What is Virtual Council?
Illuman has been working to address these issues of connection by conducting Council Circles online—what we’ve been calling Virtual Men’s Council Circles. We use an Internet video conferencing system (Zoom) to connect with one another from anywhere in the world. These virtual Councils are conducted in much the same manner as in-person Councils would be: with an opportunity for some grounded contemplative time, some reflective readings or poetry, and some time wrestling together with challenging prompts. We typically break the larger group into smaller Councils of four to eight men, so that everyone has plenty of time to respond and be present to one another.
While it may seem a bit incongruous at first to look to technology to help us connect with others, we’ve all been positively surprised to see how quickly the technology can fade into the background and facilitate deep connection. These Virtual Councils aren’t meant to be a replacement for gathering face-to-face, but rather a supplement. It is an amazing gift to have the opportunity to connect with men around the world, in addition to the other times with local brothers. Be sure to check out the ZOOM Training Videos if you want to learn more about the software we are using.
Virtual Council Meeting Times
Wherever in the world you may find yourself, please join us! The Virtual Councils currently take place at the following days and times listed below. Note that Eastern Daylight Time is GMT-5, and Pacific Daylight Time is GMT-8.
Virtual Way of Council // Training Sessions
In addition, we now have Virtual Council Training Sessions. This is an experiential program where men will have an opportunity to learn the Illuman Way of Council from an experienced Council Carrier. These sessions will help men learn about the components of Council and aid them in their practice. The format of each session will include a brief teaching about Council, with question and answers, and an opportunity to participate in Council with other men on the journey. Our goal is to expand the use of Council, as it is the cornerstone practice for the Journey of Illumination. These sessions are held on the first Saturday of the month.
What Virtual Council Means to Me
To get a feel for the benefits of Virtual Council, we invite you to watch a video of men expressing their gratitude for Virtual Council and how it supports their spiritual journey (20 minutes). The video features the voices of twenty Illuman men, who share the impact Illuman Council Practice is having on their lives. It closes with words from Fr. Richard Rohr on the challenges that initiated men face after returning home from the MROP experience.
Also, we recognize that Saturday mornings don’t necessarily work well for everyone, so we’re working to establish additional days and times—we’ll hopefully have additional weekday evening options soon. If you want to join a Virtual Council Circle but those times don’t work for you, please let us know what you prefer by emailing Brad Pickel. Also, please email Brad if you would like to be added to our contact list for future correspondence about the Virtual Council Circle Program.
What does Virtual Council look like?
Some of the men deeply involved in Virtual Councils made a video to demonstrate the practice. Take a quick glance at the video to see how this sacred practice plays out in the digital and virtual realm.
Learn more about ZOOM, the software we use for Virtual Council Circles, and download it here! Zoom provides remote conferencing services using cloud computing and is a downloadable communications software that combines video conferencing, online meetings, chat, and mobile collaboration.