Hilary Garraway

I became a Christian over thirty years ago and come from an evangelical and charismatic church background. I worked with Youth With A Mission (a Pentecostal missionary organisation) for about ten years, with their Christian counselling training programme in Merseyside and helped to set up this counselling training in Uganda. I then moved to East London to set up a community project providing counselling and life skills training to people facing long term unemployment and homelessness.

Over the last fifteen years I have felt drawn to more contemplative and Celtic Christian traditions. I am grateful to God for leading me to Contemplative Fire at a time when my faith was feeling challenged and this has deepened my faith and expanded my view of God. I have valued journeying with others on a similar path, learnt so much from different writers and Christian traditions, valued the challenge to consider the use of language more and the accountability and rhythm that the trefoil gives to my spiritual walk.

I have a busy life and so am continually seeking to maintain this rhythm of action balanced with contemplation. I work full time as a consultant clinical psychologist in the NHS and am on the steering group for the British Association of Christians in Psychology, am the chair of the National Spirituality and Mental Health Forum and the British Psychological Society’s Spirituality Lead. Contemplative Fire has influenced my spirituality which helped me to develop an holistic approach to therapy. This has become the basis of a course called “Free to be Me” which combines therapy and spirituality along with elements of art therapy and creative writing.

I am married to Hosten who is retired but works voluntarily as a lay reader and “Pastor to the Seniors” in our church. We have two children, Hayley and Joshua, and a labradoodle dog, Sasha, who shares my country walks which are a key part to my spirituality. Hosten is originally from Grenada and we have had a long term vision of setting up a retreat house there. This is now becoming a reality with the recent purchase of a property which we will gradually restore. I completed a spiritual direction course at the Chelmsford diocese retreat house which was the spiritual home of Evelyn Underhill. The way she described the spiritual life has become my prayer for my own spiritual life – “a spiritual life is simply a life in which all that we do comes from the centre, where we are anchored in God.”