53 Mill Street, Westfield, MA 01085 • 413.562.3627
Event:**VIRTUAL** Book Club - An Altar in the World
Dates: Starts on November 1st, 2021 and occurs every week on Mondays until November 22nd, 2021.


Virtual Book Club

An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith by Barbara Brown Taylor

Zoom gatherings take place on Mondays, November 1, 8, 15, and 22, from 10:30 – 11:30am.

During the first session we will discuss chapters 1-3.

Cost: $60 

Discover, or re-discover, this modern classic in light of our ever-expanding search for the Holy in a complex world.  Acclaimed author and pastor, Barbara Brown Taylor, recounts her own spiritual journey and how she learned to find God beyond the church walls by embracing the sacred as a natural part of everyday life.  Through her guidance and delicate, thought-provoking prose, we awaken to the sacred all around us and discover there are altars everywhere. These discoveries enable us to live with purpose and develop an entirely new relationship with the Divine.


Praise for An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith, by Barbara Brown Taylor.

 “This is the most completely beautiful book in religion that I have read in a very long time. Gentle, humbly crafted, lyrical, and deeply wise, Altar is Barbara Brown Taylor as she was meant to be, a pastor who understands that knowing God occurs in a place beyond theology.” -- Phyllis Tickle, author of The Great Emergence

“This book is the most practical but everyday mystical book I have read on spiritual practices.” -- Kate Campbell, singer-songwriter

“Taylor writes fluently, with an eye and ear for the striking image and memorable phrase. Many readers, especially the vast numbers of the “unchurched” but “spiritual,” will find support and useful counsel.” -- Library Journal

“Taylor’s spiritual reflections are original, bringing fresh air to her topics because her spirituality is steeped in everyday life while illuminated by the ancient Christian spiritual tradition.” -- National Catholic Reporter

“She’s deliberately exploring the turf where our feet hit the floorboards each morning - and where the day takes us into the world. Even if you’re not a Christian, you’ll find a wise friend in Barbara’s book.” -- Read the Spirit
“Without denigrating altars in churches, Brown helps us discover and honor all the ‘altars in the world’--the red Xs that mark the spot, but that we cannot see because we are standing on them. She does so with a depth that readers will appreciate and savor.” -- ?U.S. Catholic

“Overall… if one can read Taylor’s insights reflectively, with an eye toward Scripture, Altar will serve as a refreshing reminder that the physical world is designed to help us experience the spiritual one.” -- ChristianityToday.com



Facilitated by Jo Ann Bourquard


Jo Ann Bourquard is a seasoned spiritual director who believes that spiritual companioning is a means of healing the soul and, ultimately, the world.  She holds the belief that “an unreflected life is not worth living” and that sharing our life story with one who is trained to listen deeply is a path toward personal growth and connection with the Divine.
JoAnn is a retreat director and workshop facilitator. She has a particular interest in journaling and using literature as a means of awakening the soul. With a Master’s Degree in Spirituality and a certificate in Women’s Leadership, JoAnn is a Supervisor to those in formation to become spiritual directors and trains other supervisors. She especially connects with nature as a way into deeper contemplation and joy. She is also experienced in teaching the Enneagram.
JoAnn presents a range of programs throughout the Northeast and is involved in the spiritual discernment process with individuals and groups in transition. She accompanies people of all faiths, including those seeking but not identifying with a particular tradition. She has accompanied men and women with serious illnesses, those who are dying, and people dealing with grief and loss of all types.

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How many are your works, O Lord! In wisdom you made them all, the earth is full of your creatures. There is the sea, vast and spacious teeming with creatures beyond number- living things both large and small.
- Psalm 104:24-25