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 September

An Overview of Books NOT Included in the Bible -- The Hebrew Bible Pseudepigrapha and the New Testament Apocrypha
Thursdays at 10 am: Sep 16, 23, 30, & Oct 7

There are texts that might have been included in the Bible, but were not. What are they? What did they contain? Why were they not chosen? In this four week course, we'll look at the "pseudepigrapha" (falsely ascribed to), books peripheral to the accepted canonical writings in the Hebrew Bible, and the "apocrypha" (hidden) books peripheral to the New Testament. We'll look into their contents and how they have been thought of during past centuries, by what considerations and by whom they were not accepted in our present canon (official lists of books), and how their contents compare with or supplement books of our present Bible. Taught by Lenore (Lenny) Erickson of St Peter's, a gifted and popular teacher who taught religion and philosophy at Cuesta College for many years. Pre-register by emailing stbenedicts1@aol.com. There is no charge for this class but donations are welcomed.

Starting soon

Second Saturdays
Saturdays, starting at 9:30: Oct 11, Nov 8, and Dec 13

Take some time out for quiet reflection and re-connection with your soul and the divine presence. On three Saturday mornings this fall St Benedict’s will provide an opportunity to delve deeper.

Saturday October 11, 9:30 – 11:30 First Steps in Meditation. Nita Kenyon, a former member of St. Benedict’s is now a ministry intern at the Awakenings Interfaith Spiritual Community in Morro Bay. Nita will be teaching meditation for the complete beginners as well as for those who have dabbled but need a refresher.

Saturday November 8, 9:30 – 12 Journeying with Julian. Mother Julian of Norwich was a 14th century mystic perhaps best known for her comforting saying “All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.” Join spiritual director Celeste Pennington for a morning of quiet reflection on Julian’s “showings” and the understandings they give us of the mystical vision.

Saturday December 13, 9:30 -12:30 A Morning of Art, Poetry and Meditation. Using poetry as a way to access a deeper level of connection with the divine and with our spiritual paths, we can express the yearnings of our souls through art, journaling or a deeper silence. Led by Bob Pelfrey and Caro Hall+.

Embracing an Alternative Orthodoxy: Richard Rohr on the Legacy of St Francis
Thursdays, 10 am, Oct 23 - Nov 20

Fr. Richard Rohr is a globally recognized ecumenical teacher, the author of numerous books, and a Franciscan priest of the New Mexico Province, and founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque.

"Richard Rohr is one of the great Christian teachers of our age. He is that rare figure whose transformative wisdom transcends the narrow categories of denominations within the church, and speaks to all Christians, all believers and indeed all seekers. Richard Rohr is undoubtedly a Christian spiritual master." -James Martin, SJ, author of Jesus: A Pilgrimage

In this dvd-based five week series Rohr introduces us to an orthodoxy which the Church is only now rediscovering, based in Franciscan theology and practice. It is described as “biblically grounded, personally challenging and ultimately liberating.” The focus of the five weeks are:
· Session 1: Atonement Theology
· Session 2: Eco-Spirituality
· Session 3: The Cosmic Christ
· Session 4: Orthodoxy vs. Orthopraxy
· Session 5: Mysticism Over Moralism

Each participant will need their own personal participant’s guide in order to fully benefit from the video presentation, which lasts about 15 minutes, and the subsequent group discussion. This workbook is available through Cokesbury for $10.36 plus shipping.

Contact Fr Barry Turner (Carltonba@gmail.com) for further information and to pre-register.

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