In Memoriam

Robert Doering

Dec. 4, 2017

Dear Word and Life Community,   

It is with immense sadness, shock and disbelief that we announce Bob’s recent and unexpected death!!  We received word from his daughter, Laura, on Dec. 1, that he suffered a devastating fall which must have precipitated a cerebral hemorrhage. He passed away the next day surrounded by his loving family.  They sent word that his funeral Mass will be at

San Roque Catholic Church, 325 Argonne Circle, SB 93105, on Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017 at 10:30 am.

Bob and the rest of us on the Steering Committee were together for a planning meeting at Anna’s on Nov. 30 (the last day of his life) to choose a book for the Winter session.  Bob chaired the meeting and invited Martha to lead the prayer. He summarized our business issues and participated fully in our discussions.

At noon, Dawn and Judith got into his car to return home, as Bob had driven them to the meeting. On the way he was enthusiastically talking about the exotic new plant he had purchased from San Marcos Growers.  He knew the correct name and described it as looking like a chandelier!  The plant is native to Hawaii and cannot stand a temperature below 50 degrees, so he bought a heater to put near it. Laura seemed to think that setting up the heater may have had something to do with the tumble he took.

Our consolation is that he spent a good part of his last day involved in his passions: Word and Life and his plants! Laura’s message said that her Dad loved Word and Life. We were blessed to be a part of his life. After the funeral, we will have further notice about the book chosen for winter quarter and the speakers.

With Love and sadness in our hearts,

The Word and Life Steering Committee (Anna Grotenhuis, Anne & Thomas Heck, Judith McDermott, Martha Siegel, Dawn George, and Pat McClure)

PS:  Our previous book, The Divine Dance, was all about relationships!  Our supportive and affirming relationships with each and every person in our Word and Life community will be important as we process our grief and recover from this loss!  Thank God we have one another!

PPS: The Doering Family
535 San Marino
Santa Barbara, 93111


Who are we?

For the past few years, Word and Life has aptly described itself as "thoughtful Christians in search of mature faith." But for a growing number of our long-time members, Word and Life today has become something much broader and deeper: "a compassionate community for contemplative living and learning." Do either of these phrases describe you?  If so, Word and Life welcomes you with open arms.   Respecting the diversity of contemporary spiritual experience and dedicated to educating its members principally by reading and discussing books pertinent to theology and spirituality, Word and Life welcomes all who hunger and thirst for a deeper relationship with God and others. Study, dialogue, prayer, celebration and community enable us to experience God's Spirit alive in one another.  

In the spirit of the Gospels, we support:

  • Ongoing transformation of the Church in dialogue with an ever-changing world
  • Exploration of God’s immanent Presence in creation
  • Dialogue with other disciplines, cultures, and faith traditions in a spirit of appreciation and cooperation
  • Living in harmony with the earth and all life as gifts from God

We are committed to these core principles:

  • The teaching of Jesus is central to our lives.
  • Healthy spirituality assumes an ongoing dialogue between my story, our story, and God’s story.
  • Hospitality is a "Gospel" or core value of our community.
  • The collective wisdom of the community depends on the contributions of every member.
  • Justice is essential in cultivating peace.
  • All of creation participates in and manifests the divine.
  • Prayer animates and sustains our spiritual lives.
  • Worship and Ritual are important expressions of our collective identity.

Would you like to see and hear more?

  If you are an adult with an inquisitive mind, open to the deeper values of spirituality found in the Christian or Catholic tradition (regardless of your current church affiliation or possible degree of alienation), and willing to consider and discuss some of the most challenging questions that we humans face, please consider coming as an observer to a Word and Life meeting. Kindly check the CALENDAR & RECORDINGS Link to see when and where our next meeting will be. The DIRECTIONS tab explains how to get to our usual meeting venue. You are welcome to come and see for yourself how the Spirit is working in our lives. If you would like a member of Word and Life to contact you in advance to answer any questions you may have, please e-mail anyone on our Steering Committee, listed on the CONTACT page.