Hosting Hope

What a fantastic confluence of co-creative life! Our annual Spirituality in the 21st Century event May 5–6 brought a synergistic wave of energy and hope with over 270 participants at  Consciousness and Christogenesis: Mind, Matter and Emerging Wholeness. This event featured Ilia Delio, OSF, and musician Sara Thomsen. Here are a few comments from participants: “Inspired great HOPE! Thank You!” “Thank you for being the way-showers! Keep these events happening! Life-changing!” and “So many of us rely on Prairiewoods to keep us growing and thinking. Thank you!”

Ilia’s presentations on evolutionary consciousness, the inter-connectivity of all life, and the growing awareness of an emergent wholeness sparked reflection, conversation and hope among those gathered. Relationship trumps ontology in the emerging universe story. Everything is connected! Space disappears in the effulgence of love. In the unfolding Universe Story, God can be discovered as “ever-newness in love.” Elder paradigms with their entrenched systems of hierarchy no longer serve the good of the whole, which is intimately inter-connected at the micro- and macrocosmic levels. In this emergent universe, the profound question remains, “Are we ready to become whole-makers?”

Sara’s music suggests we can co-create something new and life-giving if we just “Put one foot in front of the other, and lead with love!” In her devastating song “Where Did Jesus Go?” we are reminded that Christ emerges in the faces of the outcast, the poor, the refugee, the immigrant, indeed all those on the margins who feel excluded in current systems of entrenched hierarchy. An event like this represents “Somewhere to Begin,” where all of us together explore ways of being in relationship, of paying attention to our most deeply held passions and of uniting with others for the good of the whole.

In a generous response to the challenge and promise of this gathering, more than 75 participants have expressed interest in convening Hosting Hope Circles in Cedar Rapids (at Prairiewoods) and surrounding locations in Nebraska, Minnesota and Wisconsin, either in person or via web conferencing. Whether or not you attended Spirituality in the 21st Century, you are invited to host hope around the following areas:

  • Community, Dialogue & Evolutionary Consciousness
  • Evolution & Eco-Spirituality
  • Health Care & Education
  • Holistic Healing
  • Nature & Environment
  • Peace & Restorative Justice (e.g., poverty, immigration, LGBT, housing)
  • Storytelling, Art & Music


Click on the icon for the topic that calls to you to learn more and sign up!



Puzzle Pieces

How do we replace our fear and pain with hope and compassion? At this event, each table of participants held one piece of this puzzle. Slowly, over the course of the weekend, tables replaced part of the current societal picture (represented by Omran Daqneesh, the haunting boy from Aleppo) with one of hope and good will (represented by one person helping another up the side of a proverbial mountain). Each puzzle piece also invited tables to complete a sentence stem. Here are their collective thoughts:

We lean into our fear and co-inspire ______ in one another.

  • appreciation
  • hope-filled creativity and enthusiasm
  • freedom
  • with the point of God
  • courage
  • wholeness
  • resilience

Love expands. We consciously embrace and are embraced by ______.

  • the world’s grandchildren
  • jail ministries
  • children and the child that needs healing in all of us
  • those who cannot help themselves
  • fight for freedom (organizations combating human trafficking)
  • immigrants
  • twelve-step programs

We’re not in despair! We lift up our eyes to focus on ______.

  • creative possibilities
  • learning groups like this
  • the other
  • relationships of love
  • emerging light
  • relationship, interconnectivity and universe

We’re not in despair! In our movement toward emerging wholeness, we set our feet on the path of ______.

  • understanding
  • having the compassion of healing wholeness of others and ourselves
  • welcoming the pull to become something new
  • the evolution process
  • peace
  • love
  • truth

We’re not giving up hope.  We’ll keep moving on in the face of our ______.

  • challenge of the church’s acceptance of evolution, of complexity, moving toward unity
  • resistance
  • lack of courage, initiative, creativity and love in our church and political systems.


For more from Sara Thomsen, visit her website or check out her song “Turning of the World.” For more on Ilia Delio, OSF, visit her website.

Save the date for next year’s Spirituality in the 21st Century event with Miriam Therese Winter, MMS, April 27-28, 2018. (This was originally scheduled for the prior weekend, so please update your calendars!)