About us

The London Centre for Spiritual Direction offers resources and support for all those interested in Christian spiritual direction. Since the earliest days of Christianity people have realised their need to find someone who will walk with them on their journey of faith. At and through the Centre, we celebrate and encourage this tradition by offering resources to anyone looking for a Spiritual Director, or exploring their faith formation; we also have comfortable and affordable rooms for confidential meetings. Alongside this we also offer training and development opportunities for new and established spiritual directors, including Encounter (our three-year formation course), continuing professional development, and supervision groups. Please explore our website to learn more or contact us with any questions.

Our Story

The Centre’s rich history of nurturing spiritual direction began in 1999 when our first Director, Andrew Walker, was invited by the Bishop of London to ‘develop a centre for spirituality’. Its focus was to work collaboratively on promoting spirituality in the city and be a resource for people seeking to grow in faith, with a variety of training courses and events. We have been fulfilling that invitation ever since, moving into the church of St Edmund the King (scroll down to the bottom of this page to read more about the history of building) in 2003, and refurbishing it so that it is now a place of welcome to all those who come here or use the resources here on our website. For many years we ran a popular bookshop as part of our welcome. From 2012 to 2014 the Centre’s Director was Mark Godson and, like Andrew before him, he led a faithful team of staff and volunteers whose passion and commitment have delivered and surpassed the Bishop’s original invitation. Our links with the Diocese of London are strengthened by our current Director, Neil Evans who combines his Centre role with being Diocesan Director of Ministry. We have a small staff team and we are governed by our trustees, chaired by the Archdeacon for the Two Cities. You can find out more about them in the section on staff and trustees below. There is also more information about organisations we are pleased to have as valued partners in the section below called ‘Valued Partners’

Today, renamed as the London Centre for Spiritual Direction, we focus on encouraging people to discover for themselves the benefits and joys of having a wise ‘accompanier’ on their journey of faith, to provide highly-regarded training and supervision for new and established spiritual directors, and to offer a range of workshops and courses, all underpinned by our Code of Practice and by the Diocesan safeguarding protocols. We are often asked for advice and support to other similar ventures, and are happy to share what we are learning. We hope our story will continue long into the future.

Pray with us

Everyone is welcome to join us on Wednesday morning from 9:15 – 9:45am for morning prayer followed by coffee and conversation with the staff based here at St. Edmunds

Valued Partners

Our work is closely tied to several valued partners. We have a shared history with the Ignatian Spirituality Course who are a separate organisation to LCSD but who now share our premises. The Centre for Church Planting and Church Growth have been sharing St. Edmunds Church and we work closely with them to ensure the smooth running of activities here at St Edmunds. The Centre is an initiative of the Diocese of London and the Diocese are involved in overseeing the work here at the Centre through the Centre Director, Rev Neil Evans.

Ignatian Spirituality Course

The aim of the course is to form participants in The Art of Spiritual Direction and in giving the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola in their various forms. We aim to support participants in discerning where God is leading them in their ministry. For some this will be to work in forms of spiritual direction and giving retreats. Others may be led along other avenues.

It is an ecumenical Christian course and is open to people of goodwill from all traditions. The course is led by an experienced staff of lay people, religious and clergy, and runs for one day a week (11am to 4pm) over three years http://www.artsd.org.uk/

Centre for Church Planting and Church Growth

The Centre for Church Planting and Church Growth supports the work of the Bishop of Islington, one of the suffragan bishops of the London Diocese. Bishop Ric was consecrated in September 2015 to support the London Diocesan goal of creating New Worshipping Communities and is available to the National Church to support church planting.

His team, based at St Edmund the King in London, help to run church planting training courses and church growth learning communities, to equip church planters through individual consultations, and to develop resources for the wider church.

Diocese of London

The Centre is an initiative of the Diocese of London who continue to provide us with ongoing support. The activities of the Church of England within London are many and varied, taking place within our parishes, chaplaincies, schools and other organisations. In 2012 we began a journey together to renew our vision for serving Jesus Christ in this great World City over the coming years. On 6 June 2013 this became our Capital Vision 2020. Within this section you can find out about the ways the Church is present in London – in our local parish churches, chaplaincies, church plants and missional communities – and find out about the ordained and lay people who lead them.

Other Organisations we work with include:

People

Staff

Neil Evans Director

Alongside Neil’s very part-time role as Director for the London Centre for Spiritual Direction he is Director of Ministry for the Diocese of London. Neil has been a priest in London Diocese for over 30 years serving as a Parish Priest in Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Twickenham before his current role. Before ordination he worked as a manager in the Health Service. He is passionate about equipping laity and clergy as fruitful ministers of the Gospel and encouraging them as disciples of Jesus Christ.

Catherine Chapman Centre Manager

Catherine is the Centre Manager and is responsible for the day-to-day running of the London Centre for Spiritual Direction with special responsibility for the finances and room bookings. She is a member of the Centre Group and sits in at the quarterly Trustees’ meetings.

Catherine sings in the church choir of St Peter’s, Streatham which regularly sings in cathedrals both in London and the rest of the country. She also enjoys tap dancing and has 2 grown up children.

Beth Follini Communications and Premises Coordinator

Beth works two days a week for the Centre. She is responsible for the website, social media & marketing, updating the Directory of Spiritual Directors and coordinating premises repairs. When not working for the centre, Beth is busy coaching clients - both in person and via Skype with people living all over the world.

Kathy Redington Administrator for the Encounter course

Kathy is fanatical about efficiency and keeping things in order. She is a quiz aficionado and enthusiastic church and Rock Choir singer.

Julie Léger Dunstan Director for Formation and Professional Development

Julie’s role is to oversee the formation, support and membership of spiritual directors affiliated to the Centre; She is also Director of the Encounter Course. Julie brings, among other things, her experience as a psychotherapist, spiritual director, licensed lay minister and Benedictine oblate.

Alison Christian Advisor and Advocate for Spiritual Direction

Alison Christian served as an incumbent in the Diocese of London for seventeen years before becoming Warden of Launde Abbey Retreat House in 2012. Alison has been a spiritual director for over twenty years and has a passion for helping Christians to grow in depth and maturity.

Antonia Lynn Community Warden and Referrals Coordinator

Antonia is a spiritual director and a tutor on Encounter, having previously taught on the Ignatian Spirituality Course, and she is also one of the Centre’s supervisors and workshop facilitators. Contact Antonia to help you find a spiritual director, or if you want to find out if spiritual direction is for you. She is also here to help support the Community of Spiritual Directors and is always happy to hear from members or anyone wanting to know more.

Helen Christina Receptionist

Helen has worked as Receptionist for the past 3 years, having previously worked with the bookshop which closed. She enjoys greeting visitors and making sure they are comfortable.

Tania Powell Receptionist

Tania has worked as Receptionist for the past 3 years, having previously worked with the bookshop which closed. Tania enjoys greeting and welcoming people to the Centre. She likes drawing and walks in the park.

Trustees

​Trustees have the ultimate responsibility for the governance of Centre and set the strategic direction. In addition to those listed below, Neil Evans, Antonia Lynn and Catherine Chapman from the staff team sit on the Trustee Board.

The Venerable Rosemary Lain-Priestley Chair of Trustees

Rosemary is an Archdeacon working for the Diocese of London. She is the author of several books on finding God in the detail, miracle and loose ends of everyday life.

Robin Hepburn

Robin has been involved as a trustee since The Centre was first conceived. He started training as a Spiritual Director on the Encounter course in 2013 and he is now enjoying this new vocation.

Ric Thorpe

As Bishop of Islington, Ric is responsible for the London Diocese’s goal of creating 100 New Worshipping Communities by 2020 and is also working nationally to support Dioceses to plant new churches. Before being appointed to Islington, Bishop Ric was the Bishop of London’s Adviser for Church Planting and the Rector of St Paul’s Shadwell. He is married to Louie and they have three children.

Ann Coleman

Ann Coleman ministers as a priest in the Chelmsford diocese having retired from St Mellitus College where she was Assistant Dean teaching Christian spirituality. Ann is a spiritual director, retreat conductor and has produced and taught courses in spiritual direction.

Centre Group

The Centre Group began in January 2017 as a forum for sharing news and ideas about the building, the facilities and how to best get along with each other. The group meets termly. In addition to those listed below, Catherine Chapman, Neil Evans and Julie Dunstan from the staff team are on the Centre Group.

John-Francis Friendship

As a Franciscan John-Francis began offering Spiritual Direction. He joined the Centre team training Spiritual Directors in 2002. Later he developed ‘Exploring Christian Spirituality’ and now also offers Pastoral Supervision.

Andrea Bleakley

PA to the Bishop of Islington, Andrea looks after the diary, meetings, finance and administration for Ric and the Church Planting and Growth team.

Julian Maddock

Julian has been serving an apprenticeship as a spiritual director since 1989. He leads the 3rd year of the Ignatian Spirituality Course and has been delivering our ‘Deeping Direction’ course for new spiritual advisers.

Antonia Lynn

Antonia is a spiritual director and a tutor on Encounter, having previously taught on the Ignatian Spirituality Course, and is one of the Centre’s supervisors and workshop facilitators.

The building

A brief history of the building

The Church

The first church on the site, founded around 900 AD and dedicated to Edmund, King of East Anglia, was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666. The present building, attributed to Sir Christopher Wren and his colleague Dr Robert Hooke, was erected between 1670 and 1679. There is some excellent 17th century woodwork, particularly the pulpit, stalls and lectern.

The Church was restored and re-ordered in 1864 and the architect, George Butterfield, was congratulated for successfully creating the atmosphere of a gentleman’s drawing room. However, it became the most badly damaged City church during World War I through a direct hit at 10am on 7th July 1917 in the first raid by Gotha bombers that replaced the earlier Zeppelins. Remnants of the bomb are encased and on display beneath the altar with words from St Teresa of Avila. The Rev. Geoffrey Studdert-Kennedy, nicknamed ‘Woodbine Willie’, was rector here from 1921-29. He was awarded the Military Cross for conspicuous gallantry in WWI but is better known for his poetry drawn from his experiences in the trenches.

The Church of England

The Church of St Edmund the King is part of the City Deanery in the Diocese of London within the Church of England. Please follow the links for more information:

Events and Venue Hire

You can hire rooms at the Centre as well as St. Edmunds Church itself. People hire our rooms and venue for one-to-one work with clients, small groups, board meetings, as a filming venue/holding area and as a music rehearsal space. If you are interested in finding out more, please follow to our Venue Hire page where you can see photos all the spaces for hire

Subscribe to our newsletter