Lakewood’s Centering Space Retreat House Celebrates 15 Years Of Service
Centering Space, a non-profit retreat house and prayer center located on the grounds of Lakewood Catholic Academy, celebrated its 15th anniversary on November 1 with an Open House and memorial prayer service.
Founded by a consortium of religious organizations and lay people under the auspices of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine, the ministry opened its doors in 2003 in a century home next to Lakewood Park that once housed the Catholic diocesan priests who served the sisters’ motherhouse – also once located on the property.
“The original mission behind Centering Space was to create a house of discernment for religious vocations,” said Sr. Carol Kandiko, a Sister of Charity of St. Augustine, one of the founding members and current co-director of the ministry. “But even as we firmed up plans for its launch, the founding team realized the emphasis on vowed religious was being supplanted by a vibrant and committed lay spiritual community. After much consideration and prayer, the focus shifted to a house of prayer and discernment for anyone seeking to discover the presence of God in the challenges and blessings of life.”
The ministry has kept to that mission through the years, offering weekly 1-hour meditative prayer services every Tuesday and Wednesday evenings from 7 – 8 p.m., and Wednesday afternoons from 1:30 – 2:30 p.m., as well as a variety of programs each month.
“The weekly gathering for prayer, meditation and reflection, to this day is the very heart of the ministry,” said Syndie Eardly, chair of the Centering Space Board of Advisors. “It is led each week by a different prayer leader and offers a welcoming environment to people of all faiths and belief systems to open to the movement of the Spirit in their lives.”
Through the years, Centering Space has opened its doors to many different spiritual practices, from Dances of Universal Peace and the creation of mandalas, to praying with various art forms and music, including drumming. Individuals regularly participate in one-on-one spiritual direction and attend self-directed retreats in the welcoming quiet of the house and the grounds. Individual programs have explored Taize Prayer, experienced the universe with Brian Swimme and discussed the wisdom of hundreds of educators, mystics and poets, such as Teilhard de Chardin, Hildegard von Bingen, Richard Rohr, Ilia Delio and Rumi.
“What has contributed to our success as a ministry through years is that we have continuously opened and adapted to the changing needs of the spiritual seekers who attend our programs,” said Betsy Nero, co-director of Centering Space. “Most importantly, we strive to create an environment that is respectful of everyone’s views and interpretations of their own personal spiritual experience.”
Although weekly prayer does not require registration, participants can view and register for other programs throughout the month at www.centeringspace.org. Some of the programs require a fee, although no one is every turned away for lack of means, while others ask only for a donation.
“What we have learned through the years, is that Centering Space is more than its programs,” said Kandiko. “Individuals who attend prayer or a program become part of the community itself. There is a commitment to hospitality on our part and a sense of deep acceptance that bring people back again and again to experience the profound peace of this place, as well as an opportunity to explore their deepest spiritual questions.”
Centering Space was originally managed by a team of sisters and laity called a Core Circle. But in 2015, the leadership made the decision to seek broader input for the future of its mission by creating an independent board. Established in 2016, the Board of Advisors offers oversight for the ministry in the areas of finance, fundraising, marketing and public relations, and programming.
The order of Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine was established in the United States in 1851. Over the past 170 years, the sisters founded dozens of educational and health care ministries, including establishing hospitals in Canton and Cleveland, as well as Columbia, South Carolina.
Centering Space is located at 14812 Lake Ave. in Lakewood next to Lakewood Park. For more information, visit www.centeringspace.org.
About Centering Space
Centering Space is a ministry of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine, located in a spacious century home in Lakewood, Ohio, on the shores of Lake Erie. The organization hosts weekly prayer, monthly meditation opportunities, retreats and a host of programs throughout the year focused on spirituality, mediation and prayer. Centering Space strives to enable ordinary people from any background to discover the presence of God in their lives through quiet attention to the voice of the Spirit. Visit us at 14812 Lake Ave., Lakewood, OH 44197. You can view our programs at www.centeringspace.org. For more information, contact us at (216) 228.7451.
I am Director of Education and Content for a corporate marketing department and a volunteer at the Centering Space Retreat Center in Lakewood.