Welcome to the Hollister Institute

The Hollister Institute provides opportunities for stimulating discussion and thoughtful exploration for everyone, whether or not they are members of a church.  Courses are offered at St. Benedict’s Church in Los Osos.  For more information about Hollister courses, contact Lorienne Schwenk at singingkitchen@gmail.com.

Starting in July

Thinking About Prayer
three Thursdays at 7 pm, starting July 17

Prayer is a central part of our life together – we are bound in one body not by what we believe intellectually but by our intention to love and trust God and by our common prayer. But what are we doing when we pray? It has been said that many of us see God rather like Carson, the butler in Downton Abbey – he’s a benign presence in the background who comes when we summon him to quietly and discreetly make sure we have all we need. Praying to this kind of God is very different from praying to a God who is stern, angry and omnipotent. How would we pray of we thought of God as like water? Our ideas about prayer and integrally linked with our ideas about God, because who we are praying to makes a huge difference. I’ve been excited by reading Marjorie Suchocki’s book on prayer, “In God’s Presence” which both supports some of my ideas and is also challenging me to think more deeply about God, the universe and everything – especially prayer. I’d like to share some of her ideas with those interested on three Thursday evenings in July, starting July 17 at 7 pm. You don’t need to read the book, though of course you might want to; Suchocki is a process theologian which means that she sees creation as continuing and God’s presence and being as a process in constant motion (like water) rather than a stable established existence. Led by the Rev. Dr. Caroline Hall. Please let us know if you plan to come: stbenedicts1@aol.com 

Continuing Programs

Ocean Mind Collective
first and third Mondays, 7:00-9:00 pm

The Ocean Mind Collective is a community gathering to explore spiritual literature. Through the study of mythological, mystical, religious, and spiritual texts, we hope to deepen our understands of that divine source from which all of creation flows. All are welcome; the only requirements being a curiosity to expand one's consciousness and the ability to laugh at oneself. For more information, contact Ian Thompson at oceanmindcollective@gmail.com.

We began a discussion of The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm in March.

Ian writes: "Ocean Mind Collective is a community of women and men who coalesce for the passion of exploring spiritual literature. Through the study of mythological, mystical, religious, and spiritual texts, we hope to collectively deepen our understanding of that divine source from which all of creation flows. Our primary purpose is to comprehend and enact the warrior’s path of unconditional love in our daily lives and communities. We seek to turn inward and to meditate upon that golden vein of spirit which like a river flows effortlessly onward through the consciousness of all tribes and cultures since the creation of time. We aspire to remember the archetypal path of the peaceful warrior and divine goddess within us, and to recognize these shape shifting prophets throughout the collective consciousness of all humankind. With optimism, we hope to manifest gratitude, acceptance, and love within ourselves and each other through exploring this sacred literature. Selflessness and solidarity shall be key principles for the ever growing formation and sustainment of this book club."

Dream/Spirituality Group
first and third Thursdays, 7:00-8:30 pm

St. Ben's Drop-in Dream Group meets every first and third Thursday at St. Benedict's. The format is similar to twelve-step meetings: confidentiality is required regarding any dreams shared with the group, and sharing is not required (everyone supports by their presence). The group is "open" to newcomers but there is no commitment to attend on a regular basis. There are no instructional or workshop-related activities unless noted in advance. The interpretative assumptions and language are Jungian (see Robert Johnson's Inner Work).

Anyone who would like to be notified of future meetings should send an email address to Bob Pelfrey (bobpelfrey@charter.net).

For those interested in a year-long study

see the Education for Ministry program