Sacred Activists

Seeking young adults from diverse faith and spiritual traditions!  When the most rooted and most grounded spiritual consciousness becomes practically and pragmatically equipped to fully engage with the challenges of our times, sacred activism is born.

Kishan Shah


020 7469 1616

Be the change; Make a difference; Be of service

Kishan believes in the role of spirituality in inspiring powerful and sustainable action in the world. He has a passion for empowering younger generations to take control of their destiny and to change the world by transforming themselves.

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Beteeen July 2018 and May 2019 St Ethelburga’s is hosting unique events and programmes for young adults which bring together activism and spirituality.

See the events page for more details. 

Teachers and Mentors

Adam Bucko

Adam Bucko

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’ and ‘The New Monasticism: An Interspiritual Manifesto for Contemplative Living’.

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 with 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, Adam has 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 many newspapers, magazines and media channels.

Viviana Esse

Viviana has been looking after St Ethelburga’s interfaith leadership strand of work since 2013. She is deeply committed to activating a global culture of peace and to empowering younger generations to be that change they want to see in the world. Passionate about social justice, women’s rights and the environment, she is inspired to create powerful faith-based action to tackle the challenges we collectively face at this point in history. She is the creative mind behind many of St Ethelburga’s trainings and workshops, working as a facilitator and delivering training on behalf of the Centre.

Viviana has a background in Japanese and Tibetan studies (BA), and holds an MA in Dispute and Conflict Resolution from SOAS University. She is a certified community mediator and is in her final years of training as transpersonal integrative psychotherapist.

Gulwali Passarlay

Gulwali Passarlay is an Afghan political refugee currently residing in the UK. He left Afghanistan in 2006 and recently graduated with a degree in Politics from the University of Manchester. Now undertaking his MPA at Coventry University, CTPSR in Global Diversity Governance.

A Global Youth Ambassador for global children’s charity Theirworld, Gulwali has taken a long history of campaigning and leadership roles, including being the President of the United Afghan Peace Movement, Chairperson of the Afghan Youth Movement, Patron of the Separated Child Foundation, Commissioner of The Children’s Society, and Ambassador of various organisations, including being the Olympics Torch-bearer, and NHS Youth Forum. An award-winning activist, Gulwali has garnered the Distinguished Achievement Award (Student of the Year), Collaborative Leadership Award, and among others, the Manchester Leadership Gold Award, in recognition of his leadership and positive contribution.

He has told his story of life as a refugee in his autobiography: “The Lightless Sky: A Twelve-Year-Old Refugee’s Harrowing Escape from Afghanistan and His Extraordinary Journey Across Half The World“, on TV channels such as BBC, Al Jazeera, CNN, Channel 4 News, itv, Russia Today, in print media such as The Guardian, Time Magazine, The Independent, The Scotsman, and at events such as TEDx.

As a fervent advocate for many social justice issues and causes, Gulwali was nominated for the 2016 Nansen Refugee Award by the UNHCR. Today, he continues advocate for education, social justice, and to make a positive impact in the community, locally and abroad. More information can be found at:

Lisa Campbell

Lisa Campbell is a co-founder of Do Your Part refugee camp in Oinofyta, Greece and also serves as its Executive Director. She has worked in disaster relief for 25 years. A military daughter and military wife, she has moved an average of every two years, living in 11 states and three countries. Now a grandmother of six, she lives in Virginia with her husband of 34 years, but for the past 10 months has been based at the camp in Greece.

Campbell joined forces with the Greek government and other relief organizations to build Oinofyta, one of the first of dozens of camps in the country. From the beginning, she said, they designed it to be a place where refugees would not just exist, but live. The first thing they built was a school, followed by cooking spaces, a teen center, a barber/beauty shop, a mosque, and a multi-purpose space where they host movie nights and visits from local acupuncturists to help residents manage stress.

Campbell said she has drawn from the principles of self-reliance she learned as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: Offer a hand up, not a handout, and empower people with choices. Oinofyta is one of the first camps to create employment for residents through a cottage industry.

Saif Ali

Saif Ali, is the founder and community engagement facilitator at Integr8 UK, a non-for-profit community development organisation. Inspired by his 18-year journey of seeking asylum, Saif founded Integr8 UK in 2015 right after receiving his leave to remain to enable refugees and asylum seekers to overcome cultural polarization, social isolation and disintegration of identity. Through his collaborative work with other refugee support agencies, Saif aims to create unique opportunities to enable people to integrate into their host community and empower them to lead a purposeful life and work experience in the UK beyond their limitations.

Saif envisions a world that is enriched by the diverse experiences and unique gifts that refugees and asylum seekers carry. His mission is to empower them to uncover those gifts and share them in a world where everyone feels respected, included and able to embrace their differences and celebrate their individuality.

To learn more about Saif’s work visit or watch his TEDx talk.

Philli Boyle

One of the founding members of Help Refugees, in September 2015 Philli set up the organisation’s first operation in Calais which began as a warehouse and distribution centre and quickly became the equivalent of camp management for a camp with up to 12,000 residents. She went on to lead on Help Refugees’ Lebanon operations, working with local groups to establish two informal education programmes. She is now based in London, working on partnerships, events and community engagement within the movement that Help Refugees has become.

Jo Winsloe-Slater

Jo Winsloe Slater

Jo brings a wealth of experience from over twenty years co-ordinating projects in the fields of interfaith, social justice and social care in the non-governmental sector. During the winter of 2015/16 she and other members of the St Ethelburga staff team volunteered on the Greek island of Lesbos; an experience that inspired the co-creation of the programme People of the Earth. She holds a Diploma in group facilitation, conflict resolution and counselling (NAOS) and is a graduate of the International School of Storytelling. She is a current Trustee of The Forgiveness Project.


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