The Listening Place


Annual Open Evening 2019 - Thursday 10th October

Revd Canon Professor James Woodward Ph.D

James Woodward

‘Listening to Ourselves?’

After the sharing of annual reports, a talk was given by James Woodward, Principal of Sarum College, on Listening to Ourselves? Taking his own experience of bereavement and grief as a starting point, he took his audience into his confidence with gentle, often self-deprecating humour, exploring helpful and not-so-helpful responses to grief, and emphasising the need for those experiencing the pain of loss to slow down and take the time needed to get in touch with their feelings.

He considered not only the individual experience of grief, but also the public expression of grief and the ways in which the expression of grief has changed since the Victorian period. He also drew attention to the way in which grief can bring people closer to each other in greater love, and asked whether we are nurturing a culture which enables us to be more vulnerable with one another. Referring to the classic model of the five stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance, he suggested that churches should be seeking to offer sanctuary, space, ritual, prayer and support – and a sixth stage, peace.

James Woodward

Professor Woodward took a number of questions and comments from the floor, ranging from things that people had found helpful in their own experiences of grief to a consideration of the difficulty of meeting the needs of those experiencing extreme anger in the wake of cruel and irredeemable loss resulting from avoidable accidents or criminal behaviour. Professor Woodward finished by expressing his admiration for the service offered by the Listening Place, and offering his support to it. The evening closed informally over a delicious selection of light refreshments.

October 2018 A.G.M 'Any Questions' from the Listening Place Management Team

Any Questions

Pampering Day

Pampering Day <

One of the most challenging aspects of being a listener with the listening place is coming in for a listening session unaware of what lies ahead. A client walks through the door and you have no idea what they are going to talk about, yet somehow through a combination of prayer and training our listeners manage to listen intently, guiding people to see what is the most important part of the content and what action the client could take to improve the situation. All without giving advice, telling their own story or judging the client.

Our listeners have dealt with some very difficult listening sessions demonstrating a high level of professionalism and empathy. We have an amazing support network for our listeners after such difficult sessions and are very grateful to all those who provide guidance and support.

On 8th March 2018, 20 people connected with the listening place gathered at Bemerton Methodist Church for a day to help recharge our batteries. We started the day in worship led by Revd Steve Hawkes, singing some beautiful and thought provoking hymns. We were very privileged to be joined by Canon Anne Long who led the main part of the day encouraging us to spend time reflecting on those things which drain our energy and those things which resource us and build us up. One phrase that spoke particularly to me from this session was that “Self-care is not selfish”. After a very well received fish and chips lunch we had a very entertaining demonstration of cake decorating. Feeling refreshed and rested, we then spent time in prayer, viewing a challenging TED ( talk on listening and engaging with a variety of prayer stations. This was followed by a time of fellowship as we engaged in varying activities, the most popular of which seemed to be colouring. The day finished with a short communion service, again led by Revd Steve Hawkes.

Thank you to the many people who made the day possible.

A Fundraising Concert by the Hampshire Guitar Orchestra

November 2017

HAGO in Concert

A large and appreciative audience were entertained in Salisbury Methodist Church by the Hampshire Guitar Orchestra last Saturday, 11th November. This was the Orchestra's third visit to Salisbury, and their return was very much welcomed. The programme was steered with great good humour by orchestra director Derek Hasted, and the orchestra played through their wide-ranging and eclectic repertoire, ranging from the Beatles and Ronald Binge's 'Elizabethan Serenade', through the canon of classical and popular music arranged for the guitar, to Latin American and in particular Cuban music.

The magnificent sum of £763.80p was raised for The Listening Place.

A.G.M 2017

Sue Robbins (left) with Dr Moy Gill and Bear

The Thirteenth Annual Meeting of the Listening Place was held on Tuesday 3rd October at 7.30 at Salisbury Methodist Church. The Annual reports were presented (and can be downloaded here).

Our guest speaker Dr Moy Gill entitled "The Art of Listening and the Gaze of Love".

Salisbury Methodist Church Newsletter

April 2017

The past few months have seen a particularly busy time for the listening place. A number of clients have appreciated the skills demonstrated by our trained listeners during our sessions both at Salisbury Methodist and St Michaels Church, Bemerton. The Trussell Trust has now opened a distribution centre at St Michaels Community Centre on Tuesday and Thursdays. Clients are also offered a free coffee and light lunch and a chance to be listened to.

Our tutors have been busy training new listeners, and will be running a new training course over the summer months – more details are available from Sue Robbins or Cecil King. Whether you plan to listen at The Listening Place or just want to brush up your listening skills for other roles, the training is thought provoking and will change your approach to listening to other people.

The unsung heroes of the listening place are our "supporters". These are a small group of volunteers who provide support to our listeners. This involves ensuring that both clients and listeners are provided with refreshments during sessions and just keeping an eye that all are safe by providing a reassuring presence outside the room for our listeners. The only qualifications needed are common sense and a friendly attitude. A number of our supporters have moved on to other things so our rota has many blank spaces on it at the moment. If you feel able to offer a couple of hours a month providing this vital service please speak to Sue Robbins or Rachel Clarke.

One final way the whole congregation can help and support The Listening Place is to hold them in your prayers as they provide a service to clients allowing them to share what are often harrowing tales and aid them to find a way forward.

"Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person, they are almost indistinguishable." ― David Augsburger.

A.G.M. 2016

Friends and supporters of The Listening Place gathered for the Annual Open Meeting at Salisbury Methodist Church on Wednesday 5th October.  After presentation of the annual report and an opportunity for questions, they were treated to a very entertaining and thought-provoking talk by guest speaker, the Reverend Joanna Naish.   She spoke about the important role listening skills have played in her work, first as a school teacher and latterly as an ordained minister. She used stories and anecdotes, some humorous and some extremely moving, to illustrate how a good listener can help young people and vulnerable members of society find a voice and seek help at times when they feel they have no one to turn to.