Terry Doyle is the UK Special Interest Coordinator for Meditation and the Marginalised.  Below is a report to the 2016 National Council about his work that was published in the Winter 2017 issue of UK Meditation News.  Terry can be contacted here.

Meditation and its place with People on the Margins of Society

This new aspect of Meditatio has evolved to answer the call for WCCM to be more relevant to a wider cross section of society and especially to those people who feel estranged from mainstream society for whatever reason ie homelessness , addiction , mental health , loneliness, isolation , refugee and asylum seeking , dementia etc.  Accordingly, Fr Laurence agreed to be keynote speaker at a very interesting conference held at Teesside University on July 13th 2016 entitled A Contemplative Response to Austerity.  (There is a report on this conference in the Autumn 2016 issue of Meditatio the International Newsletter.)

The conference was fully booked and brought together a range of people from various agencies , church and faith groups, as well as interested meditators from our community. The day also provided a valuable development opportunity for Meditatio and WCCM as the conference was promoted as a partnership between ourselves and also the Church Urban Fund (CUF ) , Caritas, Catholic Social Action Network( CSAN ) , Depaul Uk, a homelessness Charity and the University of Teesside.

I would offer for consideration that both Meditatio and WCCM look to develop the potential of this conference and its successful partnerships with such agencies that work for the betterment of society through tackling social justice issues. As our logo of two doves on a chalice represents both the inner and the outer dimensions of our prayer and working lives, it seems to me that this new specialist dimension of our community could focus on the bringing of a contemplative response to some of the social issues of our day thereby strengthening this balance of action and contemplation as well as taking our work into the margins of society where we have much to offer and where it is also much needed.

As such, I would propose for consideration that we explore staging more conferences, workshops and themed retreats in partnership with agencies working for social change ie CUF, CSAN & Depaul as I feel that our values and gifts have much to offer. This could also expand our community into a wider sphere of influence which can only be a good thing. This vision may also complement the vision of the Bonnevaux venture and can bring new life and energy into our community.

I suggest that you click on the following links to ascertain some of the work I have been involved with and let the Spirit guide you into insights of how Meditation and its place with People on the Margins of Society can unfold.

I would love to see us develop Meditation groups across London’s Homeless Hostels for instance, and I feel that we could stage a Conference on a Contemplative Response to Homelessness at St Mark’s in Islington to precipitate the development of such thereafter. We could very easily partner with CUF , CSAN & Depaul plus any other agencies willing to work with us on this. As I see it, we could teach people how to meditate in our tradition in order for them to start a regular group in a specific hostel, foodbank etc ....we could also provide volunteers from our community to help develop a network of groups across the city which is after all, the homeless capital of Europe. Such a venture could very easily expand to other towns and cities across the UK.

One item of potential interest for our community for instance from the above is the important role of how Meditation can help in healing the Poverty of Identity and Poverty of Relationship as outlined in CUF’s Web of Poverty link.

There is much talk these days also on the themes of Wellbeing, of tackling loneliness and isolation, of learning how to age better.
I feel our community has much to offer in these fields also.
Food for thought and discussion at the very least.

Terry Doyle