Spiritual ecology in action! A special one day confluence

10:00 - 18:00
Nov 11th 2017

Join us for this special one day confluence, interweaving live talks, action-orientated discussion, music, storytelling and ritual to explore the theme 'Spiritual Ecology in Action'. Expect a participatory space that is both nourishing and expanding; contemplative and practical; experiential and inquisitive!

For more information contact Amrita Bhohi on 0207 496 1610 or amrita@stethelburgas.org

For students or unemployed

Sorry, this event is now sold out.

Sorry, this event is now sold out.

Sorry, this event is now sold out.

Sorry, this event is now sold out.

**This event is now sold out**


“The ecological crisis also reflects something deeper and more intimate: a spiritual crisis — one of perspective, meaning, solidarity, and practice. And therein, perhaps, lies not only our indictment, but our hope.” – Andrew Zolli

In a time of ecological unravelling and conflict, spiritual values have the potential to provide the foundation from which to respond, rebuild and reconcile our relationship with the Earth.

What does it look like to put into practice the principles of interconnectedness, reverence for nature, compassion, stewardship and service?
What does Spiritual Ecology mean in different contexts and from different perspectives?
How can the Spiritual Ecology movement plant the seeds for a future and culture that lives in harmony with the Earth?

As part of our pioneering Spiritual Ecology and environmental peacebuilding programme, we invite you to join us for a special one day ‘confluence’ taking place at St Ethelburga’s Centre on Saturday November 11th 2017.

Featuring a very special UK premiere of ‘Sanctuaries of Silence’, a virtual reality film experience by award winning filmmaker Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee. The film explores the love of silence untouched by the sounds of modern life. This story and immersive experience is told through the unique perspective of acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton. For the past 35 years, he has been documenting the impact of noise pollution in wild and natural spaces.


In an interweaving of live talks, action-orientated discussion, ritual, music and storytelling, we will explore:

  • Spiritual Ecology in action: We’ll enquire into the meaning of Spiritual Ecology as a worldview and framework, as well as how to apply it in practice.
  • Multiple mediums and perspectives: We’ll engage with the theme  through story, music, film and ritual. We’ll hear from diverse perspectives including voices from the fields of religion, science, art, activism and youth.
  • Challenges and opportunities: We’ll progress thought and practice in this field by reflecting on questions of common concern.
  • Deep diving into specific themes: We’ll dialogue on specific areas of interest such as language, religion, food, sacred activism and more.
  • Taking it home: We’ll reflect on what Spiritual Ecology in action means in our own lives and contexts.
  • Strengthening the movement: We’ll build relationships with others passionate about bringing together spiritual values and environmental and social change-making.

Expect a space that is both nourishing and expanding; contemplative and practical; experiential and inquisitive! It will be a gathering of people of diverse ages, backgrounds, spiritualities and professions.

A delicious lunch and refreshments throughout the day will be provided.

**Following the confluence, on Sunday 12th November, there is also the chance to participate in a full day deep dive workshop with a small group of individuals. More information here**

09:30 – 10:00:   Arrivals, registration and refreshments

10:00 – 10:40:   WELCOME, INTRO’S & GETTING CONNECTED with St Ethelburga’s Centre team

10:40 – 11:30:   SPIRITUAL ECOLOGY STORYTELLING performance by Feral Theatre

11:30 – 12:00:   Tea break

12:00 – 13:15:   ALT PANEL DISCUSSION/FISHBOWL with Dr Andreas Weber, Joshua Virasami, Maddy Harland & Revd. Sam Wernham

13:15 – 14:30:   Lunch & musical interlude with Merlyn Driver


15:15 – 17:00:   DEEP DIVE SESSIONS progressing thought and practice in specific areas of interest including faith, decolonization, ecology & identity and project application.

17:00 – 18:00:   TAKING IT HOME & CLOSING CEREMONY with Beth Thomas

Dr Andreas Weber
Dr. Andreas Weber is a German academic, scholar and writer who holds degrees in Marine Biology and Cultural Studies. He is the author of eight non-fiction books and dozens of magazine features and is highly respected for his work in the fields of popular science and environmental sustainability. Andreas explores new understandings of life-as-meaning or ‘biopoetics’ and ‘biosemiotics’ in science and in the arts, and his work has been translated into several languages and published around the globe. Andreas has contributed extensively to developing the concept of enlivenment in recent years, notably through his essay Enlivenment: Towards a fundamental shift in the concepts of nature, culture and politics (Berlin 2013).
He is the author of several books including The Biology of Wonder: Aliveness, feeling and the metamorphosis of science, and contributes to major magazine journals and publications such as GEO, National Geographic, Die Zeit and Greenpeace Magazine. Weber teaches at Leuphana University and at the University of Fine Arts in Berlin. Andreas is also part of the staff at the Institute for Art, Culture and Sustainability in Berlin.
Andreas has been named as the 2016 Jonathan Rowe Commons Fellow, Mesa Refuge, Point Reyes, CA, USA

Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee
Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee is an award winning documentary filmmaker, spiritual ecologist and Sufi teacher. His work has been featured in National Geographic, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, PBS, exhibited at the Smithsonian and screened at festivals worldwide. He directs the Spiritual Ecology Fellowship, an innovative leadership and incubation program working with emerging leaders to bring spiritual values into environmental work. He also is the founder and executive director of The Global Oneness Project, an award winning educational multimedia platform focused on bringing the values of global citizenry into mainstream education. He is a Naqshbandhi Sufi and lives in Northern California.

Revd. Sam Wernham
Sam is the founder of social enterprise Living Spirit, which has offered many projects celebrating spirit, art and nature over the last twenty years. Current projects include Wild Church, which is an inter-spiritual pioneer ministry committed to silent pilgrimage and contemplative communion. Wild Church is currently working on the development of a new monastic centre and ‘sacramental landscape’ in Dartington, Devon.

Sam has travelled widely and been a life long student of spiritual ecology, ranging from the Buddhist communities of Ladakh and Zanskar to the Celtic churches of the Scottish Highlands, where she worked a croft for five years and built an eco retreat centre. She nows lives on pilgrimage between her micro monastery in Dartington and Christ Church University in Canterbury, where she is engaged in doctoral research into transformative learning focussed on the motif of the sacred marriage. As an ordained interfaith minister and committed Anglican, Sam is especially curious about the marriage of tradition and innovation.

Maddy Harland
Maddy Harland was educated by Quakers. She says the Friends gave her an understanding of ethics and social responsibility and non-conformist religion. Her father studied Theology at Cambridge and introduced her at an early age to the writings of Alan Watts, Gurjieff, Ouspensky and the hypothesis that the Gospels were based on the Greek Source ‘Q’. Maddy began studying yoga and spiritual philosophy and became a keen meditator in her 20s. She encountered permaculture in her 30s and became the editor and co-founder of Permaculture magazine and Permanent Publications, an ecological publishing company. She is also a qualified teacher for the International Network of Energy Healing (ineh.org), a journey that took 10 years.
Maddy is a leading edge spiritual activist. She co-founded Sustainability Centre in Hampshire, UK, once a military base, and now a thriving immersive learning centre. She is a founding member of Gaia Education which developed the Ecovillage Design Education course endorsed by UNESCO. Maddy is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and is a Visiting Knowledge Exchange Fellow of the Institute of Theological Partnerships at the University of Winchester in the UK.
She is the author The Song of the Earth – a synthesis of the scientific and spiritual worldview with Dr William Keepin and most recently Fertile Edges – regenerating land, culture and hope. Maddy is currently exploring the rich edges of shamanism and Tantra.

Joshua Virasami
Joshua is a London born and based artist, abolitionist and agitator. His political organising has spanned various movements including Occupy, black lives matter and various environmental initiatives. His travels, life experiences, encounters and spiritual practices inspire his thoughts and actions, which are anti-colonial and pro-life.

Feral Theatre
Feral Theatre began making theatre in 2007, taking risks, working in dilapidated spaces and outdoors on beaches and in woodlands. They experimented, always devising and writing our own material guided by the time and place we were in.  They have developed with commissions from the Southbank Centre and the TippingPoint, and funding from ACE amongst others. Their work aims to bridge the gaps between inner and outer worlds, audience and place, the theatrical and the personal. The themes they explore in their work include loss, memory and interconnectedness, generating timely theatre that does not flinch from asking uncomfortable questions. ‘We want to stir up conversation and create vibrant experiences that make difficult themes such as death, fear, loss and isolation bearable and beautiful’

Merlyn Driver
Merlyn Driver is a musician and songwriter from Orkney, a group of small islands in the north of Scotland. Raised on a smallholding without electricity and other modern comforts, Merlyn was also home-schooled until his early teens. This unconventional upbringing continues to inform his music. From a young age, Merlyn was exposed to the folk music of Orkney via his older sister Fiona, who is a traditional fiddler. Wider influences are just as important to him, with Paul Simon’s South African-influenced album Graceland sparking Merlyn’s passion for music from far-flung places as a child. After moving to the Scottish mainland to study anthropology at the University of St Andrews, Merlyn travelled to the Norwegian Arctic in 2011 to study the music of the indigenous Sámi people. He was particularly interested in their traditional vocal art form called joik. Merlyn’s first trip to ‘Sápmi’ – the Sámi word for their homeland – not only gave birth to his love affair with joik, but also fuelled his interest in exploring the connections between music and nature.
Merlyn is now based in London, where he recently completed a Masters in ethnomusicology at SOAS, University of London. His work explored the traditional preference for rough textures and ‘buzzy’ timbres in West African music, long noted as a key musical feature throughout the continent.
Merlyn Driver’s debut EP was released in May 2017 and has received national radio play from BBC 6 Music and BBC Radio Scotland. 

Sophie Vandenkerchove
Sophie is an Associate Fellow of St Ethelburga’s Centre, and an alumnus of our Spiritual Ecology Leadership Programme. As a gentle and wild soul, Sophie grew up in the southern forests of Wallonia. At the age of 19, she moved to Berlin, where she finished her studies in Philosophy and Moral Sciences. During that period, she practiced and lived for two years in a Korean Zen Buddhist center.
Currently, her home is based in Brussels, where she is starting an interreligious permaculture garden in Molenbeek. Through this project, she wants to welcome people from diverse spiritual and cultural backgrounds to exchange about collective sorrows and hopes, explore interrelations between permaculture and spirituality and deepen their relations to the land and to each other.

Dr Justine Huxley
Justine is the Director of St Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation and Peace and leads on overall strategy and vision.  St Ethelburga’s is a ‘maker of peacemakers’, bringing people from diverse backgrounds together to collaborate on the core issues of our times.  The centre’s fundamental values are interconnectedness, service, leadership, and putting spiritual values into action.   St Ethelburga’s programmes focus on training and young leadership and include spiritual ecology, sacred activism, People of the Earth (working with refugees) and community reconciliation. She sees spiritual ecology as critical to the regeneration needed at this time of global crisis.  “Spiritual ecology for me is about finding our own unique way to fall in love with the Earth and the other-than-human world again, allow that love to change us from the inside out, and to call forth practical action that comes from a deeper place.”  Justine has been a student of the Sufi teacher Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee for many years and represents him in the UK.  Llewellyn is the author of Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth, and Spiritual Ecology: Ten practices to re-awaken the sacred in everyday life.  She brings a wealth of experience in deep listening, facilitation, and working with emergent process.

Please note that a delicious organic lunch and refreshments will be provided.

Earlybird ticket £50 until October 14th. NOW SOLD OUT
Standard ticket £65
Concession ticket £35 – Please bring proof of student/unemployed status
If you would love to attend this conference, but buying a ticket presents a difficulty, then please email amrita.bhohi@stethelburgas.org and we will do our best to make it possible.

Beth Thomas
Beth is an Associate Fellow of St Ethelburga’s Centre, and an alumnus of our Spiritual Ecology Leadership Programme. She is founder of Roots into Reverence, an initiative that leads pilgrimages in Britain whose destinations are sacred dance parties inside churches. She closely assisted in the initiation and running of Wild Church, which is a roaming pilgrim’s church whose altars are atop of tors or beside rivers or under the canopy of trees. . She has recently moved from Devon to Edinburgh where she is working as an assistant to adults with learning disabilities at L’Arche, and is deeply grateful for such a joyful and loving place of work.

Beth’s big question is how the spiritual path – both personally trodden and collectively shared – can lead into a renewed relationship with the Earth. Her spiritual path was gestated within a Christian context, birthed outside of formalised religion and is now maturing again within a Christian context once more. She identifies as a Buddhist Christian, and finds great depths in sharing contemplative and devotional space with those within and across diverse spiritual traditions. She is passionate about restoring the feminine and longs for the day that it is normal to pray to our Heavenly Father and our Earthly Mother.

Nessie Reid
Nessie Reid is a political ecologist and a performance artist with a focus on agroecology and organic farming in the South West of England, proposing the need for radical systemic change within our current food and farming system.

As part of her studies, Nessie researched the role of indigenous art in preserving diasporic Tibetan culture and religion in Himachal Pradesh, Northern India and Nepal. Her interest in the link between agriculture, ecocide and climate change emerged during field research for the ICCA Consortium in India, the Philippines, and Indonesia. Over three years she witnessed the catastrophic ecological damage caused by large scale intensive agriculture and the displacement of local and indigenous communities as a result.

Now based in South West Wales, Nessie is manager of the Oxford Real Farming Conference (ORFC) and founder of The Milking Parlour, an on-going Rural Artist Residency with Cape Farewell which explores our human, spiritual relationship to food and the values we hold towards it and but more broadly to our place within the environment.

She is also Managing Editor for Biodiversity – a Journal of Life on Earth: a quarterly, scientific publication from Biodiversity Conservancy International

Zoe Vokes
Though British by birth, Zoe left the UK when she was just 9 months old and grew up in Asia, living predominantly in The Philippines and Nepal. Living overseas exposed her to a variety of religious traditions and world-views, and enabled her to travel to places of extraordinary natural beauty which inspired a deep connection to the natural world early in life. These powerful experiences of awe have been a guiding source in her life ever since.

Zoe holds a 1st class degree in South Asian Studies and the Study of Religions from SOAS, and in recent years has been trying to prove that even for-profit businesses can be a positive catalyst for change, particularly with regards to the environment. Most recently she has been working with her partner to create an independent magazine cum journal called Inherited, which aims to help readers cultivate a deeper connection to Mother Earth. Inherited examines our connection to the natural world, the responsibilities we have towards it, and the joy it can bring to our lives.

Zoe is deeply pained by the destruction being caused to the Earth, and is fully committed to contributing towards the protection and renewal of all life. Through her work, Zoe hopes to inspire others to establish a more loving relationship with the Earth – one that is founded in reverence, respect and reciprocity.’

Sophie Vandenkerchove
Sophie is an Associate Fellow of St Ethelburga’s Centre, and an alumnus of our Spiritual Ecology Leadership Programme. As a gentle and wild soul, Sophie grew up in the southern forests of Wallonia. At the age of 19, she moved to Berlin, where she finished her studies in Philosophy and Moral Sciences. During that period, she practiced and lived for two years in a Korean Zen Buddhist center.

Currently, her home is based in Brussels, where she is starting an interreligious permaculture garden in Molenbeek. Through this project, she wants to welcome people from diverse spiritual and cultural backgrounds to exchange about collective sorrows and hopes, explore interrelations between permaculture and spirituality and deepen their relations to the land and to each other.

Amrita Bhohi
Amrita leads on our Spiritual Ecology strand of work which includes the Spiritual Ecology Fellowship, public events and training. She also contributes to fundraising, strategy, and manages the website.

She is passionate about the role of younger generations in transitioning to a socially just and ecologically sustainable world, and has played a key role in launching and embedding St Ethelburga’s young adult leadership programmes.

Amrita previously worked on the global Eradicating Ecocide campaign and at the think tank, The Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House). In 2013 she organised TEDxWhitechapel, one of the most popular and radical TEDx events in London. She holds a BSc in Biomedical Sciences from King’s College, and an MA in Economics for Transition from Schumacher College. Her interests lie in new economics, systems change, and social and environmental regeneration.

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