Welcome to our Centre for Spiritual Care and Clinical Pastoral Education Spring magazine. Our Centre team has excelled themselves in this edition and have prepared a rich collection of reflections for your reading pleasure.

We now have a resident “Gut Theologian” in Michelle (she likes to be known as ‘Shell’) Scott. Her writings and musings are inspiring reading.

The intent of our magazine is to inform and stimulate discussion, and to connect colleagues who are interested in spiritual care at its best.

I have asked myself “a thousand times a thousand” … ohh I mean “countless times” … what is it about spiritual care ministry that has kept me in the field of palliative care for more than twenty years? And led me to want to train others to inhabit this wondrous place of human connection and wisdom whispering?

This musing coupled with experiencing “the Living Human Document” (Boison) across many years of ministry and teaching stretches and plummets me into the depth of an idea that CPE training awakens, in the CPE intern, a state of grace, suspended in a sense of the sacred … Such a state can never be evoked. It can only be bestowed – momentary, extraordinary, perhaps life changing.

Marilynne Robinson in her book Gilead’ (winner of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize) elegantly captures this momentary, extraordinary, perhaps life changing event:

“When people come to speak to me, whatever they say, I am struck by a kind of incandescence in them, the ‘I’ whose predicate can be ‘love’ or ‘fear’ or ‘want’, and whose object can be ‘someone’ or ‘nothing’ and it won’t really matter, because the loveliness is just in that presence, shaped around ‘I’ like a flame on a wick, emanating itself in grief and guilt and joy and whatever else …. To see this aspect of life is a privilege of the ministry which is seldom mentioned.”

Coming across this quote has struck a profound chord as I sit at my desk on this fecund spring day waiting for the acumen of knowing to fly from my fingertips onto the page. It encourages me to continue to experience connection to the “living human document” for its tender humanity and its compassionate wisdom. So what is the touchstone beside which I linger?


Something I entreat, gives me an echo of the other

It is in this reverberation that I know what went before

Measured against experience of the now

I am gathered into the essence of an elsewhere

The source lingers

a guru approaches

Trust yourself

Trust your knowledge

I pause for the story, the mythical, the mystical

There I am shown The Source

Dreamtime thinking

The other inspires that in me………… Mary Waterford Spring 2016©

Sending Blessings of grace your way as you read on.

Mary Waterford