My beloved soul sister and co-facilitator Awen is taking a step back from delivering training; a self-loving sabbatical, if you will, to honour her family and care responsibilities (although we do hope to see her online and in Zoom calls; still holding the admin reins). With the London weekend upcoming I am absolutely over the moon to announce that my co-facilitator for this training weekend is none other than Joan Browne; whom I love. Joan was my mentor when I underwent the training and ordination process to become an interfaith minister. When I think of Joan I immediately feel the warmth of her hug and the depth of her wisdom. Here is some more about Joan…
Originally from Trinidad, Joan came to the UK at the age of 9. She has spent time in Leeds, Manchester, London, & in Essex where she currently lives with her husband Claude. She has also lived and worked in Venezuela, Brazil, Angola and Spain. However, her favourite places to be are in the highlands of Scotland or on the beaches of Tobago – places where she feels most spiritually aligned in what has been a lifelong quest to ‘find herself’.
Her early encounters with bereavement in the family were as a child. First, her younger brother Joseph died at the age of 6 months. Other deaths in Trinidad were of her maternal grandmother Emily and much later on, her father Jonathan. She helped make the arrangements for her father’s funeral and a few years’ later, for the scattering of his ashes. Joan was one of the carers for her mother Marjorie who suffered with Parkinsons for many years. Marjorie’s death in the year 2000 was undoubtedly the most significant bereavement of Joan’s life – even though the family had effectively ‘lost’ Marjorie in many ways, prior to her actual demise.
Joan’s life changed in 2008 when she discovered there was such a thing as ‘funeral celebrancy’. Although she had never expected to work with bereaved families and funerals, she felt drawn to do this, and enrolled on the first available course! A few years’ later, she was ordained as an interfaith minister. This was with the One Spirit Interfaith Foundation, where she became a mentor supporting students in their journey towards ordination. Joan believes this interfaith training has helped her become more open-hearted and self-aware, while supporting people of any faith or none to mark significant times in their lives with ceremony and ritual.
Joan also brings over 20 years’ experience of training and facilitation with organisations as a freelance consultant. Her UK-wide and international work included research, team, career and personal development, coaching and mentoring, managing diversity and inter-cultural communications. Joan was formerly a Judge on the Eastern Panel of the UK’s National Training Awards – an organisation that recognised and celebrated excellence in training.
Prior to going freelance, Joan was Assistant Director of the Brunel Management Programme at Brunel University, responsible for over 100 short management-related courses and events. Before that, she was Director of an Equal OpportunitiesTraining Unit in Hertfordshire, delivering training and consultancy projects on cross-cultural communications, and fair selection, etc.
Apart from her formal studies and qualifications, Joan has always been deeply interested in complementary therapies including herbalism, nutrition, reflexology, and energy healing. She has Reiki 1 and has attended workshops at the College of Psychic Studies in London on subjects like past life regression and spiritual healing. She was also a workshop facilitator at the first Medical Marriage Conference at the Findhorn Foundation in Scotland, where doctors and complementary therapists came together in dialogue – a breakthrough at the time!