About the WCCM
The WCCM is a global spiritual community united in the practice of meditation in the Christian tradition.
The WCCM is a global spiritual community united in the practice of meditation in the Christian tradition. It shares the fruits of this practice widely and inclusively, serving the unity of all and building understanding between faiths and cultures. Members of WCCM span more than a hundred countries. There are about sixty-seven national coordinators. Its international centre is Bonnevaux – an ancient monastic site now dedicated to global peace and dialogue around the daily practice of meditation – near Poitiers in France
The Two Doves
The two doves on a chalice is the WCCM's symbol. It is a universal expression of the union of contemplation and action. A very ancient text describes them as 'two sweet friends' and the same idea is found in the story of Martha and Mary in the Gospel. Meditation in daily life is the heart of the WCCM Community: the experience of Being as the foundation of all Action.
The Roots of the WCCM
The roots of the WCCM lie in the desert tradition of the early Christianity of the 4th century. By recognising the way of ‘pure prayer’, ‘prayer of the heart’ or ‘meditation’, that he found in this tradition John Main (1926-1982) brought to countless people in ordinary life the possibility of a contemplative practice in their following the Christian way of life. As a Benedictine monk, he taught how restoring this lost dimension of prayer to the life of the churches, Christianity itself could be renewed and society as a whole benefit from its spiritual awakening. He started the first Christian Meditation Centre in London in 1975. The first of the weekly meditation groups of which there are now some thousands around the world began to meet then. He was assisted from the beginning of this movement by Laurence Freeman.
The Monastery Without Walls
Invited by the Church in Montreal to establish a Benedictine monastery committed to the practice and teaching of Christian meditation and dialogue, John Main and Laurence Freeman went there with a group of oblates and lay members in 1977. In the space of a few years the influence of the Benedictine Priory spread around the world and continues to form a ‘monastery without walls’. A strong Oblate Community also began to form which continues today as a unique form of this ancient tradition of living the monastic wisdom in ordinary life.
John Main died on December 30 1982, succeeded by Laurence Freeman and the seed he had planted began to flourish around the world. At the 1991 John Main Seminar, led by Bede Griffiths OSB, meditators from all parts of the community came together to shape the future direction and organization of what they called the ‘World Community for Christian Meditation’. Choosing ‘for’ rather than ‘of’, they showed their sense of a contemplative community with an active mission to bring the gift of meditation to a world suffering from spiritual distress as a ‘monastery without walls’. The symbol of the Community became the ancient and universal image of two birds (‘two sweet friends’ as the Upanishads call them) resting on the same chalice, representing the union of the contemplative and active hemispheres of life.
Bringing People Together
An international office was established in London where a small residential community also formed. A deeply personal practice meditation nevertheless naturally forms groups of practitioners and a sense of community that has been further expanded by recent technology. Physical and online groups meet weekly to introduce newcomers in an informal and friendly way to the practice. By their fidelity, the groups provide support for those beginning their journey and an opportunity for deepening the experience for those already established in the practice. The groups and all activities of the WCCM are open to all. Dialogue and meditating together with members of other traditions is encouraged.
Creating A Group for Everyone
Groups also meet in homes, parishes, schools, offices, hospitals, prisons and universities. There are groups for the homeless, for those in recovery from addiction and a special emphasis of the community is to find ways to share the gift of meditation with the poor and marginalised. Christian Meditation Centres, such as the John Main Centre at Georgetown University and the Meditatio Centre in London, help to share the teaching.
A worldwide WCCM priority is teaching meditation to children at school as well as to college students and young adults starting to work. Special retreats and social networks are being developed for these forms of outreach. The WCCM also responds as best it can to the spiritual need of business and leadership in all fields. An MBA course on Meditation and Leadership at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University has been running successfully for several years and has inspired similar initiatives in other Business schools and corporations. When appropriate, in secular settings, and without hiding its own roots in faith, the WCCM teaches meditation with a focus on its place in universal wisdom and proven holistic benefits. Meditation as an Eleventh Step practice is another form of outreach. Working with medical practitioners in their profession the WCCM also encourages the development of a contemplative approach to healthcare.
Nurturing an informed contemplative approach in all aspects of the critical transition the world is passing through, has become a WCCM priority. For this a new educational platform is being developed from Bonnevaux. The ‘Academy’ to be launched in 2021 will carry courses in a wide variety of disciplines while supporting the students in developing their meditation practice.
Helping Young Adults Face Challenges
At Bonnevaux a six-month residential programme has been designed to help young adults face the challenges of the world they are entering. It addresses the questions of faith and service, mental, physical and spiritual health, and how to sustain a creative and adaptable balance of life.
For more than thirty years, the WCCM has presented an annual John Main Seminar hosted by a national community. Retreats, seminars, dialogues, events celebrating creativity are a feature of the Bonnevaux programme and also happen in many national communities. A quarterly WCCM Newsletter, communications on social media, the Daily Wisdom (a short teaching and photo by Laurence Freeman that goes to many thousands), weekly mailings, the WCCM APP and Podcast are other ways of uniting the community and sharing the gift with others
Medio Media, the WCCM publishing company is run from Singapore. It produces books, and other media and maintains the online bookstore. The WCCM main website is www.wccm.org. Many national communities run their own sites linked to it..