A Q & A with Katherine Flahive, founder of Spirituality Across Horizons
Spiritual matters resonated with me. Growing up a daughter of a Lutheran pastor, it didn’t take long for me to develop contemplative spiritual practices to see God in all things. At the two-year Spiritual Formation Program through Benet Hill Monastery, I met five students from Iliff. At the start of the course, I had no interest in pursuing a second master’s degree. Little did I know that the IIiff students in my program had an influence that impacted me months later!
In November of 2011, our son, a junior in college died tragically in a drowning accident while studying abroad in Chile. He was 20 years old. While this was one of the worst losses in my life, it provided me the opportunity to learn more about myself, and how to help other people who suffer grief and loss. No one escapes this life without losing loved ones. This was as good place to be and I found community there at Iliff.
Iliff’s reputation and flexibility attracted me. It was the welcome feeling of belonging even in my uncertainty. I just took classes, not really knowing what I was going to do. The inclusivity, openness to difference and opportunity to learn from others from diverse backgrounds helped me appreciate the many different lens and perspectives that others bring to the Iliff community. The diversity and various faith backgrounds contribute to a rich and deep learning experience as I became more aware of my own values, beliefs and faith practices. I don’t believe I would have obtained that rich perspective from a seminary of a particular denomination.
What was your Iliff experience like?
Iliff helped me take my personal experiences and perspectives to the next level. During my Clinical Pastoral Education, I regularly visited a retired pastor who had cancer of his eyes and lost both eyes. He called himself “the blind guy.” In our visits, he shared with me his views and actions of protesting injustices in this culture that often landed him in jail. His stories fascinated me. Spending time with him lead me to question my own beliefs, values and what I’m willing to do to actively stand up for others and what’s right.
One of my Iliff friends is a drag queen and I have watched performances. I don’t believe I would’ve had the opportunity to meet this special friend had I not attended Iliff. I have learned to love people on the inside no matter what their physical appearances represent. I respect difference and encourage transparency and authenticity.
Did any specific class or professor give you a new vantage point about the work that you do now?
In sharing my desire to offer retreats and workshops to the community with Professor Larry Graham before his death, he encouraged me to pursue workshops for those wounded by their church of origin or church of choice.
I promised Larry that I would create workshops to the community to continue his work and legacy. Professor Dr. Carrie Doehring has been helpful in guiding me in the development of a workshop to help people connect with their body and working through their disconnections and wounded souls.
My supervision group for internship with Professor Bonita Boch also provided me with a deeply enriching experience. We have a close group that continues to stay connected.
What did your time at Iliff teach you about this new organization? How did it help you?
In one or more of the seven Anglican studies classes I took at Iliff (yes I actually took seven), Professor Greg Robbins used the phrase, “Mind the Gap!” While he used the phrase to refer to Anglican history and tradition, seeing gaps present in our community is an opportunity for growth and wholeness.
Two “gaps” in the community that speak to me include:
Responding to the needs of people who have been spiritually and morally wounded by their church of origin or church of choice.
Connecting on a deeper spiritual level with those in the community that are not affiliated with a religious institution, specifically millennials. Connecting with this generation requires creativity and perseverance in finding ways to build bridges in unconventional ways.
What can you tell us about Spirituality Across Horizon?
Spirituality Across Horizons was created to respond to the need and desire for young adults to learn and become aware of their own spiritual journey. We offer classes and workshops that focus on being authentic and becoming self-aware on a deeper spiritual level. Through awareness and self-discovery, participants are encouraged to find meaning in their lives. We offer a compassionate heart and focus on goodness, meaningful relationships and love. We are bridge builders forming relationships that foster heart connection between generations recognizing that we all have much to learn from one another. Spirituality matters!
We provide opportunities for spiritual presence and reflection as we learn reflective spiritual practices. This slowing down process encourages connection with the heart, mind and body that can lead to the action of love and peace in this world. We’re open and affirming regardless of gender or sexual orientation. We connect with those who may or may not be affiliated with a religious organization and embrace whoever you are, knowing you have much to contribute in this world. Spirituality matters! Visit us at https://www.spiritualityacrosshorizons.org/