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Genesis and the Story of Names: Sacred Center, Creating Space, and the Sacred Art of Living

I was thinking that many of you may be unfamiliar with the genesis of our programs and the different names for the websites, so here is an abridged version of the story:

Several years ago, my husband John and I dreamed of an urban retreat center, a place in the city folks could come to at lunch or after work for spiritual renewal, easily accessible so that people didn’t have to travel out of town for retreat.We came up with the name “Sacred Center” because we liked the double-meaning, it could refer to the physical space itself, but also refers to the sacred center we all carry within us wherever we go.

While working on my PhD in Christian spirituality at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, I met Amy Wyatt. We taught a couple of classes together and became friends and quickly discovered a mutual passion for the arts and creativity. We applied for a grant that funded a class we taught there called “Creativity and Christian Spirituality.” The experience really affirmed our vision. This initial idea of an urban retreat center was quickly becoming a vision of a space to nurture the connections between spirituality and the arts. We applied for our nonprofit status from the IRS which was granted.In 2002, John and I took a vacation up to Seattle to visit Amy (who commutes to
Berkeley for her program) and both fell in love with the city immediately. We were finishing up our respective graduate school programs the following year and decided to work toward a move to the Northwest in 2003.

The first couple of years here I did a lot of networking. I was warmly welcomed by Seattle residents and people kept giving me the names of more and more folks who might be interested in our vision. During this time we decided as a board to choose a name that more clearly reflected our mission, and out of long discussions we decided on “Creating Space” as a way of reflecting again the double meaning of making a physical space for creativity, as well as creating an internal space for the creative process to flourish. We created a new website for the new name, and I decided to keep the Sacred Center name to describe the teaching and spiritual direction work that I do, some of which falls under Creating Space, and some of which I do for other places and programs.

Fall of 2005 we launched two main programs: the Monthly Gatherings and the Awakening the Creative Spirit program for spiritual directors. This year has been wonderful and we have connected with an amazing community of people passionate about exploring spirituality, creativity, and the arts and helped to provide space and support to nourish this.After a wonderful year we are taking a break for the summer. “The Sacred Art of Living” Blog was launched as a way to continue conversation and reflection on creativity and spirituality and I hope you will visit often. The name is meant to encourage us to look at all of our lives as an arena for creative expression. The arts help us to practice this, but ultimately creativity is not limited to the arts, but shapes our relationships, our work, our play. Our lives can be crafted into great works of art.

~Christine Valters Paintner

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2 Responses

  1. Cynthia, Thanks for your welcoming and gracious comments! It has been a great pleasure having your participation in our programs this year and I look forward to another year of deepening and building this wonderful community.
    Blessings to you,

  2. Just visited the new, hot off the press blog. Being a part of the events this past year has been a great blessing for me. Reading the history, vision and understanding of creativity, spirituality and life in the blog and web site is an inspiration!
    With Shalom and Many Blessings,
    Cynthia Gayle