Wednesday night marked the first instalment of our Re-awakening the Sacred series, the second year St Ethelburga’s has run the programme. The series is a journey exploring how we can connect with a shared sense of meaning and reverence for life in times of crisis and transition, and how we can bring the sacred back into our daily lives in all areas and disciplines.
I’ve just returned from the New Story Summit - a long overdue gathering of those involved in the global grassroots movement for systemic change. We came from all over the world, over 350 people from the fields of peacemaking, new economics, ecology, organisational change, community building, evolutionary biology and the arts.
It is difficult to find the words to describe how horrific and tragic the last few months have been for global conflict, destruction, pain, and collective human suffering as we have watched regions collapse right before our eyes. We have seen communities turn against each other, both abroad and here at home in the heart of London. Identities have hardened, antisemitism and islamophobia have increased.
Andrea Paul and Sanat Misra write:
Today marks the centenary of the First World War. On the 4th of August 1914, Britain declared war on Germany after the latter rejected an ultimatum to leave Belgium by midnight on Monday (August 3rd). The war was expected to be a short affair, “over by Christmas”, and thousands of British men had volunteered to fight. But, after 20,000 deaths in the first two weeks, expectations had to be revised.
It is somewhat surreal sitting in a café in North London writing this last journal letter about an incredible year. It seems about five years ago we were sitting in Woodbrooke during our induction last August, and yet it could also be five minutes. This letter contains reflections on my experiences, emerging thoughts about the nature of peace and my next steps over the coming year!
Sara Yasmin Anwar writes: "Being a centre that is open to the public means that no two days are ever the same as you never know who could walk through the doors. Today was no exception. We were visited by two older men who had travelled from outside of London just to visit the centre and not just because it’s the oldest standing holy relic in London but because Jolyon, one of the visitors, had a special connection to the centre he was christened here, back in 1947!
Viviana Esse writes:
“Dear friends, after 9 months journeying together both as a team and as an Action Learning Group (ALG), our Re-imagining the Sacred series was drawn to a close. Only temporarily though, as from September we shall come back with a second season. Meanwhile, some of the amazing people who contributed so greatly to our ALG have gifted us with some testimonials about the deeper meaning of the journey, and have shared how reconnecting with the sacred so actively has changed their everyday life.