In this issue


Teetering on the edge of the Anglican Church
Margaret Evans explores how the Anglican Communion’s attitude towards gay people has affected her both personally and professionally

The sublime and the dreadful: engagement and indifference
Edwin Salter considers the therapeutic challenge of working within the polarities of individual experience and involvement

Mindfulness-based therapy: a tool for spiritual growth?
Edo Shonin, William Van Gordon, and Mark D Griffiths consider mindfulness in relation to counsellors and psychotherapists who have a spiritual focus to their professional practices

Counselling and spirit?
Ruth Bridges explores how she integrates spirituality into her therapeutic practice

Special focus
Spirituality: ‘a way to live, a way to heal’
Fevronia Christodoulidi shares her experience of involvement with Omilos Eksipiretiton – The Servers’ Society


From the chair
Lynette Harborne: A year of change

Lead advisor update
Salma Khalid: The road to life is always under construction

Cover of Thresholds, Summer 2013 issue

All articles from this issue are not yet available online. Divisional members and subscribers can download the pdf from the Thresholds archive.

Welcome from the editor

I write to you again from the little town of Machynlleth. By the time you read this, hopefully we will have passed through the eye of the storm and the trial will be over and the press gone. At the moment, writing words of any kind to describe what is happening here seems an impossible task. How, I wonder does a community live through something like this and survive? How do we retain our love and trust of humanity? As counsellors and pastors of all persuasions how do we offer unconditional positive regard and love when we are also often deeply affected by the issues?

In October of last year, when little April first went missing, the local church opened its doors to literally thousands of people. Now it seems empty. Burning anger related to the inhumanity of one person against another continues outside the doors; banners calling for revenge are swiftly removed from the clock tower. Facebook pages ask for the death penalty to be reintroduced and worse. What does forgiveness mean in all of this, I wonder? Supervisees arrive looking weary; as practitioners they are both coping with their clients’, and also their own, reactions to the revelations from the courtroom. Curiously in the eye of this storm there is also a kind of flatness; people go about their normal lives; there is an acceptance that this is as bad as it gets.

As a community, since the beginning of October last year, we have been waiting – a kind of waiting that is intolerable – for a child to return, for news reports, for searchers to bring news, for some kind of understanding of what has happened. During this waiting we have just had to get on with life the best we can. We have still had to go to the supermarket to shop, schools still teach, there are still activities in the leisure centre, and the tourists visiting the weekly street market. We are sustained by others who, from across the world, send messages of hope, and who wait with us. Ruth Burgess1 from the Iona Community sends a prayer which appears on notice boards, and even in the windows of some local shops:

In quiet and in sadness
We wait
With questions and anger
We wait
With friends and with family
We wait
We wait and we cry ‘How Long’?

In the morning and the evening
We wait
As the world goes on around us
We wait
With an emptiness inside us
We wait
We wait and we cry ‘How Long’?

With the town of Machynlleth
We wait
With our children and our neighbours
We wait
With all who are sad and exhausted
We wait
We wait and we cry ‘How Long’?

It comforts us that others are standing alongside. Now with the trial well underway, we are beginning to get answers; perhaps not the answers we wanted to hear, but our waiting is finally coming to an end.

Within all of this comes another deadline for articles for Thresholds, and I am lifted again by the authors and their passion for the work they do. Ruth Bridges in her article asks, ‘how do I walk alongside my clients through such an exacting terrain without falling into despair at the tragedy of it all?’ And this indeed is something very much on my mind, both for myself and for all of us who live and work in this place, or in other places where trauma or despair lurk.

This issue also welcomes an article from Edo Shonin, William Van Gordon and Mark Griffiths, who consider mindfulness practices in relation to practitioners with a spiritual focus to their work. Margaret Evans shares with us her experiences of teetering on the brink of the Anglican Church in respect of attitudes towards gay people and Edwin Salter shares case studies from his practice exploring the polarities of human experience.

You will also find, within the news section, details of the division’s new executive. I do hope that you will give them your support as they undertake, what I consider to be, valuable work on behalf of the membership. I would also like to take the opportunity to thank Lynette and the retiring executive for their support of Thresholds over the past year; without their enthusiasm and wisdom, I would have floundered! I hope that the new executive will continue to contribute to the journal both within reports, updates and articles and through promoting it within their activities.

Dr Susan Dale


1. Ruth Burgess. November 2012