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Spirituality

Spirituality – the lived experience of God, present in our lives and active in our world.

Edel McClean, Methodist Learning and Development Officer (Discipleship Development)

Spirituality in daily life is what is life giving and is holy living. Bumping into God in human encounters, in our built environment, in nature, is spirituality. I think this is intrinsically linked therefore to also bumping into the things God is most concerned with - justice and peace. Spirituality is connected to action. Not frenetic action nor obsession to fix. A deep sense of knowing and being and doing interconnected.

Alison Ransome, Methodist Learning & Development Coordinator (Discipleship Development)

Retreats

The latest Retreats HandbookFREE as part of an annual subscription to Reflect - includes the following features:

Quiet Days and Quiet Gardens

Most retreat houses will offer and publicise an annual programme of quiet days, as will churches or individual retreat leaders. You can expect to be led into a theme, then given time and space to reflect on your own. At the end of the day there will often be the chance to worship and share your experiences with the group.

Another option is to visit a quiet garden. The Quiet Garden Movement nurtures access to outdoor space for prayer and reflection in a variety of settings, such as private homes, churches, retreat centres, schools and hospitals – and creates opportunities for people to experience silence, restfulness and contemplative practices, with regular quiet days and retreats being offered in many Quiet Gardens. There are over 300 Quiet Gardens worldwide. Find out more >>

Silence

The pace of modern living and the growth of technology can mean that we spend much of our day doing things and very little time just being. As a society, we are becoming less and less accustomed to times of silence in the midst of all the expectations and challenges of our daily life. Similarly, our church communities can seem so increasingly busy that even here there is little opportunity for silence and space in which to simply be with God. In the midst of all this activity life can seem overwhelming, God may feel far away, and we sometimes end up feeling ‘beside ourselves’ rather than being ourselves. Yet from experience we know that it is often when we switch off the gadgets or take time out from all that clamours for our attention that we can begin to reconnect with God and re-member - literally, put back together - who we are. Developing a spiritual discipline of silence is an ancient Christian practice which can help us to recover a sense of who we truly are as people made in the image of God, and with whom God longs to be in intimate relationship.

Alison Woolley, Director, Seeds of Silence

Click to read an article by Alison expanding further on this theme. The article was written for Retreats 2017, published by the Retreat Association.

Spiritual Direction

I listen for how the holy penetrates lives. I am there to help people discover the ways their lives are imbued with spirituality. This is spiritual direction. (Susan S Phillips, Candlelight, Morehouse Publishing, NY, 2008)

The Retreat Association keeps a list of spiritual directors and can advise on training courses to become a spiritual director. Find out more >>

Guidelines in good practice in spiritual direction have been developed and can be accessed here. Find out more >>

Pilgrimage

To become a pilgrim is to undertake a particular kind of journey, a sacred journey which involves both inner and outer dimensions. Among the varied reasons people give for deciding to take such a step, it is often possible to discern a sort of longing - a desire for something different, for something deeper than the everyday.

Mark Davis, lentpilgrimage.org.uk

Pilgrimages are born out of a sense of restlessness, of wanting to journey, to go deeper, further – physically and into God. As a church, as individual Methodists, are we sufficiently restless? Are we aware of how much more there is of God to explore?

Pilgrimage is not merely exercise, it is not merely tourism, it is not merely novelty. Pilgrimage leads to encounter – ultimately encounter with a living God. Yet spiritual encounter does not always happen where and when we expect it to.

Jill Baker, Vice-President Designate, The Methodist Church in Britain

Rule for Life

Perhaps the idea of a ‘rule for life’ sounds contradictory - we often think of rules as stifling, limiting or restrictive, rather than as life-giving. Perhaps if we think instead of a ‘rhythm for living’ we may find the idea more attractive, more vital. What does your soul need on a regular basis to stay healthy? Prayer? Nourishment? Silence? Fellowship? Acts of mercy? Each person's rhythm could be different but selected from a common pool.

Right back in Acts (2:42-27) we find the basis for such a rule or rhythm as we hear how, day by day, the apostles met for worship, prayer, the breaking of bread and fellowship. Within a few hundred years early monasticism had developed this into a spiritual discipline which has been kept alive ever since through Benedictine, Franciscan and other orders. In this 21st century, many are embracing such traditions, in a way often referred to as ‘the new monasticism’.

I have always been attracted to the rhythm of the year - the natural year with its changing length of day, cycles of fruitfulness and barrenness, patterns of weather (even if these are a little less predictable now!) Also the church year, or liturgical year, with its feasts and fasts, high points and ordinary times, seasons of renewal and seasons of penitence. Rhythm is built into our world and exploring a spiritual rhythm, finding the rhythm that - for me - is life-giving, is exciting!

Long ago I heard an illustration about freedom, discipline and playing the piano which has always stayed with me. The hours and hours of practice needed to excel as a pianist may seem binding and even like a sort of imprisonment. But when I, who never practice, sit down on a piano stool alongside a disciplined musician, who is really free to make music?

Jill Baker, Vice-President Designate, The Methodist Church in Britain

The Five-Day Community for Spiritual Formation

Through a programme of teaching, silence, worship and reflection based on a Benedictine monastic pattern The Five-Day Community for Spiritual Formation aims to:

The first UK based Community ‘Living Lightly in Today’s World’ takes place at Drumalis, Larne, Northern Ireland from Sunday 28 May – Friday 2 June 2017. The teaching will be given by Amy Oden and Pádraig Ó Tuama.

Please contact Jill Baker, registrar, for more information at: fivedaycsf@btinternet.com

Quiet Spaces at Cliff

Cliff College is seeking to create opportunities for people to spend time in quiet reflection, to enable people to step aside for a while from the busyness of everyday responsibilities and reconnect with God in an environment of peaceful contemplation.

Click to read an article from Cliff College.

Newsletter

Editor: Pearl Luxon.

newsletter@reflectretreats.co.uk

Sent to members twice a year. Contact us to request future editions.

The editor would value contributions such as book reviews, comments on retreats, photographs, poems and other creative responses or links to articles or blogs.