I’ve spent the past four years working with two friends of mine, Frank Rogers and Andy Dreitcer, seeking to develop a set of exercises and teachings to help people embody a greater capacity for compassionate action. Out of this work we founded the Center for Engaged Compassion, a new center at Claremont Lincoln University. We have now been commissioned by Prison Fellowship Canada to do formation and curriculum development. The first formation training will involve a nine month program with three, three-day formation retreats held in San Francisco, followed by weekly practices that participants will engage (and receive feedback) using online resources. The formation program is entitled “The Way of Radical Compassion: Practicing the Spiritual Path of Jesus.” We will have limited spaces for this training (maybe 10) that will be open to the general public. I’ll post more information on this opportunity in the coming week. You can read the press release below for more information on our work with Prison Fellowship Canada.
Center for Engaged Compassion Commissioned by Prison Fellowship Canada
Prison Fellowship Canada (PFC) has commissioned Claremont Lincoln’s Center for Engaged Compassion (CEC) to develop a Compassion Formation Project for work with communities and persons connected to the prison population in Canada and worldwide, with the help of a two-year commitment of $300,000 from the Debbie and Donald H. Morrison Family Foundation.
Staff from the CEC will develop and facilitate a formation program entitled “Cultivating Radical Compassion in an Unforgiving Age” for key leaders and congregations within PFC’s “Healing Communities” initiative. PFC’s philosophy of “Justice and Transformation” attends to inmates’ social, spiritual, emotional, and intellectual needs, as well as those of their children, family and community. It also helps them work on paths of healing to accept accountability for their actions and work to right the wrongs against the victims of their crimes.
Mark Yaconelli, the CEC’s new Co-Director for Special Projects will head up this PFC/Morrison Foundation Compassion Project, along with Claremont professors and CEC Co-Directors Andrew Dreitcer and Frank Rogers. The project is grounded in the “radical compassion” formation curriculum that Rogers and Dreitcer developed and have been teaching for a number of years.
Yaconelli is a well-known writer, speaker, spiritual director, youth worker, and facilitator of Hearth Stories. Interviews and profiles of Mark and his work have appeared in the national media including the Wall Street Journal, ABC World News Tonight, New York Times Online, and Washington Post Online. Feature articles on his work with teens have appeared in The Christian Century, Immerse, Group Magazine, Youthworker Journal, and many other religious publications.
The Center for Engaged Compassion, along with other Claremont Lincoln University Centers, applies spirituality and ethics to real-world problems. The CEC’s partnership with Prison Fellowship Canada expands Claremont Lincoln University’s work with prison-related populations that has begun at Rockhill Farm, a national-award-winning President’s Initiative empowering former felons, gang members, and recovering addicts to become positive contributors to society.