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

Our conversation with the Rev. Adam Bucko continues in this episode, the second part of a two-part interview. To listen to part one, click here.

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 we discovered was that homeless kids were not interested in talking about spirituality, but they were very eager to experience what would feel like a break from all the chaos that was present in their lives. — 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.

This trans kid who started coming every day to learn meditation, he simply said, “Every time I show up here, I feel like I need to go into the meditation room. Once I go there, once I sit and get quiet, I feel like I just need to tell God about all of the pain in my life, and then just rest there, and be silent.” And so my response to that was, “Why don’t you just do that — every day.” — 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.

Contemplative prayer for me is very much about heartbreak and aliveness. I gather all of the stuff of my life, all of the stuff that I experience in this world, both my heartbreak but also all of those things that make me truly alive, and I bring them to God and I sit there, in silence, awaiting God’s response.  — 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 78: Silence, Sacred Activism, and the Spiritual Imagination: A Conversation with Adam Bucko (Part Two)
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. Photo by Dmadeo. Used by permission under the Creative Commons License.

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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.