Spiritual Communities Conference

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

co-speakers –  Lisette Schuitemaker (Chair of Trustees, Findhorn Foundation)
Nicola Coombe (Focaliser, One Spirit Interfaith Foundation)

day & time:  Sunday 15 October 2017: 1000h to 1830h
place: Cloisters Hall, St Benedict’s School, Marchwood Crescent W5 2DZ

Zhong caves, Nepal
Zhong caves, Nepal

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

CPD certificates will be issued

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

09.15 hrs arrival, registration, coffee
10.00 hrs David Charlesworth OSB (Abbot of Buckfast) with Dr John Hall (Dean of Westminster Abbey) – welcome
10.15 Lisette Schuitemaker (Findhorn Foundation) with Nicola Coombe – keynote address
“The Contributions of Spiritual Communities to Public Life: Are We Just Spiritual Refugee Camps?”
10.45 Plenary questions
11.15 Presentation 1: Milan Bijelič (Process Oriented Psychology UK)
12.00 Small group discussions
12.45 Plenary, followed by lunch
13.30 Presentation 2: Dr Wim Vandewiele (KU Leuven)  – “Spiritual communities in the public arena: spiritual refugee camps or semi-autonomous social fields? A social and cultural anthropological approach”
14.30 Dr Nóirín Ní Riain (Glenstal Abbey), music and movement
15.00 Abbot of Amaravati (Theravada Monastery in the UK)
15.45 small groups with tea & coffee
16.15 plenary and closure
18.00 Evensong with Dr Nóirín Ní Riain
We are grateful for supportive messages for the day from Vincent Nichols, Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster and Dr Mohammad Shomali, Islamic Centre of England; and hope for more from HH Dalai Lama, Abbot Primate Gregory Polen and Dr Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury.


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.

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 foci 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.



£60 for the day CPD included – £30 for the unsalaried

arrive: Sunday for registration at 0915h

Sessions: Sunday 15 October 2017 10.30h – 18.30h

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 25 July 2017