Saturday, 24 March 2018

St Peter and St Paul, Seal: Coming to our senses - Week Five - Taste

St Peter and St Paul, Seal: Coming to our senses - Week Five - Taste: Weekend – In the church ·          The most obvious use of the sense of taste in church is Holy Communion. If you receive bread and wine ...

Friday, 23 March 2018

Thursday, 22 March 2018

St Peter and St Paul, Seal: Coming to our senses - Week Five - Taste

St Peter and St Paul, Seal: Coming to our senses - Week Five - Taste: Thursday – In the news ·          What mentions of food can you find in the news today – hunger, obesity,  food production  or sale,  f...

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

St Peter and St Paul, Seal: Coming to our senses - Week Five - Taste

St Peter and St Paul, Seal: Coming to our senses - Week Five - Taste: Tuesday – Home • How do you eat in your house? At the table? In front of the TV? Talking? In silence? What are meals like? Are they happy...

Monday, 19 March 2018

Friday, 16 March 2018

St Peter and St Paul, Seal: Coming to our senses - Week Four - Touch

St Peter and St Paul, Seal: Coming to our senses - Week Four - Touch: Friday – In the Bible          Read Rev 21.1-4 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had pa...

Thursday, 15 March 2018

St Peter and St Paul, Seal: Coming to our senses - Week Four - Touch

St Peter and St Paul, Seal: Coming to our senses - Week Four - Touch: Thursday – In the news ·          As you watch/listen to/read the news today think about the physical sensations those in the news are ...

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

St Peter and St Paul, Seal: Coming to our senses - Week Four - Touch

St Peter and St Paul, Seal: Coming to our senses - Week Four - Touch: Wednesday – Others ·          Who touches you and who are you touched by in your daily life? ·          Are you a “touchy-feely” pers...

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

St Peter and St Paul, Seal: Coming to our senses - Week Four - Touch

St Peter and St Paul, Seal: Coming to our senses - Week Four - Touch: Tuesday – Home ·          Do you consider your home to be comfortable? What makes a home comfortable? ·          Are there any part...

Monday, 12 March 2018

Saturday, 10 March 2018

St Peter and St Paul, Seal: Coming to our senses - Week Three - Smell

St Peter and St Paul, Seal: Coming to our senses - Week Three - Smell: Weekend – In the church Spend some time in church over the weekend, either at a service or on your own.  Churches often have a distinct...

Friday, 9 March 2018

News from the London Centre for Spiritual Direction

In London at least, March came in like a lion. We hope you were all able to keep safe and warm, and are enjoying the signs of Spring. Here's our March newsletter, full of  the usual announcements about events and workshops happening here at LCSD, plus news from our friends.  All the details are on the Centre's website and the immediate highlights are listed later in this newsletter.

Like many organisations we are making sure that you are happy with the mailing details we have for you in time for the new data protection legislation: please look out for our messages about this in due course.

This month our reflection is from Antonia Lynn, our Community Warden and Referrals Co-ordinator (and trustee) who invites us to explore how seeing and being seen is encountered in spiritual direction. 

Candles glowing

Dear Friends
I want to share with you some thoughts about this time of year, inspired by what’s happening in my own community.
“I am very fond of being looked at.” So said Gwendolyn in Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, but I suspect that not all of us could agree. Feeling that we are under scrutiny is not comfortable. And yet, on the third fourth and fifth Sundays of Lent, in the Catholic Church we celebrate what we call “the Scrutinies”, special rites at Mass for those preparing for baptism at Easter. These rites involve the whole of the community: we pray for those to be baptised, and we are also reminded of our own baptism and journey into faith - a journey which, in truth, never ends.
The prayer in the Scrutinies is twofold: first, for grace and the gifts we need to nourish and strengthen us along the way; secondly, for freedom from all that blinds or binds or hinders us. In the Ignatian tradition we would say freedom from inordinate attachments and from what lures us to the standard of the enemy rather than that of Christ.
The context of the Scrutinies is the narrative of encounter. The Mass gospels are those of the Samaritan woman at the well, the man born blind and the raising of Lazarus. They are all stories of being looked at, of being truly seen by Jesus; they are stories of grace and freedom. Jesus looks at the woman, and he sees through the difference and the shame and the rackety lifestyle to the beautiful, thirsty child of God. He looks at the blind man, and sees through the theories of blame and retribution to the faith of one who desires healing. He looks at Lazarus, and sees through the stink of death and rules of uncleanness to the friend he loves.
In each encounter there is also a theophany - God also lets himself be scrutinised. And because the stories come to us from John’s gospel, in each one we hear spoken the name of God: I Am. We hear it among the trivialities about wells and buckets, and through Martha’s cries of anger and grief. And in the blind man’s story? That’s perhaps the most shocking of all: it is the blind man himself, now seeing, who says “I am he” (in the Greek it’s simply I Am, just like the others). As Irenaeus put it: “Jesus Christ, through his boundless love, became what we are so that we might become what he is.”  Imagine the growing excitement of those to be baptised at the thought of what awaits: to be healed, to be set free to bear witness, to “put on Christ”.
Seeing and being seen. What has this to do with spiritual direction? Well… can you remember your first meeting with the person who is now your spiritual director? Did you wonder where to begin, what to share? Often underneath those questions are ones that say “is there anything I can’t share? Will they be shocked? Feel they can’t work with someone like me?” So often the people I see who are looking for a spiritual director tell me they want someone who will make them feel safe and accepted. To challenge, yes, but to see them as they are and not judge them.
And directors: do we sometimes forget just who is coming to see us? Is the person at the door just another name in the diary for today, or someone who will show us - often surprisingly - a face of the Divine. The loving gaze of God flows both ways. This, I think, is the most wonderful, disturbing and amazing thing about spiritual direction. As Margaret Silf says, in such an encounter “God-in-you is listening to” - and looking at - “God-in -the-other.” Or, in Anthony de Mello’s words, “behold God beholding you - and smiling”.
Enjoy blessings, grace and freedom in this holy season!

Workshops and Offerings

Open Evening - Encounter
Thursday 12 April 2018, 6 - 9pm
Who trains as a spiritual director/companion? What does the course involve? The session will be led by Julie Dunstan, Director of Encounter. We will start at 6pm. Please come any time after 5.30pm for tea/coffee. During the evening there will be an opportunity to meet some of the tutors and current students on the course. Book your free place at Eventbrite. All welcome.

The Treasures of Darkness: Working with the Shadow in Spiritual Direction
4 May 2018, 11 - 4pm

Anne Solomon

What is our Shadow? What do we do with those sides of our self that are not so easy to include in our spiritual journey? How does the Shadow relate to our inner freedom and fullness of life? Anne will help us explore ways of understanding and working with the Shadow for ourselves and for those we accompany. Book at Eventbrite

Listening to Your Life: Discernment and Vocation in Spiritual Direction
18 May 2018, 11 - 4pm

Julia Mourant
An opportunity to reflect on issues which arise at times of transition and discernment. Change may be a choice, with new decisions emerging from exploring a sense of direction, or we may have to find a new sense of vocation in different circumstances which life presents to us. What themes might we encounter in listening to vocational questions and what resources might we draw on? (Rescheduled from 2 March) Book at Eventbrite.


Exploring Healing in Spiritual Direction: Creative Reflections from a Therapeutic Community
1 June 2018, 11 - 4pm

Elizabeth Baxter & Helen Warwick

This day is for those interested in exploring healing through spiritual accompaniment. It will explore some practical, creative and theological approaches of working with others for healing. This interactive day will give space and time for linking into our own healing journeys.
Book at Eventbrite.

Gifts and Challenges: Spiritual Direction and Evangelical Spirituality
13 July 2018, 11 - 4pm

Dawn Pointing & Val Smith

Until recently, spiritual direction was a foreign concept in most evangelical and charismatic circles. But now, many are engaging in this ministry, sometimes for the first time. Whilst acknowledging there is much variety within the evangelical world, this will be a day to explore the distinctive gifts and challenges this tradition brings. How can we most helpfully accompany those from this background given its theology, its language and its understanding of the spiritual life?
Book at Eventbrite.

From Our Friends...

Haydn's The Seven Last Words from the Cross
Wednesday 28 March 2018, 1pm

We are delighted once again to host Haydn’s The Seven Last Words from the Cross, performed by string quartet: Penny Saunders (Violin), Helen Saunders (Violin), Alan Thorogood (Viola) and Francis Saunders (Cello). Our Director, Neil Evans, will be giving an introduction before the performance. Come and enjoy.

Open Reflective Days at RFSK
various dates

One of the offerings from our friends at the Royal Foundation of St Katharine is their regular reflective days throughout the year. The next one is on 12 March, and check out their website for other dates
and lots of other happenings. 

Healing, Wholeness and Holiness


Sunday 18 March 2018  2pm – 4.30pm
(Registration from 2pm, Lecture starts at 2.30pm)

Exploring the interface between psychology and spirituality
through the lens of psychotherapy and spiritual direction

with Julie Leger Dunstan

More details and book via Eventbrite

ISC Open Day
17 May 2018, 2 - 4pm
If you’ve been contemplating Ignatian training and would like to meet course leaders to find out more, please follow the link to book a place.

Open Day 17 May 2018

Comprehensive information about the Ignatian Spirituality Course may be found on our website:

15 – 17 June 2018

Ascot Priory
Led by John-Francis Friendship

This weekend retreat, set in the context of silence, invites you to enter into the compassionate heart of God through different perspectives – the Heart of the Father; the Heart in Silence; the Heart of Compassion; the Heart’s Gaze, and the Heart’s Softener. Go to  Compassion Retreat 2018 for more information.

A question of accreditation?
Elizabeth White and Lynette Harborne,  both spiritual directors, supervisors and trainers, are interested in exploring the potential for an accreditation scheme.  At LCSD we are following this with interest.  Read more and  take part in the consultation