John Philip Newell helps religious people find new peace through the traditions of European Christianity.
Newell, a Church of Scotland minister, is a much in-demand retreat leader and is the companion theologian for the American Spirituality Center of Casa del Sol at Ghost Ranch, Abiquiu, N.M.
On Friday, he will be at Christ Church Cathedral on Market Street for three days with a program called "A New Harmony: The Spirit, the Earth, and the Human Soul, Seeking Balance in Our Lives."
Newell's books include: Listening for the Heartbeat of God (Paulist Press, $10.95), Celtic Prayer from Iona: The Heart of Celtic Spirituality (Paulist Press, $14.95) and Christ of the Celts: The Healing of Creation (Jossey-Bass, $19.95).
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In 2011, he began a project called Praying for Peace, in which Newell prayed and chanted for peace in more than 25 locations in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.
The benefit to participants of his seminars is that they "can provide new vision through teaching, further experience through shared meditation, and more illumination through hearing from one another in small groups and plenary sessions," Newell said in an email.
"Sometimes on our own we can lose spiritual focus in our lives and begin to lack clarity about how to translate our spirituality and beliefs into action," Newell said. "A group event can help resharpen our focus and strengthen our commitment to transformative action in our lives and world."
The Newell visit, a collaboration between the Episcopal diocese and Christ Church Cathedral, is an exploration of the connection Newell's teachings offer among worship, meditation and peace.
Elizabeth Conrad, minister of Christian formation at Christ Church Cathedral, said Newell's teachings bridge the gap between various faith journeys.
"There's so much in our culture that separates us, different religions, different ethnicities, and he sees that really the essence that can bring us together is unison rather than separation," Conrad said. "It doesn't mean that we aren't strong in what we believe ... but that we see the truth in the other."
Newell hopes participants "will take away a clearer perception of the sacredness of life and a realization that they carry within themselves the beauty of the image of God." He also hopes "they will experience a deeper strength within themselves to face the brokenness of the world and of their families and communities."