Center for Spirituality and Action

Saint Mark’s Cathedral is seeking to launch a new venture – the Center for Spirituality and Action – where individuals who seek to go deeper in their spiritual practices can form intentional community and regularly gather for prayer, formation, retreats, spiritual direction and service. In the monastic tradition, this “prayer and work” model serves as a way of life, and hospitality is a cherished virtue of that way of life.

Participants will form mutual commitments to daily prayer, regular gatherings for worship and spiritual formation, occasional retreats, and spiritual direction—all of which informs our service in the world, which in turn informs our prayer life.

Leffler House on the Cathedral campus will serve as a base camp to gather as community and as an urban retreat house. Carriage House and the Leffler Community Garden will serve as gathering points for ACTION, with a potential day respite center envisioned.

Theological and Practical Groundings

The Center’s curricular design will be guided by:
  • Holy Scriptures (especially the life and teachings of Jesus),
  • The Christian Wisdom traditions (including Benedictine monastic values, Christian mystics, contemplative practices, and Anglican sensibilities),
  • Reason (a space for reasoned discourse, lifelong learning, and spiritual renewal guided by ancient wisdom and contemporary experience that draws inspiration from diverse postcolonial and non-Christian voices)

Intentional commitment to unitive consciousness as contemplative practice which seeks all that is beautiful, good and true in Life. This practice resists binaries and honors integrative and paradoxical ways of discovering meaning and life-giving patterns beyond the chaos and confusion of the world. True union does not absorb distinction (true self); it actually intensifies it.

Equip participants for service in the world as a vocation of loving action. This work involves engaging unjust realities with contemplative spirit and prophetic zeal, and is discerned within the context of intentional community. The work of justice and renewal arises from the inner spiritual work, not by fixing or forcing others into our vocational identity.

Who might be called into this way of being?

We seek to gather and equip individuals who have the courage to embrace:

  1. Spiritual Renewal. Embody the wisdom of the Christian contemplative traditions as source of transformation.
  2. A Rule of Life. Develop a rhythm of daily prayer and practice, regular study, service and action that unfolds to the experience of spiritual union with God.
  3. Mutual Accountability. Commit to forming intentional community with others, and gather regularly for worship and spiritual formation, occasional retreats, and regular spiritual direction.
  4. Prophetic Witness. Embody the Spirit of Christ in compassionate action in the world in this critical moment in human history.

Guided by the broad capacity of the Christian mystic tradition to hold tension and honor all people, we welcome a diversity of age, gender, orientation, race, wealth, religious belief, cultural and political perspectives.

Foundational Elements and Practices of the Center

  1. Daily practice of contemplative prayer as an integral part of the daily rhythms of Benedictine life.
  2. Commitment to reading and meditation on the Christian mystical tradition which affirms the value of silence as portal for “luminous seeing.” We resist the modern impulse to address our spiritual inquiries primarily through cognitive patterns that beset us with binaries and contentious “over-against” paradigms.
  3. We privilege the radically consciousness-transforming teachings of Jesus.
  4. We affirm the primacy of Scriptures, Tradition, and Reason as sources of theological Revelation, while seeking inspiration from diverse postcolonial and non-Christian voices.
  5. We engage a Teilhardian incarnational cosmology, grounded in trinitarian theology, evolutionary science, and non-binary thinking.
  6. We honor and acknowledge that spiritual healing of what is broken is important work (e.g, woundedness, addiction, recovery, injustices and political correctness), and we orient to the deep work of seeking union with the divine.
  7. We embrace traditional monastic models of prayer and action without withdrawing from the world and its complex realities. Our practices are designed to orient to the world in which we live, and to prepare for action in the world.
  8. While we acknowledge the suffering and complexity of the world, we are dedicated to cultivating joy and wonder in our daily experience together.



Questions or interested in learning more? Email Dean Steve Thomason (


The Wisdom School at Saint Mark's, The Radix Project, and Pilgrimage

The Wisdom School

For seven years, the Wisdom School has aspired to be “a balanced path for spiritual transformation grounded in prayer and practice, drawing on the Christian contemplative traditions while respecting the diversity of experience born from contemplative practices of other traditions.” The curriculum thus far has been offered ala carte, and some 450 people have participated in various levels of engagement.

The Wisdom School’s model of offering a blend of programmatic content will continue—as a mix of free and fee-based workshops and speaker events gathered around a loose theme each year (e.g., embodied spirituality, desire, spirituality of place, and for 2024-2025, the theme of “healing”). Seasonal, weekly and daily offerings (e.g., contemplative prayer, cathedral yoga, Quiet Days, Daily Office, etc.) offer additional points of connection.

The Radix Project

In 2019, the Radix Project was launched to invite adult participants into small groups for scripture study and prayer in a space intended to foster trust and connection with one another and God. Radix participants commit to meeting once weekly for six weeks in small group setting, and across ten series now, several hundred have participated in at least one group. In 2024, we have two series planned—one for spring and one for fall.


Our Christian tradition holds dear the spiritual practice of making pilgrimages that profoundly shape our understanding of what it means to follow Christ. One need not travel across the globe to do so; one need only be open to the holy experience of discovering God anew on the way. For centuries, cathedrals have served as Christian pilgrimage sites, drawing people of faith into the orbit of wonder and awe. For several years the parish community of Saint Mark’s Cathedral has encouraged pilgrimage as spiritual practice. Many have incorporated this spiritual practice into their lives, with transformative effect, and the Cathedral is exploring ways to broaden this experience as a local destination for pilgrims.