Ian Palmer

Spirituality in the Airport Lounge:
Liminality in the experience of pilgrimage and life’s journeys

In his experience of travel and of pastoral care Ian has experienced humbling responses from people to spiritual issues in times of liminality. These are both the serendipitous and the sought-after experiences of life where spiritual growth becomes possible.

This workshop will draw upon the studies and research of pioneers in the understanding of liminality including Victor Turner. It will use the insights on this subject from those who have applied the concept of liminality in contemporary church life such as Alan Roxburgh, David Tacey, Richard Rohr and others.

It will draw upon experiences of people in the liminal state of being on pilgrimage or retreat and in spiritual direction – as a unique time for personal reflection, self-understanding and re-appraisal of direction and purpose.

It will explore possibilities for spiritual direction in conversations when people are journeying, or in their experience of being “in-between”. It will help directors and directees to  identify and reflect on experiences of liminality that occur in bereavement, chronic or life-threatening illness, redundancy, retirement, life-transitions such as moving home or change in employment, child-birth, marriage and raising a family.

In the creative part of the workshop it will include a time of reflection and creative work using Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s experience of liminality in prison through his poem “Who am I?”

The Venerable Ian S Palmer BD (London) Dip Theol (Durham)

Ian is presently an Archdeacon in the Anglican Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn, a senior priest of over 35 years experience in England and Australia. He has done the Thirty Day Spiritual Exercises. He is a spiritual director, an occasional lecturer in Pastoral Theology at the St Mark’s National Theological Centre campus of Charles Sturt University. He has conducted retreats and led pilgrimages. In 2000 he walked the Camino Français to Santiago de Compostella and since then has led two pilgrimages along that route. He has led a pilgrimage to Assisi and Oberammergau, and another one following in the footsteps of the Celtic Saints of Northern Britain. He is currently the Chair of the Board of Barnabas Ministries in Canberra. Ian’s self-understanding is of being a pilgrim. The name “Palmer” is used in Medieval English as a synonym for “a Pilgrim”.