Living in an Icon Facilitator Guide

A Program for Growing Closer to Creation and to God

Jerry Cappel and Robert Gottfried

Aug/2019, 64 Pages, PAPER, 5.5 x 8.5

ISBN-13: 9781640652385



Helps bridge the gap between love of God and love of nature

This Facilitator Guide offers a framework for using Living in an Icon as a series of exercises and community building practices for small groups in various settings, from weekend retreats or study series, to a 21-week extended practice. Accompanies the Living in an Icon book.

ROBERT GOTTFRIED directs the Center for Religion and Environment at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, and coordinates its “Contemplation and Care for Creation” program, which combines theology, ecology and social science. For twenty years, he has introduced people to the Christian practice of nature contemplation. Visit

Jerry Cappel is an ordained Episcopal priest in the Diocese of Kentucky, currently serving as the Environmental Network Coordinator for Province IV of the Episcopal Church. He serves on the board of the Center for Religion and the Environment at the University of the South and as a fellow with GreenFaith.


The Exercises of Living in an Icon

Journey One: Waking Up

Journey Two: The Road to Kinship

Journey Three: Encountering the Burning Bush

Running a Living in an Icon Program

Appendix A: A Discussion Covenant

Appendix B: A Primer on Asceticism and natural Contemplation

Appendix C: Suggested Further Reading

"This is a beautiful book. Reading it is like climbing to the top of tree and looking out at the wondrous radiance of life. It is simple and yet profound, drawing the reader to reflect, gaze and wonder, for in each moment of life, God is shining through."
––Ilia Delio, OSF, Connelly Chair in Christian Theology, Villanova University

"Living in an Icon is a must read! It opened me up in new ways to the beauty of creation and the wonder of being in a loving relationship with God and others, through deeply experiencing God's creation personally."
––Connie Hanson, Director of Christians Caring for Creation, Pasadena, California

"Through a disciplined program of spiritual instruction, Gottfried and Krueger show us how to open God's books of nature and scripture together. Those who wish for a deeper connection with the source of life will find new hope and energy in this book."
––Rev. Dr. Owen Owens, co-chair of the National Religious Coalition of Creation Care

"Living in an Icon: A Program for Growing Closer to Creation and to God is an extremely well written and highly accessible book about spirituality for both beginners and those with more advanced experience in the area of spirituality. The authors lay out a clear and detailed program for developing spiritual practices in line with the ancient Christian tradition and established theological foundations. Living in an Icon presents clear, precise, and accurate instructions on the timeless Christian practices of meditation and contemplation, as well as step-by-step directions on how to engage the natural world as a means of discovering the divine presence in the God's created order. By teaching us to engage ordinary experience and the natural environment with a deep sense of mystery and awe the authors succeed in demonstrating how the spiritual practices and attitudes once the exclusive domain of monks and hermits can be translated into the daily lives or ordinary believers. Designed for both individuals and small communities (there is a separate handbook for group facilitators or retreat guides) this work provides a welcome resource for all those who are interested in awakening their own spiritual lives, continuing to deepen their own journey, or are working with others on developing and deepening theirs."
––Fr. John Markey, Professor of Theology and Director of the PhD in Spirituality Program at Oblate School of Theology

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  • Monastic
  • spirituality
  • creation
  • nature
  • environment
  • contemplation
  • study groups

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