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Spirit Movement

Giving Form to Those Who Care

The 1960’s were a time of great destruction and creation in the world.  Movements for civil rights, women, peace, environment and youth whipped up a great storm of change around the globe that is still in process.  An evolving global spirit movement was birthed in the midst of this wild wind.


The people related to the Institute programs focused on creating signs of renewal in local communities, churches and social structures globally.  They saw the key factor was the emergence of a new consciousness, a new spirit that would enable the emergence of transformed social structures.  They saw themselves as a Global Spirit Movement and were sometimes referred to as the Guardians, the Blue Shirts (in India),  Global Servant Force, Structural Revolutionaries, the League, the Invisible College and the New Church.


This Spirit Movement Collection provides a brief glimpse of a movement of people who threw themselves into releasing social and personal transformation in Century 20 in many shapes and forms to live, encourage and create new ways of being in Century 21.  These memories and archival documents celebrate the wildness and passion created and lived by thousands of people from many countries around the world.  It gives all those who care now and in the future permission to chase after windmills occasionally, to dream the impossible dream with oddball characters like Don Quixote, and to forge a just and sustainable  society.


This movement invites everyone to live creative, conscious and caring lives and shares methods and approaches for doing just that.


~ adapted from Jeanette Stanfield’s Forward to Chronological History of Ecumenical Institute and Institute of Cultural Affairs 1952-1988, revised 2017

Story Telling Time!

“History is created by “selves” who have models, worked together corporately to get it into history and thus altered the direction of history …and inviting others to follow.” B. Stanfield

Distinctions of Spirit Movement from other social movements


  • Philosophy of change based on addressing contradictions, not problems
  • Its stance was to be the bridge between the Establishment and the Dis-establishment, operating within the current structures where possible, as the Trans-establishment.
  • Its form was to have people globally trained in local communities, who operated with a common mission and methods to implement changes tailored to their unique situations.  Annual global assemblies did collective research and decided priorities which were turned into action plans at the regional and national levels.  All were kept informed through weekly communications.

Additional resources

Crocker, Joseph, Report on the Global Movement, July 22, 1974

Keys to success of Spirit Movement


  • Operating from “on behalf of” story, common time designs and common training/experiences provided a sense of oneness.
  • Utilizing common methods for planning, action, team operations and motivity resulted in easily replicable models
  • An open transparent communication and decision-making process resulted in a broad-based pool of honored experience and knowledge.
  • 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.

Building and Sustaining a Global Movement

Religious Studies I – (RS-I)

Parish Leadership Colloquy (PLC)


Awakening Profound Self-hood

RS-I:  A 44-hour weekend designed to provide 20th century theological education to laypersons within local churches for the sake of their care for the communities around them and the world.



The Academy:  An intensive residential eight-week curriculum of intellectual and practical methods toward  building a renewed church and society.






Several innovations of the basic curriculum of the Ecumenical Institute have been developed through the years that speak to more inclusive audiences. Some of the innovations are listed below. Click the image to be directed to additional materials.



  • Artful Retreats and Spirit Exercises
  • Interior Mythos Journeys
  • Journey Reflection daily blog
  • Profound Journey Dialogue (PJD)
  • Realistic Living
  • Shaping an Intentional Life of Service (SAILS)

Local Church Experiment (LCX)

The Local Church Experiment:  An extensive six-year experiment of corporate pastorates to train and renew congregations for ministering to social needs within their parishes.








Guardians-a caring group of business and professional laypersons who contributed their wisdom, business acumen, professional expertise, time and financial support to the work of this growing new movement.