Mission

The Mission Statement of the World Community for Christian Meditation is part of the WCCM Constitution, and is accepted by all our national communities:

To communicate and nurture meditation as passed on through the teaching of John Main in the Christian tradition in the spirit of serving the unity of all.

About WCCM-USA

  • The World Community for Christian Meditation in the USA currently has over 300 groups in many states.
  • We meet in churches of every denomination, and in other venues such as online, in hospitals, prisons, Y's, and private homes.
  • Our organization is run entirely by very dedicated and hard working volunteers.
  • Some parts of the country have Regional Coordinators, volunteers who get to know group leaders in their area, help to nurture communication between groups, and to publicize more localized events.
  • We meet yearly as a National Council to conduct business, in conjunction with an event with a speaker. This gathering rotates between different geographic areas of the US.
  • The leadership of WCCM-USA plans and assists in hosting Fr. Laurence's retreats and lectures, as well as inviting other nationally known practitioners of contemplation.  We have hosted the John Main Seminar several times over the years, an event with worldwide attendance, most recently in 2017, in Houston.
  • WCCM-USA Profit and Loss Statement for Year End 2019 can be found here.
  • We also provide ongoing support for emerging leadership in some of the smaller countries in the Southern hemisphere, such as Mexico, Trinidad, etc.

A major goal of the current US National Coordinator is to focus on the "Community" part of the World Community for Christian Meditation.  This goal reflects on the organizational level a growth step that each individual meditator takes along the path of meditation.
First, one meditates for how it benefits oneself.  The fruits are calmness, patience, self-acceptance and self-improvement.
Then the meditator leaves his seat and goes out to use these fruits to benefit others.
Building community within the US organization will allow meditators to connect and inspire each other, and then reach out to benefit others in charity and love.

Jay Stewart: U.S. National Coordinator - In Memoriam
Eugene Bebeau
Patrick King
Sr. Cynthia Comiskey

Also assisting:
Sharon Nicks, Admin. Asst. and Graphics; Linda Schmalstieg, Meditation with Children; Lucy Beck, Website and Zoom Management.

 

The Covenant of the WCCM-USA is available here.

Fr. John Main OSB (1926-1982) has been recognized worldwide as one of the most important spiritual teachers of our time, and one whose influence is continuing to expand. He has helped many Christians of all traditions to begin an exploration 'in their own experience' of the contemplative dimension of their faith. He has provided a re-entry point for those who had left their tradition in order to find this depth outside. And he has helped build strong bridges between Christianity and other faith traditions.

Baptised Douglas Main, he  was born in London on 21 January 1926. His roots were in County Kerry, Ireland. Educated at Westminster Choir School and by the Jesuits at Stamford Hill, London, he served in the Royal Signals at the end of the war after which he joined the Canons Regular of the Lateran for a short period. He left and studied law at Trinity College Dublin and then joined the British Diplomatic Service and studied Chinese at SOAS in London.   Attached to the Governor General’s office in Malaya during the Emergency, his duties took him one day to meet an Indian monk and Justice of the Peace, Swami Satyananda. From him, he learned how to meditate and took up the discipline of silence, stillness and simplicity as part of his Christian faith and daily prayer.

When he returned to the West he became professor of International law at Trinity College, continuing to meditate as part of his Christian spiritual life. In 1958, he became a Benedictine monk at Ealing Abbey in London. He was asked to give up this practice of meditation, as it was not deemed then to be a Christian form of prayer.

However, in 1969, while Headmaster of the school at St Anselm’s Abbey in Washington DC,  John Main was led to a new study of the roots of his own Christian monastic tradition. In the Conferences of John Cassian and the teachings of the Desert fathers, he found the Christian expression of the same way of meditation he had learned in the East. Now recognizing the teaching and the urgent need for meditation  in the modern world he began to practice again.

In 1975, he opened the first Christian Meditation Centre at Ealing Abbey in London and began what was to be the culminating mission of his lifelong search for God and service of others. Realizing that this way of the prayer of the heart could guide the search of many modern people for deeper spiritual experience, he recommended two regular daily periods of meditation to be integrated with the usual practices of Christian life. In his teaching, he emphasized the simplicity and universality of the practice of meditation as well as acknowledging the fact of its being a discipline.
He accepted the invitation of the Archbishop of Montreal to establish a Benedictine Priory committed intentionally to the practice and teaching of Christian meditation. This was  a new form of Benedictine life integrating monastic and lay people with the practice of meditation,  itself integrated with the Divine Office and Mass. From here, for the last five years of his life, John Main saw the expansion of his vision of community through the teaching of this tradition. He believed that ‘meditation creates community’. The World Community for Christian Meditation that grew from his work continues to express the truth of that insight for our time.  He died at the age of 56 in Montreal and is buried at Mount Saviour Monastery, Elmira, NY.
There is no part-time or partial prayer as if the Spirit were not always alive in our heart. But there are times, our twice-daily meditation, when we make a complete turn of consciousness towards this ever-present reality. There comes a level of awakening when our awareness of this reality is constant, throughout our most diverse activities and concerns. ~ Fr. John Main

Fr. Laurence Freeman OSB is currently the worldwide leader of the World Community for Christian Meditation.  He was born in England in 1951 where he was educated by the Benedictines and studied English Literature at New College, Oxford University. Before entering monastic life, he had experience with the United Nations in New York, banking and journalism.

In the monastery, his spiritual teacher was Fr. John Main. He helped Fr. John establish the first Christian Meditation Centre in London. At the invitation of the Archbishop of Montreal, in 1977, he accompanied Fr. John to establish a Benedictine community of monks and laypeople dedicated to the practice and teaching of Christian meditation. Fr. Laurence studied theology at the Universite de Montreal and at McGill University. He made his solemn monastic profession in 1979 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1980.  After the death of John Main in 1982, he continued the work of teaching meditation that had already begun, and to develop a global community.

 In 1991, Fr Laurence returned to England to establish the International Centre of the World Community for Christian Meditation, with groups now present in more than a hundred countries and which has become a 'monastery without walls', as Fr. John envisioned it.  As Director,  he travels and teaches widely, and is the author of a number of books, among others: Jesus the Teacher Within,  Light Within, A Short Span of Days and The Selfless Self.

The World Community for Christian Meditation is  a global and inclusive contemplative family, now present in more than 120 countries.

Our roots lie in the desert tradition of early Christianity, dating back to the 4th century. In the Christian tradition meditation is often referred to as "pure prayer" or "prayer of the heart", because it is a prayer without thoughts, words or images and so takes us beyond the imagination and the ego.  When we meditate we are not thinking about God or speaking to God.  We are simply being with God in the silence and stillness of the present moment. We move from the mind to the heart.  It is a prayer of silence, stillness and attention.  The essence of all prayer (and love) is attention.

In 1975  Fr. John Main OSB, an Irish Benedictine monk (1926-1982), started the first Christian Meditation Centre in London. The first of the family of weekly meditation groups around the world began to meet then.  After his early death in 1982, the Community, by then centered in Montreal Canada, continued on and matured under the leadership of Fr. Laurence Freeman, OSB.  Fr. Laurence's efforts have helped to produce the worldwide community that we are today.

At the John Main Seminar in New Harmony, Indiana in 1991, led by Fr. Bede Griffiths OSB, meditators from around the world came together to shape the future direction and organization of the community as a ‘monastery without walls’. They named it The World Community for Christian Meditation because it was not only formed and nurtured by the practice of meditation but existed to share this gift with others. The symbol of the Community (our logo) - the two birds looking in different directions but resting on the chalice - is a modern version of an ancient way of representing the union of the contemplative and active dimensions of life.

At this time National Communities are under their own autonomous leadership, but receive support in maintaining a common vision and guidance from Fr. Laurence and an International Guiding Board and reciprocate by tithing a portion of their donations.