Courses Overview >> Short courses >> Sacred Activism 2017

Sacred Activism 2017

Course dates: 
Monday, 24 April, 2017 to Friday, 12 May, 2017

In collaboration with St Ethelburga's

With Pat McCabe, Tiokasin Ghosthorse, Kara Moses, Adam Bucko (by Skype), Emmanuel Vaughan Lee (by Skype), Justine Huxley, Claire Martin, Sophy Banks, Tommy Crawford and Amrita Bhohi.

We have bursary funds available for this programme specifically for activists - please do apply through our bursary application procedure.

Recent events on the world stage have left many of us feeling that we living in a post-Truth world that is making less and less sense.

Our political systems seem broken. Fear, racism and misogyny are no longer hidden in the shadows, poverty and economic polarisation are escalating and there are more refugees and migrants displaced from their homes than we have ever seen before.  Meanwhile, consumerism has the world in its grip and the destruction of Earth continues unbated whille we are being asked to pretend it is ‘business as usual’.  Pope Francis in his encyclical described the ‘cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor’ as the fundamental challenges of our times.

At this moment in time, we seem to have two realities living side by side. On the one side there are those that believe we live in an interconnected world and see the value and sacredness of working towards ever more harmonious ways of living together in community with each other and with the Earth. On the other are those who are rejecting this worldview, and are retreating into isolationism and protectionism.

Where do we each fit into this?  What should be our response?  How do we live in a challenging new landscape and act with integrity?  What contribution can we make to prootecting what is most sacred?  And how can we make that contribution without burning out?

This three week intensive will bring together activists from different traditions and perspectives to address some of the pressing questions we ask ourselves as we decide how to taken action for change.

Such questions include:

What is sacred activism and why is it essential in todays landscape?
What is the role of spirituality in social, economic, political and ecological change? 
How do we bring spirituality and action together with power and integrity?
What tools do we have that can help us move from reflection and prayer into action that comes from the heart, from a place of oneness? 
What lessons can we learn from recent events such as Standing Rock and the women’s marches?
What is the role of protest and non-violent direct action?  And how can we ensure it comes from a non-oppositional place?
The role of disruptive innovation
How do we live from a place that is real within us, and avoid getting drawn into unecessary drama and distraction?
How do we stay connected and aware of what is happening globally without drowning in an ocean of negativity? 
What is radical simplicty and why is it important?
How do we live in touch with the soul of the Earth - in connection with the sacred dimension of life? 
What is the role of social media in building movements and acting together?  And how do we use it without being overwhelmed by it?
This may be a long-term effort.  How do we stay resilient?  How do we pick our battles?  And how do we avoid burn out?

This is a three-week intensive delivered as part of our postgraduate programme in Ecology and Spirituality but open to external participants. It will take place in the elegant surrounds of the Elmhirst Centre at Dartington Hall.

We have bursary funds available for this programme specifically for activists - please do apply through our bursary application procedure.


Pat McCabe (Woman Stands Shining)

Woman Stands Shining, Pat McCabe, has the honor of being of the Dine (Navajo) Nation. A Life-Bringer, Life-Bearer Mother, writer, artist, activist, speaker and cultural liason, her work is driven by the study of the Science of Right Relations. Moving from the central knowledge that We, The Five-Fingered-Ones, are born into Beauty, as Beauty, for Joyful Life, she brings the understanding of Indigenous ways of knowing into discussion and inquiry on Sustainability. Born to a People who have deep understanding and methodology for Restoration, she carries the Beauty Way into places where it has formerly been kept out. She is an active participant in Indigenous Peoples gatherings worldwide most recently in Chile, Belgium, Ecuador, Peru, Mexico and Bali. She has worked with the International Center for Cultural Studies in India and with Sarvodaya with Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne in Sri Lanka, as well as with organizations and gatherings in the U.S. Her recent work includes being a cultural consultant to the Pachamama Alliance, Inner Circle Invitee to the Language of Spirit Dialogue - Dialogue between Quantum Physicists, Linguists, Scientists and Indigenous knowledge keepers. Upcoming work includes the AUM National gathering, Women's teachings In Chile, and work with Israeli and Palestinian women.

Tiokasin Ghosthorse

Tiokasin Ghosthorse is a member of the Cheyenne River Lakota Nation of South Dakota. He is an international speaker on Peace, Indigenous and Mother Earth perspective. A survivor of the “Reign of Terror” from 1972 to 1976 on the Pine Ridge, Cheyenne River and Rosebud Lakota Reservations in South Dakota and the US Bureau of Indian Affairs Boarding and Church Missionary School systems designed to “kill the Indian and save the man,” Tiokasin has a long history of Indigenous activism and advocacy. He is a guest faculty member at Yale University’s School of Divinity, Ecology and Forestry focusing on the cosmology, diversity and perspectives on the relational/egalitarian vs. rational/hierarchal thinking processes of Western society.

Kara Moses

Kara Moses is a facilitator of social change and nature connection. She has been involved in local, national and international political organising and environmental direct action, and trains people in direct action, creative resistance and other skills for grassroots activism. She is passionate about nature, connection and the transformation of self and society to be more deeply connected and life-affirming. This involves practical applications of nature connection to fields including direct action, architecture, wellbeing, spirituality, climate change adaptation and social inequality.

She is also a freelance writer and Environment Editor for Red Pepper, and works at the Centre for Alternative Technology where she manages woodlands and water, delivers courses, and lectures on masters courses. She practises within the Triratna Buddhist Community and is a Fellow of St Ethelburga's Spiritual Ecology programme.

Adam Bucko

Adam Bucko is an activist, spiritual director to many of New York City’s homeless youth, and co-author of "Occupy Spirituality: A Radical Vision for a New Generation" (North Atlantic Books 2013) and "The New Monasticism: An Interspiritual Manifesto for Contemplative Living"(Orbis Books 2015).

He grew up in Poland during the totalitarian regime and spent his early years exploring the anarchist youth movement as a force for social and political change. At the age of 17, Adam immigrated to America where his desire to find his path towards a meaningful life led him to monasteries in the US and India. His life-defining experience took place in India, where on his way to a Himalayan hermitage, he met a homeless child who lived on the streets of Delhi. This brief encounter led him to the “Ashram of the Poor” where he began his work with homeless youth. After returning to the US, he worked on the streets of various American cities with young people struggling against homelessness and prostitution. He eventually co-founded The Reciprocity Foundation, an award winning nonprofit dedicated to transforming the lives of New York City's homeless youth.

In addition to his work with homeless youth, Adam established HAB, an ecumenical and inter-spiritual “new monastic” fellowship for young people which offers formation in radical spirituality and sacred activism.

He collaborates with spiritual leaders across religious traditions and mentors young people, helping them discover a spiritual life in the 21st century and how to live deeply from the heart in service of compassion and justice.

Adam is a recipient of several awards and his work has been featured by ABC News, CBS, NBC, New York Daily News, National Catholic Reporter, Ode Magazine, Yoga International Magazine and Sojourner Magazine.

Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee

Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee is an award-winning filmmaker whose work has been featured on National Geographic, PBS, The New York Times, The New Yorker, Al Jazeera, exhibited at The Smithsonian and screened at festivals worldwide. Some of his films include: Marie’s Dictionary Isle, de Jean Charles, Yukon Kings, Path of Freedom, Elemental, A Thousand Suns, What Would it Look Like andBarrio de Paz. He is the founder and executive director of the Global Oneness Project, an award winning online educational multimedia platform focused on bringing the values of global citizenry into mainstream education.  He directs the Spiritual Ecology Fellowship, an innovative leadership and incubation program that works with emerging leaders to bring spiritual values into environmental work.  He is a Naqshbandhi Sufi and lives in Northern California with his wife and two children.

Justine Huxley

Justine has a Ph.D in psychology and a diploma in integrative counselling. She has worked at St Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation and Peace for 7 years. She has been a student of a Sufi Master for 16 years, has led meditation and dream interpretation groups for over 10 years. Her work at St Ethelburga's has focused on bringing people together in new ways, and building bridges across differences. This has involved designing and delivering a wide range of training courses on dialogue methods and group facilitation. She also developed the Centre's innovative programme of work around personal storytelling and narrative, hosting conferences and workshops and helping to bring together and inspire a cross-disciplinary network of practitioners in this field.

She has written resources on group facilitation, uses of narrative and story in community building, interfaith dialogue methodology, and meditation in the workplace. More recently, she has developed the Centre's model of conflict coaching, working with individuals supporting them to respond more effectively to personal and workplace conflict.

Claire Martin

Sophy Banks

In 2006 Sophy helped to set up the first “Heart and Soul” group of the newly forming Transition Town Totnes (link is external) project, the first experiment in a movement which many thousands of communities globally have tried in some from. Since then she has trained people around the world in the model and process of the Transition movement, which is unusual in combining outer change with deep reflection and insights from many inner traditions. Sophy has backgrounds in science, psychotherapy and family constellations, as well as playing a lot of football with other women in East London.

Tommy Crawford

Amrita Bhohi

Amrita's background is in new economics and her role at St Ethelburga's is Programme Co-ordinator for the Project Phoenix and New Economics for Peace program.
Amrita has previously worked on the global Eradicating Ecocide campaign, and at the think tank The Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House). In 2013 she organised 'TEDxWhitechapel', which was one of the most popular and radical TEDx events in London. She holds an BSc in Biomedical Sciences from King's College, and more recently an MA in Economics for Transition and is interested in the role of the youngergenerations inmanifesting 'the more beautiful world our hearts know ispossible'. Her passion is to support a new generation of young leaders in service to the transition to a more peaceful and beautiful world.

£ 2 200.00
Course fees include all meals, field trips, materials and all teaching sessions. The programme will run from Monday of the first week to Friday afternoon the last week, and includes twenty nights private accommodation and all vegetarian meals from the first lunchtime you arrive through until the lunchtime before your departure. This course is expected to be based in the elegant surrounds of the Elmhirst Centre at Dartington Hall.