On Monday, September 14th, Professor Frank Rogers was invited to guide an ecumenical group, consisting largely of Lutherans and Episcopalians – both clergy and laity, through an abbreviated version of his 12-week curriculum on practicing Radical Compassion. Twenty-seven people traveled from around Southern California for the four-hour session, which was hosted by the Program Group for Ecumenical and Interreligious Life of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles at the Cathedral Center of St. Paul in Echo Park. The event was organized by the Program Group in response to a resolution passed at the last annual convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles in support of joining the international Charter for Compassion.
“There’s a lot of mad in the world,” Rogers told attendees at the start of the morning session. “In the midst of all the mad there’s a music. There’s a sacred song that flows from the source of God, moving in time with the divine. The essence of that song in every religious tradition is compassion.”
Over the next few hours Rogers, the Muriel Bernice Roberts Professor of Spiritual Formation and Narrative Pedagogy at CST, explained the roots of compassion in the Christian tradition and led participants through meditative exercises to cultivate compassion in their own lives. Prof. Rogers illustrated each set of teachings and practices with a vivid story from his own struggles to live more compassionately.
“The three separate ideas of compassion for the divine, compassion for oneself, and compassion for the neighbor presented by Professor Rogers helped participants to actually practice becoming more compassionate people,” said The Rt. Rev. Mary Glasspool, Bishop Suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles who took part in the event.
One participant seconded Bishop Glasspool’s sentiment remarking, “If we could get everyone to participate in one simple workshop like this, the world would be a more compassionate place!”