What is the Wisdom School?

All people hunger for spiritual meaning in their lives, whether they affiliate religiously or not. The Wisdom School at Saint Mark’s, now entering its sixth year, was created with a broad vision to invite people on diverse spiritual journeys to listen to and learn from each other in a vital practice of collaborative engagement.

Our mission is to “[Offer] a balanced path for spiritual transformation grounded in prayer and practice, drawing on the Christian contemplative tradition while respecting the diversity of experiences born from contemplative practices of other traditions.” The space for reasoned discourse, lifelong learning, and spiritual renewal is held sacred for all seekers, whether they worship at the cathedral or not.

Each year’s programming includes free offerings and a few that require a registration fee. The Wisdom School has hosted Walter Brueggemann, Mirabai Starr, Ed Bacon, Gertrud Muller Nelson, and others who bring their acclaimed gifts to share with participants, as well as being a host site for CONSIPRE webcasts, which feature teachers like Richard Rohr, Barbara Brown Taylor, angel Kyodo williams, Ken Wilber, and Barbara Holmes.

 


UPCOMING OFFERINGS


Mary Magdalene—A Tower of Lineage

SATURDAY, AUGUST 20, 2022, 9:30 A.M.–2:30 P.M., in person in Bloedel Hall or online via Zoom; registration required.

A Saturday gathering led by The Rev. Dr. Hillary Raining

Mary Magdalene has rightly been called “the Apostle to the Apostles” because of her important witness to the life, ministry, and resurrection of Jesus. However, few people today truly understand the sheer magnitude of her contribution to the Jesus movement itself. Recent scholarship counts her as one of the shapers of many of the rites and rituals of Christianity thanks to her deep firsthand knowledge of Jesus’ healing ministry. Indeed, she is often called “The Magdala” or “The Tower” by those who understand her to be the lineage-bearer of some of Jesus’s most important teachings on healing, anointing, exorcism, and giving witness.

Join this engaging workshop, in which The Rev. Dr. Hillary Raining, Saint Mark’s 2022 Theologian-in-Residence, will share some of the latest research on Mary Magdalene’s lasting impact and engage in spiritual healing practices based on her towering lineage.

Fee $35 (for both online and in-person participants). Includes a light lunch and snacks for those participating in person (scholarships available). Pre-registration required.

Register using this link.

NOTE: Dr. Raining will also offer a guest sermon at the 9 and 11 a.m. services on Sunday, August 21.


Appropriation or Appreciation: Liturgy and Intersectionality

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 2022. Registration required.

A Saturday gathering led by The Rev. Dr. Hillary Raining

How do we pray and worship in a way that fully reflects the fullness of the Kin-dom of God while also honoring the integrity of identity? How can our liturgies be shaped with appreciation of all people vs. appropriation without true integration? Reconciling liturgical traditions that were shaped from a primarily white viewpoint takes the ability to have open and honest conversations around creativity and change, and requires alliance on the Holy Spirit’s call to be one in Christ.

Fee $35 (for both online and in-person participants). Includes a light lunch and snacks for those participating in person (scholarships available). Pre-registration required.

A link to register will be posted here as the event approaches.


COMING IN SPRING 2023

Pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Lent 2023

MARCH 3–13, 2023

Led by The Very Rev. Steven L. Thomason & The Rev. Katherine Sedwick

Every Christian is encouraged to make pilgrimage to the Holy Land during their lifetime if they are able. Walking in the footsteps of our spiritual ancestors—matriarchs and patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs brings the scriptures to life in profound ways. Walking in the footsteps of Jesus is a transformative experience that affords conversion of life. You are invited to join Dean Thomason and The Rev. Katherine Sedwick, rector of St. Michael and All Angels Church, Issaquah, as they co-lead a Lenten pilgrimage. There is space for 30 pilgrims who will stay seaside in Galilee, in Bethlehem, and within the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem.

The shape of this 11-day trip is contemplative and communal, drawing on the ancient wisdom of generations of Christians who have held the rhythms of worship, prayer, and life in community in this Holy Land. Those who make the trip will have a keen sense of taking their place in the long lineage of pilgrims who have traveled to the same holy sites for two thousand years. The spirits of these faithful forebears will buoy our spirits as we make our way.

We also will engage people who call this special place home while exploring the realities of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. We will worship with our sisters and brothers in Christ in Nazareth and Jerusalem at Episcopal churches, and we will celebrate the Eucharist at holy sites that bear witness to Jesus’ ministry in those same places.

To the first disciples in Galilee who were curious, or even longing for something more in their lives, Jesus says, “Come and see,” and we receive the same invitation even today, as followers of Christ. Come and see. For more information, click here or contact Dean Thomason. Limited scholarship assistance is available.


PAST OFFERINGS from the 2021–2022 PROGRAM YEAR


Capstone
Following in Celtic Footsteps: A Pilgrimage to Iona and Ancient Missions of Britain

JULY 17–29, 2022

Led by The Very Rev. Steven L. Thomason & Canon Jennifer King Daugherty

Rescheduled from August 2020 due to the pandemic, but open to anyone at this point, the shape of this 11-day trip is contemplative and communal, drawing on the ancient wisdom of Celtic spirituality and the monastic rhythms of worship, prayer, and life in community, while also delighting in the serene beauty of the landscape. We will fly to Glasgow where we will spend one night before heading to the island of Iona, known as a “thin place” of holy presence. Four nights on Iona will create the space for the contemplative spirit to awaken. From there we travel to Edinburgh for two nights, attending Sunday worship in the great cathedral and visiting historic sites in the region. We depart early to time our visit to the Holy Island of Lindsfarne and the tidal rhythms that allow safe passage before heading to Durham for four nights, with lodging just down from magnificent Durham Cathedral, containing Cuthbert’s shrine and Bede’s tomb. With Durham as our base, we will move about the ancient missions of Northumbria. Inspiration along our journey will draw on the lives of early saints like Columba, Aidan, and Bede as well as writings by modern spiritualists like John Phillip Newell, John O’Donohue, and Esther de Waal. There will be two pre-pilgrimage gatherings for those who make the trip.

UPDATE: The Pilgrimage is at capacity at this timeDownload the pilgrimage brochure here.  


Men’s Retreat: In Returning and Rest We Shall Be Renewed

FRIDAY EVENING THROUGH SUNDAY NOON, JUNE 10–12, 2022, at St. Andrew’s House Retreat Center on beautiful Hood Canal

Registration required. Capacity is limited to 25, first-come, first-served.

Facilitated Dean Steve Thomason

All great spirituality is about letting go. Instead, we have made it about taking in, attaining, performing, winning, and succeeding. —Richard Rohr, Adam’s Return

We hear a lot these days of “toxic masculinity” and the ways men are raised to behave in culturally-expected ways. We are taught to perform, but it’s a show God does not need, and it does not sustain us. Nor is it life-giving to those whom we love and serve. God is calling us to something else, to be someone else—to be our true selves.

This weekend retreat is designed to create the space for quiet reflection, time away from the burdens of daily life, spacious time in nature, conversations with other men of faith, and worship. It will be a time of spiritual reflection and renewal. Drawing on wisdom set forth by Fr. Richard Rohr and others, Steve Thomason, Dean of Saint Mark’s Cathedral, will facilitate the weekend to which men of all ages are welcome.

Fee: $250; includes two nights lodging (single rooms in the conference center) and all meals. Partial scholarships are available. Space is limited to 25. There are a few spots remaining, available first-come, first-serve. A $100 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your space. Payment in full is due May 1, 2022. Contact Erik Donner (edonner@saintmarks.org) to reserve your spot.

Register here.


Women’s Retreat
Desire and Holy Longing

UPDATE! NEW DATES: APRIL 29–MAY 1, 2022, at Camp Casey on Whidbey Island

Facilitated by Canon Jennifer King Daugherty

What is God’s desire for you and how might you live more fully into God’s holy longing for you? Spend a weekend away with Saint Mark’s clergy women to connect with each other and listen for the movement of the Spirit in our lives. Time will be set aside for prayer, reflection, creative expression, worship, and enjoying each other’s company. 

Learn more here.

Fee: $250; includes two nights lodging (single rooms in the conference center) and all meals. Partial scholarships are available. Space is limited to 25 and is first-come, first-serve. A $100 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your space. Payment in full is due April 15, 2022. Contact Erik Donner (edonner@saintmarks.org) to reserve your spot.


Ravished by Nature’s Beauty—Longing for God

A two-part workshop led by Belden C. Lane

FRIDAY, APRIL 22, 2022, 6:30–8:30 P.M.
and SATURDAY, APRIL 23, 9:30 A.M.–3 P.M., in person in Bloedel Hall or online via Zoom. Registration required.

The Christian mystical tradition can be deeply earthy and sensual in its yearning for union with the Divine. Hildegard of Bingen and Teresa of Avila found a wondrous God in trees and flowing water. Catherine of Siena and Ignatius Loyola were drawn by the wild energy of fire and the darkness of the cave. These mystics call us back to a “Great Conversation” with the natural world, reconnecting our spiritual lives with the earth. Renowned theologian and best-selling author Belden Lane will guide this wholesome exploration through images, storytelling, poetry, and guided meditation.

The confluence of Earth Day, the Easter Season, and springtime delight affords a spectacular opportunity to engage in conversation with nature, and through it, with God. Dr. Lane will offer four reflections:

  1. The Great Conversation: Listening to Trees
  2. Wilderness, Storytelling, and the Power of Place
  3. Catherine and Teresa, Women of Spirit: Fire and Water (Feeding one’s Desire for God)
  4. Ignatius Loyola and the Cave as Teacher

Space and time are integrated to allow contemplative time in the urban green space, journaling, and plenary conversations. Fee is $60 which includes snacks and light breakfast and lunch Saturday for those in Bloedel Hall.

UPDATE: Video of this event will be posted here when it is available. 


Spirituality of the Meal

SATURDAY, MARCH 19, 2022, 9:30 A.M.–12 P.M., in person only. Registration required—limited to 20 attendees.

Facilitated by Chef Marc Aubertin & Dean Steve Thomason

Food is a profound portal into spiritual growth even as it often carries trappings of stress and shame for many. It doesn’t have to. Sharing a meal is a holy experience, if we avail ourselves of the opportunity to practice presence and to see the bounty before us as opportunity to practice gratitude. Brief reflections across the day will include history of the meal, reflecting on food as spiritual metaphor, and participants will engage in sensate tasting and will share a meal prepared by all present.

Fee: $25, includes resources and food. Registration required. Capacity is limited to 20 attendees, so register early!

Register using this link.


Celtic Spirituality: Delight, Wonder, & Reverence

TWO WEDNESDAYS, FEBRUARY 16 & 23, 2022, 6:45 p.m.–8:15 p.m., in Bloedel Hall and via Zoom

Facilitated by Canon Jennifer King Daugherty

Join Canon Daugherty over the course of two Wednesday evenings to explore the riches of creation-based spirituality in the Celtic tradition. She’ll share some of what she learned while on sabbatical in Ireland and Iona, and we’ll practice rhythms of embodied prayer and openness to daily encounters with the holy. 

No registration required. Join using this Zoom link.

The pdf of scripture that was distributed at Part 1 may be found here: Celtic Prayers and Scripture Passages

The complete slides from Part 1 may be found here: Celtic Spirituality part 1 2.16.22

A video of part 1 is now posted here.

 


Following Jesus to a New Counter-Cultural, Post-Pandemic Normal

SATURDAY, JANUARY 15, 2022, 9:30 a.m.–3 p.m.

A Saturday gathering led by Bishop Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows

The year 2022 is already being called “the year of all things,” as the world attempts to catch up on two years of pandemic postponements. But Jesus, ever attentive to the present moment, calls us to liberation from the tyranny of being overcommitted and offers us the invitation to rest, heal, and be well. This workshop will explore the resources of our faith tradition for grounded and connected life and ministry for all of God’s people.

Slides and a complete video of this offering are now available here.


OPENING PLENARY

A Spirituality of Desire

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 6, 2021, 6:45 P.M.–8:15 P.M., Bloedel Hall and via Zoom

Facilitated by Dean Steve Thomason

Drawing on art, poetry, science, and theology, including writings of the mystics, we explore desire as a deeply-seated (and perhaps divinely hard-wired) spiritual gift that enables us to engage the Other in life-giving union while also reflecting on ways we fall prey to false attachments meant to fill the spiritual whole that only God can fill. 

No fee. In-person attendees must be vaccinated.

A complete video and materials from this presentation are now available here.


THE FIRST WISDOM SCHOOL OFFERING OF THE 2021–22 PROGRAM YEAR

UPDATE: Due to safety considerations around gathering in one space for eight hours at a time, the cathedral has made the difficult decision to cancel the in-person gathering for CONSPIRE. All registrants will be invited to participate virtually. Please note that those who have registered through Saint Mark's will not be able to experience the interactive elements of the weekends events. (Previous years' CONSPIRE offerings have not had interactive elements.) For the full interactive experience, you will need to register through C.A.C. directly. Please contact Dean Thomason with questions.

CONSPIRE 2021: The final in a seven-year series

SEPTEMBER 24–26, 2021
A livestreamed conference hosted locally at Saint Mark's 

PLEASE NOTE: Bloedel Hall has reached capacity and registration is now closed for in-person participate. Register at the link below to join in virtually from home.

Join Richard Rohr and friends in this capstone experience building on Richard Rohr’s alternative orthodoxy to create a gateway into practical and authentic contemplation—a way of life rooted in radical openness to God’s loving presence. Saint Mark’s Cathedral serves as a host site for the virtual conference, or you can register through saint Mark's and join from your own. Learn more at the website of the Center for Contemplation and Action here, and register to participate by filling out the form here.

Advance registration required. Fee: $20, includes refreshments across the three-day conference.


 

ONGOING OFFERINGS

 

Cathedral Yoga

Every Monday at 6:30 p.m. in the cathedral nave.

A bodily and spiritual practice led by experienced teachers and open to all. Pay what you can.


Contemplative Eucharist

Sundays, 7 p.m., Thomsen Chapel

A candlelit Eucharist with, simple meditative music and periods of silence. Anointing and healing blessings are offered after the service.


Compline

Sundays, 9:30 p.m., Cathedral Nave

A beloved Seattle tradition since 1956, the Compline Choir leads this meditative choral service of nighttime prayers.

Throughout the closure of the building, live broadcasts have continued uninterrupted each week on KING 98.1 FM, or streaming at king.org, and as a podcast, and livestreamed.


Evening Prayer

NOTE NEW DAY AND TIME

Monday–Friday, 6 p.m. Offered in person in Thomsen Chapel on WEDNESDAYS; online via Zoom on other weekdays.

Lay readers lead a spoken service of daily prayer following the form of the Book of Common Prayer 1979, every weekday evening at 6 p.m. Click here to learn more.


Morning Prayer Online

Wednesdays, 8:30 a.m., and 2nd, 4th, & 5th Thursdays, 7 a.m., online via Zoom

A spoken prayer service following the ancient pattern, to frame the day before us. Find out how to participate here


Centering Prayer

The practice of Centering Prayer at the cathedral was suspended indefinitely during the pandemic, but resumed as a special offering on Tuesday evenings in May, 2022. Read more here. These sessions were led by Phil Fox Rose, who was introduced to centering prayer by Cynthia Bourgeault in the early 90s and has been practicing and sharing it ever since. Additional Centering Prayer offerings are in the works; watch this space. Email Phil with questions: phil@philfoxrose.com


SEASONAL OFFERINGS

Advent Quiet Morning at St. Andrew's, Green Lake

Saturday December 4, 2021, 9 a.m.–12:30 p.m., at St. Andrew’s, 111 NE 80th St., Seattle

Lenten Quiet Morning at Saint Mark’s Cathedral

Saturday March 26, 2022, 9 a.m.–12:30 p.m., at Saint Mark’s Cathedral

These two special Quiet Mornings help us move deeply into the sacred seasons with morning prayer, centering prayer, walking meditation, and unstructured time for reflection held in shared silence. Freewill donations gratefully accepted ($10–15 suggested).

 


New Year’s Eve Labyrinth Walk

December 31, 2021, 6 p.m to midnight 

UPDATE: This year's NYE event was cancelled due to snow.

By candlelight and contemplative music, come mark the turn into a new year by engaging in this deep spiritual practice. With pews removed, the labyrinth is laid down in the center of this sacred cathedral, allowing people to “circle to the center” as a practice designed to illuminate the inner path of wisdom. At midnight, Holy Eucharist is celebrated at the center of the labyrinth. All are welcome. (Suggested donation: $5 per person; $15 for families.)


OFFERINGS FROM PREVIOUS WISDOM SCHOOL SEASONS

The Art of Forgiveness

Wednesdays, September 11, 18, and 25, 2019, 6:45–8:15 p.m., Bloedel Hall
Facilitated by Dean Thomason
We all know what it is to be betrayed in life, and to face the deep pain and mistrust that follow, often distorting the shape of our lives forever. Forgiveness is not forgetting or pretending the betrayal did not happen. Why is forgiving so difficult...and reconciliation often even harder? Why does Jesus call us to forgive, and how can it be life-giving? In this series, we will explore forgiveness as a spiritual practice guided by the Wisdom literature of our Judeo-Christian tradition and other religions, while also exploring the works of modern theologians and psychologists as we seek to engage in this work and its healing balm in our lives.

Program is free with no registration required; optional community dinner at 6 p.m., $7.


The Enneagram Instinctual Subtypes that Fuel Our Behavior

Friday, January 10, 2020, 6:30–8:30 p.m.; and Saturday, January 11, 2020, 9:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m., Bloedel Hall
Facilitated by Sarah Walston, MA, M.Ed., LMHC, Certified Enneagram InstructorLearning your Enneagram instinctual subtype can be a powerful tool in illuminating why you do what you do, helping us unfold into the spiritual journey. In spiritual teachings, our body’s instincts are often seen as obstacles or corrupting influences that get in the way of God’s will. It doesn’t have to be that way. Participants will explore the three deep instinctual drives that fuel behavior; which one animates you most profoundly; and how this combines with your Enneagram point of view to create a distinct orientation. This work is particularly useful in learning to bridge persistent difficulties in relationships. Fee $60. Pre-registration required.