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More recent Spirit Movement programs

A number of programs followed the development of the religious and cultural courses of the Ecumenical Institute (EI) to be: for today’s reality, inclusive. secular, and for all faiths and non-faiths.  These programs include:  Journey Reflection, Profound Journey Dialogue, Interior Mythos, Realistic Living, Shaping an Intentional Life of Service (SAILS) and Artful Contemplative Retreats.

Journey ReflectionJohn Cock creates an online daily reading called Journey Reflection. In his blog he presents a meaningful quote accompanied by a photo for pondering. Student “Journer” initiates a comment about the quote to which guru “Nez” adds his wisdom, occasioning deeper reflection with the reader.


Using a language of ecumenical spirituality, the topics are varied with a heavy emphasis on care for the Earth.  Initiated in 2004, the Journey Reflection collection is approaching 6,000 postings, searchable by author, artist, contributor and key words.


Email John P. Cock at to be added to the free daily mailings and access to the Journey Reflection archives.

Also check out the collection here 

Realistic Living.  Gene and Joyce Marshall continue their decades-long wisdom sharing with leadership training, lectures, courses, books, and blogs and many insights for a Next Christianity. Download a study outline for an updated RS-I with accompanying lesson plans and teaching materials that can be done in ten sessions or two weekends. Good for both secular and open-spirited persons.

~~  Gene Marshall.


To view their updated website, click here. You can also subscribe to the “Citizen Call” monthly blog for individual and group studies.

To view their current events on Facebook, click here.



Interior Mythos Journeys is a contemporary curriculum derived from original source material developed by the Christian Faith and Life Community and Ecumenical Institute (e.g., Religious Studies IThe OdysseyThe New Religious ModeThe Other World). Presented in video modules the curriculum is designed to nurture solitary practitioners and encourage group discussion.  The curriculum foundation rests upon 10 sequential Life Journeys of which the first four are currently available:


  • Life Journey #1 – The Ultimate Encounteris contextual and provides initial steps into the practice of approaching all of life from the perspective of a contemporary contemplative posture.
  • Life Journey #2 – The Ultimate Realityis a re-creation of the Ecumenical Institute’s Question of God Lecture and Bultmann Seminar.
  • Life Journey #3 – The Ultimate Entanglement, is a good place to start. It explores the nurture and practice of an intentional interior life within a contemporary context.
  • Life Journey #4 – The Ultimate Storyplaces the context and contribution of The Ecumenical Institute within the last 180 years of humankind’s existential history beginning with Kierkegaard and delivering us into the personal and collective experience of today.


For a brief context, watch What is This?


Many of the original teaching faculty of the Ecumenical Institute have contributed to these materials.

~~  Michael D. May, Interior Mythos Journeys and Ecumenical Institute Student and Faculty, 1964 – 1979

~~  Maryellen May, Transparent Works Art Forms

Sustaining an Intentional Life of Service (SAILS): The SAILS workship is an event in which people explore their life purpose and direction, evaluate their engagement in history, and form the standpoint of profound vocation. SAILS is designed for those who are committed to the future of this planet, or who are seeking tools and methods for such commitment.

The course is designed as a typical 44-hour weekend retreat, but can also be tailored as 2 one-day events for various audiences.  It has been used in congregations, with groups of service providers and for college students, usually ending with a festive potluck dinner.  This file contains the Beginning Planning, a colorful brochure, a detailed Participants Guidebook, and Resources which also includes suggested revisions.   SAILS is a course designed by ICA Denver colleagues inspired by an ICA course, The Vocational Journey Lab.

Artful Reflections and Retreats

In a magazine article “The Art of Everyday Life”, Ellen Howie, an untrained artist, shares her journey of experimenting artistically, using poetry and an ancient circular artform, a mandala, as a base within which to create.  She invites and leads others to join in this adventure of creativity and reflection through personal reflections, overnight retreats as well as brief interludes in any group session. Ellen is a registered nurse, spiritual director and folk artist concerned with the healing of individuals and communities through the artistic expression of day-to-day experiences of death and new life. For some examples of Ellen Howie’s work, see below.


Retreat formats and exercises for church groups:

Art of Prayer; It’s a Wonderful World, Our Faith Journeys; Pilgrims Path

Secular settings, long and short exercises:

Mandala Creation Template and Mandala Reflection; Art of Change; Journey of Care (10-page booklet)

Priscilla Wilson facilitated this course at her church:  How to Age Gracefully