The role of regional contacts is to welcome new LSC subscribers in their region. In addition they may help to arrange informal members meetings; send out regional emails; and develop regional activities in any other ways that are appropriate.
Below are a list of the different regions in the UK and Ireland. Click the relevant one to find the regional contacts in your area. If you’d like to be put in touch with your local regional contact(s), please sign up for our free email newsletter and we will send you the details.
Regions – UK and Ireland
Local Group Activities
1. Living Conversation groups.
A Living Conversation group aims to enable living conversations to take place that are expressions of our living spirituality. Details of how this works are available here: www.livingspirit.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/living_conversation_guidelines_for_website.pdf
2. Journeying Together groups
This combines monthly creative liturgies, with discussion of a book or theme that a member introduces. Sometimes everyone shares their thoughts on a topic, or brings an image or object that symbolises the theme for them. Groups can also organise outings in between the formal sessions. An article about Journeying Together is available here: www.livingspirit.org.uk/spiritual-sharing-group.pdf
You may wish to do something similar but not identical to this. Our guidelines for spiritual sharing groups enable you to agree on a format that will work for you. See www.livingspirit.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/group_guidelines.pdf.
3. Book discussion groups.
We ask that LSC book discussion groups agree ground rules, including ensuring that each person gives their response to the book and to the discussion, rather than having a free for all discussion. This is to ensure that all voices are heard and that a diversity of views can be expressed.
We have a number of suggested books to choose from. All include study guides within the book or on a related website.
1. The Soul’s Slow Ripening. 12 Celtic practices for seeking the sacred. By Christine Valters Paintner. 2018.
Christine Valters Paintner, best selling author and online abbess for the Abbey of the Arts, uses reflections, stories, guided activities, prayer experiences, and a variety of creative arts to help you patiently and attentively listen to God’s invitation.
She shares one of the most ancient paths to understanding from her study of monasticism and immersion into Celtic spirituality while living in Ireland. The Celtic way, which Paintner distils into twelve practices, focuses on the environment rather than the intellectual focus present in other forms of discernment. As you explore an alternative way of discerning a spiritual path – such as through landscapes and seasons, peregrination (wandering for the love of God), and dreams – you will become more aligned with creativity and wholeness.
In the introduction, Christine explains that her book will explore the importance of thresholds, the call of dreams, the practice of peregrinatio, blessing, soul friendship, encircling prayer, walking the rounds, learning by heart, seeking solitude, seasonal wisdom, the landscape as theophany, and finally, three essential things.
Each chapter introduces the story and poem about a particular Irish saint, and reflection on scripture that illuminates its theme, offered by her husband, John Paintner. Each also invites readers to explore the concepts presented through creative activities, including photography, writing and contemplative walks.
Christine invites us to “Gather a small group of kindred souls to explore the practices and creative explorations together.”
2. Teilhard de Chardin On Love. Evolving Human Relationships. By Louis M Savary and Patricia H Berne. Foreword by Ilia Delio. 2017.
after harnessing space, winds, the tide and gravitation,
we shall harness for God the energies of love.
And, on that day,
for the second time in the history of the world,
*man will have discovered fire.”
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ
In this timely book, the authors set out to explain the vision of Teilhard de Chardin in an accessible way for their readers. Each chapter contains what they term Spiritual Practice, and Spiritual Exercises, to integrate what is being shared with individual readers, and groups, own experience.
Teilhard de Chardin was a scientist as well as a monk. He was fascinated by the process of evolution and how love itself is a tangible, powerful, and crucial force in the universe. He believed it should be named alongside other forces in nature, for example, gravity. The authors apply the spirit of Teilhard to many discoveries made after his lifetime, helping to open contemporary worlds to his far reaching vision.
Seeing love as essentially energy, we are guided through the Theory, in Part One, and the Practice, in Part Two of Teilhard’s thoughts. Topics covered in Part One include: Teilhard’s Perspective On Love; Relationships Are Real Beings; ‘Union Differentiates’. Topics covered in Part Two include: More Fully Human; Parent-Child Relationships; Love in Friendships and Teams; A Theology of Love.
This book lends itself to stimulating the personal and spiritual development of individuals and groups. The exercises and practices should provide areas for encounter and exchange.
A useful companion text for further reading and practice could be Anne Hilman’s Awakening the Energies of Love. Discovering Fire for the Second Time. 2nd edition 2016.
*Anne replaces the word man, for humanity when she uses the same quote at the beginning of her book.
3. Grounded. Finding God in the World. A spiritual revolution. By Diana Butler-Bass. 2015.
Diana Butler-Bass’s new book provides a very practical guide to the ways in which people are finding the sacred in everyday life, helping to co-create a future that is life-giving and a sustainable world of compassion. This change is connected with developments in the world resulting from the opposing forces of globalisation and personalisation. People of today want to express their uniqueness and create environments to make meaning. The changed conception of God is a rebirthing of faith from the ground up rather than something that is hierarchically imposed. Through this book Diana BB wants to provide greater clarity, so that those walking this path are helped to do so with greater confidence.
Diana BB doesn’t see this as about everyone needing to leave the church because the church has got it wrong. While some have left, others continue within their local faith community. However she does say that she and others are heart-broken that the faith traditions we love seem to be sleepwalking through the revolution. The new God that has risen just over the horizon is one of “intimate longing and infinite love”, who has always been present in the vision of Biblical prophets and seers, and is now felt by people as “the love that connects and creates all things” – reminiscent of Matthew Fox’s vision of the Cosmic Christ as the pattern that connects.
Instead of the transcendent God being seen as high up above the earth, what we now sense is a God who retains the aspect of mystery, and is experienced as “just over the horizon”. Diana BB develops Tillich’s idea of the numinous presence of God at the centre of all things, which grounds humans within the sacred. Her vision is that the pattern of God all around us relates to contemporary concerns and provides meaning and hope for the future as well as being founded in rich insights from the wisdom of the past.
The book chapters cover many down to earth aspects such as dirt, water, roots, home, neighbourhood and the wider “commons”. She provides many examples of hopeful developments where people are connecting with their local neighbourhood and with people in places of suffering, giving form to their compassion for others and for the earth.
More than one study guide is available to use alongside this book. Take a look and see which is most suitable for your group:
a. A Simple Guide in four sessions: http://www.livingspirit.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/dbb_a_simple_guide_to_grounded_in_four_sessions.pdf
There are also suggestions to listen to some extra inputs available on the website: https://dianabutlerbass.com/books/grounded-finding-god-in-the-world-a-spiritual-revolution/
b. First Churches Five Week study guide: http://www.livingspirit.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/dbb_first_churches_study_guide_to_grounded.pdf
Week 1: Read Genesis, pages 1-30
Week 2: Read Chapters on Dirt and Water, pages 31-96
Week 3: Read Chapter on Sky, pages 97-126
Week 4: Read Chapters on Roots and Home, pages 133-193
Week 5: Read Chapters on Neighborhood and Commons, pages 193-266
c. Small Group Study Guide giving each chapter a study session: http://www.livingspirit.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/dbb_small_group_study_guide.pdf
4. God in the Midst of Change by Diarmuid O’Murchu. 2013.
The bestselling author of Quantum Theology and In the Beginning Was the Spirit, offers another building block in his continuing quest for a unified theory of spirituality. God in the Midst of Change is a synthesis of his evolutionary work and an introduction to his themes for those new to his path-breaking approach to faith and the sciences. Priest, missioner, and social psychologist Diarmuid OMurchu has worked with homeless people and refugees on three continents.
Each chapter of God in the Midst of Change includes discussion questions for groups.