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Purpose: Contemplative Outreach of Lexington is a local chapter of Contemplative Outreach, Ltd. C.O. Ltd was formed in 1984 under the direction of Fr. Thomas Keating, an Abbot in the Cistercian Order, to spread the practice of centering outside the monastery and into the world.

“Contemplative Outreach is a spiritual network of individuals and small faith communities committed to living the contemplative dimension of the Gospel. The common desire for Divine transformation, primarily expressed through a commitment to a daily Centering Prayer practice, unites our international, interdenominational community.”

Origins: The first Contemplative Outreach centering prayer group in Lexington began at Saint Michael’s Episcopal Church on Ash Wednesday, 2002, under the direction of Sr. Jean Johnson of Loretto. I had recently moved to Lexington and met Sr. Jean at an intensive centering prayer retreat in Northern Kentucky. She nurtured and guided me in starting and facilitating the group.

About Us

I met Wayne Moore, a Brother of the Redemptionist Order at our first group meeting. We partnered to spread centering prayer by organizing Contemplative Outreach events and workshops; and eventually become commissioned centering prayer presenters ourselves. With the skillful and gentle guidance of Sr. Jean and the Contemplative Outreach chapter in Louisville, centering prayer groups in Lexington flourished.

In 2015, Fr. Brian Cole, Rector at The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd and centering prayer facilitator, was our support and impetus in becoming our own Contemplative Outreach local chapter. We are deeply grateful for his support. Serendipitously, Fr. Cole was elected Bishop of East Tennessee the same day we became a chapter; July 28, 2017.

Christ Church Cathedral joined its centering prayer group with Contemplative Outreach of Lexington in 2017. Elizabeth Conrad, group facilitator, has tirelessly supported our chapter and became a commissioned centering prayer presenter. We appreciate the support of Dean Carol Wade, who has generously offered the Cathedral’s resources for our events and workshops.

Contemplative Outreach of Lexington serves all denominations and will introduce and support the practice of centering prayer at any interested church or religious group. Fr. Thomas Keating’s ample resources for learning and growing in centering prayer provides a path to spiritual transformation. With God’s grace, the support the Lexington community and Contemplative Outreach, Ltd, we support all who are interested in the practice of centering prayer.

Janis Carter, COLex Coordinator

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