“The way we see the world shapes the way we treat it. If a mountain is a deity, not a pile of ore; if a river is one of the veins of the land, not potential irrigation water; if a forest is a sacred grove, not timber; if other species are biological kin, not resources; or if the planet is our mother, not an opportunity—then we will treat each other with greater respect. Thus is the challenge, to look at the world from a different perspective.”
– David Suzuki
The calling for us to reconcile our relationship with the Earth, our common home which is in deep crisis, could not be more urgent. As melting ice caps merge into sea and the body of the earth continues to warm, it is obvious that political, economic and even environmental efforts are failing to protect, preserve or sustain life. They may even be exacerbating the desecration we are experiencing. It is clear that a deeper response is required; so what kind of actions can truly create the changes we so desperately need?
Alongside mainstream approaches, there is also a growing awareness that this crisis is not just an outer one, but has it’s roots in an inner crisis. This inner dimension has to do with our underlying attitudes towards the Earth as a resource and commodity, and our failure to recognise the fundamental interconnectedness and interdependence of all life.
Spiritual ecology is both an ancient and newly emerging field, and an aspect of our work that we are exploring in relation to building a global culture of peace, which includes learning to live in peace with the Earth. It brings together ecology and environmentalism with a deeper awareness of nature as alive, as animate, and as sacred. Spiritual Ecology is not based upon any single religion or spiritual path, but rather points to the primary and universal recognition of the sacred nature within creation. It proposes that at this time of ecological unravelling, spiritual values have the potential to provide the foundation from which to respond and rebuild.
Our Spiritual Ecology Programme is part of a strand of work we have been exploring for the past four years on environmental peacebuilding and resourcing emerging young leaders in the next generation to bring spiritual values into action.
Spiritual Ecology Leadership Programme
In 2017 & 2018 we offered the ‘Spiritual Ecology Fellowship’, which brought together emerging leaders in the next generation from across the UK and Europe. In a six month long immersion programme, each participant was supported to develop and deliver a small pilot project that integrated the Spiritual Ecology principles, working with a specific community of their choice. We are continuing to support the work of our alumni network with seed funding through our Associate Fellowship Programme.
Seasons of the Sacred events series
This year, we are launching a new public events series called ‘Seasons of the Sacred’, in collaboration with Advaya Initiative.
Seasons of the Sacred is a four-part series of seasonal gatherings, bringing people together for a celebration of our living Earth through a journey into the four seasons. Each evening flows around an intimate and uniquely curated seasonal meal, interspersed with simple practices, discussion prompts, and teachings from guest speakers. Each experience as a whole is tied together through the telling and exploration of three stories, inviting us to connect deeply to the primal inner and outer wisdom that each season brings.
Seasons of the Sacred offers a shared experience of sacred time and place, where we:
Imagine and practice what it would be like to step back into the primal rhythms of soil and soul, to nourish and be nourished by the earth once more.
Rejoice and revere the moments of first blossoms, when the seeds are sown into the dark earth, the full blooms and first harvests. To become intimate with our land; the beauty, abundance, sorrows and dreams of the place where we abide.
Explore the ancient and emergent: listen to what we can learn from traditions that still inhabit this connection, still, hold this wisdom. Uncover the meaning in our own lives, and root a practice in our own experience, time and place.
Embrace both the light and the dark of our present time of ecological crisis, as shown to us by the seasons of the natural world, and ask how we can be of service to the regeneration of our culture and earth.
In addition to this we are also offering a number of workshops and retreats across the year.
Upcoming events and workshops will be posted on the events listing on the St Ethelburga’s Centre website.
Our work is supported by Kalliopeia Foundation, and we have a sister programme in the US.. You can read about the US programme and their inspiring participants and projects here, and the developing global community of Spiritual Ecologists that is emerging through this work.
We have £60k of resources we wish to deploy towards projects addressing diverse forms of intolerance in our society. We are seeking specifically Jewish-Christian collaborations to deliver this project, focused on wider and more diverse forms of intolerance and hate. Read on below.
This exciting new collection of stories and interviews draws on St Ethelburga's work with inspiring young leaders around the world.
Reconcilers Together is an ecumenical network of Christian peacebuilding and reconciliation centres across the UK and Ireland who share a mission to inspire and equip Christians leaders to become skilled practitioners of reconciliation in their churches and communities.
The Fellowship of St Ethelburga welcomes new members! We come together in worship, discussion and prayer. Together, we aim to ask of ourselves what is it be be a Christian Peacemaker?
Refugee Allies is a social inclusion project promoting understanding, generating empathy and fostering connection between local people and displaced people through public events, volunteering and public speaking.
St Ethelburga’s is a ‘maker of peace-makers’. We inspire and equip individuals and communities to contribute, in their own particular contexts, to activating a global culture of peace.