REV Leti HAWTHORN
Year of ordination/graduation: 2021
Tell us a little bit about yourself: I am a 54-year-old woman living in North Yorkshire. I would describe myself as Queer and neurodivergent. I am a skilled helper and wounded healer, working from an educated heart with intuitive, reflective practice founded on experience, and with a desire to meet people where they are. I live with my husband Tim, our wire-haired dachshund Frankie and semi-feral cat Charlie and I have a stepdaughter Hannah. As well as being an interfaith minister I am a yoga teacher and health & wellbeing consultant with over 26 years’ experience. I love walking, exploring nature, taking photographs, writing, researching, and helping people to flourish. I walk along the edges, helping people to repair their frays and to dive deeper in order to heal.
What inspired you to pursue training with OneSpirit? I was drawn to interfaith ministry by desire, a need to stop trying to fit into a pre-formed shape, a call to serve humanity and the Earth without having to sign up to anyone’s doctrine or creed. I had tried to shape myself around what was on offer, had found much to admire and love on different paths but I needed to be free to serve all without exception, free to speak the language of each person I encounter. I might have become a nun, could have renounced all (or so I thought when I was young). I grew up Anglican, then became Quaker and spent some time without belief. As time went on the call kept coming. I tried a few doors and some even opened but shortly after they firmly closed and then I finally understood. Thanks to friends, neighbours, and colleagues I found my way to OneSpirit’s door, and knew at once this way was mine – I would be free to walk my own true path. I had studied over many years before beginning my interfaith ministry training and gained many certificates and also three degrees. But this training has been unique as, not only have I learned more about faith paths and religions, how to create ceremonies and rituals, and how to listen ever more deeply to those who come to me, but I have faced myself, interrogated my own self, and been greatly challenged by all I have discovered!
What services do you provide? I provide spiritual support, particularly at end-of-life and for those recently bereaved; I offer sacred listening – holding space for you to speak and be truly heard, and offering insight into whatever you bring; I offer healing through Reiki as a Usui Reiki Master and also as an intuitive spiritual healer; I offer ceremony – I work with you to create a special space within which you might feel your losses, welcome your true self, exchange vows with a loved one, bless your baby’s arrival, celebrate a special moment, or seek healing; I work with groups, communities, and organisations to provide pastoral care, activities for wellbeing, and opportunities to share our common humanity as well as explore our differences; I run yoga circles, teaching yoga as a physio-spiritual practice with over 26 years’ exercise teaching experience and now also a trauma-informed yoga teacher; I provide consultation for wellbeing services, cancer support, and end-of-life care and all that I do comes from lived experience as well as formal and informal training and education.
What do you consider the most rewarding aspect of being an ordained interfaith minister? Being able to offer myself in sacred service to all with healthy boundaries but no dogma limiting where I go and what I offer!
How do you put your personal ministry into practice? I have many years’ experience in pastoral care, deep listening, and offering compassionate support. I hold a MPhil in Psychology, a Graduate Diploma in Theology and Pastoral Care, and am also trained to Master Level in Usui Reiki. I am a qualified and experienced exercise and yoga teacher, specialising in cancer care, trauma recovery, autism & ADHD, and a kindhearted approach to exercise. As my statement of intention says, I walk among religions and beyond, recognising the spirituality of all sentient beings. I walk along the frayed, torn edges of life, in the spaces between here and there, holding shadows as I guide souls towards the light. The relationship begins when I create a bridge between one set of beliefs and traditions and another, between certain faith and the wide expanses of doubt. Often, particularly as death approaches, I cross the bridge to sit in another’s world with them; sometimes in life we meet on the bridge; and always, whether in my role as yoga teacher, minister, friend, or neighbour I aim to create space in my world and invite others in. I turn towards all, regardless of their beliefs or practices, with an open heart and mind, offering them a mirror to their own wholeness and their own sacredness.
Where do you see your ministry taking you in the future? I will continue to develop and deepen my ministry, weaving gifts of space-holding, ritual, movement, and reflection, and creating a meaningful service that helps people navigate their way through the challenges of life and death. I would love to undertake more research and write articles and possibly even a book.
How do you personally interpret the words “interfaith” or “interfaith minister?” I think I have probably expressed some of this in Question 2 of the 8 optional questions… For me I need to change the word, as others have done, to “interspiritual” to encompass all traditions and none, all faiths, beliefs, traditions, and those who are living full, deeply spiritual lives with not attachment to a particular way other than their own organic path. I love the German word “seelsorger” or soul-carer as a working concept. My understanding of being an interfaith minister is to turn to all, to leave ego at the door and enter with an open heart, uncluttered mind, and receptive spirit in order to ease the way forward for the person I am with. It does not mean that I have no views, and there will be times that my moral code will require me to stay outside the room but if I work with love there will be a way to care for the person without putting myself at risk (eg if someone asked for alcohol to be included I would, as a recovering alcoholic, probably not be the right person to minister to them). That said I am growing and changing all the time and I am open to how Spirit wishes to guide me.
What inspires you to do this work? I am inspired by the legacy of a dear friend, by all that I have learned through formal and informal training, by all the work that my fellow ministers and others undertake, by various experiences such as living with the Taizé community, visiting Iona, Samye Ling Buddhist Monastery, speaking with people from various faiths, cultures, and backgrounds but more than anything I am inspired by Mother Earth and the knowledge that this work is what I am called to do.
What aspects of your work do you find the most inspiring, rewarding, etc.? Helping someone to have a good death and supporting their loved ones; creating meaningful rituals; holding space in my yoga circle; and receiving feedback (we tend to shy away from admitting this but we all need reassurance and constructive criticism!)
What sets your ministry apart from others? I offer a unique weaving together of strands, bringing a passion for well-being, nature, and health together with deep compassion, empathy, and the capacity to listen with love. I bring a particular lived experience rich with challenges as well as joys and have learnt how to use my difficult experiences, and my wounds to support, guide and heal.
Is there anything else that you’d like to share with our community? I feel deeply honoured to belong to a community such as OneSpirit, to be walking along the edges and through the depths of human experiences with such solid support and wisdom to hold me. I am open to receiving guidance, cooperation, and love always.
You can reach the lovely, ever-inspiring, Rev Leti here:
Email: email@example.com / Mobile: 07718 315893
ROSIM Profile: https://www.onespiritinterfaithministers.com/leti-hawthorn