Feast of Poems and Food – Online
7.30pm-9pm, Friday 17 April 2020
The photo taken in John’s garden signals the surging life and renewal of Spring. Join us on Friday 17 April for a feast of food and poems. Whatever our experience of this time, and the consequences of the pandemic are impacting us in different and varied ways, come together in community and solidarity over food next Friday. If you would like, please bring a poem to read and share. This could be something you have written or a poem that others have written that speaks to you of this time.
David Whyte says this of poetry: “Poetry is an intimate conversation with the wonders and difficulties of the world, a pilgrim path to a place where we are able to combine our fear, our fierceness and our faith to make a life we can call our own – no matter the difficulties that seem to surround us”.
The evening will be hosted by Avril Loveless, Rita Garner and myself. We will gather at 7.30pm for a welcome, say hello, have a short 5 minute meditation before eating together in smaller groups of around eight people where we can chat, eat and share poems in a smaller group. We’ll come back together as a large group for coffee/tea (or other drink of your choice) and maybe hear some more poems before closing our evening. We recommend you plan to have your food ready to serve for 7.45pm.
Sign up on Meet Up or email email@example.com. Numbers are limited so sign up early. The joining link for Zoom will be sent to you once you sign up. Please ensure you have a working camera on your tablet, laptop/desktop or smartphone so we can be together with video and audio view.
Study and Reflection Groups on The Universal Christ by Richard Rohr
Groups in Hove and Shoreham-by-Sea starting February 2020
Richard Rohr is a Franciscan priest and one of the world’s leading teachers on the Christian contemplative tradition. In this book he invites us to re-imagine our understanding of the historic figure of Jesus born 2000 years ago and what he names the Universal Christ, the source of the Big Bang and the principle of divine love written into this evolving universe 13.8 billion years ago.
Join a small group (maximum ten people) and journey together over six sessions as we reflect on the themes and questions in the book through reading, meditation and contemplative practice and participation in a community of fellow inquirers as we discover “a forgotten reality that can change everything we see, hope for and believe”.
We ask that before signing up you check that you are available for all six sessions. We recognise life is unpredictable and we want everyone who participates to have the intention to be at all the sessions and to commit to read sections of the book ahead of each meeting. There is a choice of two groups: one during the day on Saturdays and the other on Monday evenings.
Hove group hosted by Rita Garner and Avril Loveless meets between 10.30am-1.30pm on Saturday 8, 22 Feb, 7, 28 March, 18 & 25 April. The group ends with a shared vegetarian lunch.
Shoreham-by-Sea group group hosted by John Watters and Revd Jane Bartlett meets between 7pm-9.30pm on Mondays 3 & 17 February, 2, 16, 30 March & 20 April. The group begins with a shared vegetarian meal.
Register on Meet-Up (using links above) or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Conscious Ageing – Opening to Wisdom, Grace & Creativity
1.30pm-5pm, Saturday 7 March 2020
Exeter Street Hall, Brighton BN1 5PG
At each stage of life we cross important thresholds. This afternoon workshop is an opportunity to explore the transition into later life. Crossing the threshold into ageing does not happen at a fixed chronological age; you might be 50, 60, 70 or 80 years of age or somewhere in-between.
Conscious ageing is a courageous and deliberate act of pausing, savouring and taking stock, whatever age we are. The workshop provides space and time to see what may be falling away or something you wish to consciously let go at this stage of your life. We will also consider what you wish to retain and carry forward as well what beckons you or calls you forward into new adventures. At each stage of life we cross important thresholds. This afternoon workshop is an opportunity to explore the transition into later life. Crossing the threshold into ageing does not happen at a fixed chronological age; you might be 50, 60, 70 or 80 years of age or somewhere in-between.
Through labyrinth walking, conversation, creative process and deep listening we will discover our elder wisdom and how this might guide and sustain us in the continuing unfolding of our lives. Enrollment is limited to 16 people so early booking through Eventbrite is advised.
Sense of Wonder
10.30am-4.00pm, Saturday 28 September 2019, St Luke’s Church Prestonville
Wonder: the word itself conjures a sense of mystery. It gestures toward what it means to open ourselves—mind and heart—to the world around and within us. As a verb, wonder suggests the energies of the imagination: we ready ourselves for what we do not yet know, and dare to imagine. We will explore poets and theologians, mystics and artists, some of whose works shaped the heart of the Christian tradition while others gave their witness at the boundaries. All were joined in Socrates’ conviction that wonder is the beginning of wisdom, the impulse that opens our lives to the “more” that is always present among us. All knew in their ways that mystery shimmers in the ordinary, in the midst of where we are. Wonder at all of this holds the seeds of hope so needed in times like these.
Mark Burrows, our workshop leader, is a poet and scholar of medieval theology. A long-time resident of New England, he now serves as professor of religion and literature at the Protestant University of Applied Sciences in Bochum (Germany). He is the author of several books on theology and poetry, including Meister Eckhart’s Book of the Heart (2017) www.msburrows.com
Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu’s Book of Joy – Reflection & Fellowship Group
Options of two groups: Mondays 7.15pm-9.30pm, 29 July, 5th and 12th August 2019 in central Hove OR Saturdays 2.30pm-5pm, 3, 10 & 17 August 2019 in Shoreham-by-Sea (both groups are now fully subscribed)
The focus of these Reflection and Fellowship Groups is the Book of Joy. Two great spiritual masters, The Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu share their hard-won wisdom about living with joy even in the face of adversity. Both winners of the Nobel Prize and moral leaders of our time, they are also known for being among the most infectiously happy people on the planet. The book interweaves their own stories and teachings about joy, the most recent findings in the science of deep happiness, and the daily practices that anchor their own emotional and spiritual lives. “Joy is much bigger than happiness. While happiness is often seen as being dependent on circumstances, joy is not” says Archbishop Tutu. We’ll explore the eight pillars of joy: perspective, humility, humour, acceptance, forgiveness, gratitude, compassion and generosity and the practices The Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu suggest to cultivate joy.
The group meeting in the evening will start with a shared meal and the afternoon group will start with tea and cake. We will then have time for reflection in smaller groups as well as an opportunity to hear from everyone. Please read the Book of Joy in advance of the group starting. (Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash)