Chris Heuertz, founding partner, has spent his life bearing witness to the possibility of hope among a world that has legitimate reasons to question God’s goodness.
Originally from Omaha, Nebraska, Chris studied at Asbury University in Kentucky before moving to India where he was mentored by Mother Teresa for three years. While living in India, he helped launch South Asia’s first pediatric AIDS care home–creating a safe haven for children impacted by the global pandemic.
A forerunner in the New Friar movement, Chris and his wife Phileena served with the Word Made Flesh community for nearly 20 years, working for women and children victimized by human traffickers in the commercial sex industry. This has taken Chris to over 70 countries working among the most vulnerable of the world’s poor.
In 2012 Phileena and Chris launched Gravity, a Center for Contemplative Activism.
Named one of Outreach magazine’s “30 Emerging Influencers Reshaping Leadership,” Chris is a curator of unlikely friendships, an instigator for good, a champion of collaboration, and a witness to hope, Chris fights for a renewal of contemplative activism.
Chris is a frequent contributor or frequently highlighted in such publications as Christianity Today, Duke’s “Faith & Leadership,” Q Ideas, Relevant Magazine, The Work of the People and the Washington Post’s “On Faith” section. He is known for his provocative storytelling, and has written 3 books:
Simple Spirituality: Learning to See God in a Broken World (IVP, 2008) shows how a lifestyle of humility, community, simplicity, submission and brokenness sustains us through the challenges of life in a broken world.
Friendship at the Margins: Discovering Mutuality in Service and Mission (IVP, 2010) the 4th title of Duke Divinity School’s Center for Reconciliation’s book series.
Unexpected Gifts: Discovering the Way of Community (Howard Books, 2013) offers insight on how the soul is shaped through fidelity in difficult relationships.
Phileena Heuertz, founding partner has spent her life in social justice work among the world’s poor. A member of the New Friar movement, for nearly 20 years she and her husband Chris served with Word Made Flesh in more than 70 countries building community among victims of human trafficking, survivors of HIV and AIDS, abandoned children and child soldiers and war brides.
Phileena and Chris founded Gravity in 2012 to support the development of consciousness by making contemplative practice accessible to individuals, communities and organizations who engage the challenging social justice perils of our time. Phileena’s work includes public speaking, teaching and writing on contemplative spirituality, facilitation of contemplative retreats, and spiritual direction.
Named “Outstanding Alumni” by Asbury University and one of Outreach magazine’s “30 Emerging Influencers Reshaping Leadership,” Phileena believes that contemplative spirituality is crucial to authentic, creative, liberating social change. She holds a Masters of Christian Spirituality from Creighton University’s department of theology and is a certified spiritual director in the Ignatian contemplative evocative method.
Phileena is a member of the Red Letter Christians, is featured on The Work of the People and Q Ideas and known for her provocative theological narrative, Pilgrimage of a Soul (IVP 2010). She is a board member emeritus for Duke Divinity School’s Center for Reconciliation and board member for Richard Rohr’s Center for Action and Contemplation.