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Spirit Movement

Giving form to Those Who Care


In the 20th century, people related to the Institute programs focused on creating signs of renewal in local communities,  churches and social structures globally. They saw that the key factor was the emergence of a new consciousness, a new spirt,  that would enable the emergence of transformed social structures. They saw themselves as a Global Spirit Movement. 

Although the Spirit Movement had elements and characteristics of other social movements, it was distinct in its philosophy of change, its stance, and form:

    • Its philosophy of change was based on addressing contradictions, not problems.
    • Its stance was to be a part of the Trans-establishment, neither in the camp of the Pro-establishment who are responsible for the continuation of society, nor the Dis-establishment,  who work for change in opposition to society’s structures. They identified as the Trans-establishment, willing to work with anyone on behalf of all and the future. The symbol above represents that posture.
    • Its form was to have people trained in local communities globally, who operated with a common mission and methods to implement changes tailored to their unique situations. Yearly global assemblies did collective research and decided priorities. These were then implemented in action plans at the regional and national levels.  All were kept informed through weekly communication.

Brian Stanfield describes these dynamics in”The Trans-establishment Style“.

Keys to the success of the movement:

      1. Operating from an “on behalf of” story, common time designs and common training/experiences provided a sense of oneness.
      2. Utilizing common methods for planning, action, team operations and motivity resulted in easily replicable results.
      3. An open transparent communication and decision-making process resulted in a broad-based pool of honored experience and knowledge.
      4. Continuing development of motivating stories, powerful symbols/rituals and the writing and singing of songs resulted in a renewed sense of commitment and sustaining people in expenditure.

Colleagues related to the Spirit Movement share some of their spirit reflections:

  •  Nelson Stover wrote New Directions for Religious Communities as his seminary thesis; it contains the Institute’s wisdom on the role of the church. Nelson continues to share his reflections through his webpage .
  • Rev. H.A. “Bud” Tillinghast has a blog and Facebook page where he continues to share his reflections on the state of the church today.


Representative documents giving a historical picture of the Spirit Movement: