Mission, History, Vision and Practice

The Empty Bell was founded in 1994 in Watertown, Mass., and moved to Northampton, Mass. in 2005.  The Empty Bell is a sanctuary for the study and practice of Christian meditation and prayer, giving special attention to the Christian-Buddhist dialogue.  Our purpose is to learn the history and practice of the Christian contemplative path as it is rooted in the Hebrew and Christian scriptures, and to explore its common ground with other faiths.  We cultivate artistic expressions of spiritual insight, and seek ways to embody these insights in compassionate social, environmental and political action.

For over twelve years, the Empty Bell has provided both a physical space for meditation and an inspiration for discussion and contemplation. While the space is now available by invitation only, public workshops are offered by Empty Bell founder Robert A. Jonas throughout Massachusetts.

The Spiritual Vision
The core of the Empty Bell vision of spirituality is drawn from mainstream Christianity and is based on Hebrew and Christian scriptures, the contemplative theological tradition, the writings of many Christian saints, and the ongoing inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

What We Do
Since the Empty Bell moved to Northampton in 2005, most of our retreats have been offered in area churches. No matter where we gather under the umbrella of the Empty Bell, the basic elements of an Empty Bell gathering include:
Vocal Prayer

Principles of Sharing
Sll gatherings at the Empty Bell include silence, and individual sharing in the group.  In this society, such opportunities are rare, precious, and fragile.  Over time, we have found that this kind of "holy conversation" is most fruitful when certain principles of understanding and behavior are followed.

images © Robert Jonas