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Dec 09, 2014

Hines Center to Open in Fall 2015


[Christ Church Cathedral] The Vestry of Christ Church Cathedral is pleased to announce the approval of the Bishop John E. Hines Center for Spirituality & Prayer.


Named to honor the legacy of the former Christ Church rector, later the fourth Bishop of Texas and 22nd Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, the Hines Center’s mission is as follows: “The Bishop John E. Hines Center for Spirituality & Prayer seeks to facilitate knowledge of and relationship with God by nurturing the spirituality of Cathedral parishioners and those who live and work in downtown Houston through spiritual practices, prayer, and opportunities for both Christian and interfaith lecture and conversation.”


The Hines Center will offer physical practices that support spiritual growth and appeal to a large cross-section of individuals coming from a broad spectrum of Christian faith. Such physical practices will include a labyrinth, sacred movement, yoga, and more.


Additionally, the Hines Center will offer contemplative practices such as contemplative prayer, meditative visual art including icon writing, one-on-one spiritual direction, interfaith lectures, and film studies.


Dean Thompson remarked, “Just as The Beacon feeds hungry bodies in downtown Houston, the Hines Center will feed hungry souls.”


The Hines Center is a major initiative of the Cathedral’s Vision Action Plan, “A Future Filled with Hope.” It was conceived through last year’s visioning process. The vestry approved the idea of a spirituality center in January and announced it to the parish in March, and a Spirituality Center Task Force spent the past eight months studying the feasibility of such a center. The task force consists of Wayne Clawater (chair), Karen Alston, Ken Brown, Justin DiLauro, Kaki Grubbs, Kay Pieringer, Flo Ray, and Dean Thompson.


Working with consulting firm Firestarter, the task force conducted Cathedral focus groups and surveys, which reaffirmed the Cathedral congregation’s desire for spiritual practices and spiritual formation. Eighty-five percent of those responding indicated that they are interested in learning about ancient spiritual practices as means of connecting with God.


Furthermore, within the next several years more than four thousand new residents will move into downtown Houston. Many of these will be “Millennials” age 20–35, a demographic who increasingly seek spiritual nourishment through spiritual practices other than traditional worship. The Hines Center will be designed with them in mind.


Of the Hines Center, task force chair Wayne Clawater said, “The Hines Center will be an aesthetically and functionally beautiful space. The boundless level of enthusiasm, sense of purpose, and dedication of everyone who has been involved in the Center’s development has been inspirational in its own right, and is reflective of the Hines Center’s awesome potential. The Hines Center will be a wonderful legacy of the Cathedral and yet another example of how God is in the midst of the city.”


The Hines Center will be located adjacent to the Cathedral in the Episcopal Health Foundation Building (formerly the Wilson Printing Building) at the corner of Fannin and Prairie. The Episcopal Health Foundation (EHF) occupies the upper floors of the building, and the Hines Center will occupy the first floor and mezzanine level. Ziegler Cooper Architects will design the space.


The Hines Center will operate on both a membership and fee-per-class basis, and revenues are projected to match expenses by year three of operation. Money will be set aside both to cover the first two years’ projected operating deficits as well as six months’ cash operating reserves.


Total capital funding for the Hines Center, including all operating reserves, comes to $2.4 million, and all funds have already been secured. EHF is a ready and supportive partner for the Hines Center, recognizing that the center’s mission and EHF’s mission complement one another; the Hines Center will be a major tenant in the EHF Building. In keeping with precedent for Cathedral capital projects, the Cathedral’s Endowment is also supporting the creation of the Center. Finally, Cathedral parishioner Nancy Powell Moore is a major benefactor for the Hines Center and even proposed the center’s name to honor the memory of Bishop Hines.


At the Dean’s Forum at 10 a.m. on Sunday, December 14, Dean Thompson will present the Hines Center plans to the congregation. The Hines Center is scheduled to open in the fall of 2015.