Meditatio News

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As you will be aware, in the UK this year we are beginning the process of following decisions made at the November 2023 National Council Weekend to try a new way of organising the Regions in order to be able to give more support to all the Meditation Groups. This is going to provide a wonderful opportunity to look at how our Meditatio work of Outreach can cooperate and integrate with this new structure. One big problem for all the Special Interest Coordinators (SICs) is that they are only one person trying to encourage and give representation right across the whole of the UK. A daunting and an impossible task. In many cases, the inevitable result is that there are ‘pockets’ of outreach activity, mainly centred on the place where the SIC lives, or visits regularly.

I hope that a focus for Meditatio in the UK this year can be to explore how we can work with and use this new structure to support and increase outreach activity in more areas. This process will need to include not only the thoughts of the SICs and the new area teams, but more widely will include ideas and inspirational stories from anyone wanting to be involved. In the last Newsletter I mentioned the great importance of scattering ‘small seeds’ about the practice of Christian Meditation and trusting the Spirit to nurture them at the right time.

A ‘small seed planting’ moment happened to me unexpectedly just around New Year. A homeless couple arrived at my local church after the tent that they had been living in for five months blew away in one very stormy night and got damaged beyond repair. Staying in the church while they waited for the County Outreach Team, these two friends said how they were feeling at a very low point in their lives following business failure, and then the loss of their homes had landed them in their current plight. They were desolate and struggling to feel optimistic. That particular morning was the day that our meditation group meets in one of the side chapels. This is then followed by a short spoken Mass in another part of the church where we are joined by others. The visiting couple sat at the back of the church, only concerned that their presence might be in the way. The following day the Outreach Team were due to collect them. As they waited for them to arrive, they both wanted to ask what it was that we had been doing in the side chapel before the service. The reason they explained, was that they had felt an atmosphere of complete calm descending over the church, describing the experience for them as being like an ‘embrace’ which reassured them in a way that nothing else had for months. In the hours that followed this experience they had begun to feel a renewed sense of optimism about the future that had previously been completely absent. They spoke of their own neglected spiritual lives, which to their surprise, they felt a desire to reconnect to again. The concept of the meditation seemed to be particularly appealing. Without any specific intention from our group, a seed was planted and the Spirit provided exactly what was needed.

I am sharing this experience because I hope that we can collect many stories of similar experiences to share between us, to show the huge variety of ways that we can in fact, plant seeds to share the gift of meditation, knowing that the Spirit will do all the necessary work in exactly the right way and with perfect timing.

I know that you will enjoy reading the article by Sue Clarke (SIC for Clergy and Contemplative Church) about the plans for a short ‘Tour’ by Sarah Bachelard, to follow the Pools of Grace weekend at Minsteracres in June, as well as the signs of a growth of interest that is becoming apparent in the number of positive responses that Sue is getting from clergy wishing to be a part of the network that she is setting up.

If you are interested in encouraging outreach in any way, do please contact me, as this is just the moment with the new regional organisation to think about fresh ideas that we could explore.

Diana Ohlson
Meditatio Country Coordinator

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