, Karen Duncan by clicking HERE.