Spiritual Communities in Britain Today

“The Contributions of Spiritual Communities to Public Life: Are We Just Spiritual Refugee Camps?”

Keynote address –  Lisette Schuitemaker
(Chair of Trustees, Findhorn Foundation)
& Rev Nicola Coombe (One Spirit Interfaith Foundation)

time:  Sunday 15 October 2017: 1000h to 1630h
place: Cloisters Hall, St Benedict’s School, Marchwood Crescent W5 2DZ

Spiritual refugee camps

Spiritual refugee camps

Spiritual refugee camps

Spiritual refugee camps








A learning and training day for group facilitators, psychotherapists, politicians, educators in schools, institutes, universities, 
seminaries, religions, practitioners in new and traditional monastic communities, health care professionals, focalisers and community builders

CPD certificates will be issued

Lisette Schuitemaker (Findhorn Foundation), Rev Nicola Coombe (One Spirit Interfaith Foundation), Milan Bijelič (Diploma, ProcessWork UK), Rev Bernd Leygraf (NAOS Institute), Dr Wim Vanderwiele (KU Leuven), Anthony Grimley (Monos Foundation)

09.15  Arrival, registration, coffee and tea
10.00  Welcome and Introductions by David Charlesworth (Acting Abbot of Buckfast Abbey) and Dr John Hall (Dean of Westminster Abbey)

10.15  Key note presentation
The contributions of spiritual communities to public life: Are we just spiritual refugee camps?
Lisette Schuitemaker and Nicola Coombe 

10.45  Plenary questions

11.15  Presentation 1
Processwork and its contributions to community building, an experiential presentation
Milan Bijelic

12.00 Presentation 2
Spiritual communities in the public arena: spiritual refugee camps or semi-autonomous social fields? A social and cultural anthropological approach.
Dr Wim Vandewiele 

12.45 Lunch with work in small groups

13.45 Presentation 3
Music and movement, Theosony
Dr Nóirín Ní Riain (Glenstal Abbey)

14.45 Presentation 4
The Good Heart and Social Action: finding a balance in caring too much or caring too little
Abbot Ajahn Amaro

15.15 Presentation 5
A Muslim perspective on community living and the interplay between this and public life
Imam Dr Mohammad Shomali

15.45  Coffee and tea, with work in small groups

16.15 Plenary and closure
Rev Bernd C. Leygraf, Abbot Martin Shipperlee and speakers

18.00 Evensong with Dr Nóirín Ní Riain
We are hoping to have supportive messages for the day from HH Dalai Lama, Vincent, Cardinal Nichols Archbishop of Westminster, Dr Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Mohammad Shomali, Islamic Centre of England, Gregory Polen OSB (Abbot Primate of the Benedictine ConFederation).


Lisette Schuitemaker (Chair of Trustees of Findhorn Foundation)unknown studied the classics, went into communications working first for a large bank, then setting up and running her own agency. After selling this business, she obtained a BSc in Brennan Healing Science and ran a private practice as a life-coach. She has sat on the board of several Dutch and European charities and currently serves as chair of the Center for Human Emergence in the Netherlands and the Findhorn Foundation in Scotland. She combines her psychological insights with her writing experience. Her book Alight is about alighting the train of negative thoughts and feelings about yourself and knowing you are a light already. The Eldest Daughter Effect is her third book.

Rev Nicola Coombe (One Spirit Interfaith Foundation)unknown-3 has experience of being both South African and British. Nicola has degrees in Social Work; in Psychology and English; and an MBA. Nicola is a Fellow of the Findhorn Foundation and became a Trustee of Findhorn in 2014.  Nicola is the head, or focaliser, of the One Spirit Interfaith Foundation. Nicola’s greatest treasures are most directly located in her marriage to Elmer Postle and in being the mother of their son.

Rev Bernd Leygraf
 (NAOS Institute)unknown-3 is Director of NAOS Institute. Bernd has been a psychotherapist, international trainer and management consultant for over three decades. His training courses draw on students from over 40 countries, as far afield as Sri Lanka, India, Ethiopia and Kenya. Bernd is Consultant Trainer at the One Spirit Interfaith Seminary in the UK and Chair of the Professional Standards and Accreditation Board at the European Association for Counselling.


Milan Bijelič

Milan Bijelič (Processwork UK) from 1998 until 2014 has been involved in the post-war relief and community development programmes in Croatia. “Part of my work involved planning and organizing regional Processwork forums / seminars for conflict transformation and for working on mistrust and other psycho-social dynamics that were barriers to grass-roots economic development in the areas directly hit by the war.”


Dr Wim Vandewiele, (KU Leuven) is lead researcher in contemporary monastic communities, engaging with three monasteries; Sint Andriesabdij, Zevenkerken (Brugge, BE), Unknown-12Sint Sixtusabdij, Westvleteren (West Vlaanderen, BE) and St Benedict’s Abbey, Ealing (London, UK). There are three focuses of research and practice: Representation of monastic communities on digital media, Monastic leadership, Development of a toolbox for self-evaluation, positioning and future development of monastic communities. James Leachman OSB is monastic consultant and Prof Dr Johan Verstraeten is theological consultant for this research project.

Abbot Ajahn Amaro (Amaravati monastery)

Imam Dr Mohammad Shomali 


Sessions: Sunday 15 October 2017 10.30h – 16.30h

Some accommodation is available in the House for Guests.

Register or enquire for “Spiritual Refugee Camps”

please contact us at:
info AT benedictine-institute DOT org

or write: “Spiritual Refugee Camps”
74 Castlebar Road, Ealing, London W5 2DD

Please bring a packed lunch

created 12 December 2016, edited JL 17 July 2017