Our Mission

The Center for Courage & Renewal exists to nurture deep integrity and relational trust, building the foundation for a more loving, equitable, and healthy world.

What we do

Through Circle of Trust retreats and other programs rooted in the Courage & Renewal approach…

…we nurture supportive communities of reflection and practice to help people come alive with a renewed sense of purpose, build trustworthy relationships, and cultivate the courage to rise to today’s challenges, making a difference within themselves and their communities.

Why we do it

While the forces of exhaustion, loneliness, violence, and injustice are real and undeniable, so are the powers of human authenticity, generosity, courage, and community that rise up to meet them.

Whatever personal or societal challenges we face, the resources we need to transform our lives and the world can always be found within us and between us – in the human heart and in community. When we fully embrace the genuine within ourselves and honor the inherent worth and dignity of every being, we unleash the power to build a better world.

The source of our integrity – the genuine within us – goes by many names: soul, true self, inner light, identity. When we connect with that part of ourselves and celebrate it in others, we gain a clearer understanding of who we truly are, why we’re here, and the gifts we bring to the world individually and collectively.

When we show up in our homes, relationships, workplaces, communities, and ecosystems rooted in our own integrity and with a deep bow to human dignity, we inspire hope in those around us and foster the relational trust and stamina we need to keep moving, step by step, toward a more loving, equitable, and healthy world.

Our History

In 1997, Parker J. Palmer with Marcy Jackson and Rick Jackson founded what would become the Center for Courage & Renewal.

First known as the Center for Teacher Formation, our organization began as a program within the Fetzer Institute. Courage to Teach became the premier program helping teachers connect soul with role, rekindling their passion for educating the whole student.

As our approach grew more popular within the teaching profession and other social sectors, the Center for Courage & Renewal was established as an independent nonprofit in 2003 to create programs and immersive Circle of Trust retreats for people in education, healthcare, ministry, nonprofits, activism, business, and anyone yearning to become more authentic and whole.

Core values

We choose

Integrity

Living and working with integrity requires us to develop greater congruence between our inner and outer selves, to live less divided lives. To move towards such wholeness we must become more self-aware and accepting of our gifts and strengths as well as our shadows and limits.

We choose

Authenticity

When we “show up” as whole people and act authentically, those with whom we live and work are more willing to trust us in relationship and leadership. This can lead to transformed workplaces and organizations.

We choose

Diversity

Diversity is a deeply valued source of strength, richness, and wisdom for us and for the communities in which we live and work. The capacity to welcome and make space for diverse voices and multiple perspectives is critical to the creation of circles of trust, and to the healing and wholeness needed in our world.

We choose

Community

As we do “inner work,” we are not simply focusing inwardly on ourselves. Rather, we become more aware of the fabric of our connectedness with others in our families, workplaces, and communities. This results in an ongoing sense of responsibility and stewardship of the people and concerns that most matter to us.

We choose

Courage

For people whose vocation is serving others, courage is needed to persevere and be “whole-hearted” in the often overwhelming circumstances in which we are trying to make a difference—whether that be in the life of a child, patient, congregation, or community.

We choose

Love

Our work is grounded in love, by which we mean the capacity to extend ourselves for the sake of another person’s growth. Our work in community stretches us to understand, respect, and support each other, teaching us why learning to love is one of the most demanding disciplines we can choose.

We choose

Hope

Hope is believing and acting on our finest and most dearly held dreams, persisting even when the odds are against them. In the midst of the despair and brokenheartedness experienced by so many in our world today, our work engenders hope for people to live purposeful lives, do meaningful work, and make contributions to succeeding generations.

We choose

Renewal

Just as we experience nature’s cycle of renewal through the seasons, so we experience natural cycles of engagement and withdrawal, love and loss, creativity and despair in our personal lives and work. When we take time to slow down, quiet ourselves and reflect, to renew ourselves, and recall our commitments, important changes can happen within us and around us. As we are renewed, we in turn can contribute to the renewal of our professions, workplaces, communities, and ecosystems.

Community

Join our

Community of Support

Coming soon: As we near the close of 2022, we look forward to welcoming anyone to become a member of the Center for Courage & Renewal. Through our new community platform, you’ll be able to connect with other CCR members from around the world to help deepen your practice, share stories, nurture belonging, and learn from the ways others are bringing our approach into their lives.