THE BEDE GRIFFITHS SANGHA
Back in 1993, soon after the death of Father Bede, a small group met at a retreat house in Wales called The Skreen. Led by Ria Weyens, then a member of the Christian Meditation Community in London, the ten of us created a weekend retreat based on the rhythm of the day at Shantivanam. We met three times a day for prayer, including readings from different traditions and singing bhajans and chants from Shantivanam.
This little group called itself the Shantivanam Sangham, but later, as numbers grew, we changed the name to the Bede Griffiths Sangha. This was to make it more accessible to the large numbers of people who have been inspired by Father Bede; his vision for the renewal of contemplative life and the renewal of Christianity in the light of Vedic philosophy and spirituality.
Numbers grew and we have over 600 people on our mailing list – mostly in the UK but also from all over the world. Over the last 25 years or so we have met regularly for retreats and conferences. For many years the old Prinknash Abbey was where we met for our Advent retreat. Some of our retreats are quite active – more like contemplative seminars, others are silent. We have published a newsletter several times a year for almost a quarter of a century., most of which are available on our website.
LIVING from the GROUND of BEING:
Continuing the dialogue East and West
Conference followed by an optional silent retreat
JUNE 16 th – 18 / 19 th 2017
At Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre
Birmingham – UK
Fr Brian Pierce & Br Martin Sahajananda
in contemplative conversation
The speakers will lead us, and invite us into ‘contemplative conversation’
together. This sort of dialogue was described by Fr Laurence Freeman of WCCM in his 2016 Lent reflections:
We are all part of a conversation. The word ‘conversation’ usually evokes
the sense of speaking together but this is a late meaning – from the
16th century I think. Its original meaning is suggested by St Benedict’s
vow of ‘conversatio morum’, change in values and our way of life. (…)
Conversation is primarily about ‘turning towards’ something together,
training our attention on a common point and ‘living together’ in that way of looking and seeing. To look at is not always to see. But you have to look first before you can truly see what is.
Each day will follow the pattern as at Shantivanam Ashram, that is, three periods of silent meditation together with morning, midday and evening prayers. We end the day with Nama Japa (chanting the name of Jesus) and then keep silence until after breakfast. Integrated into this rhythm will be a programme of talks, contemplative conversation, and periods of meeting in small groups. There will be time to walk in the 10 acre grounds with a lake, a labyrinth and conservation area. The conference finishes after lunch on Sunday 18 th .
Optional Silent Retreat:
We are also offering a 24 hour silent retreat at the end of the conference, at the same venue and at extra cost. The speakers will join in this, and the format will arise from the conference.
It will not be possible to come to the retreat only. The retreat finishes after lunch on Monday 19 th .
The Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre, Selly Oak, Birmingham B29 6LJ is based in the Grade II listed building which used to be the home of George Cadbury the Quaker chocolate manufacturer, and benefactor. 49 of the 60 bedrooms are en suite and there is a mixture of single, double and twin bedrooms. There are a conference room and 3 smaller rooms available for our conference, and full board using produce from the garden and ethically produced sustainable food products. For further information see www.woodbrooke.org.uk
WANT TO COME?
For details of cost options and for booking go to: