2021 Programme

We are now running these as virtual events using Zoom videoconference for the duration of COVID 19 restrictions.

This will allow you to join by either:

  • Using a laptop, tablet or smartphone with good internet. You will be able to see and hear the speaker and interact with the other people in the session.


  • Using a normal phone, you will be able to hear the speaker and interact with the other people in the session.

Just use the website links shown below for each event. We are asking you to pre-register, which simply means signing up with your name and email address, to keep the sessions more secure. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. We have reduced the length of the sessions and will aim to have one or two short breaks, so you won’t be sitting in front of a screen for more than about 45 minutes at a time.

To book your place on any of these events please follow the registration link in the programme below.

If you have any questions please email cockfosterscs@rcdow.org.uk

Wisdom from the Desert

Audrey Hamilton

17 April,  9.30 am to 1 pm

‘I will lure her into the desert and speak to her heart’ (Hosea 2:16)

Join us for a morning ‘in the wilderness’ as we explore what the wisdom of desert spirituality can say to us in our current situation.  We shall draw on the treasures of some of the Desert Fathers and Mothers and learn how a rhythm of silence and prayer can be woven into our daily lives.

Audrey Hamilton was previously the Spirituality Development Worker at the London Jesuit Centre (formerly Mount Street Jesuit Centre).  Her contract ended last November and she now concentrates on furthering her studies with the Carmelites while continuing to facilitate retreats and offer spiritual accompaniment on a freelance basis.  She remains passionate about helping people find God in the busyness of their daily lives. More details can be found on her website https://www.audreyhamilton.uk

Please register in advance:


Close to God in Difficult Times

Josie von Zitzewitz

15 May,  9.30 am  – 1.00 pm

“God is more intimate to me than I am to myself” (St Augustine, Confessions)

This experience of unity with God runs through the work of all the great spiritual masters. It can be easy to experience the presence of God when good things happen to us. In challenging times – when perhaps we need to feel God’s presence most urgently – many of us struggle. On this morning we will turn to the wisdom of the Psalms and various spiritual teachers for insight. Periods of Christian meditation will refresh us.

Josie von Zitzewitz has been meditating for 20 years and is a regular contributor to our programme. She is an oblate of the World Community for Christian Meditation

Please register in advance:


Contemplative photography: a new way of seeing.

Berenice Chan

12 June, 10.30 – 4.00 pm

Come and find how photography can help you connect with yourself and with God. You will learn how to approach taking photos in a contemplative way and be given time to practice this. Then you will be shown how to pray with one of your images. Please bring a smart phone or camera – fully automatic point and shoot cameras are fine.

Berenice Chan: Four years ago, Berenice discovered through the virtual monastery “Abbey of the Arts” how to bring together her hobby photography and her spirituality into a Christian contemplative practice. This built on her understanding and practice of Benedictine and Ignatian spirituality gained through various retreats and the Spirituality Programme at Mount Street Jesuit Centre (now London Jesuit Centre). Berenice is passionate about using contemplative photography to connect with God, receive healing and convey God to others. Since retiring in 2020 she has studied further with Abbey of the Arts to develop her own rule for living a contemplative and creative life.

Please register in advance:


Pilgrimage as a Contemplative Path in our Busy Times

Nick Madejczyk

17 July, 9.30 – 1.00 pm

How important is it to find a sacred space in which toponder and develop one’s faith?  We will consider the historical background, reasons and places of pilgrimage along with thoughts on the experience of such journeys.

Nicholas Madejczyk is a retired teacher who now works as a tutor helping neurodiverse students navigate their way through university life. He has been enriched by the Cockfosters Centre for Spirituality for many years and visited the Holy Land in September 2018 as well as undertaken more local sacred journeys.

Please register in advance:


We will advise whether the following sessions will be offered ‘in person’ or virtually once the Covid situation is known. Please check before booking.

Edward Thomas’ poems about nature and the English countryside

John Cairns

Friday 17 September, 6.30 – 8.30 pm

Just over 107 years ago, on June 24 1914, a train pulled up at a village halt in Oxfordshire.  On board was the poet Edward Thomas, who kept a field diary in which he noted details of things he observed, often on the surface very trivial.  On this occasion nothing happened of any note, except that the engine let off steam and somebody coughed.  And in the silence, he heard a blackbird singing and saw the station sign, Adlestrop.  A minute later the train continued its journey to Worcester.  Months later, he turned this non-event into a 16-line verse which is one of the greatest evocations of the English countryside, one of the most anthologised poems of the last century.

In this session, we will be taking an in-depth look at this poem, Adlestrop, plus a number of others that will help us appreciate why many regard Thomas as one of the great writers about nature and the English countryside.

John Cairns is a former English teacher, now retired, who has had a lifelong interest in the poet Edward Thomas.  Well before Thomas became the popular poet that he is today, John taught his poems to secondary school students, visited places associated with the poet and his poems and, in the mid-1970s, spent an enjoyable and illuminating afternoon having tea with his one surviving daughter, Myfanwy.

Journaling as Prayer

Andrew Kerr-Jarrett

16 October, 9.30 – 1.00 pm

Journaling can be a wonderful help in deepening our prayer life. In this workshop, we explore different ways of using spontaneous writing to draw us into closer encounter with God, scripture and our own histories. Bring lots of paper (or a favourite notebook with plenty of blank pages) and pens, or your laptop with the battery well charged.

Andrew Kerr-Jarrett: Twin passions for prayer and writing first led Andrew to explore the possibilities of journaling as prayer. A writer and editor by profession, he was involved for many years with the Mount Street Jesuit Centre (now the London Jesuit Centre), where he facilitated courses on Ignatian spirituality, as well as workshops on journaling.

If you have any questions please email cockfosterscs@rcdow.org.uk

Let us know if you would like to receive details by e-mail.


Online morning or evening Courses: Suggested donation £20.  Concession for unwaged £15.

Online full Day: Suggested donation £30. Concession for unwaged £20.

We don’t want cost to be a barrier – so please pay what you can afford.

To make a donation please use this link where you can make an online payment  https://parish.rcdow.org.uk/cockfosters/donate/ 

and put CCS as your reference.

One comment on “2021 Programme

  1. Alison says:

    I really enjoyed this mornings’ workshop ‘From crisis to opportunity’. It was very insightful and relevant. I was able to take away a toolkit for coping with the challenges brought about by the pandemic. There were some very useful and practical suggestions made by the facilitator. I really enjoyed the breakout session where we were able to share and explore issues at various stages in the workshop. Thank you Mary Jo, thank you, Jonathan and to the lovely group of people who were also participating in the workshop.

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