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Harvesting land, harvesting hearts: Spiritual ecology in the Christian faith


13:00 - 19:00
Oct 20th 2019

Join us for an Autumn workshop exploring the ancient and newly emerging field of spiritual ecology through the perspective of the Christian faith tradition. Please scroll down for full details.

For more information contact us.
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Join us for an Autumn workshop exploring the ancient and newly emerging field of spiritual ecology through the perspective of the Christian faith tradition. Taking place at Refettorio Felix, St Cuthbert’s Centre.

What specific healing could the reconnection of Christian practice, prayer and ritual contribute to the precious earth beneath our feet? What ancient and emergent expressions of Christianity can guide us in  service to the cry of the earth at this time of great need?

We hope this workshop can support a remembrance of the roots of spiritual ecology that lie within the Christian tradition, inspire our personal practices, and help us contribute to the work of cultural and environmental regeneration from a place that is real and transformative.

 


Programme 

The day will offer a participatory programme of shared discussion, practice, prayer, cooking and a celebratory seasonal meal. 

  • An introduction to spiritual ecology; Perspectives, principles, practices and application, developed as part of the Spiritual Ecology Programme curriculum at St Ethelburga’s Centre.
  • Spiritual ecology within the traditions and teachings of Christianity; Reflection, exploration and enquiry into ancient understandings and practices of spiritual ecology, as well as challenges, limitations and newly emerging expressions within Christian communities today.
  • Prayer, ritual and practice; Christian prayers, readings, and practice in connection with spiritual ecology. Christian teachings on the interrelationship with inner and outer life.
  • Practicing spiritual ecology in application and community; Cooking a simple meal together inspired by the Christian monastic tradition. Asking how we can integrate spiritual ecology practices into our own lives and work. What is the meaning of sacred activism? What role does action vs. contemplation play in context of ecological breakdown?
  • Special guest teaching input; from writer and conservationist Eleanor O’Hanlon.

Background

Spiritual ecology calls for a response to the ecological crisis that goes beyond politics, economics, and even mainstream environmentalism. It suggests that we need a deeper revolution, grounded in both an inner and outer reuniting of people, the living world, and the sacred. It asks how we can shift from a relationship to Earth based on domination, materialism and greed, to the intimacy of reciprocity, reverence and kinship. It seeks to apply spiritual values into practice in service to our future.

Spiritual ecology as a developing field is not based on any single religion or path; but is rather based on the universal truth of the sacredness of all life. It is informed by different streams of study and practice including science and academia, religion and spirituality, and ecological sustainability.

“As a parish priest and Christian Climate Action member put it to me, the ecological crisis is also a ‘spiritual crisis.’ Certainly it seems to be a crisis that requires and justifies spiritual responses and resources – a coalition of religion, ritual and rebellion.”
– Stefan Skrimshire, Extinction Rebellion and the new visibility of religious protest

Over the past five years of our spiritual ecology programme, we have encountered many inspiring and passionate individuals from the Christian faith, committed to this work. For the first time, we are offering a space to come together as a community of practice and explore these themes together.

The Christian tradition has an ancient history in these lands, and has long been the main form of religion and spirituality practiced here. The historical influence and interpretation of many religious traditions, including Christianity, have had significant impacts on the governing worldview of domination, and the relationship between people, land and the sacred.

Yet, we know that embedded within Christian teachings and tradition lies a deep wisdom of spiritual ecology and sacred activism which has always been present, and is being increasingly recognised and called for at this time. 

“One could learn to live in the world as a healing presence, attentive and responsive to the lives of other beings and capable of helping to reknit the torn fabric of existence.” Douglas E. Christie, in The Blue Sapphire of the Mind, on ancient monastics

Theme: Harvesting land, harvesting hearts

The Autumn is approaching. As nature prepares to go to sleep, we enter a period of quiet but radical transformation, marking a threshold between life and death, growth and decline. Autumn offers an opportunity to celebrate all that has been nurtured, grown and finally come to fruition, as well as a moment to enter deep within ourselves, connect with our hearts and reflect on how we can take better care of the earth and all creation, including ourselves as human beings.


This workshop is aimed at Christians, but we recognise that within this broad category of faith, each individual may have their own unique relationship to the religion, spirituality, practices, identifications and denominations. We welcome all diverse expressions in the group, and aspire to make the space as inclusive as possible.

This workshop also welcomes people of all ages, genders, races, abilities and backgrounds, and requires no prerequisite knowledge or training.

Amrita Bhohi
Amrita Bhohi  is a spiritual ecology facilitator and educator. Her work offers experiences to reconnect people, the living world and the sacred. She co-founded the spiritual ecology programme at St Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation & Peace in London, developing the curriculum, as well as co-leading an innovative leadership training for millennials. She holds an MA in Ecological Economics from Schumacher College, is a fellow of St Paul’s Institute, and a trustee of Hazel Hill wood. 

 

Vilma Luostarinen
Vilma Luostarinen is an artist and designer exploring the sacredness, healing and spiritual dimensions of food, cooking and and rituals of eating. Through meals, menus, workshops and installations, she aims to inspire a deepened sense of care, attention and interconnectedness. In the last few years, Vilma has studied diverse temple and monastic food traditions, and, in particular, returned to a Benedictine monastery in Italy, working in their kitchen. She holds a masters degree in Narrative Environments from Central Saint Martins. For more info, see vilmaluostarinen.co.uk

 

Eleanor O’hanlon
Eleanor O’Hanlon is an award-winning writer and conservationist with a passion for re-connecting with the inner, spiritual dimension of the animals and the natural world. Born on the West Coast of Ireland, Eleanor has carried out field research for international conservation groups in remote wilderness areas around the world, from the High Arctic to the Caucasus mountains, the Russian taiga forest and the Namib desert.

She has worked with outstanding scientists, explorers, and nature photographers on projects to raise awareness and help protect wilderness and wildlife. Her articles on animal consciousness and wilderness conservation have appeared in a wide range of magazines and anthologies, from BBC Wildlife, Geo Animan and other magazines in Europe and the US to the Dark Mountain anthology, and the 2016 edition of the Spiritual Ecology anthology The Cry of the Earth. Her book Eyes of the Wild Journeys of Transformation with the Animal Powers takes the reader into some of these remote wilderness areas, to experience a series of profound close encounters with whales, wolves, brown bears, polar bears and wild horses.

These life-changing journeys are guided by biologists and other contemporary observers who are renewing the ancestral ways of direct connection with the animals and the life of nature. Their groundbreaking scientific research meets the wisdom teachings and the storytelling from the shamanic, Celtic Christian and other traditions to show us how we can awaken now, out of the dream of separation into immediate connection with the essence and unity of life.