Sacred Rebellion: Inner life, activism and our future

09:30 - 17:00
Mar 9th 2019

This one day gathering will explore the role of spirituality in community, activism and ecology asking how our social movements can unite spiritual practice with practical action for deep change in a time of crisis. (Scroll down beyond ticket prices for more info)

For more information contact Amrita Bhohi on 0207 496 1610 or
Standard + donation towards our work with young leaders


Young adults (36 years or under)

Refugees and asylum seekers

“Our world is in crisis. We cannot pursue meaningful spiritual life except in full relationship with that knowledge. Similarly our social action will have little impact unless it emerges from a deeper, more transformative place.”  – Justine Huxley, ‘Generation Y, Spirituality and Social Change’

Sacred rebellion speaks to the simple recognition that unless we unite practical action with spiritual practice and values, radical change is impossible.

What is the role of our connection to the sacred in activism, ecology and community? What are new ways of being and doing reflect this in practice? What are the challenges of living spiritual activism at this time? What can it offer movements for change?

This one day gathering brings together change-makers working with the critical issues of our day.  Join us to explore these questions through a mixture of discussions, workshops, reflective practice and artistic performance.


The inspiration

This conference is inspired by the past five years of St Ethelburga’s work with emerging young leaders, and recognises that much of the work of activism; transformation, healing and renewal is being led by the younger generations.  

We celebrate the launch of a new book, ‘Generation Y, Spirituality and Social Change’, which reflects the spark of the future through essays and interviews with young change-makers from different cultures and backgrounds (many of whom will be present on the day). The book explores the key themes of natural leadership, new spaces, sacred activism, protecting earth, and challenging orthodoxy. 

Discounted copies will be available to purchase on the day, or you can pre-order here.



Community & inner life
“Where the ancient meets the emergent” – Ruth Moir, graduate of Alt*Div and former community builder for Sunday Assembly

  • What is the new emerging impulse of spiritual life in the younger generation?
  • What does it mean to live our spirituality in an age of crisis?
  • How do we evolve faith or spiritual communities that reflect the new? What new spaces and paths are being innovated?
  • How do we do depth in an age of consumerism and distraction?

Activism & inner life
“The marriage of inner and outer – the warriorship and the oneness” – Amrita Bhohi, St Ethelburga’s Leadership Programme Manager

  • What’s the difference between activism and sacred activism?
  • Why is it imperative to root one’s activism in the sacred? What does this mean?

    Key themes we will explore include:
    – Inner work: the shadow and wholeness
    – Interconnectedness: non-oppositional activism
    – Protest and direct action: nonviolent civil disobedience
    – Bhakti yoga: the path of selfless service
    – Holding sacred space: ritual and ceremony
    – Art and activism

Earth & inner life
“Fierce solidarity with all living beings’ – Kara Moses, Rewilding Spirituality

  • Why is it important to include a spiritual dimension to our environmental work? What is this?
  • How can we connect our spiritual practice or faith teachings with the earth?
  • What kind of regeneration, renewal and rewilding is possible?

Who is the sacred activist who inspires you most?

The conference is associated with an award:  St Ethelburga’s Sacred Activist of the Year Award.  Please send your nominations in ASAP (and yes, you can nominate yourself!)

Keynote speaker Adam Bucko is an activist, spiritual director to many of New York City’s homeless youth, and co-author of “Occupy Spirituality: A Radical Vision for a New Generation” (North Atlantic Books 2013) and “The New Monasticism: An Interspiritual Manifesto for Contemplative Living”(Orbis Books 2015).

He grew up in Poland during the totalitarian regime and spent his early years exploring the anarchist youth movement as a force for social and political change. At the age of 17, Adam immigrated to America where his desire to find his path towards a meaningful life led him to monasteries in the US and India. His life-defining experience took place in India, where on his way to a Himalayan hermitage, he met a homeless child who lived on the streets of Delhi. This brief encounter led him to the “Ashram of the Poor” where he began his work with homeless youth. After returning to the US, he worked on the streets of various American cities with young people struggling against homelessness and prostitution. He eventually co-founded The Reciprocity Foundation, an award-winning nonprofit dedicated to transforming the lives of New York City’s homeless youth.

In addition to his work with homeless youth, Adam established HAB, an ecumenical and inter-spiritual “new monastic” fellowship for young people which offers formation in radical spirituality and sacred activism.

He collaborates with spiritual leaders across religious traditions and mentors young people, helping them discover a spiritual life in the 21st century and how to live deeply from the heart in service of compassion and justice.

Adam is a recipient of several awards and his work has been featured by ABC News, CBS, NBC, New York Daily News, National Catholic Reporter, Ode Magazine, Yoga International Magazine and Sojourner Magazine.


Camille Barton is a movement artist who brings her passion for social change to life through a variety of art mediums, including dance, film and clowning. Her art practice fuses improvisation, ritual and Afrofuturism to weave new realities inspired by the creativity of the African Diaspora.  Most recently Camille directed and danced in ‘Space is the Place’, a three-minute Afrofuturist sci-fi film produced by Channel 4 Random Acts. The film was selected to play at Sheffield Doc Fest 2018. In 2016, Camille co-produced The Sisterhood, Glastonbury festival’s first intersectional, women only venue. In summer 2018, Camille co-produced and curated the SanQtuary- an intersectional, Queer clubhouse that launched at Shambala festival.

Camille is the director of the Collective Liberation Project (CLP). CLP designs educational experiences to help people understand oppression, and how it relates to their lived experience, so they can stop behaving in ways that reproduce oppression, such as racism and sexism. This work is inspired by Camille’s ongoing research into somatics and social justice: exploring how trauma from oppression is rooted in the body and how it can be healed with movement and mindfulness. CLP has worked with clients including Quakers in Britain, Release, Institute of Contemporary Arts, Sisters Uncut, The University of Sussex, SOAS, The Arts Marketing Association, St Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation and peace and Sunday Assembly London.


Sukina Douglas is a hip-hop poet, spoken word artist, creative writing teacher, activist and a community leader. She was born in Bristol to Afro-Caribbean parents and converted to Islam when she was a student. Together with Muneera Rashida, she formed the innovative hip-hop duo, Poetic Pilgrimage, which used the art of rhyme to deliver a message of peace, unity, interfaith relations and freedom. Sukina edited a Muslim hip-hop magazine and presented a lifestyle show on Islam Channel. She later became the manager of a progressive youth-led Muslim community centre called Rumi’s Cave in North West London which blends spirituality, art and social action. Sukina leads poetry workshops and teaches creative writing, using spoken and written word to explore experiences of young people growing up in diverse urban cultures.


Amrita Bhohi

Amrita Bhohi leads the Spiritual Ecology Programme at St Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation and Peace. Her work focuses on facilitating training workshops and supporting practical project development, mainly working with emerging leaders in the next generation. She is passionate about working with the energy, creativity and vision of younger generations and coming together in service to a different future. Amrita previously worked on the global Eradicating Ecocide campaign and at the policy think tank, the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House). In 2013 she organised TEDx Whitechapel, which was named as one of the most popular and radical TEDx events in London. She holds a BSc from King’s College and an MA in Ecological Economics from Schumacher College. She is an Associate of St Paul’s Institute.


Toni Spencer works with questions of deep ecology, resilience and ‘a politics of wonder’. She designs and facilitates learning journeys for change agents, informed by the understanding that “we are the leaders we’ve been waiting for”. She creates spaces where grit, grief, messiness and laughter are welcome, where innovation and wisdom can emerge, and essential un-learning can happen.

As a lecturer and course leader Toni has taught on the faculty of Schumacher College (Educational Practice, Ecological Facilitation as Leadership, Embodied Eco-literacy) and at Goldsmiths, University of London (Eco Design). As a participatory artist she has worked with Encounters Arts and The Feral Kitchen, also taking ‘The Work That Reconnects’ to activist communities at Occupy London and elsewhere.  She is a Trustee at ProcessworkUK and was on the Embercombe Council for 8 years.
With a BA in Fine Art and an MSC in Responsibility and Business Practice, Toni has trained in a diverse range of awakening practices and facilitation modalities, alongside many years of dancing, foraging and ‘living life as inquiry’. She is a mentor and teacher for Call of The Wild with Wildwise and Schumacher, and is helping develop further courses at the college on themes of sacred activism.

As part of an ongoing commitment to re-wilding and mystery, in 2016 Toni took herself ‘to the desert’ to mark the initiatory journey of her menopause. At Findhorn, on Dartmoor and in the deserts of Jordan she fell more deeply in love with humanity, silence and writing. She is still discovering what happens now…

Current passions include: Kali and the Sacred Fool; being a complete beginner at Kung Fu; and the wild green feasting that comes with a Devon spring.


Sara Zaltash spent her twenties dazzling audiences as a musician, performance artist and host. She cut her teeth at the more radical end of showbiz, hustling the UK’s DIY arts, culture and festival circuit and travelling the world to visit an ever-growing network of activist hubs, peace-making organisations and vagabond aristo parties, while quietly accruing knowledge in subjects as diverse as Law, Sustainability, Persian Literature and Qur’anic Arabic. Sara’s life was transformed when she began offering her own adaptation of the Islamic Call to Prayer in unusual public contexts all over the world. Now, self-styled as Beloved Sara Zaltash, an interfaith minister for a world in crisis, she is dedicated to using her gifts as an artist, singer, space-holder and rabble-rouser to catalyse the Great Good Change. Passionate about nature, community, story, song and a righteously good time, you can think of Sara as a kind of Vera Lynn of the rebellion, Martin Shaw with less facial hair, or Lily Savage with muddier boots.


James Adams is currently training as a doctor in Manchester. His real passion is social enterprise. At 19 he founded his first charity after realising how poor awareness of common cancer symptoms was among young people. His most recent start-up, ‘Number 11’ is a community centre in the heart of Stoke-on-Trent, providing long-term, holistic and relationship-based support to vulnerable groups such as the long-term unemployed or those struggling with addiction. James’ speaks regularly at conferences, events and churches around the UK. As reflected in his TEDx talk ‘Kick-starting your dreams’, James loves to support both individuals and groups, helping them craft their vision and turn ideas into reality.


Kishan Shah leads the Sacred Activism Program at St Ethelburga’s Centre for Peace and Reconciliation and is also a poet and spoken word artist. His primary work is organising and facilitating interfaith workshops and volunteering experiences. He also helps manage the Associate Fellowship program, which supports the next generation of emerging leaders to embed spiritual values into their practical work and leadership.  He holds a BSc in Mathematics from Aston University. In 2017 he left his teaching position to focus on philanthropic work and completing his fourth book.


Watch this space for more information, speaker biogs, workshops and the full programme.