Monday, 30 November 2015

St Peter and St Paul, Seal: In the Picture: Elizabeth

  The second Advent thought from St Peter and St Paul, Seal: In the Picture: Elizabeth: The Meeting of Mary and Elizabeth Carl Heinrich Bloch 1834 - 1890 Read: Luke 1.24-25, 39-45   After those days his wife Elizab...

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Advent Thoughts from St Peter & Paul, Seal: In the Picture: Zechariah

St Peter and St Paul, Seal: In the Picture: Zechariah: The angel appears to Zechariah    Alexander Ivanov 1806 – 1858 opaque watercolour on paper (26 × 39 cm) — 1850's   Tretyakov Gal...

Advent thoughts from Seal Church: In the Picture


The story of the first Christmas has been a powerful source of inspiration for artists for most of Christian history. They haven’t just focussed on the stable, the shepherds and the magi. They have painted and sculpted every part of the tale, from the angel appearing to Zechariah, to tell him that he is to become the father of John the Baptist, to Simeon and Anna greeting Jesus in the Temple forty days after his birth and acclaiming him as “the light that enlightens the Gentiles”. In between those points virtually every human experience is found. There is new life, hope, love and tender care in the story, but also fear, death, shame and poverty, things we may all feel in the course of our lives. That’s why depictions of the events around Christ’s birth have such universal appeal; we can see our own lives reflected in them. They may seem to be pictures of things that happened long ago and far away, but in reality they are happening right here, today, in our lives and the lives of those around us. Christians believe that in Jesus, God came among us in flesh and blood; “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us… full of grace and truth” (John 1.14) That means we can find him just as much in our own lives as we can in a straw filled manger.

This Advent series of thoughts, one a day from Advent Sunday onwards, focusses on a different picture each day and on a different character or group of characters from the Nativity story. How does each of these characters or groups fit into the bigger picture of the story? Can we identify with them, or recognise what they might be feeling and thinking from experiences in our own lives?

Read along – a post a day – and see what you think. Links posted here every day through Advent.

Friday, 20 November 2015

Advent Candle Light colouring

How are you going to mark Advent?
It's good to find time and space amidst the busyness to pause and reflect. If you're into colouring, here's an Advent exercise for you. Print out the picture - there's a PDF version here if you prefer it
(You are also welcome to copy the idea and draw your own version - your handwriting may be tidier than mine - I threw this together yesterday!)

Starting on Dec 1, find candle ray number 1, look up the bible verse - there's an online bible here, where you can enter the verse - Then decorate that candle ray as you want. You could fill it with patterns, draw a picture, write out the verse, or a word from's up to you.
On Christmas Eve colour the candle and the flame.
Why not post a picture on social media at the end, or as you go along, to share your Advent journey?

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

News from the London Centre for Spirituality

Safeguarding and Spiritual Direction
Safeguarding and Spiritual Direction
Saturday 12th December 2015, 10 - 1 pm
with Dawn Watson from CCPAS (the Churches Child Protection Advisory Service)
Cost: £30

From time to time spiritual directors may find themselves presented with an event which concerns child or vulnerable adult abuse, either historic or current. This morning is designed as an event for all spiritual directors & those training to become spiritual directors on the issues we need to consider when working with vulnerable adults issues concerning Safeguarding

Topics that will be covered include:
Who is a vulnerable adult or adult at risk?
Who might be abused?
What issues relating to abuse should raise our concern?
Who might abuse?
How to handle the matter of confidentiality
Signs and symptoms
Responding to concerns

Read more and book here
Developing Direction: The Human Role in the Planetary Incarnation
The Human Role in the Planetary Incarnation
with Paul Maiteny
4 Dec 2015, 11 - 3:45pm
Cost £45

The ecological crisis we have created on planet Earth is symptomatic of denying the purpose for which what God has created us as a species.
Today we will reflect on the extent to which we, as individuals and a species, have arrived at this point of ecological crisis, holocaust and extinctions because we have failed to have 'the eyes to see and ears to hear' what mystics and prophets have been trying, for millennia, to tell us. This is that discerning the core meaning and purpose of our lives, and engaging in the emotional and spiritual work necessary to do so, is the key to averting the crises that we inevitably bring on ourselves when we seek to find satisfaction through the only other alternative - that of consuming the planetary body of which we are part and, today, using our intellect to devise ways of doing so in ever more clever, intensive and accelerating ways.  Please bring readings, poems, artwork, etc that speak meaningfully to you of these types of themes.

Read more and book
Last chance to book....
The London Spirituality Centre Network Day
21st November 2015
10.30 for an 11.00 start – 4.30
Cost £25

We welcome you to the annual London Spirituality Centre Network Day.

This will be a chance to :

•    Re-connect with one another;
•    Hear the latest news from the Centre;
•    Sign up to our new and improved Spiritual Direction Network;
•    Meet both Diocesan and Centre Advisors – people who are responsible for linking our work with church and community;
•    Reflect together on spiritual direction;
•    Pray together and bless one another in our ministry;

The talk, entitled ‘Recognising Christ,’ will be from Julie Dunstan, Director of Encounter, The London Course in Spiritual Direction, psychotherapist and licensed lay minister.  She will talk on the need for good theological reflection in spiritual direction and its role in bringing greater integrity to the work, richness and depth to the ministry, and vital links to a church in need of far more ‘burning hearts’.

The day will be facilitated by Robin Hepburn, Chair of Trustees, The London Spirituality Centre.

Read more and book here
Open Soul Space Retreat
Saturday Nov 28th - 10 to 5pm
Cost £40 - bring a notebook and your own lunch

Give yourself the gift of a day to nourish your soul. There will be silence, stillness, personal and group meditation and contemplative prayer – and an opportunity to develop your spiritual practice with experienced guides and facilitators. With Julian Maddock & Annette Kaye.
Read more and book here
News from Centre staff and friends
As well as doing events and marketing at the Centre, Beth runs leadership embodiment workshops. Her next workshop will be on Friday Friday 26th February 2016 10 - 5:00 pm (Day One) and  Friday 25 March 2016 10 - 1:30pm (Day Two)

Leadership Embodiment is a set of practices that uses gentle physical movements with mindfulness techniques.  The work  ‘gives us a way to synchronize the energy of the body, speech and mind with emotions and intuition, thus increasing our capacity for somatic intelligence, discriminating wisdom and unconditional love.’ (from Wendy Palmer, founder of leadership embodiment).   Beth is a certified Leadership Embodiment teacher and is one of a handful of people in the UK trained in this work. Read more and book
As many of you know the former Centre Director Mark Godson, we thought some of you might be interested in a couple of his latest offerings which are around the practice of mindfulness. Mindfulness is an integrative approach to life that helps people relate effectively to their experiences. It involves paying attention to thoughts, feelings and body sensations in a way that can increase awareness, help to mange difficult experiences and create space for wise choices.

In December, Mark is offering a weekend retreat called Sit: Breathe: Love.  It is open to everyone and will be running from 5pm Mon 5th Dec 2016 to 10am Fri 9th Dec 2016.  Residential Price - £360 (20% ministry discount)  Read more and book

In January, Mark is running a one day workshop called Mindfulness Now on Saturday, 23 January 2016 from 10:00 to 16:30 (GMT)
Haywards Heath, United Kingdom  Read more and book