Avoiding climate breakdown will require cathedral thinking. We must lay the foundation while we may not know exactly how to build the ceiling. Sometimes we just simply have to find a way. The moment we decide to fulfil something, we can do anything.
(Greta Thurnberg, speech at the UK Houses of Parliament, April 2019.)
Note: the following information is listed for archival purposes. Sign-up is now closed. If you’d like to express interest in future iterations of this course click here.
This is an invitation for an 8 week experiential course taking eco-spirituality as a lens to explore how we can respond, personally and collectively, to the climate and ecological crisis.
Combining contemplative, creative and practical activities, we will learn to step into ‘cathedral thinking’, asking questions such as: What does the future ask of us? What legacy do we want to leave for future generations? How do we realise climate justice?
The course anticipates engagement in the lead-up to COP26 – the UN international climate negotiations due to take place in Glasgow from 1-12 November 2021.
When and where
8 weeks on Tuesday evenings, 6:30-8:30pm, 27 April-15 June 2021. We’ll start the sessions online on Zoom and change to meeting in person at the Cathedral when we’re legally and safely able to do so.
Who is the course for?
The course is open to anyone concerned about the climate and ecological crisis, whether you’re new to eco-spiritual approaches or not, of any faith or none, from 16 years upwards. We offer up to 20 spaces and aim to bring together a diverse range of people.
We suggest a sliding-scale donation of £8-£80 for participation on this course. With the facilitators volunteering their time, all contributions will go to cover costs of any course materials and support future A+E programming to galvanise public engagement around COP26.
What is eco-spirituality?
Eco-spirituality, also sometimes called spiritual ecology, supports us to come into deeper connection with ourselves, each other and the world around us. This can resource us to respond to current social and environmental crises, and to take action towards the more just and beautiful world we know is possible.
We will look at what sustains us to value and treat each other and the planet as sacred.* Weaving together the work of Joanna Macy (The Work That Reconnects) and Matthew Fox (Creation Spirituality), we will explore the climate and ecological crisis following four paths that move us towards transformation and hope.
1) The path of wonder and awe that enables us to delight in the gift of life and motivates us to care for each other and the planet.
2) The path of recognising suffering and acknowledging the crises we’re facing.
3) The path of creative response arising from the two previous paths.
4) The path of transformation towards collective action for change.
In this exploration we draw from Buddhism, Celtic spirituality, Christianity and other faith traditions, as well as science, music, art and other social movements.
*For those of a deep ecological-materialist bent, the term ‘sacred’ can be translated as that which has ‘intrinsic value’.
The facilitation team
- Ali Newell – Church of Scotland minister and Associate Chaplain at Edinburgh University.
- Bridget Holtom – Wellbeing Advisor for Forestry and Land Scotland & Work That Reconnects Facilitator.
- Olga Bloemen – Grassroots trainer and facilitator, Work That Reconnects Facilitator and community development worker at the Salisbury Centre.
- Jonathan Baxter – Artist, peer-educator and curator of the A+E programme.
This course first ran at the Ignatian Spirituality Centre in Glasgow 12 years ago and was written by Julia MacDonald and Ali Newell. Ali then moved to be Associate Chaplain at Edinburgh University and has since run the course at the Chaplaincy five times, always drawing in others, including Bridget and Olga to co-facilitate and shape the course with her.
For more information – or to express interest in similar courses – please send an email vial the contact form.