In 2014 a small group was curious about starting a Journey Center in the East Bay modeled after the Journey Center Santa Rosa. We were uncovering an array of contemplative practices far beyond what we thought was possible. We experienced the power of relationships and noticed how people craved and longed for authentic, spiritual friendships. We also noticed how many people were rediscovering these lost and emerging spiritual practices. We launched a contemplative art class, a weekly prayer walk, a weekly book club and offered speaker events.
We have been meeting in familiar and unexpected places: coffee shops, walking trails, and living rooms — in the hopes of one day having our own place. The dream: a charming house in the middle of downtown Concord amongst the hustle, bustle and diversity of everyday life, where we can be prepared to receive you and offer something that touches your spirit.
When we gather together we think & imagine, question & encourage, pray & laugh, listen & pay attention. Among us you might find a retired carpenter, a social worker, a photographer, a massage therapist, a student, a spiritual director, an ex-runway model, a seamstress, and a former Buddhist nun. We are all on separate journeys unique yet connected.
Soon after our incorporation we discovered that there were many vulnerable youth right here in our own community. We wanted to know how this might be connected to our vision of Journey Center so we began to pray and ask for guidance. We took on a small project and funded laptops for seven prospective college students. We continue to look for ways to respond with care.
As our dreams for the Journey Center East Bay continue to unfold, one of the ideas that we are exploring is the creation of a training/mentoring program for vulnerable youth. Our hope is to have a small café and bakery in our contemplative retreat house that combines our desire to provide a space for people to come and feel welcome wherever they are with a work training and spiritual formation program. Our plan is to teach practical life skills like how to create a resume, follow a budget, work in a team, and how to serve customers with radical hospitality. We want to offer spiritual skills like centering prayer, imaginative prayer, nature prayer, art prayer; prayer that is creative and feels relevant to them. This place will be called The Daily Cup Café and will be integrated into the retreat house.
We often struggle to find language that accurately speaks of what we’re doing. The best way to understand it is to experience it.