Summit – Margaret Silf
Imagining a spiritually expansive world requires that we are edge people looking outwards to what might be and looking inwards to the creative capacities latent and potent within each one of us. This summit invites you to stand at that edge and dream together with Margaret Silf as we imagine and explore how we can participate in God’s expansive world.
Tumultuous changes are occurring in the world around us, and the structures and values by which we have charted our lives seem to be collapsing. Many of us are struggling to plot a spiritual path through this unfamiliar landscape, and to believe in a positive future.
Margaret Silf will draw from her recent publications Hidden Wings and Born to Fly, in which she uses the example of a caterpillar entering the devastating, world-altering stage of the chrysalis, before emerging – transformed – as a butterfly, Margaret Silf helps us to see that these times of chaos are opportunities for profound spiritual transformation.
We hope this summit will be an opportunity to open up a dialogue with you to explore what is emerging in this spiritually expansive world.
Venue: Stirling Theological College
44-60 Jacksons Road, Mulgrave, Vic 3170
Opening Plenary – public event
Friday 18 May: with Margaret Silf 7pm – 9.30pm. Book plenary session only
Attendance at Plenary session only: $35
Early bird for plenary session only: $30 available until 31 January 2018
Friday 18 May: with Margaret Silf 7pm – 9.30pm.
Saturday 19 May 9am – 5pm and Sunday 20 May 9am – 5pm with Margaret Silf and guest workshop presenters.
Attendance at the full Summit: $290
Early bird price for attendance at full Summit: $280 available until 31 January 2018 Book Now
Saturday: 1:15 – 2:30pm
W11 Uniquely Human and Divinely Connected – an Exploration of Essence and Embodiment
This presentation invites participants to come on a personal journey through their body, beyond their body and back again, to remember the truth of who they really are and why they are here on Earth at this time. It will bring conscious awareness of the unique sacredness of each one and remind us of our interconnection with all.
Robyn embraces the idea of broadening the reach of the ministry of Spiritual Direction beyond the confines of traditional religious frameworks. We are all individually embodied filaments of a much greater omniscient source. We are at a time in evolution where spirituality is moving beyond the confines of structured religion. Many are seeking a personal, authentic way to be in communion with their in-dwelling sacred Essence.
Robyn brings a lifetime of embodied wisdom and professional skill in movement, theatre, counselling and healing to encourage individual and collective awareness of conscious evolution and co creation. She recently completed Spiritual Direction formation at Wellspring. Robyn is part of a performance trio offering improvised theatre in public spaces illuminating unique perspectives on universal themes.
W12 “To be Free of Distinction, You Must Abandon Not”: Mysticism, Metaphor and the Transformation of Everyday Reality
Religious mystics, indigenous spiritualties and the ‘new physics’ inform us that everything is deeply interconnected and essentially one. But, as attractive as this view of the world is to many, it just doesn’t seem to fit everyday reality. Why?
This workshop proposes that the greatest obstacle to our awakening to the mystery of life’s oneness is the ubiquitous, insidious and entirely imperceptible matrix of metaphors underpinning the modern Western assumption that the world is just as it appears, a collection of separate and distinct things. Much more than mere figures of speech, such metaphors are grounded in everyday experience and so deeply imbedded in our cultural discourses that they determine what ‘makes sense’ for us, governing at an unconscious level our every thought, utterance and interaction. This interactive workshop explores the power of metaphor to shape reality and invites participants to imagine how changing our language might transform our world.
Chris is Assistant Principal at St Bernard’s College, Essendon, and a visiting lecturer in Christian spirituality at Catholic Theological College and Jesuit College of Spirituality. He has recently presented papers at theological conferences in Oxford and Glasgow and is currently writing his doctoral thesis on Meister Eckhart’s approach to human agency in the realization of union with God.
W13 Joining The Dots: Creativity And Spiritual Direction
Participants in this workshop/presentation will gain a deepened awareness of the place and effectiveness of creativity and the arts in spiritual direction as they are embodied in the person-directee. Discover how creativity and the arts can lead to deep personal theologising and widened spiritual horizons. Learn how to be present to these powerful movements and be the ‘keeper’ of the gift for the directee.
Fran is the National Co-ordinator of the Spiritual Growth Ministries’ Spiritiual Directors Formation Programme. www.sgm.org.nz
W14 Subversive by Blessing
‘Blessings’ don’t fit into the world of capitalism, competition, stock markets and property values. In the Christian tradition blessings are free but just as Dietrich Bonhoeffer censured ‘cheap grace,’ blessings are not cheap. If we are to be ‘edge people’ we need to know ourselves rightly, know that each of us is blessed and held by God, as God blesses and holds all people and creation.
In this presentation we will reflect upon how the generosity of God’s kingdom continually seeks to break into our world. Blessings help our orientation in and toward God. Blessings, in all forms, from those we speak in the liturgy to simple acts of grace before meals, are not supernatural acts of magic, but relational. As the Early Celtic Christians knew, blessings are ways of asking God that we see the world through God’s eyes. They teach us how to be more fully human.
Carol is a Melbourne writer. She has presented a number of papers on spirituality in the works of writers such as John O’Donohue, Christina Rossetti, Denise Levertov and Annie Dillard. She has a passion for Early Celtic Christianity and conducts Quiet Days on this area of spirituality with Melbourne Celtic harpist Cath Connelly. She manages St Peter’s Bookroom, an Anglican Bookshop in the city that makes available a wide range of spiritual and religious literature, which also continually feeds her imagination.
Saturday: 2:50 – 3:50pm
W21 Hidden Learning: What is missing in imagining the self?
This presentation and workshop explores the concept of implicit or hidden learning. This is a developmental learning model for the unconscious which has been called many things: unconscious processes (Freud), “unthought knowns” Bollas (1987) in the psychoanalytic tradition, tacit knowledge by Polanyi (1958), implicit learning by Reber (1996), habitus by Bourdieu (1984), and emotional learning (Ecker, et al., 2013). This workshop will offer some practical exercises to elicit hidden learning, and its relevance to the ministry of spiritual direction.
(PhD Boston University, 1987) is the Wicking Professor of Ageing and Practical Theology at Charles Sturt University, Canberra, Australia. He is an endorsed clinical and forensic psychologist, who has written eight books. He has given over a hundred professional workshops, mainly to psychologists, both here and overseas. He was ordained in the Anglican Church in 1980 and served in parish ministry until 1993. He is a member of Wesley Uniting Church.
W22 Using Spiritual Direction as a Transformative Tool for Pre-School Children
Over the past three decades, several governments (Australia, New Zealand and Wales) have included the word ‘spirituality’ in the curriculum of early childhood education. Yet despite this inclusion little or no pedagogical support is given to early childhood educators for the recognition and nurture of the lived experience of children’s spirituality. Spirituality is often difficult to define or describe and can often be ignored by Early Childhood educators as they focus on more measurable learning outcomes. For teachers who haven’t grown up in a religious framework, attended a retreat or journeyed with a spiritual director, spirituality is a foreign concept.
This workshop will draw upon the concept of perezhivanie, a Russian word which means to re-enter an experience in order to derive meaning.
Kristen is currently completing her doctoral thesis titled “An Exploration of the Dimensions of Children’s Lived Experience of Spirituality on ‘The Walk’” at Australian Catholic University. She has been part of a number of large school based projects in Melbourne and Singapore, introducing mindfulness across different levels in the schools as well as involving educators and parents. She is currently living in Singapore.
W23 Cultivating An Expansive Future: Reclaiming The Hearts Of Teachers In An Age Of Economic Rationalism
In 1985 Whitney Houston sang: ‘I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way … .’ In Australia we pay lip service to such sentiments. If we care about our children, we will care about their teachers. Our under-investment in teacher education at all career stages betrays the gulf between sentiment and reality. This presentation will explore the impact of prevailing ideologies on the training of teachers and the work of teachers in schools. It suggests that the dynamics and approaches of spiritual direction could provide a reflective, consciousness–raising space for teachers in training, practising teachers and those who are leaders in schools, to connect or re-connect with their vocation and identity as teachers. In doing this, teachers can provide the caring attention and nurturing our children need now and into their futures.
Julie is a teacher, teacher educator and spiritual director in the Ignatian tradition. She has written curriculum resources in the areas of English, Values Education and Student Wellbeing. Julie will be submitting her PhD in Education in July, 2018.
W24 The New Contemplatives and an Omega Vision
Contemplation is our natural state of being. It is from this deeply rested natural state that we discover we are profoundly connected as one in the One at the heart of the universe. Indigenous peoples everywhere know this in their bodies and their experience. Modern science teaches this. Today our ego minds convince us we are separate, wrecking havoc on interconnectedness with rampant violence and destruction. Contemplation foreshadows a new awakening in human awareness through direct experience of the I Am at the heart of reality. To experience the I Am is to know in our bodies, interconnectedness and interrelatedness of all things. This interior knowing awakens new contemplatives to the truth, as it is in Jesus, an omega vision for the 21st Century.
Kevin is a New Zealand spiritual director in the Ignatian tradition and physiotherapist. He is married to Lyn and they have 4 adult children and 6 grandchildren. Kevin practices spiritual direction, is coordinator of Ignatian Spirituality NZ and teaches on the faculty of Te Wairua Mahi (The Spirit at work), a spiritual direction formation course in NZ. Kevin’s masters research was titled ‘The Spiritual Exercises and The Body’ ‘a mysticism of embodiment’.
Sunday Workshops 11am – 12.15pm
W31 The Art Of Prayer
Saint Ignatius of Loyola invites us to find God in all things. The challenge, though, lies in “all things” – can we find God in non-traditional places such as the arts and popular culture? Franciscan Richard Rohr suggests that everything is a revelation of the divine, and our blindness is from our lack of fascination, amazement, curiosity and awe. These nouns are closely associated with the arts which, in the words of St John of the Cross, are created by God “in order that life might be held together by them, so that we should not separate ourselves from spiritual things.” Together, let us explore how the arts, popular culture and other creative endeavours can provide rich new pathways into prayer. Because if we do not “go in our neighbour’s door”, as suggested by Saint Ignatius, we might lose our neighbour forever.
Anthony trained as an architect, then made his creative mark in advertising. Heeding Christ’s call to “cast the net to the right side of the boat”, Anthony found his calling as a spiritual director. Now he creates spaces for encountering God, designs creative prayer programs and promotes spirituality.
W32 Post-Secular Stories of Love and Justice
A shift in Western Cultures towards an openness to faith and spirituality has been labelled by some as an emerging ‘post-secularism.’ This freedom of expression with regards to religion offers an opportunity to religious institutions for transformation, to revisit their founding stories and find the unfolding narratives of love and justice in which all human beings may participate in community.
This workshop explores how spiritual practices might form the basis of post-secular stories of truth and meaning, in which the particular and specific narratives of our religious traditions may unfold into human stories that can build communities of love and justice. Through spiritual practice, theological stories that shape us become an anchor in which we might ebb and flow on the surface of a vast ocean.
Michelle’s passions for spirituality, theology and social science have been expressed in both academic endeavours and the practice of ministry. Her doctoral studies developed a contemporary contemplative hermeneutic of love, which now frames her work as Chaplain to staff and volunteers at The Brotherhood of St Laurence, an Anglican agency whose mission is to work towards the end of poverty in Australia.
W33 Listening to the Land, Listening to Ourselves
As Australians we inhabit a multicultural, multi-faith society. We also walk on a part of the earth where people have lived and communed and practised spirituality for at least 60,000 years. Australian indigenous people have the oldest continuous living culture on Earth and have a deep and ancient spirituality of the land about which most of us know little.
As we struggle to make meaning in the modern world, with its increasing sense of disconnection, there is an invitation, through the indigenous Dadirri (deep listening) and through all of the ancient traditions, to re-open the pathways back to the utter simplicity of connection with the natural world, and in turn, with ourselves and one another.
There will be opportunity for all to experience listening to the land, exactly where we are and in our own ways. This is powerful as we open ourselves up in a very different way to experiencing ‘the other’ and infinite possibilities of connection.
Jane is a spiritual director, a pastoral carer and has had a professional career spanning journalism, pastoral care in a palliative care setting and many years overseeing settlement grants, refugee services and training for the Federal Government. She is a long-term spiritual seeker, a daily meditator and has had seasons of church involvement over her lifetime.
W34 Standing in Our Own Ground, Openheartedly
“You don’t see something unless you have the right metaphor to perceive it.”
Robert Stetson Shaw, physicist
Imagining the self in today’s spiritually expansive info-tech world can be both inspiring and demanding. There is information overload of seemingly competing spiritual practices and religious/ spiritual/ secular belief systems. Within a myriad of competing voices, how can we each discover our unique self? The metaphor, ‘standing in our own ground, openheartedly’ assists us to reimagine the self within a horizon of meaning congruent with two emerging themes in today’s world: 1. unity with diversity. 2. an integral framework for understanding ourselves in our world.
Kaye is an accredited spiritual director who founded Tree of Life Spiritual Wellbeing in 2007. Kaye has presented workshops and professional development programs on the local, national and international stages. The overall theme of her commitment to spiritual practice education is: The Sacred Work of Being Human. Tree of Life Spiritual Wellbeing www.treeoflife.org.au
 ‘I Am that I Am’ is the common English translation of the Hebrew in Exodus 3:14.
 ‘I am the alpha and the omega’, The book of revelations 1:8