Adam Bucko: Silence, Sacred Activism, and the Spiritual Imagination (Part One)

In the summer of 2019, the Reverend Adam Bucko was appointed as a Minor Canon at the Episcopal Cathedral of the Incarnation in Garden City, NY, where he serves as the director of the Center for the Spiritual Imagination. Although he is a newly ordained Episcopal priest, Adam has been a prominent figure in new monastic and contemplative Christian circles for some time now.

Before going to seminary, he was an activist and spiritual director to New York City’s homeless youth. He is the co-author of two books, Occupy Spirituality: A Radical Vision for a New Generation (with Matthew Fox), and The New Monasticism: A Manifesto for Contemplative Living (with Rory McEntee).

What was my contemplative practice? My contemplative practice was to become aware of everything that was alive in me, both the joys, the heartbreaks, you name it… simply gather that, bring it to God, and sit there in a state of receptivity and listening, inviting God to hold me. And just sitting there in a state of curious not-knowing, consenting to whatever work God wanted to do in my life. — Adam Bucko

Adam grew up in Poland during the totalitarian regime, where he explored the anarchist youth movement as a force for social and political change. After emigrating to the US at 17, his desire to lead a meaningful life sent him to monasteries in the US and India. His life-defining experience took place in India, where a brief encounter with a homeless child led him to the “Ashram of the Poor” where he began his work with homeless youth.

I remember as a kid, just being enveloped by this Loving Presence, and it felt like, even though everything around me was falling apart, nonetheless there was this something, almost like a motherly presence, that is holding me, and therefore it’s okay for me to be here, to be alive, and to continue with my life… — Adam Bucko

Upon returning to the US, Adam worked with homeless youth in cities around the country. He co-founded The Reciprocity Foundation, an award winning nonprofit dedicated to transforming the lives of New York City’s homeless youth. Additionally, Adam established HAB, an ecumenical and inter-spiritual contemplative fellowship for young people which offers formation in radical spirituality and sacred activism.

I went to India to get out of this world, but I was brought back into it — especially into the world of pain; and that was a huge gift, it changed my life and it allowed me to work with my own pain, my own trauma. — Adam Bucko

Adam speaks movingly about growing up in the repressive society of totalitarian Poland (where priests he knew were killed by the government), and then discovering contemplative practice through Hindu spirituality, before discerning a call to integrate his spiritual life with a commitment to social justice and sacred activism.

To learn more about Adam, visit

Some of the resources and authors we mention in this episode:

Episode 77: Silence, Sacred Activism, and the Spiritual Imagination: A Conversation with Adam Bucko (Part One)
Hosted by: Cassidy Hall
With: Carl McColman, Kevin Johnson
Guest: Adam Bucko
Date Recorded: September 23, 2019

Featured image: Cathedral of the Incarnation, Garden City, NY. 

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Carl McColman
Author of Befriending Silence, The Big Book of Christian Mysticism, Answering the Contemplative Call, and other books. Retreat leader. Speaker. Professed Lay Cistercian.


  1. Great insights and political insights. I appreciate his growth in his practice of silence, as he broke away from the constraints of traditional religion. I particularly enjoyed his reference to St. John of the Cross, whose example has deepened my own mystical awareness. Thank you, Dr. John Tafel

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