Continuing The Journey newsletter - November 2016
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November 2016
Continuing The Journey
Exploring continuity and tension between the world and church

Dear ,

The reality of autumn is upon us, with its changing colours, shortened days and what feels like the inevitable increased pace of life as the new academic and church year gets into full swing.

As we adjust to change, it is my pleasure to welcome you to the new look Continuing the Journey newsletter. We hope that this new format will be easier to read and will enable us to keep in touch with you more often over the next two years, before the next conference, which for your diaries is 21st-25th May 2018 (the week leading up to half term).

It was great to meet with many of you in April and 'rummage around in reality'. For those who weren't able to join us, you'll find a glimpse of what happened below. 

It was also really helpful to receive your survey and conference feedback about what shape conference should take: we'll be taking on board your comments as we begin to plan 2018. We are still looking for someone to join the planning group with social media and IT skills: do get in touch if you are interested

One comment in the conference feedback struck me as a great description of what we are trying to create. They said it was, ‘stimulating, challenging and different, challenging pastoral practice and theological assumptions, a place where it's safe to talk about stuff that I'm unable to address elsewhere'.  We hope that anyone with an interest in theology, faith, pastoral care, counselling or psychotherapy will feel welcome at conference and we'd love you to invite others and pass these emails on.

Kim Gooding, Chair of Planning Group

Carla A. Grosch-Miller reflects on the last conference

Rummaging for Reality was my first CTJ conference.  I had heard rumours of its great value but the reality of the conference far exceeded my expectations.  There were moments when I had to stop and breathe to take in what was being offered.

Like many who attended, in my professional life (and, on a good day, in my personal life) I seek to create sacred healing space for others.  It is a wondrous experience to come into a place that has been prayerfully, carefully and imaginatively made that we might enter into such sacred time and space.  The thought and attention given to the smallest of details as well as the larger framing shelter of the event made it happen.  Coming into the Chapel transformed into a fully kitted-out house, I sensed a homecoming ripe with possibility.  Challenge and comfort, invitation and provocation opened holy ground to explore and examine aspects of self and being that often get covered over in daily life and lost in translation as I assume the roles I inhabit.  It is difficult to put the experience into words; it is a wonder and a grace.  May Continuing the Journey long live out its life-giving vocation.

To read more about what Carla contributed to the conference and listen to some of our speakers check out this link:

A morning prayer which we used on the Friday of our conference…

As morning starts and shifts into the afternoon
Grant us gracious God the ability to shift in our own lives
As light creeps into being through long dark nights
May we see light emerging in the darkest places of our lives
As our stomachs digest our breakfast creating room for lunch
May we digest your rich word creating room for love and life in our hearts
As we sit here in this space, as we breathe the air of this moment
May we know the precious peace of your present time
As we wait for your word to come and illuminate our darkness
Grant us your patience, and still our fears.
Morning prayer by Karen Stallard 2016

A blog by Sheila Robinson…. a psychological suspense writer who attended the conference…

The most powerful workshop I took part in at the conference “Continuing the Journey: Rummaging for Reality” was a constellations therapy group run by a therapist who specialises in working with people who have suffered spiritual, satanic and sexual abuse.
Approximately 12 of us took the part of various ‘voices’ in the client’s brain (identity confidential of course). The client had herself, over a long, and painstakingly slow process with the therapist, identified and written down the words spoken by the voices in her head. She had given permission for the therapist to use this material in her workshop with us – and was hoping to benefit from our experience with it.
We all took different roles – in this case, the names of the roles included Me, Body, Sexuality, Inner Child, Anger, Faith, Church, Priest, Nuns, Uncle (the last 4 named roles were all perpetrators). I took the role of Inner Child. As we read out our scripts, and then started to move around in relation to each other, inside the client’s brain, we decided how to interact with each other, and what we needed in order to progress and make changes.  As the workshop progressed, each one of us entered into our roles so strongly we were no longer using scripts. The whole thing became dynamic, and compelling.  I found myself, as Child, being strengthened and supported by Anger; together we were able to challenge and weaken the lies of the perpetrators.  I don’t think anyone who took part in that workshop is likely to forget it for a very long time! I heard different members of the group describing it to others afterwards as “stunning.” For a while during the rest of the conference, when I looked at each person, I found myself thinking of them as the role they had been playing.
I wondered at one point how this experience might play into my fiction. I then realised that even if I were to create fictional characters based upon these different voices in the client’s brain, I would not be able to replicate what happened in the group. For each voice / character needs to be fully rounded in fiction; even if someone is a ‘perpetrator’ and has done terrible thing to a vulnerable victim, we would have to see why that character has behaved in this way. We would need to look into their own childhood, their own background, and would need to understand them from the inside as well as the outside. That we were not in a position to do, within the circumstances of the constellation therapy group.  All I knew was that the voices of the perpetrators had to be faced down.

A note from our treasurer….

As you may know we hit a financial crisis before the 2016 CTJ conference. Owing to a low number of bookings we did not have sufficient reserves to enable us to continue the journey beyond 2016. We shared this with those at conference, and were overwhelmed by the response. We received £5900 in gifts which means we can go ahead with planning the 2018 conference. Thank you so much to all those who gave so generously and spontaneously. 
It highlights the need for sufficient numbers to allow CTJ to continue. Please consider booking for 2018. Please tell others about CTJ. The vast proportion of first timers come by personal invitation and recommendation. If people don't come the journey will not continue. 
We need your support if you want it to continue. 
Many thanks
Julie Nevitt
CTJ Treasurer

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