Why Christos Center?
A place for spiritual contemplation and guidance.
While we may value our religious tradition, many of us also live with an intuition that something essential is missing. Often, that missing piece is the feeling of direct communion with God.
We honor that inner yearning by becoming quiet and creating space to listen for the “still, small voice”. What may feel like a haunting loneliness becomes companionable solitude. We often need a peaceful place of retreat, a community where we can draw on support and guidance from spiritually mature individuals, as needed. That is the reason why Christos Center exists.
If you are interested in becoming a spiritual director yourself, or you are looking for a sustained approach to spiritual development, Christos Center offers support and structure through our two-year Tending the Holy certificate program.
Whether you seek a peaceful gathering in silence, a communal ritual to mark life’s passages, or an opportunity to learn and grow spiritually, you’ll find them on our calendar. Each event or workshop is designed with spiritual refreshment in mind.
What is Spiritual Direction?
Spiritual direction is help we receive discovering and opening to God’s presence in our lives. As we savor awareness of that presence, a transformative relationship begins to unfold.
Spiritual direction shows up in many forms. There may be a bold, clear experience that convinces us that God is near; a prayerful or meditative practice that slowly builds spiritual confidence; or the word of a friend or a phrase from sacred writing that sticks with us, taking on qualities of grace-filled communication.
One distinct form of spiritual direction is getting together intentionally with another person, to talk about what is happening in our relationship with God. This is especially helpful when that person is a thoughtful listener, experienced at identifying the movement of the Holy Spirit in our stories. By participating in spiritual direction, we strengthen our awareness of God’s involvement in our spiritual journey, trusting its significance and learning to allow that trust to become the basis for how we choose to live our lives.
I am grateful to have found a community of people that care about listening to God. Through my involvement at Christos, I have often been encouraged to slow down or stop for a while to notice, wonder, and reflect on God’s presence and love in my life. This practice is counter-cultural and difficult to do with any regularity in our fast-paced world. It is invaluable to have the support and companionship of others in growing and deepening my experience of God’s love for me and for our world.
I go to the New Year’s Eve Quiet lead by Jeanette and Stan Bakke. It starts out my new year with beauty, hope and prayer. I remember the chants and the messages long after the evening is over and go back to them often. And having individual prayers and blessings is a highlight since there are so few places that happens.
As a Distance Learner, I was deeply grateful for the spiritual depth and connection of my classmates in the Tending the Holy program. The Holy Spirit moved in us richly and powerfully through our online video small group sessions. I experienced God through group spiritual direction, fellowship, silence, and prayer with others who wanted to grow in their spiritual life and relationship to Christ. I am so grateful to have had this incredible Spiritual Direction training as a distance offering when there were no local options available.
- Distance student in Thailand
Tending the Holy has not just been a course ‘about’ spiritual direction, it has been a time in which I found myself more and more ‘rooted and grounded in Love’. It’s been a time of discovery, reflection, growth and expanded freedom. A time to learn to really listen. A time in which my awareness of the presence, reality and work of God in each and every moment of my life, and in the lives of others, has been deepened and expanded. God has met me where I was at, walked alongside me and my fellow cohort, where we were at. What an amazing experience to witness that, not just in my life but also in the life of the other participants and in the lives of the people we had the privilege to ‘direct’.
I am thankful for this place where I can volunteer, and in doing so, deepen, with like-minded people who serve or volunteer at Christos.
I was drawn to participate in the Sacred Connections program in the fall of 2016. After completing the two-year Tending the Holy course at Christos in May of 2015, I missed having a community of like-minded people to journey alongside who longed to go deeper with God as the Spirit led us on our individual paths. The Spirit was drawing me to this program and, as with all of the programs I have participated in over the years at Christos, I anticipated how I would be grown and stretched. From the very first night of class, God met me in a profound way through the experiential and personal structure of the class. This continued to unfold throughout the eight months of class through the sacred invitations introduced, the class discussions, and deep and vulnerable sharing of fellow participants. Our facilitator, Andrea, provided an immense openness of spirit to let us explore our connections to God through different modalities, as we were invited into a very safe and welcoming space. The group of people that comprised my Sacred Connections class were just the people I needed to meet and journey alongside for this season. As we took turns sharing our personal stories with one another, we experienced the similarities in longing to go deeper into God’s heart, for healing in our stories, our families, world, and for God to work through us as we lived our lives. The majority of us are meeting as a small group once a month. What a gift these magnificent souls are to me! Sacred Connections felt like the perfect complement to going deeper into my journey as I continue to say “yes!” to God’s invitations to me. As I look back at those eight months, the class felt like time spent with God in a cozy chair in front of a crackling fire where I was able to completely be myself and ask God anything I wanted. Everything I brought was welcomed.
I found the Tending The Holy program in spiritual direction at Christos to be truly transformational. Having graduated from the program in 2017, I continue to use the peaceful Christos Center to meet for spiritual direction. I was introduced to a contemplative community at Christos that continues to offer workshops and retreats which feed my soul and strengthen me for this life long journey of faith and formation.
As a student of the Tending The Holy program at Christos, I was surprised and thrilled at how much emphasis was put on my own spiritual formation! Through learning new prayer and meditation practices, attending retreats, and being supported through group spiritual direction throughout the two year program, I left feeling prepared to sit in Holy Presence with others through their own questions, joys and suffering. This is not theological study; it's a healing transformation of the heart, mind, body, and soul.
- Christos Graduate and FCN Pastoral Care U.M. Clergy Spiritual Director
Love has led me to a sacred place of wonder and awe where questions may be lived and thirsting directed to the Fountain of Life, a shelter where we are forever enveloped in the womb of God’s grace and love where minds can become uncluttered and new truths sought the Spirit enlightening, we humbly yielding, the Deep One, while beyond knowing, still inviting and transforming. It is called tending the Holy, the art and practice of Spiritual Direction.
Tending the Holy has been one of the greatest catalysts of change in my life. Learning to listen to the inner voice of the Spirit has deepened my experience of being loved, accepted and guided by a loving God. The practices of reflection, solitude and silence that I learned in this program have made me more present to what is happening in and around me increasing my awareness of God's presence in all situations. Later I served as a Coordinator for TTH. It has been a privilege to witness transformation occur in the lives of so many people. Creating a safe space to explore one's faith, to experience unconditional acceptance, and to learn to reflect on one's own life has been an incredible gift.
It would not be an overstatement to say that Christos changed my life. But, on the other hand, it would be an overstatement. Christos did not change my life, but God changed my life through the ministry of Christos.
My search for a group that believes God is bigger than any particular religion drew me to the Christos Center and Contemplative Pause. My time spent with Joann and the group has exceeded all expectations.
Tending the Holy was an oasis for me. I savored its overarching contemplative nature. I always looked forward to going to class, doing the readings, watching the classes online, and listening to others. It was a safe and welcoming environment. The themes for each unit drew me in, inviting me to do deeper in my relationship with self, with the Lord, and with others.
For me Christos is… - a place where I learned that it is ok to just "be" - a place that encourages nurture of my own inner landscape, which enables me to be present to another's journey - a place to come away and rest awhile
As a distance learner with Christos, my first retreat in 1995 was in Minneapolis and I had somehow missed that it was to be silent. Surprise! As my soul quieted at the retreat (and it took some time), I began to taste what the words of Jesus “I will give you rest” meant. The reflection and unit papers were so important as I realized that those who read and commented on them genuinely cared for my soul. Joann Nesser (the founder of Christos) modeled for me a passion for God that made me thirsty for more and each reading and interaction with Tending the Holy leaders were gifts that invited me to go deeper with God. Christos gave me a growing desire and the skills to extend this powerful invitation to others.
- SS. Cyril & Methodius Roman Catholic Parish
The Tending the Holy Program was a wonderful two-year experience. I had the chance to practice group spiritual direction with a group of wonderful faith-filled people. It was a spiritually deepening experience to witness and share the faith of those most energetic people. Over the two-year program, I was able to build great relationships with the people in the cohort and share my faith journey with them. I learned a great deal about the practical and theological aspects of spiritual direction and the many ways spiritual direction can be practiced in the world we live in today. Also, it was exciting to hear the faith-life experiences of all the guest presenters that came to share their faith journeys with us. Finally, the leadership team of the Tending the Holy program was dedicated and most generous with their time, talents and wisdom. They lead us on a breathtaking spiritual journey with compassion and care. Thanks, Christos for a life-changing endeavor!