I am writing during the paradoxical season of Lent – paradoxical because, even as it is often a time of abstinence, absence and darkness, it is also a time when the earth wakes from its winter hibernation and new life and flourishing emerge as the lengthening days and gathering light moves us steadily towards Easter. It is a good time to reflect on the meaning of Human Flourishing – and that’s just what we plan to do in LSC.
Questions such: as what does it mean to flourish as a human being; what insights do our religious traditions and academic disciplines offer us; and can we develop an agreed ethic and socio/political strategies based on human flourishing for all? More personal questions such: as how am I and those around me flourishing/not flourishing; and what am I prepared to do to promote and develop communities where all have the opportunity to flourish? These are big questions, questions that as Rilke suggests, we may have to live in conversation with and find we live into the answers.
There have been some recent interesting developments in LSC and partner organisations.
1) LSC partner Spirit of Peace – a charity which has the strapline, ‘Working together for a world in which all can flourish’ – has delivered two overview sessions on its training Pathways for Human Flourishing. This course is founded on a heart-centred approach to this work. These were delivered in Stroud and Gloucester to introduce people to the programme, which equips people to work in their communities as architects and artisans of human flourishing. We hope to offer similar overviews in other areas and then a full training in due course. It is a flexible training which can be tailor-made to suit different situations and groups. If you would like further information please email email@example.com.
2) LSC together with Spirit of Peace is delighted to be working with the Institute for Theological Partnerships at the University of Winchester on theological thinking around these Pathways for Human Flourishing and are beginning with theme of human flourishing, with the intention of putting on future events on the theme. Please subscribe to our Newsletter to be informed of future developments.
In recent weeks the theme of human flourishing has become something of a sounding note calling people to itself and generating inspiration and discussion wherever it is mentioned. If you have something to say or offer on this theme be it ideas, writing, poetry, academic papers, artwork, events, please do get in touch via our Contact page. The more people who can gather together to network and pool resources with the intention of working together for the good of the whole, the more likely we are to succeed in developing a fairer society. Together we can make a difference and as we move through Spring and Lent what a good time to reflect and act.
If you want to make any comments or suggestions about anything related to the Towards Human Flourishing special interest group, please email Heather-Jane at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Upcoming events relevant to the theme of human flourishing
1 April – Spirituality and Ecology: Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and Thomas Berry. Led by Professor Emeritus Ursula King. London EC1. www.io-wccm.org/civicrm/event/info?reset=1&id=118
14-17 April – Simplicity: A Way of Life. With Jennifer Kavanagh. Birmingham. www.woodbrooke.org.uk
3 May – The Great Challenge of Our Time: Defining a New Story. Speaker: Anne Baring, MA Oxon, author and Jungian analyst. Institute for Theological Partnerships, University of
Winchester. 6.30pm for 7pm. To book, email Joanna.Wilson@winchester.ac.uk.
6 May – The Need for Contemplation in a Post-Truth World with Laurence Freeman OSB. London SW1. Contemplation opens the human to the well of wisdom and compassion in the mystery of our common ground. It has flourished in times of cultural transition, conflict and chaos just as it can after trauma in individual lives. It is a source of hope and vision for us today. It needs only to be acknowledged and practised. On this day Laurence Freeman will help us to do both. www.silenceinthecity.org.uk/programme.html
12-14 May – Learning to Live with Earth as our Common Home. With Paul Maiteney. Berkshire. www.douaiabbey.org.uk
12-14 May – Building a Sacred Economy: in our hearts, in our lives and in our communities. Led by Lucy Faulkner-Gawlinski and George Gawlinski. Birmingham. We can all feel the wrongness of our economic system yet remain trapped in it. What are the possibilities for more sacred relationships with other people and the riches of the world? We will investigate some of the more hopeful ways of framing economic action. Through worship, journaling and supportive conversations, we can each seek to clarify our testimony, ﬁnding what we may need to resist as well as celebrating the beauty and strength of gifts, simplicity and community. www.woodbrooke.org.uk
17 May – The Soul of Humanity Awakens through World Crisis with William Meader. Coventry. A CANA event. Contact: Martin Paine via the CANA website: www.christiansawakening.org.
3-9 June – World Encounter: Conversation and creativity. Led by Alison Swinfen & Gameli and Naa Densua Tordzro. Iona Abbey Scotland. With story tellers, musicians, poets and artists form the Global South. Opportunities for learning about culture, faith and creativity from tradition bearers and from those who accompany and witness first hand to the plight of refugees and asylum seekers. Booking: www.iona.org.uk/island-centres/abbey-and-macleod-centre-programme.
5 June – Talk on Eco Peace Middle East by Rabbi Frank Dabba Smith. NW London. 7.30-9pm. www.londoninterfaith.org.uk/calendar
19-23 June – Inner Path, Outer Journey. With Ian and Gail Adams. N. Yorks. Our desire to help shape a better world has to be rooted in our inner life. The inner path shapes the outer journey. When the two come into alignment wonderful things may begin to happen. This retreat will be an opportunity to rediscover your deep sense of belonging, of peace and of purpose. And then to explore how we might bring good to the world. Ian & Gail Adams of the Beloved Life project will draw on contemplative Christianity, the gift of the beautiful landscape around Scargill, and insights into human possibility. There will be a mix of teaching, conversation, stillness and contemplative practice. Also poetry and photography workshops, and the opportunity for one-to-one mentoring. www.scargillmovement.org