(via Zoom*)


Two 30-min CP sessions plus a presentation
" Origins of Christian Contemplation - Part 2"

Our practice of Centering Prayer is directly inspired by the anonymous Cloud of Unknowing (c. 1375 AD). But the essentials of “this simple practice” had been known for centuries before the Cloud. In fact, many ancient groups—both Christian and non-Christian—practiced hesychia (stillness and silence) as the gateway to union with God.

Some writers assume that our contemplative practice was first initiated by the Desert Fathers near Alexandria, Egypt, in the 4th Century AD. However, Christians had many contemplative counterparts in Alexandria prior to that time—including the Jewish Therapeutae, the Pythagoreans, the Egyptian Hermeticists, and the Gymnosophists (Buddhists). During the two hundred years before the Desert Fathers, Christian groups who engaged in ascetic contemplation were persecuted as heretics by the Church. It was only after Athanasius’ Life of Anthony (360 AD) that Christian contemplatives found acceptance within the wider church. This transition from persecution to acceptance will be the focus of today’s presentation.

Led by Steve Thompson, CONOVA Service Team Member

*Pre-registration required:


Upcoming "2nd Saturday" Topics:

Saturday, March 13, 2021 - "Visio Divina"
Ephesians 1: 18 - “May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call, what are the riches of glory in his inheritance among the holy ones…”    

Visio Divina is a contemplative practice of prayer in which visual images (painting, photography, performance, icon, sculpture, nature) assist us in coming into the Presence of God. A deepening relationship with God using visual art is a means of unconscious descent from the eyes of sight to the eyes of the heart. One does not need to be an artist to engage in this form of prayer of ‘seeing beyond seeing’. We can experience remarkable healing through viewing art as a form of prayer.   Join us as we explore and experience this devotional practice.

Led by Ellen Murphy, LCSW of St. Mark Counseling Center in Vienna, VA
and CONOVA Service Team Member.


"Neurobiology & Divine Therapy: Silence + Science"

April 10, 2021 - Part 1
May 8, 2021 - Part 2

From our earliest questions wondering, ‘Who am I?’ and ‘What am I?’ we receive messages that can either affirm goodness or corrupt our impressions of Self. If the early messages were too painful, we establish unproductive ways of coping. Yet the message we receive in the work of Divine Therapy—healing through seeking union with God the Divine Therapist in silent, contemplative practices---allows the gradual debridement, re-narration and repairing of wounds that impede our arrival toward our true divine Self. Collected spiritual and scientific works verify the same message, though use different language--that integration of the broken parts creates a healthy and whole system, as God intended, and that healing is always possible. Join us in this two-part presentation and discussion about the integration of contemplative practice and our neurobiology (from cells in the nervous system to interpersonal relationships) as we continue our path toward realizing our union with the Divine. 

Led by Ellen Murphy, LCSW of St. Mark Counseling Center in Vienna, VA
and CONOVA Service Team Member.

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