Sep 7, 2015

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Centre spreads its wings to the north

Centre spreads its wings to the north

One of the important aspects of the Centre’s vision for the next five years is to establish clusters in other parts of our country and to cooperate with similar organizations or centres countrywide. In the words of our vision statement:

We see the Centre as a ‘cluster of centres’ – pockets of hope, spaces, communities of consciousness and of contemplation and action – reaching out across the country guiding people to live deeply contemplative and transformative lives enabling us to transform the world around us.

The opportunity to establish such a cluster in the Johannesburg-Pretoria area has now become a reality with a proposal in this regard having been approved by the Board.

Herman Holtzhausen and his wife Catherine (maiden name: Smetherham) will be heading this initiative in the upcoming months. Both were involved in the Centre for several years while they lived in the Cape area – Herman as a team member of the Ecumenical workshop which originated in Wales and had been hosted by the Centre for several years, and Catherine as a fundraising adviser and an enthusiastic member of a sprirituality group. The family – they have two lovely children, Nicolaas and Pippa – has recently moved to Johannesburg.

Herman is currently the biggest producer and marketer of clocks in our country and a narrative therapist running his own practice. However his main passion has always been pastoral accompaniment, spiritual direction and spiritual formation – the latter with a deliberate focus on the practices of silence, meditation, retreats and mindfulness. Apart from his theological training – he is currently finishing a doctoral degree at the University of Pretoria – he has also obtained a Masters degree in narrative therapy. He has travelled extensively and has vast knowledge and experience of contemplative initiatives in other contexts.

We are extremely excited to welcome Herman and Catherine as leaders of this new and important cluster of the Centre in the North. For those who are interested you can contact or 0832525239.

– Carel Anthonissen

Herman writes:
Our times call for deeply anchored, interconnected spiritualities clearly articulated in compassion.

I’m rooted and schooled in the Christian mystical tradition where spirituality and practice are intertwined like night and day. My working definition of spirituality includes religious, post-religious and secular lived experiences. To quote Schneiders (2005:1-6): ‘Spirituality as lived experience can be defined as conscious involvement in the project of life integration through self-transcendence toward the ultimate value one perceives.’ It is therefore one of the greatest privileges to befall me to co-create with the people of Gauteng a place of Silence and Solidarity here where I was raised and am now established with my family.

Our Province is well known for a uniquely welcoming, vibrant and cosmopolitan spirit. I see the Centre drawing from this well: true to this spirit of our people I see our being inter – spiritually, inter – religiously and ecumenically minded with a focus on compassion and kindness. Together we will create a place of reflection, a contemplative community that will give voice to our civil and personal concerns and responsibilities.

If you want to read more about my personal background you’re welcome to visit Please contact me through that website or and let’s have tea!


*Image of the glass windows at Regina Mundi, Soweto.

  1. This is a very exciting chapter in the growth of the Centre and its ministry. I remember Herman from the days of the Ecumenical Christian Spirituality Workshop and it is good hearing the latest news. Sterkte to all concerned!

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