A Contemplative Response to Austerity – a Meditatio Seminar
Kit Dollard, 15 July 2016
About a hundred people gathered at Teesside University, Middlesbrough on 13 July 2016 to listen to a variety of speakers address the subject of “A Contemplative Response to Austerity.” The chair for the day was the Bishop of Whitby Paul Ferguson and Fr Laurence was the keynote speaker.
Fr Laurence spoke on the nature of contemplation, and reminded that meditation is not an escape but becomes ‘a new way of seeing the interaction with what we see.’ In other words contemplation changes us and allows us to see the world differently.
Bethany Eckley, Director of Research & Policy at the Church Urban Fund presented two papers about how Christian churches might engage with communities in more effective ways. She underscored that relationships, not programmes, bring healing. Canon Derek Turnham spoke about the important role of Caritas and the Catholic Social Action Network (CSAN) in building community around the world.
There was a choice of workshops dealing with the more practical aspects of coping with austerity, ranging from healing and harmony to supporting communities and building social inclusion.
This seminar re-affirmed the absolute centrality of relationships and of love in our daily lives, and allows us to address austerity with peace, patience, maturity and wisdom.
Kit Dollard is Chair of Catholic Marriage Care, a member of the Catholic Bishops Conference on Spirituality, an author on Benedictine spirituality and a regular speaker at conferences.
The Meditatio Seminar “Hope for the Future: Meditation in Schools”, was held at Heythrop College, London on 29 June. The Seminar was fully booked withover 200 participants from education around the world. The keynote speaker Dr.Rowan Williams, Laurence Freeman OSB, Dr. Cathy Day and Ernie Christie (Townsville Catholic Education Office, Australia), Sister Ruth Montrichard (WCCM National Coordinator for the Caribbean), Paul Tratnyek (WCCM School Liaison in Canada), Patricia Por (WCCM National Coordinator for Malaysia) and Clare Marie Burchall (retired Head Teacher from the UK). A WCCM report on “The Heart of Education: Meditation with Children”, was presented by Jim Green who compiled the report. Briji Waterfield, WCCM Director of Special Projects, presented a trailer on “Share the Gift” – an online course for teachers.
You can watch all videos here or in the player below:
See a gallery with images from the Seminar here.
Bookings are now closed for the Hope for the Future Seminar on 29 June. If you would like to be kept up to date with the outcomes from the Seminar, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
On 22-24 April, the Meditatio Seminar on Environment was held in Sydney, Australia. One of the panels, hosted by Geraldine Doogue of ABC TV Australia, included:
- Fr. Laurence Freeman, Director of The World Community for Christian Meditation
- Rev. Linda Chapman, who established Open Sanctuary on the New South Wales South Coast at Tilba Tilba
- Bishop George Browning, a former Anglican Bishop
- Professor David Tacey, Emeritus Professor of Humanities at La Trobe University, Melbourne, and Research Professor at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture, Canberra
- Dr. Vicki Grieves, an historian with research interests in gender and race in settler colonial societies, the development of Indigenous knowledges in the academy, wellbeing and cultural heritage management
- Dr. Susan Murphy, a Zen Roshi and former academic, writer, screenwriter, film maker, radio documentary features producer, and a widely published scholar in the fields of film and social ecology
ABC Local in Australia features the following audio podcast from the panel with Geraldine Doogue.