In reflecting upon my periodic contact with the Genesis Center over many years what most strikes me is the distinctive, even unique, role the Center plays in addressing religious, spiritual and secular needs within the Greater Westfield community. At one time or another I have approached Genesis to facilitate or host a parenting workshop, an 8-week secular mindfulness-based stress reduction course, an all-day retreat for the staff of a local elementary school, and a free ongoing bi-weekly meditation group. The Center’s willingness to support each of these services is a small reflection - a microcosm, if you will- of the wide range of spiritual and secular services they offer throughout the year.
In recent years, as I’ve worked more closely with the nuns and staff I feel particularly grateful for their truly ecumenical and open-minded spirit. Their Center welcomes individuals of all faiths and no faith to experience activities and programs that nurture the body, mind and spirit. A brief glance at their semi-annual brochure will attest to the breadth of their Catholic, Christian and other spiritual retreats and programs along with a variety of yoga classes, AA services and other healing and health-oriented offerings.
Having lived in the area for nearly 40 years, I can confidently say there is no other facility in the Westfield area that hosts such a combination of religious, spiritual and secular health and wellness services. Every community needs and deserves such services, but not every community has a facility like Genesis to provide them. It is my understanding that such retreat centers tend to exist all too near a financial razor’s edge. I sincerely hope, for the well-being of our community, that Genesis will continue to find creative ways to maintain its financial sustainability long into the future.
John leads the 8-week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction series at Genesis, and coordinates and leads the
Westfield Meditation Group bi-weekly gathering.