Sacred Circles

Love in Action 2009

Friday, February 13, and Saturday, February 14, 2009
Washington National Cathedral

The simplicity of love is to do it.
Come strengthen your ability to love in this era of possibility.

Download Sacred Circles brochure

Friday Evening Plenary Presentation

Practical Compassion


Karen Armstrong

What will heal human society? How will we end the clash of religions or solve the crucial problems of poverty, climate change, and the rest? Karen Armstrong, author of more than 20 books on the world’s religions, articulates the primary solution.

Millions admire Armstrong’s personal and scholarly understanding of the major faiths. She identifies compassion as a core value in all the world’s religions, expressed as the Golden Rule: that which is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor.

“We are torn apart as never before but we are also pulled together in our global village,” she says. “We must implement this universal principle globally. If you practice the Golden Rule all day, every day, you will experience enlightenment. But you must go back to the marketplace and there practice compassion of all living beings.”

Armstrong is the 2008 TED prize winner whose goal of a Global Charter of Compassion will advance this healing imperative. Recharge your spirit and intellect for the work ahead.

Friday Evening Plenary Presentation

Love's Power


Sakena Yacoobi

When faced with the provocation to act from fear or anger, how do we choose love instead? Confronted with the daily trials of war-torn Afghanistan, Sakena Yacoobi says, “My work is all about love—love for my country, love for the women and the men.”

Yacoobi is a driving heart of change in her ravaged country, serving more than 350,000 young girls and women with education and healthcare. At a Christian graduate school in the U.S., she witnessed students’ faith inspire social justice action. Recommitting to Islam, she returned to Afghanistan to empower women and children with the very source used to oppress them—the Koran. “If the Taliban can use it, so can I,” Yacoobi says.

Hers is the dynamism of love in action—what is possible for any of us at the edge of conflict today.

Let her story re-ignite your aspirations to serve and heal your own community—be it local or global.

Friday Evening Plenary Presentation

Coral Cantigas


with Diana Sáez & Cecilia Esquivel

“Music has the power to build bridges of understanding among people,” says Coral Cantigas Director Diana Sáez. She knows whereof she speaks. The Latina women in this choral group come from all over the Americas. Using a variety of languages and dialects, their fiery blend of song and musical culture weaves a great tapestry of diversity.

This interactive concert will celebrate our collective spirit through the sounds and rhythms of Latin America. Cecilia Esquivel of Argentina and Diana Sáez of Puerto Rico invite us to join in bringing this music alive in a vocal expression of our Sacred Circles community.

Experience the power of the heart in this fusion of song, rhythm, and chant.

Saturday Plenary Presentation

Awakening Spiritual Intelligence


Elizabeth Lesser, with musical guest appearance by Karnamrita Devi Dasi

“It’s time to trust the wisdom of our hearts and the genius of our souls,” says Elizabeth Lesser, co-founder of Omega Institute, a top holistic learning center.

As the traditionally feminine values of nurture and empathy are proving essential for leadership, so too our understanding of human intelligence is expanding to include emotional and spiritual intelligences. Lesser calls us to trust these inclusive and healing powers, to elevate them in our work, our families, and in the solving of national and global problems.

“Let’s stand up for a world where every child is taught and every adult knows how to communicate well, handle conflict, cultivate happiness, grieve loss, and give and get love,” says Lesser.

Author of Broken Open and The Seeker’s Guide, Lesser recently created the Women’s Institute at Omega and assisted Oprah Winfrey in guiding the online educational seminar with Eckhart Tolle, which drew two million participants. Her sister-teacher rallying cry will fill our hearts this Valentine’s Day morning.

Saturday Plenary Presentation

Making the "Beloved Community" Real


Joan Brown Campbell

From her days as a young mother persuading the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to preach at her white Cleveland church (then persuading the church to invite him!), to raising a daughter to be that city’s first woman mayor, to serving as a presidential election monitor for Nelson Mandela, the Rev. Dr. Joan Brown Campbell has manifested King’s dream of the “beloved community” throughout her life.

She says, “If we are to love our neighbor as ourselves, we must expand this idea to understand that our neighbor lives next door to us around the world.”

A grandmother of eight, Campbell continues vigorously to exercise her Christian faith at the Chautauqua Institution and the Global Peace Initiative of Women. This Valentine’s Day she reminds us of the distance love’s power has come and heralds the future from the perspective of a wise elder.

Saturday Plenary Presentation

A Green Valentine for the Future


Tanya Fields

Imagine a life-sustaining and thriving economic system. Toxic manufacturing, wasteful consumption, and hazardous disposal: consigned to history. Possible? “Yes,” we say, “and practical.”

Majora Carter is unable to be with us as expected at Sacred Circles. We are excited to feature two dynamic young women leaders in her stead. Tanya Fields will deliver the keynote (and Kari Fulton will lead the Saturday morning workshop).

Prior to joining the Majora Carter Group, Tanya Fields was the community outreach coordinator at Sustainable South Bronx (SSBx), and a volunteer member at “Mothers On the Move,” another social justice organization in the South Bronx, where she worked closely with leaders on the Environmental Justice committee. A powerful spokesperson for urban environmental issues who has made numerous TV and print appearances in support of the mission goals she shares with Majora Carter, Fields is one of the next generation of leaders to watch.

Saturday Plenary Presentation

Singing the Heart Resilient


Beth Nielsen Chapman

“The heart is an accordion,” says Beth Nielsen Chapman, a Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter whose own heart has been crushed more than once. At 36, she lost her husband to cancer then faced her own battle with breast cancer. “I’ve shaken my fist at the sky,” she laughs, “but my faith is in hope. My heart keeps opening up. That’s one of the great things about love.”

Beth’s closing concert will lift us up and into the “human family songbook.” Join Chapman as she explores musical traditions ranging from a favorite Zulu hymn of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, to an ancient Gaelic hymn, to a classic Persian melody.

Let us close this gathering in song and “shine all our light in the sun.”

Parking at the Cathedral

Parking in the Cathedral’s underground garage is free Sundays, 6 am–11 pm. Learn more about parking options for individuals and groups.