Christian Meditation in the UK

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					Christian Meditation                                                                       AUTUMN
in the UK
St Mark’s, Myddelton Square, London EC1R 1XX
The community is registered in the UK as ‘The Christian Meditation Trust (UK)’ reg charity no. 1101900
020 7833 9615                   

                                                                  Maybe you are particularly interested in
                                                           Christian meditation and mental health. Please let us
                                                           know if you are. At the very least we would like to
                                                           keep you in the picture as the seminar develops and if
                                                           you can offer help in any way, we would be delighted
                                                           to know that too.
                                                           Contact: Liz Watson, 020 7249 8701
Fr Laurence wrote in the last newsletter about a new, or
three year initiative within WCCM to bring the fruits      Briji Waterfield (Meditatio Project Coordinator):
of Christian meditation to the secular world. The          07980 581351
heart of the project will be a series of seminars on the
themes of Meditation and Education, Mental Health,
Inter-Religious Dialogue, Business and Finance, the        You will see a lovely report of the John Main Seminar
Environment and Handling Conflict. Whilst the              in Canterbury in the international section of the
Seminars themselves will be unique events in the UK        newsletter. Philip Kitchen was our man at the centre
they will be shared round the world through the            of the organization. It’s a big event to organise and
publishing of the proceedings and via the internet.        there was of course a team of people involved, but
       When you have been meditating for a while it        special thanks are due to Philip. He did a fantastic job.
seems so natural, doesn’t it, to want to share it with            We have been very blessed to have the Christian
others. The Meditatio programme is based at the new        Meditation Retreat Centre at Cockfosters. It has now
house in Kensington, so in the UK we have this             been handed back to the monastery but let us thank
marvellous opportunity to be involved with sharing         everyone involved for providing such a welcoming
the gift of meditation in these new ways right from the    place for us in the last few years.
start.                                                            Many of you will have been helped by Jan
       How can you be involved? Several benefactors        Dunsford when you have phoned or emailed St
are helping finance this initiative but they want to       Mark’s to order material from Medio Media. So thanks
know that the meditation community is right behind         to Jan now that she has moved on from that role.
it, so one thing you can do is make a donation, small             Thanks also to Sheila Wrigley who has done
or large. An appeal sheet is included as pages 5/6 to      sterling work as Regional Coordinator for Lancashire
cut out and send off with your donation.                   and introduced many to the practice of meditation.
       The first two Seminars to be organised are on              Time for a well-deserved rest!
Meditation with Children in December, followed by                                                      Liz Watson
Meditation and Mental Health in May next year. If you
are interested in meditation with children, come to one    IN THIS ISSUE
of the December seminars. They are going to be truly       Upcoming events 2-3, Meditation with Children
inspiring as we have Ernie Christie and Cathy Day          4, Meditatio Appeal 5-6, Jobs 7, Book review and
over from Australia. Ernie and Cathy have pioneered        Monte Oliveto memories 8, Contacts and Events
the teaching of Meditation in the RC school system in      Diary 10-12
their diocese. If you can help with publicising the        Contributions to the newsletter are warmly
seminars locally or could help with practical tasks on     welcomed. Please send items for inclusion to the
the day, that would be great. If you are an experienced    Editor: David Simpson, 39 West Street,
meditator and would like to consider helping support       Coggeshall, Essex C06 1NS Tel: 0797 674 0093
teachers who start to meditate with children in their            email:
school, there will a training day in January. Let us         Copy deadline for next issue - January 1st 2011
2                                                                                        UK News Autumn 2010
                                                           Provision of a 4- day pre/post seminar pilgrimage is
JUST THIS DAY NEEDS YOU!                                   also being explored to include Ballinskeligs, Skellig
This year Just This Day is on 24th November 2010,          Michael & Bere Island.Visit: Call 00-
with a special programme at St Martin in the Fields.       353 66 7137484
This is a day for people to come together in stillness,
to go beyond any differences and to find that space
which is without division. The day starts at 8am with             WCCM UK CONFERENCE
Morning Prayer.                                            FROM 4PM FRIDAY JUNE 10  TH
                                                                                         TO AFTER LUNCH   SUNDAY JUNE
       At 11.00am Liz Watson is one of four Women          12 , 2011

of Spirit talking about the importance of silence and                        COMING HOME
stillness in their practice.
       In the evening there will be a performance of
Towards Silence, A Musical Journey of the Soul
by John Tavener.
       Fresh news is that Just This Day has just
acquired 500 umbrellas, blue and white with
Shhhhh and the website name on two panels.
Trafalgar Square has given permission for a
photograph between 8.30 am and 9.00 am with the
umbrellas up. Volunteers are needed to be under the
umbrellas, spread the word and also sell as many of
the umbrellas as possible (£5.00 each)
For more information go to:
                                                                   THE CHALLENGE OF MEDITATION IN A WORLD OF
                                                                            MULTIPLE OVERWHELMINGS...
FR LAURENCE IN LONDON                                      Presented by Patrick Woodhouse who is a Canon of
THE CHRISTMAS GIFT OF GIVING                               Wells Cathedral where he has responsibility for music
Friday, 17 December 7.30 - 9.00 pm                         and liturgy. His particular concern is for the recovery
At The London Christian Meditation Centre                  of a more contemplative spirituality within the church
St Mark's, Myddelton Square , London EC1R 1XX              and a deeper understanding of, and respect for, other
Donation at the door.                                      faiths. For this conference he will look at the very
To book contact:                               stressful and confusing times in which we live – a
Or call 020 7833 9615                                      world of multiple ‘overwhelmings’, and how the
HUMANISED GOD : DIVINISED HUMANITY                         practice of meditation can transform how we see the
Saturday 18 December 10.00 am - 4.00 pm                    world and our place and purpose within it.
At The Benedictine Centre for Spirituality 29 Bramley      Come and be encouraged!
Road, London, N14 4HE                                             AT THE HAYES CENTRE, SWANWICK, DERBYSHIRE.
£15 (includes soup and coffee)                                       FLYER OUT SOON. PRELIMINARY ENQUIRIES:
To book call 020 8449 2499                                      LONDON MEDITATION CENTRE, 020 7833 9615
or e-mail:

JOHN MAIN SEMINAR                                          AS ONE DOOR CLOSES . . . ANOTHER
11 -14 AUGUST 2011
    TH        TH

                                                           NEW GROUP FOR COCKFOSTERS
ALIVE IN CHRIST led by Timothy Radcliffe OP                The closing of the Christian Meditation Retreat Centre
-University College Cork. ( The Irish           in Cockfosters, North London, was marked by a large
Christian Meditation Community is delighted to be          number of people coming to express their gratitude
hosting the John Main Seminar 2011 and is looking          and farewell. The celebration included time for
forward to giving a Céad Míle Fáilte, 100 thousand         Meditation and the Eucharist. Personal stories
welcomes, to fellow meditators from around the world       were shared connecting people with WCCM and the
and Ireland to the City of Cork (one of the top ten        Retreat Centre.
cities in the world). Pre Seminar Retreat 8-11 August is      Fr Laurence recalled how the World Community
led by Fr Laurence Freeman OSB. Pilgrimage:                for Christian Meditation had been associated with
UK News Autumn 2010                                                                                               3
Cockfosters for the past twenty years, since he joined         I feel this prayer contains the ingredients for
the Olivetan Congregation and Dom Placid invited            nourishing the life of meditation groups, who will
him to establish a centre for his work in association       meet at the following times:-
with the Community, the Parish and Monastery.                  11.40am Monday
    How Abbot Vittorino, Dom Willibrord and Dom                7.00pm Tuesday
Benedict were especially supportive in this venture.           People unable to attend at the above times already
And how, in recent years Manus Domini, the former           avail of impromptu invitation to come and meditate.
monastic guest house, had been run as the Christian         A younger meditator recently returning from
Meditation Centre and the young Benedictine oblate          Poland joined me one Sunday morning for coffee.
community had been started there. He talked about           This was followed by meditating together.
the close working friendship with the Benedictine              The vision of good people who precede us is now
Centre for Spirituality, close by. Others shared stories    being fulfilled thanks to the support of friends in the
and traced their personal journeys back to the early        Benedictine Centre for Spirituality in Cockfosters
days in Campden Hill Road – the first Meditation               “May all who come here weighed down by the
Centre in London; others referred to Minsmere, the          problems of humanity, leave, giving thanks for the
first House of Meditation in Cockfosters.- and other        wonder of human life. We make this prayer through
various meditation groups now cropping up.                  Christ our Lord” For further enquiries, please contact
                                                            Rosemary Heams : ro@
                                                            Bridie Lowe :
                                                            Rita McKenna :
                                                                                                 Rosemary Heams
                                                            WCCM SCHOOL IN THE UK
                                                            THE WORKSHOP ON THE ESSENTIAL TEACHING
                                                            The next Workshop is planned to take place in Central
                                                            Scotland during late Spring 2011. Further details later.
                                                            THE SCHOOL RETREAT 2011
                                                            Monday 20th – Sunday 26th June, 2011 led by Kim
                                                            Nataraja and Anne McDonnell at The Diocesan
                                                            House of Prayer, Abottswick, Navestock Side,
                                                            Brentwood, Essex.
    Younger members of the Oblate Community told                   All enquires to Sarah Kirkup, The Cherry Tree,
me how much they enjoyed hearing the stories that           Brough Sowerby, Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria CA17
created part of the history of WCCM. They will now          4EG, 01768 341258,
continue the chapters in their new home ‘Meditatio’                Sarah is the coordinator of the School in the
Kensington, Central London.                                 UK, working with a resource group – Kim Nataraja
    For those meditators remaining in Cockfosters,          ( International School Coordinator), Liz Watson, and
there was a call for a place to meditate. Doors creaked     Anne McDonnell.
and lurched for a time. Then after much oiling, prayer
and a visit to Dom Benedict for guidance, came the
                                                            SARAH SOULSBY'S OBITUARY
generous offer of a room in the Benedictine Centre
for Spirituality. What had been previously a sitting        I must apologise to David Rees for missing his name
room had a complete ‘make over’ , which transformed         off his obituary of Sarah Soulsby in the last issue. If
it into a suitable meditation room.                         anyone would like to know more about the Wapping
    On 10 August the room was formally blessed by           Group David would be delighted to hear from you –
the Rev Graeme Watson. Many people, despite                 his email address is
stormy weather came with their good wishes.                                                        David Simpson
 Graeme based his address on the prayer used by
groups at the close of meditation. The words are so
    “May this room be a true spiritual home for the
seeker, a friend for the lonely a guide for the confused.
    May those who pray here by strengthened by the
Holy Spirit to serve all who come and to receive them
as Christ himself....”
4                                                                                         UK News Autumn 2010
                                                              stillness difficult, but mostly they do remain silent. The
LEARNING FROM CHILDREN                                        reception from the children has been wonderful,
On visiting a school recently I was told by the               leading to many questions afterwards, such as their
Headteacher that a parent had come up to her recently         experience during meditation, and some questions
to talk about the “meditation” sessions that her              relate to God, most of which of course I cannot
daughter was attending. With some apprehension the            answer! Personally I find the time very rewarding, and
Headteacher prepared herself for a complaint of some          the teachers caring and open minded to the children,
kind, but to her delight, the mother told how her small       without the shackles of ‘institutionalised religion’
daughter simply loved the silence of those moments            being applied in any way.
when all the usual rush of the school day gave way to a                                   Bob Morley, Armathwaite
short time when she could just enjoy the silence of
being with Jesus.                                             MEDITATION AND CHILDREN
       Perhaps we can all learn from the natural              The world teaches children a set of values, but are
wisdom of small children. Indeed the real incentive for       these values conducive to the making of a better
us all to support the Education Seminars is to                world? Western culture invites excitement not silence,
participate in helping to spread the gift of silence. This    activity not stillness. Students are therefore often over-
may be as simple as inviting one of the local teachers        stimulated and restless. It is vital that education
to join our meditation group or sharing the gift with         responds to such social challenges by presenting and
our own children or grand children. As with all true          teaching an alternative way of being. …..
“giving”, we may well find that we “receive” far more                Almost everything that students experience in
than we give.                                                 the world today inhibits their journey inward towards
       We would all do well to follow the example of          stillness and silence. The world suggests the solution
Pope Benedict in saluting the youth and encouraging           to this restlessness lies outside of oneself in the pursuit
them to spend time in silent prayer :-                        of a bigger and more exciting life. This way of living
       “I ask you to look into your hearts each day to        creates pressures that force our students to
find the source of all true love. Jesus is always there,      compartmentalise their lives too rigidly. As a result
quietly waiting for us to be still with him and to hear       they may lose a sense of their own personal wholeness
his voice. Deep within your heart, he is calling you to       and a capacity to engage fully with the world as
spend time with him in prayer. But this kind of prayer,       balanced human beings. It may seem a paradox that
real prayer, requires discipline; it requires making time     children can be still and silent and enjoy it. But like
for moments of silence every day. Often it means              many adults, children yearn also for the experience of
waiting for the Lord to speak. Even amid the “busy-           an interior world that helps buffer the hustle and
ness” and the stress of our daily lives, we need to           bustle of a hurried world. All 31 Catholic Schools in
make space for silence, because it is in silence that we      the Diocese of Townsville have introduced the
find God, and in silence that we discover our true self.      practice of meditation to all students as a means of
And in discovering our true self, we discover the             bringing about personal growth for social
particular vocation which God has given us for the            transformation – which is a fancy way of saying that
building up of his Church and the redemption of our           Christian Meditation is prayer of the heart.
world.” (Saturday, 18 September 2010 - Salute of Pope                Children aged 5 – 18 are embracing this form of
Benedict, the Holy Father, to the youth)                      prayer. Young children have a great openness to the
                                         Charles Posnett      presence of God in their lives and a real readiness for
                                                              prayer. They yearn to experience the divine and
MEDITATION WITH CHILDREN                                      through the stillness and silence that this experiential
                                                              form of prayer offers, we let ‘God do the work of
IN CUMBRIA                                                    God’ without interpretation or analysis.
       I would like to encourage meditators by sharing               We have learned, as many of you already may
my experience of meditation with the children of my           know, that if children are taught when they are young
local infant community school. I was met with great           to be still so that their hearts can be opened to the
enthusiasm when I discussed the possibility with the          movement of the Spirit, the presence of Jesus, and the
teachers in the Spring of 2010, and arranged to               embrace of God the Father, they will have a gift which
meditate with the whole school (around 40-50 4 to 7           will continue to bring them great blessings throughout
year olds) in the early morning once a month. I begin         their lives.
by welcoming the children, and we all sit on the floor                                        Ernie Christie, Australia
(staff included) in a big circle. I explain about stillness
and silence, and the focus on a special word, or the
candle light, for 5 minutes. Some children have found
UK News Autumn 2010                                                                                                   5

                                                                                Special Appeal
                                                                                 Autumn 2010
    The Meditatio initiative is a way of reaching out in dialogue with the secular approach to the problems
    of our time. In its first three year programme, Meditatio will host seminars on Education, Mental
    Health, Inter-Religious Dialogue, Business and Finance, the Environment and Handling Conflict. The
    Seminars will begin as unique events in the UK and then be shared round the world through
    publications and the internet.

    You can help by making a donation. Whatever sum you can give counts, be it small or large.

    If you are a UK taxpayer you can Gift Aid your donation, which increases the amount we receive at no
    extra cost to you. You might also consider making a standing order for the three year period.

    To make your donation please complete the details below and return the form to:

    The World Community for Christian Meditation, St Mark’s, Myddelton Square, London EC1R 1XX

    If you have any queries please contact the International Office T: 020 7278 2070 E:

    The World Community for Christian Meditation will use this information solely for keeping you in touch with its
    activities. It will not pass your details to anyone else.



    ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………Post Code……………………………..……….

    Tel………………………………………….…………… Email………………………………………………………………………………………………

    Signature ……………………………………………………………………………..…………Date…………………………………………….……….

     I enclose a donation of £ ………………………………………... to support Meditatio the outreach of The World
    Community for Christian Meditation.

    Please make cheques payable to WCCM Meditatio

       I wish to receive a receipt for this donation.
6                                                                                             UK News Autumn 2010

The World Community for Christian Meditation Registered charity number: 327173

Please tick the appropriate box. Cheques should be payable to WCCM Meditatio.
Please treat
 The enclosed gift of £……………………………as a Gift Aid donation; OR

   All gifts of money that I make today and in the future as Gift Aid donations; OR

 All gifts of money that I have made in the past 4 years and all future gifts of money that I make from
the date of this declaration as Gift Aid donations.

Signature ……………………………………………………………….………………………Date……………………………………………………….

You must pay an amount of Income Tax and/or Capital Gains Tax for each tax year (6 April one year to 5 April
the next) that is at least equal to the amount of tax that the charity will reclaim on your gifts for that tax year.

Please notify The World Community for Christian Meditation if you:
1. Want to cancel this declaration.
2. Change your name or home address.
3. No longer pay sufficient tax on your income and/or capital gains.

Tax claimed by the charity
• The charity will reclaim 28p of tax on every £1 you gave up to 5 April 2008.
• The charity will reclaim 25p of tax on every £1 you give on or after 6 April 2008.
• The Government will pay to the charity an additional 3p on every £1 you give between 6 April 2008 and 5 April
2011. This does not affect your personal tax position.
If you pay income tax at the higher rate, you must include all your Gift Aid donations on your Self Assessment tax
return if you want to receive the additional tax relief due to you.

Bankers Order Mandate

To the Manager
Please pay to Barclays Bank (Sort Code 20-47-34) for credit to The World Community for Christian Meditation
Account No 93734102

the sum of £…………………………………………………… every month / quarter / year* (*delete as appropriate)
starting on …..………………………………………… (date) and ending on…………………………….…………..…………
Details of my bank account

My Account No ……………………………………………………………..                          Bank Sort Code..……………........…………….
My signature ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….……………..
Bank Name………………………………………………..Bank Address ……………………………………………………………………
…..……………………………………………………………………………………Post code…………………………………………………...……
Bank please quote – donor ID no.
UK News Autumn 2010                                                                                           7
WANT TO LEARN MORE                                      These are all volunteer jobs. Some are regular,
                                                        some are occasional, some need to be done at St
ABOUT OUR COMMUNITY                                     Mark’s (and that could include some evenings or
OVERSEAS?                                               Saturdays if that suits you best). The jobs marked
                                                        ** could also be done from home if preferred. If
The International Office at St.Marks is looking for     you are interested in any of these have a word
a part-time administrative assistant to join its busy   with Liz to find out what is involved.
team. Secretarial and IT skills required with a               Liz Watson
general knowledge of office procedure, such as                                                020 7249 8701
answering the telephone, emailing, mailing, filing,
database updating and responding to general
                                                        LANCASHIRE REGION AWAY DAY
enquiries from UK and overseas. Some                    The Lancashire region away day, entitled Listening
knowledge of Access and Excel would be helpful.         with the Heart, took place on Saturday 9 October
                                                        2010 at Tabor Carmelite Retreat House, Fulwood,
Stipend, travel expenses and hours to be
                                                        Preston. The building is a modern barn conversion, a
discussed.                                              structure of glass, timber and exposed brick and full of
Please contact Susan on          light. Large enough to feel spacious, small enough to
                                                        feel part of a group of 48, it captured the brightness
or 020 7278 2070
                                                        and clarity of the autumn day. The free tea and coffee
                                                        served all day was symptomatic of the hospitality
CAN YOU DO ANY OF                                       provided. The house is a place of stillness and
THESE THINGS FOR THE                                    tranquillity, unusual in a modern building.
The Christian Meditation Trust (UK) needs a new
Treasurer to succeed Nigel Parfitt from the
beginning of 2011. To find out more contact:
Nigel Parfitt
01425 274116

For the office at St Mark’s, Myddelton Square,
London EC1R 1XX
Ability to keep tabs on everything and lead a small           After a welcome from our host, we went into
team of volunteers. Two days a week, or could be        the main part of the day. Vera Dolton spoke with
shared between two people. Needed from the              wisdom, insight and moving conviction on listening
beginning of 2011.                                      with the heart. Though her theme is central to
                                                        Christian meditation and all prayer life she
UK OFFICE TASKS                                         nevertheless brought to it both a fresh dimension and
General office tasks – regular help dealing with        invaluable concrete, practical advice. It also served as
enquiries by email, phone and letter, taking            the perfect preparation for the first meditation, which
bookings, helping visitors; maintaining the             was introduced by the Reverend Sue Morgan.
database on Access**;      helping with publicity             After lunch Christine Colbert led us – with great
                                                        patience – in circle dancing. Despite the short-
and display at St Mark’s; researching contacts
                                                        comings of some of the participants, Christine’s
for publicity mail outs; helping with mailouts          forbearance ensured that everyone enjoyed the
(stuffing envelopes etc); UK Friends of WCCM            experience and was alert for the afternoon session.
– dealing with donations and keeping in touch**;              Vera resumed with an exercise in lectio divina
occasional designing of fliers/posters**; dealing       and concluded with a reading from Julian of Norwich.
with orders for Medio Media books and CDs.              The afternoon session ended with a meditation
                                                        introduced by Roger Gibbard.
                                                              After a few words of thanks and the
8                                                                                        UK News Autumn 2010
presentation of a gift to Vera as token of the group’s      entirely given over to his experiences of prayer and
gratitude, Sheila Wrigley formally handed over the          meditation, of his loss of ego, and union with the One
leadership of the Lancashire Region to Lesley               in prayer.
Easterman, who thanked Sheila for all her work and                 I felt at times that John misses the point of
commitment. Tom Mason, a member of the Bolton               incarnation – the embodiment of spirit in flesh. He is
Group, which Sheila will continue to lead, made a           too keen to leave the world and all its works – perhaps
presentation to her on behalf of all those who have         a bit quietist. But this is not a substantial criticism or
benefitted from her efforts.                                fault, more a question of emphasis. We are here to
       The day ended at 4.00 pm.                            love the world and each other, compassionately,
                                        Joseph O'Neill      dispassionately, unconditionally. John might have
                                                            agreed when younger - he had his active years - but
                                                            now he is an old man, writing at the end of his life; his
                                                            worldly work is done and what remains for him is
“WONDERS OF SPIRITUAL                                       prayer and union. For him now, mortality appears
UNFOLDMENT”                                                 more a consequence of sin - of consciousness fallen
                                                            from its heavenly home, and prayer is the vehicle of
BY JOHN   BUTLER                                            repentance, returning us to Spirit, where all love is
Paperback: 410 pages . Publisher: Shepheard-Walwyn          perfected in the Love of God. He looks like an
(Publishers) Ltd (1 Sep. 2008) ISBN 085683260X978           Orthodox saint, and I suspect he is one, although he
I was sent this book to review a year ago. At first I       would be embarrassed by the description.
tried to dip in to it, skim reading parts of the                                                      David Simpson
beginning, middle and end, but quickly realised I could
not do it justice in that way, so sat down to read from     A WEEK OF SILENCE
beginning to end.                                           AN EXPERIENCE OF MONTE OLIVETO
       It is a rich pudding so I read only a page or two    We did not speak, except at supper; we co-existed in
before I meditated each day, interrupted by other           silence, gentleness and bare-footed prayer, listened to
books that came along during the year. Because I            readings, did yoga, shared communion; in extreme
don’t have pen or paper with me in our meditation           heat, we walked and ate in silence; smiles, little
room, whenever I came across a passage I thought            gestures like pouring water, offering a chair. All trivia
particularly powerful or resonant, I would turn the         cut out, communal life pared down to animal and
corner of the page (sacrilege to book lovers I know)        spiritual essentials.
and score the relevant paragraph with my thumbnail.                  We have just come back from a week’s retreat
By the time I had got to the end, and in effect had         with the World Community for Christian Meditation
read the book twice, it was twice as thick as it had        at a Benedictine monastery called Monte Oliveto, in
been when I started because I had turned the corners,       Tuscany. The cluster of buildings stands on the top of
top and bottom, of so many pages.                           a hill, shaded by cypress trees. Built in brick - the fields
       John Butler was born in 1937. He began his           around it are full of clay - its cloisters are famous for
adult life as an organic farmer, in Derbyshire and then     the frescoes painted by Sodoma of the life of Saint
in Lincolnshire, and learned to meditate at the School      Benedict. When I first arrived I was resistant, even
of Meditation in London, where he went to sell his          angry. This was not my idea of a holiday. I wanted a
organic vegetables, long before organic farming             swimming pool, air conditioning, music and fun. I
became the fashion it is today. He travelled                wanted a car, to go sightseeing, not to be trapped in
extensively, to Australia, South Africa, North and          this one place. I was like a chicken which squawks and
South America, and finally, for several years to his        struggles when it is first caught but then settles down
mother's homeland of Russia. While there, John              and accepts its fate. Within a day, I had slipped into
learned much from Orthodox devotion and the                 the routine, and it was wonderful. We learnt to accept
practice of the Jesus prayer.                               the hot weather; to move slowly. People had made the
       The book is not an autobiography, and one can        pilgrimage here from Australia, Canada, USA, Brazil,
only glean clues about his physical life. Passages about    Switzerland, Italy and the UK. Seventy of us, we were
nature, animals or farming, or love affairs, are included   young, old and in-between. We came to know one
as they relate to his spiritual journey. The book is        another simply by being together for a whole week.
really a collection of his poetry and reflections on                Each day starts with meditation at 6.30 am ( I
experiences as they happened with comments added            usually spent this time drinking tea outside in the cool
by him when compiling the book that place these             dawn light) followed by a short stretching break; then
experiences in context.                                     the second meditation: we sit on chairs or cushions or
       The last third or more of the book is almost         prayer stools in a large room with three arched
UK News Autumn 2010                                                                                               9
windows at the end looking out over the valley to           brain; if children learn to meditate it is a way of
wooded hills beyond and smaller windows on either           keeping their right brain active, the intuitive, direct,
side; the tiniest breeze is a benison. Outside, we hear a   perceptive side.
distant tractor, a pigeon or a jay, and at frequent                 “Any experience of extreme happiness is a
intervals loud bells clanging the hour or the office. But   moment of transcendence.
within the room the silence is almost palpable, the                 “Try again. Fail again. Fail again better. Jesus
stillness complete. Hardly a cough or sneeze or scratch     failed. We do not need success. See the world upside
or fidget from seventy people with their eyes shut          down.
sunk in the depth of their quiet minds.                             He said so much, and spoke slowly, clearly and
        Giovanni sits cross-legged and reads to us from     compellingly. We listened with the same quiet
the Gospel. He reads as slowly as we have come to           attention as we gave to the meditation.
move in this heat, with pauses and repetition, so that              After lunch we had some free time to rest, time
the story becomes a prayer. On Wednesday, the Feast         for a cold shower, to read, paint or walk down to the
of the Transfiguration, we hear how ‘Jesus took with        lake for a swim. I went to sit in the cloisters and
him Peter and James and his brother John and led            copied one of the frescoes; it felt almost like drawing
them up a high mountain, by themselves.’ Pause. He          from life, because the pictures are so realistic; Saint
reads it again. ‘And he was transfigured before them,       Benedict is visited in his cave by some other hermits,
and his face shone like the sun and his clothes became      who ask him to be their abbot and form a monastery.
dazzling white…’ again he pauses, reads it again.           Later, they turned against him and tried to poison him
‘Suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and             but he was not fooled – as he blessed the wine the
from the cloud a voice said: “This is my Son, the           glass cracked and the wine spilled over the table cloth;
Beloved, with him I am well pleased: listen to him!”        he left that community and moved on.
The story was familiar to us all, but his manner of                 At 5.30pm it was time for ‘Good Company’ and
reading, the early sun shining in and the power of our      it was. Led by Father Laurence, it was a time for
collective attentiveness to it, brought the excitement      sharing thoughts, feelings, understandings; did we
and fear and wonder of the event into that room and         have any epiphanies that day? This conversation
that moment, as if we were really there with Jesus and      expanded and evolved imperceptibly into bidding
his disciples.                                              prayers and the Eucharist, or communion in the very
        After meditation we walked slowly up the hill to    essence of the word.
breakfast in the restaurant. Half of us then had yoga               I noticed the occurrence of pairs. Two vases of
with Giovanni. His sessions were at the same time           lilies on either side of our altar. The Anderson twins,
funny and devout. “Feel the weight of your arms on          two identical pipe-smoking vicars in their late sixties,
the ground. How delicious it is to have arms. Roll your     with colourful life stories and ways of making us
head about in olive oil. Feel the gorgeousness of your      laugh. Then for me a kind of fusing/confusing of
weight on the ground. Wriggle you toes. Stick your          Father Laurence with Saint Benedict, perhaps because
bottom out and feel your tail – you have two tails, one     they both wear the same habit, and they both carry
a peacock’s, the other a wolf’s. Let your face droop        authority. Compline in the church, with the real live
down, let your tongue hang out, and talk like this. Feel    monks in their white habits, duplicated above their
the burn in your buttock, Moses and the burning             heads in the enormous paintings of other monks from
buttock – I’ll be excommunicated for that. ”                earlier times. Stretching our bodies by doing silly
        Having stretched and loosened our bodies, it        things with arms, legs and torsos, and stretching our
was time to stretch the intellect with the daily lecture    minds around the ineffable, the intangible, the
by Father Laurence. I can only give some snippets of        incomprehensible. Through meditation, the re-
what he said.                                               awakening of childhood memories about angels,
        “Silence is work, but it does not appear on our     saints, Bible stories, linking up with our mature
cv, it is not a commodity. If we wait for something to      understanding of those concepts; the humour and
happen it is faith and love. We’re open to being            yearning of Bach’s music, the stillness of seventy
surprised, to a sense of renewal. This is what leads to     people sitting barefoot in silence, together. Smiling
transformation and growth.                                  eyes as we share the peace. Gentleness, kindness,
        “The Beatitudes invert our usual way of seeing      wisdom. Above all, peace spreading through our
ourselves, we can see things upside down. Blessed are       company in an atmosphere of trust, so that our faces
the poor in spirit.                                         gradually changed. Masks fell away, our true selves
        “In the modern world everything is language         were revealed.
based, we have too much left brain, too much                        Father Laurence told us a story to much
cerebral, analytical activity and information.              laughter about a bat which flew into his bedroom the
Meditation is without language and therefore right          night before and refused to leave. He was afraid and
10                                                                                                UK News Autumn 2010
could not sleep because of it and saw it as a metaphor            Bristol, Gloucestershire and North Somerset Rev. Debbie
for our deep-seated fears. On Friday afternoon I was              Frazer home 0117 9879787 and mobile 07891692656 and office
                                                                  0117 9555947 & Roger Layet 01275
able to have a private talk with him. I told him about            463727
the bat in my belfry: the damage being done by our                Channel Islands Angela le Page 01481 723915
species to the planet, and in particular the over-      
exploitation of the sea. Our prayers and meditation               Cornwall Diana Wallis 01872 862509
seem to be so anthropocentric; I asked him, what                  Devon Rosemary Allan-Willcox 01392 437074 r.allan-
about the rest of creation? I told him about Bill                 Dorset - Roz Stockley 01258 841390 mob 07929 007808
Ballantine’s marine reserve in New Zealand, and how     
after thirty years of protection from all damage and              Somerset Mary Wilkinson 01935 822 222
disturbance, the abundance and bio-diversity of sea     
life have recovered and been restored. Father                     Wiltshire Janet Robbins 01249 814845
Laurence saw this as a powerful metaphor for the                  EAST
subconscious. Leave the mind undisturbed twice a day              Cambridgeshire Caroline Shepherd 01223 360648
for half an hour. No mental trawling or line-fishing,             East Anglia Anne McDonnell 01603 810 646
no anchoring, no speed boats, no pollution. The kelp    
forests of our mind will grow back and in those                   Essex Chris Hurley 01702 207722
forests, shoals of tame, fecund fish, fat lobsters, sea           NORTH WEST
horses, whelks and sea slugs will abound.                         Cumbria Sarah Kirkup 017683 41258
       If we make the time every day, twice a day, for            Isle of Man Bernie Roberts 01624 676274
our minds to be at peace, free from busy actions and              Lancashire Lesley Easterman 01204 811050
thoughts, then the childlike perception and                       Manchester Angela Gregson 01706 226574
receptiveness will be restored and our hearts will be   
open, as they were when we were children, to the                  NORTH EAST
presence and glory of God.                                        Newcastle and the North East Charles and Jill Foister 0191
                                            Polly Clarke          285 5054
                                                                  Yorkshire Pam Connolly 0113 262 8619
CONTACTS                                                 & Sue Giuntoni 0113 258
National Coordinator: Liz Watson
0207249 8701                  LONDON
Oblate Coordinator: Eileen Dutt                                   London (North East) Rev.Graeme Watson 020 7249 8701
01462 621418                  
School Coordinator: Sarah Kirkup                                  London (North West) Eileen McDade
017683 41258                    London (South – none of Kent or Surrey) Teresa Cockburn
Clergy Coordinator: Fr Robin Burgess                              020 8563 0607
020 8998 4710                         MIDLANDS
Meditation in Prisons:    East (Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Lincolnshire)
Publicity and PR Coordinator: Briji Waterfield                    Peter Short 0115 961 6534
07980 581351           
Meditation and Addiction: Mike Sarson                             East (Northamptonshire and Leicestershire) Maggi Gordon
0118 9623332                            01604 899342
Meditation and Mental Health: Don Boyle                           West (Birmingham) Kathy Carter 0121 444 2755
0788 765 1624                
Meditation and Children: Kim Nataraja                             West (Telford) Les Glaze 01952 582656 & Margaret Jarvis
020 7727 6779          01743 240401
Linking Hearts (lone meditators’ network) Pam Winters             SOUTH EAST
020 7833 9615                         
                                                                  Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Angela
Webmaster: Paul Swinhoe
                                                                  Greenwood 01344 774254
                                                                  Hertfordshire & Bedfordshire Jo Chambers SND
Newsletter Editor: David Simpson
                                                                  01707 895 093
0797 674 0093         
                                                                  Surrey Briji Waterfield 020 8941 8788
Chair of The Christian Meditation Trust (UK):
Beth Parfitt 01425 274116
                                                                  Kent Lucia Reiling 01732 454053
                Websites: WCCM
                                                                  Sussex Eileen Byrne 01403 211686 & Geraldine Constable
        WCCM (UK)
                                                                  Hampshire Pat Nash 01794 512006
REGIONAL CO-ORDINATORS                                            WALES
                                                                  North Vacant
                                                                  South Andrew Cresswell 029 20887219
Alex Holmes 01241 830724 & Roger Crowley 029 2047
ENGLAND SOUTH WEST                                                1772
UK News Autumn 2010                                                                                                                     11
West Jayne MacGregor 01348 872895                                        beyond Thought - An evening with Fr Laurence Freeman                                               OSB Location: Royal Holloway, University of London, (Windsor
                                                                         Building) Egham Hill, Egham Surrey TW20 0EX. For queries
                                                                         please call Briji 07980 581351
REGIONAL EVENTS                                                          Saturday 5 February 11.30 am – 3.00 pm. On Beginning
                                                                         Meditation: The Door to Silence. Leader: Briji Waterfield.
CUMBRIA                                                                  Location: At The House of Prayer, 35 Seymour Road, East
Contact for events below: Sarah Kirkup                                   Molesey, Surrey KT8 0PB Please bring a packed lunch. Cost £10 01768 341 258                                   To book please call Pauline on 020 8274 8699.
Saturday 29th January 2011. Awareness of Love in Stillness
and Silence; The Tithe Barn, Grasmere LA22 9SW, led by Bob               MANCHESTER
Morley. More details later. 10.00 for 10.30 start, finishing at          Regular Manchester area meditation meeting held on the last
3.30pm. Bring your own lunch, drinks provided. Cost: £12.50.             Saturday of the month between 1.30 - 4pm in
Contact: Sarah Kirkup - Tel:01768 341258;                                       Our Lady's Parish Hall, Moss Side, Manchester M16 7LU.                                                 New and experienced meditators welcome.
Tuesday 1st February 2011. Living with the Mystics. At         
Quaker Meeting House, Elliot Park, Keswick (next to Booth’s).            Contact
Thomas Merton. 10.00 – 3.00 p.m. Bring your own lunch,                   LONDON EVENTS
drinks provided. Cost: £5.00. Contact: Sarah Kirkup - Tel:01768
341258;                                                   LONDON CHRISTIAN MEDITATION CENTRE
Friday 15th – Sunday 17th April. The Hyning Retreat.                                 ST. MARK’S, MYDDELTON SQUARE,
Location: Monastery of Our Lady of Hyning, Carnforth LA5                                  LONDON, EC1R 1XX
9SE “Gazing at the Passion through the eyes of the
Mystics” Lead by: Bridget Hewitt. Cost: £100. Deposit of £25                              TEL: 020 7833 9615
secures a place. Contact: Sarah Kirkup - Tel:01768 341258;                                EMAIL: UK@WCCM.ORG                                                             WWW.CHRISTIAN-MEDITATION.ORG.UK
Saturday 27th November. ‘Going Deeper’. A contemplative
                                                                                DAILY MEDITATION 1PM MONDAY – SATURDAY.
preparation for Christmas with Lectio Divina, shared reflections         All welcome. Donations welcome. Led by London
and a walking meditation. And of course, sharing food together.          Meditation Centre volunteers
Lead by: Sue Giuntoni and Pam Connolly; Contacts: Pam                    Sundays starting 5/09. 2:30 – 3:30 pm. From Addiction to
Connolly: 0783 4223895; and               Grace. Lead by: Noel Brennan
Sue Giuntoni: 07761564089;                       the Practice of meditation can assist healing from addiction.
                                                                         teaching on meditation, followed by informal discussion and tea.
                                                                         No charge.
March 18th to 20th 2011. Body Mind & Spirit (2). Advance                 Mondays starting 6/09. Meditation 7:00 – 7:30 pm. Yoga
notice - further details to follow.. Briery Retreat Centre, Ilkley Tia   7:30 – 9:00 pm. Meditation & Yoga. Lucy Barnes. Yoga cost £10
Chia - Meditation - Circle Dance. Terry Doyle, Gretchen Stevens          (£7 concessions). you are welcome to attend one or both
and Christine Colbert.                                                   sessions.
WEST MIDLANDS                                                            Saturdays— 2 /10, 6/11, 4/12. 11:30am Christian Meditation
 Saturday 27th November, 9.30 – 2pm 'And the Angel                       Support Sessions followed by meditation at 1:00 pm. Eileen
Said....' Christian Meditation Quiet Day, led by Frances                 McDade. These sessions, on the first Saturday of every month,
Lock at the Christian Meditation Centre, 236 Alcester Road               are open sessions of two hours where anyone can drop in and
South, Kings Heath, Birmingham. Contact Joy Cheek 0121 449               share their story or ask questions in order to support and deepen
0511 or Sr Stella 0121 444 7463. Cost £8 and bring lunch to share        their practice. No need to book, just come along.
EAST ANGLIA                                                              Saturdays–2/10 to 27/11. 1:00 – 5:00 pm. Seasons and Saints.
Contact Anne & Mark McDonnell 01603 810 646                              Fr Robin Burgess, Graeme Watson, Noggs Barn website                            Liz Watson. Drawing inspiration for contemplative living from                                                        the saints and seasons of the
End of the Year Reflections Sat 20th Nov 11:00am - 4:00pm                church. These Saturdays will end with a contemplative Eucharist.
Please bring a picture, poem, reading or object that expresses           2/10: Meditation and Social Action (with Vincent de Paul in
your response to this time of year. Margaret Comerford will              mind). Graeme Watson. 6/11: Meditation and the Saints (all
provide an introduction from a historical perspective looking at         Saints Tide).
medieval ritual around the oncoming of winter.                           Fr Robin Burgess. 27/11: Meditation and the meaning of the
St. John's Gospel and Advent Light Sat 11th Dec 11:00am –                Kingdom. Liz Watson. Suggested donation: £10.
4:00pm Christina Johnson is a Lay Chaplain at both the Church            Thursdays 7/10, 21/10, 3/11, 18/11, 2/12 and 16/12. 6:30 –
of St. Edward King and Martyr and Addenbrooks Hospital in                7:30 pm. Fortnightly Meditation Group. Liz Watson.
Cambridge. She will lead us through a meditative consideration of        (tea/coffee available from 6 pm). These 6 meetings will be an
words from St. John; 'the word became flesh', being 'born anew'          ideal introduction to the practice for newcomers as well as a good
worshipping 'in spirit and in truth' and 'the light of the world.'       support for more experienced meditators. Donations welcome.
The Prodigal Son Sat 22nd Jan 11:00am – 4:00pm New Year                  Saturday 9/10. 2:00 – 5:00 pm. Yoga approaching
themes of return, restitution and renewal are visited as we              Meditation Workshop. Lucy barnes. Simple and gentle yoga
contemplate the story of the prodigal son represented in art and         practice focussing on how we sit and breathe before meditation.
word. Led by Carol Hince, a member of Noggs Barn meditation              time for conversation and teas afterwards. Suggested donation:
group.                                                                   £15
                                                                         Friday 17/12. 7:30 pm. An evening with Fr Laurence OSB.
SURREY                                                                   This talk will take place in the church.
Thursday 20 January 2011 at 6.15 pm. Meditation: Waking
12                                                                                                    UK News Autumn 2010
COCKFOSTERS - BENEDICTINE CENTRE FOR SPIRITUALITY                     Where: The Kairos Centre, Mount Angelus Road, Roehampton,
                                                                      London, SW15 4JA
Sunday 19th December 2010. Oblates Annual Meeting.
                                                                      For bookings, please contact
Tending our roots: sharing our love
                                                                      Tuesday 7th December 2010. Meditatio Coming Home:
Location: Benedictine Centre for Spirituality (BCS), Christ the
                                                                      Teaching Meditation to Children. At Regents College,
King, Cockfosters. Time: 10.00 for 10.30 finishing at 16.00hrs.
                                                                      London. Speakers will include: Cathy Day and Ernie Christie,
Activities will include: Morning Prayers. Fr Laurence sharing his
                                                                      Directors of Catholic Education, Diocese of Townsville,
thoughts on Benedictine Oblate Congress in Rome & the Oblate
                                                                      Australia. Dr Jonathan Campion, Psychiatrist and Special Advisor
meeting taking place prior to the JMS. Meditation. Table
                                                                      to the Department of Health on Mental Health Strategy.
fellowship. Mass during which Fr Laurence will receive the Final
                                                                      Laurence Freeman OSB, Director of The World Community for
Promises of novice
                                                                      Christian Meditation.
oblates and oblates will make their Annual Renewal of Oblation.
Open forum for Q&A - important with all the changes that are
taking place. Cost: suggested donation of £10.00
Contact: Eileen Dutt - mobile: 07721 574767; Accommodation: If you need
accommodation can I suggest you contact Kath in the
Benedictine Centre for Spirituality (BCS) by email (listed above)
or telephone on 020 8449 2499. By the end of July WCCM will
have vacated the Retreat Centre which means we won't have at
our disposal the additional bedrooms available to us as in
previous years. Given this, early booking is essential. Oblate
Days are open to any meditator who wishes to learn more
about the Oblate community.
                                                                                         MEDIO MEDIA
All talks at: Westminster Cathedral Hall, Ambrosden Avenue,                           Phone: 020 7278 2070
London SW1P 0QJ . For information email:                                              Fax: 020 7713 346346 Suggested donation £10. Pre-
booking necessary.
Tuesday,23rd November 2010. Fr. Daniel O’Leary, “Unblock
the Light – Explore a New Way of Living.” In Westminster
Cathedral Hall from 7pm to 9pm., refreshments from 6.30pm.
Suggested donation £10.
Saturday, 19th February 2011. Fr. Laurence Freeman OSB.
“The Great Chasm: Spirituality in a time of austerity”.
Through a contemplative reading of the parable of the rich and
the poor (in Luke 16) Fr Laurence Freeman OSB points to a
renewal of values and the meaning of well-being that begins with
the opening of the heart and works outwards to change our
world. Westminster Cathedral Hall, from 10am to 4pm.
Suggested donation, £20.
Thursday, 31st March 2011. Fr. Robert Kennedy SJ. “Zen and
Christianity”. Westminster Cathedral Hall, from 7pm to 9pm.
Refreshments from 6.30pm. Suggested donation, £10.
Tuesday, 7th June from 7pm to 9pm and Wednesday, 8th June
from 10am to 4pm, Dr. Cynthia Bourgeault, “ Wisdom
Jesus.” Suggested donation £10 for 7th June and £20 for 8th
June. Refreshments provided.
To book go to or send SAE with
cheque with the name of speaker on the back, made out to
Silence in the City and send to: Silence in the City,77 Tower
Bridge Road, London SE1 4TW. For more information call
0207231 6278 or 020 7252 2453
                                                   Eileen McDade
Friday, 26th – Sunday, 28th November. Addiction - the 9th
demon and how meditation heals it. Nov 26-28 International
11th step Retreat MEDITATIO, the outreach of The World
Community for Christian Meditation has its first retreat with
Christian Meditation as an 11th Step Practice in London on 26-28
November with the theme Addiction: The 9th demon and how
Meditation heals it . Fr Laurence will give the opening and closing    Medio Media has now received copies of the 2011
presentations with the weekend facilitated by Linda Kaye,              calendar with photos from Fr Laurence and quotes
Director of the Christian Meditation Centre, Florida. View the          from John Main. It is priced at £5.99 plus £1.50
poster and registration form on the WCCM website Contact or
                                                                      P&P, and can be obtained by calling Medio Media on
Christian Meditation as an 11th Step Practice                           0207 278 2070, or Email .

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