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Ubuntu and Contemplation

Saturday, May 13, 2023

09:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Zoom Meeting

Ubuntu and Contemplation: 

How an Indigenous African Philosophy 

Maps Our Spiritual Path to Global Community

A Zoom Workshop Presented by

Michael Battle

Saturday, May 13, 2023

8:30AM-11:30AM Mountain Time

9:30AM-12:30PM Central

10:30AM-1:30PM Eastern

Sponsored by

The Contemplative Outreach Chapters of Chicago, Atlanta, Colorado, Maryland/Washington, and New York City along with Metanoia Journey (Austin) and Closer Than Breath

Emerging from the ancient cultural traditions of sub-Saharan Africa, the deeply communitarian philosophy known as Ubuntu challenges Western habits of mind in ways that complement and complete the experience of contemplation. In this workshop, we hope to bring together people from diverse backgrounds who share an interest in contemplation. Together we will learn about Ubuntu as we pray through, think about and practice how to release the natural unity the Holy Spirit constantly offers the world. 

Michael Battle writes:

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In Centering Prayer and other contemplative practices, we find a path that opens us up to oneness – both union with God and unity with all human beings, including those who may seem different from us in race, culture, religion, or national origin. As we move into this more connected state of awareness, it is essential to do so communally, rather than just individually – and grasping the message of Ubuntu is a big step toward the ability to love our neighbors as ourselves. 


The gathering will begin with a 20-30 minute contemplative experience. This will include Centering Prayer and a brief guided meditation to expand our experience and open our hearts.  

Then, based on his in-depth study, personal knowledge and experience of Ubuntu, Rev. Battle will lead an interactive and deeply contemplative workshop incorporating presentations, art, music, and pauses for reflection. 

The workshop will tell the fascinating story of Ubuntu's origin, history and meaning. But it will also give us a chance to discover Ubuntu-based practices that can help us begin to experience a "beloved community," globally and locally, clarifying connections and removing divisions within our own individual hearts and across the wider contemplative movement. 

There will be pauses for silence, small group sharing using the “Ubuntu Circles” process, and discernment about what God may be inviting our community into in terms of spiritual/racial/cultural union. 

We invite you to join us on this sacred journey toward Communal Contemplative Spirituality.


Very Rev. Michael Battle, PH.D.:

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The Very Rev. Michael Battle, Ph.D. is a featured keynote speaker and leader of many clergy and lay retreats. Some readers may remember his very inspiring workshop from January 2022, Releasing an Enslaved Spirit. He is the Herbert Thompson Professor of Church and Society and Director of the Desmond Tutu Center at General Theological Seminary in New York. Through his PeaceBattle Institute, he works on subjects of diversity, spirituality, prayer, race and reconciliation. He has also served as chaplain to Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Congressman John Lewis, the Episcopal House of Bishops and, in 2008, was chaplain to the global Lambeth Conference of Anglican Bishops.

Michael has published eleven books, including Ubuntu: I in You and You in Me (2009) and his latest: Desmond Tutu: A Spiritual Biography of South Africa’s Confessor. He has an undergraduate degree from Duke University, received his master’s of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary, a master’s of Sacred Theology from Yale University and a Ph.D. in theology and ethics, also from Duke University. He was ordained a priest by Archbishop Tutu in 1993. 

Click here to read more on Michael Battle’s website.

Registration Information:

NOTE: This will be a Zoom workshop. It will be recorded for on-demand viewing by those who are registered for this Ubuntu workshop. During the registration process you will be required to give Contemplative Outreach Chicago permission to use your image and voice in the recording in the event you are recorded during the workshop.  If you do not wish to appear on the recording, please stop your video during the workshop.

Registration prices:

Recommended contribution - $50 (Your donation helps to defray the costs of presenting this workshop.)

Sponsorship contribution - $100 (For those who would like to make an additional contribution to the ongoing work of Contemplative Outreach.)

Scholarships are available – all are welcome. (Please contact the registrar.)

The Zoom link and any additional pre-workshop materials will be emailed to you by Noon (Central) on May 12th.

Registration closes at Noon (Central) on May 12th.

Software Platform

Zoom for Windows, Mac, or mobile device; minimum recommended network bandwidth 1.5 Mbps. Please download Zoom for free at zoom.us/download, and test your connection at zoom.us/test.


Please email registrar@centeringprayerchicago.org if you have any questions.

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