Everyday Spirituality Setting Hearts on Fire


Little fires were lit in the hearts of those who attended the diocesan Everyday Spirituality sessions recently, as people came together to learn new spiritual habits for everyday life.

The sessions, which were held over Zoom and in person at St Peter’s Church in Copt Oak, focused on ‘centring prayer’ and were led by the Diocesan Discipleship Team.

A mixture of people came together to explore new ways to deepen their faith, including the curious, those who are novices in spiritual practice, and the more seasoned pilgrim. 

When we think about ‘growing in faith’, and what helps us to do so, we often think of our personal, devotional practices - be that connecting with ancient practices of prayer, reading the Bible, quiet contemplation, retreat, and sharing our experiences with other people.

During the prolonged period of lockdown, Liz Rawlings (Discipleship and Vocations Enabler) heard many stories of people rediscovering these ancient devotional practices, as a way of sustaining and growing in their faith.

“There really seems to be a growing interest in everyday spirituality, as a way of growing everyday faith,” explains Liz. “The goal then, was to entwine and adapt these spiritual practices – which come out of a monastic way of life – and embed them into our ordinary lives.”

These most recent Everyday Spirituality gatherings took the simple format of a talk with background on centring prayer, some thought-provoking small group work, followed by a whole group conversation.

People were able to share their experiences of prayer in a safe and supportive environment, and were encouraged to see how to integrate it into everyday life.

For some there was a desire to offer something for people who are not connected to church – to create a place for silence, a tool that could help people to engage and ultimately, to see where God was at work in all of that.

“The habits in the margins of our lives are places where we often connect with God,” Liz says. “The great thing about the practice of centring prayer is that it takes the pressure off us – it’s wholly giving that control to God.”

Everyday Spirituality - Centring Prayer followed on from previous online gatherings held earlier this year, where small groups looked at the daily Examen - a technique of prayerful reflection on the events of the day, in order to notice God’s presence and discern his direction for us. 

Alongside Liz, the evolution of these sessions is due to the combined wisdom of Miryam Ngoy-Verhage (Discipleship Officer for Leicester Cathedral), Rachel Bennetts (Prior of The Community of the Tree of Life), Andrew Hall (Vicar of Burbage and Aston Flamville) and Chris Webb (Deputy Warden of Launde Abbey).

Though the plan for the Saturday morning in-person session was to gather outside around a real fire, sadly it was raining so heavily the wet wood just wouldn’t light. But the weather did little to dampen the spirits of those involved, who came away feeling revived and enriched by the experience.

One person who attended, said: “I found this session very inspiring and challenging, not to be sucked into a to-do tick list.”

Another was grateful for the chance to come together and said: “Just thank you for this opportunity. We do not get these times with our own churches now.”

While another declared: “I'm delighted that the diocese is specifically emphasising the place of spirituality, especially in the everyday. Spirituality is for everyday life, not just for Sundays!”

Having been led through the practices, these disciples will now be able to share their experiences and help others in their everyday spirituality, be that back in their churches or in small groups. 

“The hope is that the people we have met will be encouraged and inspired to take what they’ve learnt and start their own little fires of everyday spirituality within their communities, all around the diocese,” says Liz.

 

*The next Everyday Spirituality sessions will take place in October.


First published on: 5th July 2021

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