partners or friends, or just lucky enough to have been
PETER BROADHURST RIP inspired by the teaching for some time.
Peter struggled with great faith and at great depth The principal speakers, Fr Laurence, Kim
with many hardships in his life especially in recent Nataraja and Liz Watson were all truly superb. The
years. He was lovingly supported especially by the talks were recorded and we hope to be able to offer
community in Scotland and the UK that he had them on DVD soon. Workshops were stimulating
helped to form and continued to nourish by word and provided a counter balance to sitting and
and example until the end of his life here. listening.
Laurence Freeman OSB Saturday evening was set aside for “good
See page 12 for Paul Harris’ obituary of Peter conversation, wine and anecdotes – a celebration of
the life of John Main by those who knew him”, who
ANNUAL UK CONFERENCE included Kevin Main, John’s nephew, who spoke
Taking place for the first time in Derbyshire, the movingly and lovingly of his uncle Douglas (John
theme of this year’s UK conference was “A Main’s baptismal name) with funny stories from his
Celebration of John Main’s Life and Teaching”- and childhood describing visits from this charismatic, fun-
so it turned out to be. loving uncle, Eileen Byrne sharing her memories with
us of the early days at Ealing and how one day she
had a bright idea – why not record some of the
Monday evening talks? The evening was “compered”
by Fr Laurence who was on brilliant form, with a
roving microphone and a seemingly inexhaustible
store of stories and commentaries to the backdrop of
slides from John Main’s life.
Then, finally, the Eucharist – celebrated by Fr
Laurence, and by us all. It could not have been
planned – its perfection just “happened” a living
demonstration of the wholeness and unity of the
2007 UK Conference Organiser
MORE CONFERENCE REFLECTIONS:
“Paul Harris had us crying with laughter with his
stories about Laurence being interviewed on
Australian TV between the talking dog and the
celebrated cook, but then moved us to tears the
following day with the story of the water carriers on
the Mexican border. What a conference – count me
in next year”.
“As I drove away I couldn’t help reflecting on how
lucky we are to have speakers of the calibre of Kim,
Liz and Laurence in the WCCM”
250 people came to the Hayes at Swanwick and we “I’ve turned many corners in my spiritual life – but
formed a joyful gathering whether we were dipping this was a particularly sharp, not uncomfortable, one.
into meditation for the first time, accompanying It will take me some weeks to be able to find the
10 Christian Meditation Newsletter, UK News; Summer 2007
words to explain the change but it has the label John and so too for Father Laurence, for his selfless
Main on it. “ devotion to the work in hand, in his inpiring quest for
Sarah Kirkup, Cumbria truth, and in teaching and nurturing pure prayer, the
“Curiously enough, the thing which impressed me prayer of the heart. We celebrated together as one
most about the conference was the fact that the mind and one body, . . . the weekend had the
speakers did not sit on the platform for the final hallmarks of a Kairos . . . a favourable time or graced
plenary session!!!! Of course it was the ensuing moment.”
discussion that I valued. I thought some really Kathy Main
interesting things were said. I suppose the procedure UKWCCM 2008 CONFERENCE
reflects a willingness to take the top off without fear 4 - 6 April, 2008 at Worth Abbey
of the outcome. Most communities suffer from a lack
of this approach including WCCM on occasion.” PAUL HARRIS VISITS THE UK
Sr Lucia Paul Harris, former director of the Campden Hill
“The conference was amazing, not just because of the Road Christian Meditation Centre in the 1980’s, and
wonderful speakers and times of meditation. I valued a former Canadian National coordinator of Christian
the mix of people attending and the sense of hope in Meditation, visited England and Scotland in April at
a God who can unite us despite our differences. the invitation of the UK meditating community. He
Mary Brentnall participated in the UK annual conference as well as
“But of course underneath all that froth and conducting a five session speaking tour following the
confusion, which most people probably didn’t even conference.
notice or care about, meditation was going on. And From there Paul travelled to Scotland for a half
the sense of mess and general every day irritating - day seminar in Perth organized by group leader Ann
ness seeped away, as Saturday turned into Sunday, McIntyre, and took advantage of an opportunity to
and it all came together, beautifully, in the mass we visit his ailing, longtime friend, former Scottish
celebrated together in the church, with the birdsong coordinator Peter Broadhurst in Tayport.
outside joined with our song inside, and the sunshine,
JUST THIS DAY
and the breaking of bread and sharing of the cup.”
As a mother, teacher and student approaching my
“The conference at Swanscombe was a first for me . .
sixtieth year, I find the divisions in families, societies,
. a bit daunted at the prospect . . . I was on my own
nations and even between religions and faiths, deeply
quite a lot . . but not lonely. The other members were
sad. Surely this is not how we were designed to live?
open and friendly, while never being too curious or
The idea for Justthisday came to me from two
needy or talkative. Whenever I did fall into
clear observations. First, that stillness exists. Second,
conversation, whether walking here and there or at
when a person or a group of people are still, the
meals or in the coffee breaks, people were warm,
power of that presence can be felt and it has a
attentive and relaxed.
tangible, palpable effect. If you visit a place which
This was a gathering of people who know the
has been used for prayer or meditation, or if you pass
value of silence, the importance of being still. When
a room where people are silent, it is as noticeable as
260 people were in the hall for meditation the power
any amount of noise.
of prayer was palpable. We became united in being
The idea of joining together as a worldwide
still; I understood why it was that the people I met
family on November 28th has already received a clear
over the weekend possessed an inner strength, a sense
and positive response. This is something we can
of feet planted on the ground, of spiritual balance . . .
CAN all do. We can allow ourselves to believe that
. We went away feeling spiritually enriched, our inner
there is a real possibility that by joining humanity in
lamps trimmed, filled and primed.”
stillness we CAN make a difference. Please make
JustThisDay your business.
“. . . a concise and detailed delivery by Sheelah Trefle-
Hidden from which an interesting insight arose whilst Elizabeth Edmunds
looking at Islam, the concept of Three Faiths one
God, and of a window in time, the Golden age of
MEDITATION AND MINISTRY
MEDITATION AND LIFE
Spain, when a rich and vibrant society where Jew,
Muslim, and Christian co-existed and religious As a naturally contemplative person, silence and the
differences were respected. . . . Kevin’s family maiden solitude in which to be with God have always been
name is De Cordova, descendents of that remarkable essential to me. By the time I began training for the
civilisation . . . There was an overwhelming gratitude priesthood in 1986 meditation practice was an integral
for Fr John’s commitment in taking meditation so far, part of life.
Christian Meditation Newsletter, UK News; Summer 2007 11
In 1994 I became a Chaplain in palliative care. God when she prays. “I don’t say anything,” she
Through the next eleven years I began to understand replied, “I just listen.” So the interviewer asked her
the correlation between what meditation teaches us what God says to her: “He doesn’t say anything,” said
and what the dying have to teach us. Having death Mother Teresa, “He just listens.”’ Victoria Slater
always before one teaches many things but above all MY JOURNEY IN MEDITATION
it teaches that every moment of life is precious and It was through work in hospital chaplaincy that I first
that we need to live each moment. As T.S. Eliot put discovered the need to develop a deeper prayer life
it, ‘all is always now’. We all have to die and the and that led me eventually to meditation – twenty
greatest lesson of life is to learn how to surrender our years after my ordination as a priest! Through
life to the infinite love of God moment by moment. meditating myself and helping to set up groups and
This may be a terrifying prospect for those who do guiding other people meditation has become an
not feel loved or loveable or who cannot accept integral and indispensable part of my life.
themselves. And that is probably most of us to some There is great joy now for me in being part of
extent. I am still learning how to surrender and for the parish team of Ealing Abbey, the Benedictine
me meditation is part of the daily journey of letting go monastery in London where John Main first taught
of all that the ego clings to in fear in order to enter the way of meditation thirty or so years ago, and to be
into the freedom of God. able to contribute to continuing the work he began in
Meditation roots us in the reality of God’s the same setting. Nothing seems to me more
presence and love. That rootedness is the essence of important today in the ministry of a priest than to
what I have to offer to others. Presence speaks help people through prayer to draw a little closer to
beyond words. Or as I read the other day, ‘An the knowledge of God. Robin Burgess
interviewer asked Mother Teresa what she says to
TEN THOUSAND IDIOTS amongst my surface fidgets.
Such sweet depths
It is always a danger no longer frighten me
To aspirants with their amazing darkness,
On the waiting as I always am
Path fully to learn the letting go
that leads to the heart of being.
When they begin Then I may discover
To believe and who I truly am.
Act Who You are.
As if the ten thousand idiots
Who so long ruled
Have all packed their bags
And skipped town
Hafiz (Sufi mystic)
Tr. Daniel Ladinsky (Penguin, 1996)
Deep in the heart of your love
by flicks and gestures.
The gift you have given,
within your infinite courtesy
you ask me to surrender
back to you:
it was never mine to hold.
Strange unknown passages
invite then disappear
12 Christian Meditation Newsletter, UK News; Summer 2007
Silence by John Main. Thus began Peter’s
A TIME TO MOURN contemplative journey.
AND A TIME TO DANCE
According to friends, Peter grew in strength,
fruitfulness and compassion as he neared death.
REMEMBERING SCOTTISH CO-ORDINATOR, PETER Margaret McBennett, a meditation group leader in
BROADHURST Dundee, Scotland, comments : “Peter seemed to have
Peter Broadhurst, well loved Christian Meditation the ability to see the extraordinary in even the most
Coordinator in Scotland, a member of the Servite ordinary of events. As a result his talks were always
religious community, and a speaker/writer on relevant to the human condition. As well as this
Christian Meditation and spirituality, died peacefully ability he was always able to bring about in others a
May 30 at Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, at the age of capacity for life and faith they never knew they had “.
61. He is survived by a sister, Marie. Peter’s struggle up until his death to serve
victims of asbestos related disease came from his
daily fidelity to the practice of Christian Meditation.
He once wrote ,” A true faith is a faith that is born of
questioning and struggle before it becomes a
certitude; any other form of faith is an ersatz faith.
Contemplation has the desert as its birthplace, a place
of struggle and purification. True prayer should never
be seen as an escape from life and the common lot of
mankind but as a sharing in the redemption of the
world and of common life”.
Thomas Campbell, the Scottish poet put it
succinctly when he wrote: “ To live in the hearts of
those we leave behind, is not to die”. This ultimately
was Peter’s greatest gift, the gift of friendship,
support, and inspiration to others and in that sense he
In a statement to the UK meditation lives on in the hearts of his meditation friends around
community, Laurence Freeman commented: “Peter the world.
struggled with great faith and at great depth. He was Paul Harris
largely supported especially by the meditation Ottawa, Canada
community in Scotland and the UK that he helped to
form and continued to nourish by word and example
until the end of his life here. May he find all he knew
to be real in the fullest abundance. May he rest in the
MEDITATION AND SLEEP
peace of Christ and continue to share his grace with The accepted teaching is to guard against sleep during
us through the Spirit that fills him”. meditation. Absolutely - to stay alert, be ‘awakened’ is
In a two year struggle with mesothelioma our desire. There are sometimes firm warnings from
cancer, contracted in his younger days at an asbestos teachers about this, O.K.
factory, Peter amazed everyone with an outpouring of Sometimes we sleep badly and this has to be
spiritual activity and creative insights that brought into the meditation. The evening meditation
encompassed 24 letters to his friends and meditators is the most difficult. We meditate before food, blood-
via email on such topics as the spiritual journey, the sugar is low and physically we are at a low ebb.
path of contemplative prayer and preparing for death. After all what happens when we fall asleep? We
Until the last year of his life he continued to give talks are usually bodily still and quiet, doing nothing, itself
on Christian Meditation as well as communicate the a huge offering. And we have lost control, our self
teaching by means of a Scottish Christian Meditation consciousness has disappeared, we have handed over.
website. Yes, a little death.
In 1970 in London he was received into the To feel shame during an alert meditation is a
Servite community as a brother and his training over different thing. As in all things we are to allow it, let it
the years included studies in theology and go through, for it is for the repair of our lives which
psychological therapy, counselling at the Westminister we can seek to evaluate later.
Pastoral Foundation, as well as psychiatric training at So it’s time to go and meditate and perhaps,
a hospital near Oxford. At Oxford one day a fellow against my best desires, to nod off, which describes it
member of the Servite community, Fr. Bernard exactly. Nod, nod.
Deegan, suggested Peter read the book Word Into David Wood
Christian Meditation Newsletter, UK News; Summer 2007 13
adorn meditation tables up and down to UK - from
THE ABBEY, EYE, IN SUFFOLK Oxfordshire to Hertfordshire, from Southgate to
A PLACE TO RETREAT TO York, the Meditation Centre at Cocfosters and St
The house now called The Abbey at Eye in Suffolk Peters - the Centre run by a team of young meditators
was once the Prior’s Lodgings of a Benedictine and of course further afield in Argentina!
monastery founded just after the Norman Conquest Rita McKenna
in the 11th century. Behind the Georgian brick façade Christian Meditation Retreat Centre
is a rare survival - a medieval house, beautifully and
sensitively restored. Surrounded by watermeadows, JOBS
set just outside the small town of Eye, the grounds
have a deep sense of peace. Among the garden trees WARDEN NEEDED
and shrubs and roses can be found ruins of the Fr. Laurence is one of the patrons of the Elsie Briggs
original monks’ church, their ambulatory, and an House of Prayer, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol. The
outline of the cloisters. The east wall of the house is trustees of the House are seeking a new warden, a
four foot thick and retains some of the original position which might be of interest to one of our
masonry, now a thousand years old. readers. Their advertisement reads as follows:
RETREAT AT THE ABBEY, EYE, SUFFOLK There is a small honorarium. Rent free
OCTOBER 13-15TH 2006 accommodation is provided in an adjacent self-
The last monks to chant Divine Office at the contained cottage. The appointment would suit
Benedictine priory of St Peter’s at Eye in Suffolk were someone with an income, possibly with a pension.
driven from their community on April 7th 1537 by Further information: Gordon Holmes 0117 962
the ‘reforming’ agents of King Henry VIII. The 3684
monastery, founded almost a thousand years ago in WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE MORE INVOLVED WITH
1080, fell into ruin: the only survival being the Prior’s WCCM WORLDWIDE?
Lodging which has been used as a private house ever The team at The International Centre at St. Marks is
since. On October 13th 2006, after nearly 470 years, looking for extra help. Our work involves supporting
the flame of St Benedict was relit there. Nine and communicating with meditators around the
meditators watched as Kate Campbell, the present world, dealing with telephone enquiries, answering e-
owner of the house – ‘The Abbey’ as it is now called mails and general administrative work. If you are
– lit a huge church candle around which the group interested please contact Susan on 020 7278 2070.
would gather to meditate over the weekend. We share offices with the Christian Meditation Centre
The Abbey is 6 miles south of Diss on the at St. Marks, Myddelton Square. We are close to
B1117 leading out of Eye Nearest train station, Diss. Angel Tube Station on the Northern Line and to
For information and booking contact Kings Cross/St. Pancras Stations on the Victoria,
Kate Campbell Piccadilly, Northern, Circle and Hammersmith and
The Abbey City Lines.
Eye Susan Spence
A gift of a Maranatha Tais from a meditator in
Sydney sparked an interest in the region where it
originated - East Timor. This country has suffered
drought for the past four years, causing malnutrition
and ill health. The situation has been exacerbated by
the on-going civil unrest in the country.
It was arranged for 15 Tais to be sent to the
Meditation Centre at Cockfosters. A young man
from Argentina who was staying at the Centre when
the Tais arrived set the trend of generous giving.
More tais were sold at the UK Meditation Conference
in Derbyshire. In all approximately Aus$600 was
raised. It is good to know that Meditation Tais now