Women & Spirituality Conference: A Reflection
by Julie Stevens, Director of Contemplative Practices at Gloria Dei
This year, I had the honor of leading a contemplative practice session at the Women and Spirituality Conference held in Rochester. It was the 37th annual gathering, but I had not heard of it until just a few years ago. Even then, I would have thought it unlikely that I would attend the conference, much less offer a mindfulness meditation workshop finding freedom and flow in Christ, or help Gloria Dei host an exhibitor’s booth. After over 25 years of working in a Christian/Lutheran church, a conference hosting an eclectic mix of spiritual expressions and ways of seeking God seemed an unlikely place for me to be.
I couldn’t have been more wrong. I thoroughly enjoyed the conference! I enjoyed visiting with and learning from people who sought the Divine in unique and beautiful ways, and I enjoyed having some of my own ways of thinking about and finding God brought into the light of my own examination. As I’ve gotten older I’ve found my spirituality to be less rigid and more open to others’ thoughts and views, but the conference catapulted me forward many steps in this regard. I’m more convinced than ever that none of us has all the answers – that our understandings of the Divine are varied and incomplete. Being open to the wisdom and spirituality of other traditions can only help my own spiritual journey in ways I can’t even predict. And I have to imagine that it was a beautiful and kind of cosmic thing that Gloria Dei had a presence at the conference – discovering and experiencing the Divine along with others who arrived at the same loving and compassionate Place, just in different ways.
Do you feel a sense of wisdom in a spiritual tradition outside of the Christian Church? Peace to you all in your journey.