Our faculty work as one overarching team holding the evolving wellbeing of OneSpirit – or school – , and particularly its students and mentors, as its core focus. As a dedicated, experienced and diverse group, we work with the intention of being a peer learning community for each other, paying attention to the inner and outer work that the curriculum requires.
Our work is given depth, accountability and safe-guarding through:
- extensive supervision;
- through the support of our OneSpirit trustees, elders, staff, graduate ministers;
- through our commitment to listening inwardly to the seminary’s direction;
- and through dialogue and inquiry with colleagues in related fields of work.
Our first and second year programmes each have two faculty members whose primary commitment is to that group. In addition, the remaining faculty members will join the year groups for occasional teaching sessions during the programme thus allowing the student body to benefit from the skills and diversity of the full faculty.
Recent research, undertaken within the faculty, has given even greater confidence to our commitment to deliver our training in the form of an experiential, relational and in-person process. Whilst much of the work in between training weekends is on-line and self-directed, the value of the journey that is experienced within a living community during the training weekends – both its grit and its grace – is a powerful element of the transformation that this curriculum offers.
Our Further Learning CPD programme includes our four year post-graduate ‘Mystery and Mastery Community’ https://interfaithfoundation.org/post-graduate-programme/, residential courses, weekend programmes and day programmes designed to deepen and enrich spiritual life. Some of these courses are open to the public and all are open to graduate ministers.
The curriculum, the faculty and the students are given further support by:
- Other members of the wider Foundation – staff, supervisors, elders and trustees – who occasionally visit the training weekends, and who hold the whole process in their awareness.
- A panel of visiting tutors and experts, particularly in the first year of the two year training, who have particular experience in teaching specialist parts of the curriculum, for example the different faith paths.
- A team of mentors, who will be dedicated to supporting the two year training programme. Students are divided into study groups with 5 – 10 participants, and one mentor works closely with each study group. Mentors are all graduate interfaith ministers, selected for their capacity for inspired service and their subtle skills, and will be working with students as part of their own postgraduate training in spiritual direction and group facilitation skills.
Members of Faculty
OneSpirit Interfaith Foundation Focaliser and Co-tutor
Principal teaching role: Lead tutor for October 2016 First Year Programme and occasional tutor to Second Year programme
Nicola’s work is deeply influenced by her experience of being both South African and British and the socio-political, spiritual, and natural landscapes that these interweave. Her underlying impulse, which has taken many guises, seeks to bring into connection that which underpins and makes life sacred. Her educational background scans degrees in Social Work; in Psychology and English; an MBA in which her thesis, awarded with honours, explored the inner process of change; and her ordination as an interfaith minister in 2004. Nicola’s work life has included key roles in Life Line in South Africa (Samaritans UK equivalent); in directing an extended executive programme with the University of Cape Town’s busines school (AIM) for five years from 1994; in the activism surrounding the ordination of women in the Anglican church in South Africa; in leading consulting projects for Gemini Consulting in South Africa in the late 1990’s; and in strategic development within the Findhorn Foundation’s management team in Scotland for three years from 2001. Nicola is a Fellow of the Findhorn Foundation and became a Trustee of Findhorn in 2014. Nicola is the head, or focaliser, of the OneSpirit Interfaith Foundation. Nicola’s greatest treasures are her communities of both blood and soul, most directly located in her marriage to Elmer Postle and in being the mother of their son.
“I value Nicola’s ease with sharing power, giving power. She is brilliant at holding group energy and ensuring all is dealt with. A truly brilliant teacher.” Suzanne C.
“Nicola, I needed to see, hear and feel your ‘sword of truth’, your challenges to the group, your commitment to what is real.” John D.
Jackie Amos Wilkinson
Faculty Lead and Tutor
Principal teaching role: Lead Tutor to the first four year post-graduate “Mystery and Mastery Explorations” programme, and co-tutor on the second programme commencing in 2017. Occasional Tutor to First and Second Year Programmes.
Jackie was ordained in 2004 and since then has continued her involvement with both the Seminary and Foundation. She was a mentor for two years, seeing the class of 2006 through to ordination. She then joined the Trustee board, became interim Seminary manager for 6 months before going on to oversee the Foundation of the IMA. In 2009 she joined the London Faculty as well as running her post grad course, Deepening our Truth. Jackie stepped into the role of Faculty Lead in 2015, and is part of the core leadership team in OneSpirit, together with Nicola Coombe the OneSpirit head/ focaliser, and Alan Briscoe the OneSpirit operations manager. Jackie grow up in Egypt, Aden and Singapore, has an BA in philosophy, BA(Hons) in psychology and an MBA. She worked mostly in the charity sector developing organisations, training programmes and services to reach those at most risk in society. Most recently Jackie was the National Director of Services for the Samaritans, sat on various Charity boards and Governmental steering committees (Childline, Suicide Prevention, NHS Direct) before meeting her hearts calling of setting up In Truth – One Spirit and becoming a self employed minister. Jackie says, “Being an Interfaith Minister enables me to honour and journey through the diverse aspects of spirituality holding each for the light it sheds on the awareness of the whole.”
“You are a woman of profound wisdom and compassion Jackie, and I am so grateful to have had two years of learning and growing together.” Miranda Macpherson – Founder of the Interfaith Seminary
Principal teaching role: Co-Tutor to Second Year Programme starting October 2016, occasional tutor to First Year programme, and Co-Tutor on the next ‘Mystery and Mastery Explorations” starting in 2017
Christopher’s ministry is built on the foundation of 34 years of research into and the practice of Spiritual Theatre based on the teachings of Rudolf Steiner. As a director and teacher he has taken performers from all walks of life and diverse disciplines on a path of spiritual development through the Mystery of the spoken Word. This work has led him to the borders of what can be called entertainment, and to the core question of what it means to be ones true Self. Going through the portal of ordination at the Interfaith Seminary has been the answer to his search for authenticity, enabling him to help others come closer to themselves through the discipline of Spiritual Counselling. This process creates the container for deepening one’s relation to The Divine through ritual and ceremony as well as nurturing the wonder of human interaction in the intense group work offered by OneSpirit’s curriculum. Christopher is married with three children and lives in East Sussex.
Principal teaching role: Co-Tutor to Second Year Programme starting in October 2016 and occasional tutor to First Year programme
Bernd is a consultant psychotherapist, sex and relationship therapist, OneSpirit interfaith minister and teacher. He has a background in the Sacred Ministry in the Church in Germany and for over three decades been involved in clergy and spiritual formation, both within established religions and in other faith traditions. He has a very busy practice in London (www.gettingbetter.org.uk) and teaches, mentors and supervises women and men in positions of spiritual leadership from over 40 countries. Recently he established his own thriving nationally accredited training organisation – the Naos-Institute (www.naos-institute.com) – which takes him into teaching engagements throughout Europe, Africa and India. He is particularly interested in psychospiritual counselling and in the use of rituals for personal and collective healing. His philosophy could be described as “seeking encounter with the unknown, the ‘other’, and the irrational side of life. Rather than seeing pathologies that require healing, or transformation, he has come to appreciate diversity, conflict, symptoms and disturbances of any sort as expressions of the very thing we need for our further growth, happiness, awareness or enlightenment”.
Principal teaching role: Annie joined the faculty a few months ago. She brings her deep experience and gifts to work alongside Nicola Coombe as tutor to the incoming First Year Programme, starting in October 2016.
Annie is a writer with a number of publications in print; she is also an artist, teacher and practitioner of spiritual counselling. In support of this she is trained in teaching, counselling skills, spiritual direction and spiritual healing.
Her Degree and MA (Cambridge University) in Theology and Religious Studies, focus on specialising in sacred texts in various faith cultures.
In line with her lifelong love of the natural world, Annie is a trained, initiated Druid with the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids (OBOD) and invested with the authority to create and lead ceremonies, rituals and other gatherings to suit specific needs; she is a professed member and elected Area Minister of the Third Order of the Society of St Francis, (a Christian contemplative order), and a member of an NHS Mental Health Spiritual Care interfaith chaplaincy team.
She writes prayers, liturgy and reflection material for those seeking alternative ways of approaching life and lifestyle changes, rooted in three decades of living in culturally diverse areas of cities, with a continuous commitment to interspiritual engagement.
Her philosophy is underpinned by concepts from Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, Taoism, neo-Paganism, Sikhism, Hinduism. She finds within each the beautiful, mystical core, a love which reveals deep interconnectedness. She is the proud mother of a history-student son and married to a Church of England priest, Ray Gaston, who has a long-standing relationship with OneSpirit as a guest teacher.
Principal teaching role: Associate-tutor co-working on programme development for “Mystery and Mastery Explorations”
Elaine has worked in the charity sector in communication, education and training with children and adults in South Africa and the UK, and is deeply committed to empowering people to show up in all their fullness. She has held key posts at Great Ormond Street Hospital and The Princess Royal Trust for Carers, as well as working as an independent consultant to several other charities. Following her ordination in 2000 she was invited to form the first faculty team with the founder, Miranda. Inspired by the seminary coursework she went on to do a rigorous further two year training in Tibetan Buddhism with the Jamyang Buddhist Centre. At the end of 2002 Elaine relocated to Spain where she led spiritual training in a Moorish village in the hills of Andalucía, offered counselling, and led ceremony and ritual in venues as diverse as vineyards and castles, beaches and back gardens. Seven years later she returned to the UK and re-joined the faculty where she has been teaching since 2009. Elaine has a deep curiosity for spiritual life and a passion for on-going learning It is her great joy and privilege to accompany the Graduate Ministers who are called to Further Learning and she is delighted that more short programmes are now open to the public.
“You were an incredible example of love in action, towering strength, beautiful communication, and attention to light and shade – humour and respect for the process was amazing. I was so privileged to have been able to experience your leadership at close hand and your care and encouragement in allowing me to show more of myself and my light.” S.C. – Deepening into Mystery and Mastery Graduate
In addition to OneSpirit’s core tutors and visiting tutors (mentioned above), we are privileged to have contributions from visiting speakers representing the world’s great religious and spiritual traditions. These speakers provide an insight into their faith background and practices, and enter into deep and open dialogue about aspects that particularly interest or trouble students.
It is of course difficult to cover all the world’s faith traditions in the training. For the programmes starting in the autumn, our emphasis will be less on breadth, and more on depth – focusing on key faith traditions, or groupings of traditions, and exploring these with approaches that, once learned, students can then apply elsewhere.
Below we list some of the visiting speakers who have enriched our training programmes in recent years. We hope that many of them will continue to be involved in the coming year. Previous visiting speakers have included:
Christopher Titmuss, Gaia House, Devon
Denchen Pende, Samye Ling Monastery
Venerable Amaranatho – www.playfulmonk.net
Rev Ray Gaston, Interfaith Studies tutor for Queen Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Education
Rev Christopher Collingwood
Jason Chan, The Light Foundation
Earth-based / Shamanistic traditions
Caitlin Matthews, HallowQuest and Ceremonial Ways
Dawn Russell, Faculty at Eagle’s Wing College of Contemporary Shamanism
Rev Martin Nathanael, The Awakening Foundation and OneSpirit Interfaith Minister
Rabbi Shaul Rosenblatt, Aish HaTorah
Rabbi Warren Elf, Rabbi of Southend and District Reform Synagogue
Rabbi Debbie Young-Somers, West London Synagogue
Rev Suzanne Cohen, OneSpirit Interfaith Minister
Jay Lakhani, Hindu Council of the UK
Rev Annie Blampied, Facilitator of the Forgiveness Network and OneSpirit Interfaith Minister
Imam Amar Hegedus, Chaplain, Lambeth Hospital and South London and Maudsley Foundation NHS Trust
Imam Vasilyyullah Bhayat, Islam Chaplain, University of Central Lancashire, Preston College of Education and the Royal Preston Hospital
Surkheel Sharif, Director of the Jawziyyah Institute
Dr Farhad Fard, Coventry University
Aziz Dekulias, The Western Order of Sufism
Noah Nazire, Leader of Sufi Community, Sheffield and trustee of Sheffield Sufi Association Naqshabandi Sufi Tariquat
Rev Peter Dewey, Church of England Rector
Rev Tim Pickles, OneSpirit Interfaith Minister and gay spirituality
Each teaching group is accompanied over two years by a team of volunteer mentors.