The Journey School FAQs
What is The Journey School?
The Journey School is a school of transformative spiritual psychology and practice of The Church of Conscious Harmony (CCH). The Journey School consists of the following three components:
1. A weekly Thursday evening class exploring the ideas and practices of the Work of Inner Christianity integrated with wisdom from the contemplative Christian tradition.
2. An annual, yearlong curriculum consisting of a weekly email which includes Scripture, teachings from the Work of Inner Christianity integrated with contemplative Christianity, homework exercises, links to definitions, readings and related resources.
3. Weekly Journey Groups, the primary place for the nurturing of spiritual community in a small group setting.
Are there levels of participation in The Journey School?
Yes. One can engage The Journey School at a level that fits your available time and spiritual hunger:
1. Receive weekly email only; all levels of participation will receive the email
2. Attend the Thursday night class
3. Participate in a Journey Group
4. Have a Work Partner
5. Participate in the Gurdjieff Movements
6. Committing to the vowed life of an Oblate, living the Oblate Rule of Life.
Who can participate in The Journey School?
The Journey School is open to anyone who wants to make God-devotion and transformation into Christ the center of their lives. One does not need to live in the Austin area or be a member of The Church of Conscious Harmony. All that is required is the intention to participate in The Journey School at one of the levels of engagement.
How do I join The Journey School?
One joins The Journey School by registering online. Registering to receive the weekly email can be done at any time. To be a member of a Journey Group, participate in the Gurdjieff Movements or to be an Oblate, registration needs to be done by January 31, 2021.
Does it cost anything to participate in The Journey School?
There is a suggested offering of $150 to participate in The Journey School.
How is The Journey School organized?
A team of very committed people are involved in the organization and staffing of The Journey School. The Minister has overall responsibility; an Abbot/Abbess has oversight of the spiritual integrity and temporal affairs of the School; faculty members and Presenters support the curriculum and Thursday night teachings; and facilitators hold center for each Journey Group. Additional support is provided by the Church Business Manager and Office Administration.
What’s the difference between The Journey School and The Church of Conscious Harmony (CCH)?
CCH offers many opportunities to deepen one’s relationship with God – The Journey School is but one – though a principal one. In addition to The Journey School, there are worship services, a youth program, other classes and an extensive retreat ministry. Although The Journey School is part of CCH, it is possible to participate in The Journey School and not be a formal member of CCH. It is also possible to be a member of CCH and not participate in The Journey School.
Will CCH offer in-depth study options apart from The Journey School?
Yes. There will be elective classes offered throughout the year, open to all.
Does The Journey School have a campus?
Yes, at The Church of Conscious Harmony in Austin, Texas. The Journey School holds the weekly Thursday evening class via online. When COVID restrictions are lifted, there will be in-person Journey Groups that meet on campus.
What is a Journey Group?
The primary place for the nurturing of spiritual community in a small group setting. Discussion is shaped by the weekly curriculum content and how participants are engaging with it in their daily lives. Journey Groups involve a one-year commitment, beginning in February and concluding in December. Each weekly meeting is 1 -1 1/4 hours in length.
Who facilitates the Journey Groups?
Certain experienced members of The Journey School are selected by the Abbot/Abbess and Faculty to serve as Journey Group facilitators. These individuals undergo training for their role. Ideally, facilitators are Oblates of CCH.
Do I have to belong to a Journey Group to participate in The Journey School?
No, you can participate in The Journey School by receiving only the weekly email, though attendance of Thursday evening class is highly encouraged because of the sharing and nuancing of the teaching which cannot be conveyed simply by reading the email.
What is an Oblate of The Church of Conscious Harmony?
An Oblate of The Church of Conscious Harmony consents to journey deeper into Christ, what theologians call Theosis, or simply, Love. Participation as an Oblate is a declaration of intentional relationship to the Divine Mystery that is God and to all creation. Oblates participate in all aspects of The Journey School, and in addition take a vow to live by the Oblate Rule of Life.
How does one become an Oblate of The Church of Conscious Harmony?
To become a CCH Oblate, a vow is taken, renewable each January. The vow is born of a personal hunger and commitment for transformation into Christ and a wish to live a committed life in service of this aim. The vow is to God alone, yet lived out through and with The Church of Conscious Harmony community. With the annual vow, CCH Oblates commit to God and to the Oblate Rule of Life so to actively participate in the spiritual journey while engaging the transformative process as “monks in the world.”
What is the CCH Oblate Rule of Life?
There are ten practices that comprise the CCH Oblate Rule of Life:
1. Twice daily Centering Prayer practice
A twice-daily practice of 20-30 minutes of Centering Prayer is the foundational and essential practice for consenting to God’s love, presence and action.
2. Daily reading of Scripture
Personal reading of Scripture is a foundational daily practice, reading in the manner of Lectio Divina. Using a daily liturgical reader, such as Give Us This Day or Magnificat is suggested.
3. Daily study and application of the ideas of the Work of Inner Christianity
Ordinarily, this will mean reading and engaging The Journey School weekly email and a selection from Maurice Nicoll’s Commentaries. However, there are many other resources from enriching Work teachers such as P.D. Ouspensky, J. G. Bennett, Beryl Pogson, Rebecca Nottingham, et al.
4. Daily conscious movement (e.g., tai chi, yoga, walking)
As incarnated beings, love of God with our whole being must incorporate our bodies, temples of the Spirit. Care and movement of the body are a means of being fully human and integrating the energetic movement that can arise in the body through contemplative practices.
5. Weekly immersion in a Eucharistic worship service
The Eucharist provides an opportunity to see ordinary matter in an extraordinary way, inviting us to perceive the mystery of Christ everywhere and in everything. It is an unbroken transmission of God’s love for us and Presence within all creation. Oblates participate in Eucharistic worship at The Church of Conscious Harmony on Sunday mornings or Wednesday evenings via online and, hopefully, soon in-person. Those who are traveling or live out of town are encouraged to partake in a local Eucharistic service or the Church’s online offerings.
6. Spiritual companioning with the Minister, Abbess, or Minister’s designate
We recognize the value in witnessing, confessing, and opening ourselves in vulnerability to another who will individually respond to us, pray with us, and gently companion us in ways we could not do alone.
7. Seva or YES program service
Service to the community and one another is an expression of love for God and one another. Oblates are expected to participate in a Seva team or other similar ministry to the Church community. For those who reside outside of the Austin area, the Oblate selects an area of regular service to humanity.
8. Commitment to attend a multi-day Centering Prayer retreat
Extended time away from the demands of day-to-day life in the silence with others is a foundational experience in the contemplative life. Oblates are encouraged to attend a 10-day retreat, but any multi-day Centering Prayer retreat will open us to receiving untold gifts of spiritual and psychological fruitfulness.
9. Attendance at the annual weekend Oblate retreat
The annual Oblate retreat provides time away for inspiration and focused community building. Typically, the retreat will begin on a Friday evening and conclude by 5:00 pm Saturday.
We give freely and receive joyfully. Tithing is an expression of valuation, gratitude and reciprocal maintenance for the spiritual sources which feed us. Tithing is also a spiritual practice between each of us and God. The practice of tithing brings God into our relationship with money, and through it we acknowledge in faith that God is the true source of our supply. Historically, tithing means contributing 10% of one’s income.
Do I have to agree to live all 10 of the practices to be a CCH Oblate?
I live out of town and do not feel comfortable attending a Eucharistic worship service in my local community. Can I still be a CCH Oblate?
You may participate in the Church’s Eucharist services on Wednesday evening at 6:30 PM CT or Sunday morning at 10:00 AM CT via online.
OUT OF TOWN PARTICIPANTS
I don’t live in Austin. How much of The Journey School can I participate in?
You can participate in all levels of The Journey School except the Gurdjieff Movements which are only offered in-person at the Church.
I don’t live in Austin. Can I be a CCH Oblate?
Yes. As an out-of-town Oblate, the Abbot/Abbess will reach out to you and be your primary point of contact. The Abbot/Abbess will also help you discern the Seva (service to humanity) component of your Rule of Life.
THURSDAY EVENING CLASS
What is the Thursday evening class and it’s format?
The Journey School Thursday class meets from 7:00 to 8:30pm via online and is led by The Journey School Abbot/Abbess and a faculty member/guest presenter. There are periods of opening reflection, announcements, Lectio Divina, sharing from the prior’s week homework, teachings on the email that was just sent on that day and closing prayers.
Is the class open or closed?
Although structured for the benefit of those who are participating in The Journey School, the Thursday evening class is open to all who have a desire to study and practice.
Will I be seen on video?
Yes. Participants will be seen when sharing unless their video is turned off.
Will the online video be recorded? Can I watch a class at a later time?
There is an audio recording of the class which is posted in The Journey School archives.
What is a Work Partner relationship?
Work Partners are one-on-one relationships to working ideally daily with another, supporting one another, setting daily aims, and holding one another accountable. There are prerequisites for having a Work Partner.
What do Work Partners talk about?
The primary purpose of the Work Partner relationship is to set aim each day, to report on one’s observations and struggles in daily life while on the spiritual journey, and to discuss one’s engagement with the weekly homework exercises.
How long does this relationship last?
People who desire a Work Partner relationship are paired up by the Abbess and Faculty early each year. The relationship continues for the rest of the year.
What is a time guideline for Work Partner interactions?
Work Partners agree to talk ideally each day, almost always by phone. Typical calls range from 20-30 minutes but might be longer or shorter depending on circumstances. Sometimes Work Partners may wish to meet for lunch or coffee to engage in a more relaxed or in-depth conversation.
What are the prerequisites to have a Work Partner?
To qualify for a Work Partner relationship, one must be receiving the weekly Journey School emails, and be attending the Thursday evening class for at least six months.