I began as a Welsh non-conformist, but was outside the Church for twenty years. I studied transpersonal psychology, which I found a very good way of exploring the spiritual dimension. I also found it essential to do some embodied activities such as intuitive massage and have found qi gong nourishing.
I gradually found a welcoming place at St James’s Piccadilly. Over 20 years ago I co-founded the Centre for Creation Spirituality and the associated UK network and magazine, InterChange, which have now developed into Greenspirit. I then returned to work in the cancer support field.
I also became PCC Chair then Church Warden at St James’s, handling the transition from Donald Reeves to Charles Hedley. I also co-ran Chartres labyrinth walks for ten years at SJP.
For over twenty years my main work was running Paul’s Cancer Support Centre at Clapham Junction and developing and adapting the Healing Journey Programme (HJP) in the UK. HJP is a psycho-spiritual programme which helps people deal with stress, build resilience and experience greater wellbeing, find deeper meanings, and enhanced quality of life. Relaxation, meditation and imagery are key practices that are taught. It is a privilege to be able to work with spiritual themes with people affected by cancer from very diverse backgrounds.
Since stepping down from my role as Director of Paul’s Centre, I have focused on Living Spirituality Connections and our Journeying Together group as ways of contributing to the renewed visions that are very much needed for spirituality and religion today.
Heather-Jane’s qualifications and early professional life were in sociology, research, social and community work, in inner city London. When faced by the pressing concerns of human life in extreme circumstances she engaged with the question,’ what difference does spirituality make?’ She also developed her interest in ‘community’ and subsequently worked in a community setting where she began to explore the ideal of community life.
For more than a decade Heather-Jane has undertaken training and developed her work, in the areas of spiritual accompaniment and spirituality, peace and reconciliation. This includes: working in retreat houses, facilitating workshops and retreats, working with an organisation known as Jerusalem Peacemakers and setting up a charity called Spirit of Peace, of which she is CEO. (See www.spiritofpeace.co.uk.)
She is currently developing a training course – Pathways for Peace, based on her work and experience in community and social work and her partnership with International peace builders. Heather-Jane is also on the Core Group of CANA (Christian Awakening to a New Awareness) and co-authored with Janice Dolley the collection Stories of Contemporary Christians.
Linda Courage is in her sixties. She is coming to the end of a varied and wonderful career in nursing and science, finishing in nursing practice.
She was drawn to silence soon after coming to faith in her twenties, values monastic and Celtic traditions, and runs contemplative services with others in her local church.
She has used the arts to uncover insights for life for thirty years, and runs expressive art workshops. She is a member of The Abbey of the Arts, her primary spiritual home.