Spiritual Direction / Companionship
Many people find a one-to-one relationship with a spiritual companion or director helpful in developing their spirituality and relationship with God. This ministry is available to everyone, lay or ordained.
Those who train for licensed ministry are asked to find a spiritual companion to walk alongside them.
The Diocese has a List of people who offer spiritual accompaniment, women and men, lay and ordained, who are available to everyone. They give a little profile of themselves, contact details and so on. They are scattered all over the Diocese so that there will be somebody in your area should you want one locally. It can be helpful to find someone who is outside your parish and your own immediate surroundings.
Of course, a kind of informal spiritual companionship is happening, quietly and locally, within parishes, with prayer partners and others. This should be encouraged and nurtured - but there is particular benefit in the focused support of a safe and qualified spiritual companion.
For a copy of the list, please contact:
Revd Simon Chesters 01928 643451
Jane Hood 01928 643428
Spirituality is part of all faith traditions. Here are some Christian defintitions:
For John Bell "spirituality is the oil which fuels the machinery by which we relate to God, to God's world and to God's people."
For Kathy Galloway, spirituality is "that which ultimately moves you - the fundamental motivation of your life."
For Alister McGrath, "Spirituality ... arises from a creative and dynamic synthesis of faith and life, forged in the crucible of the desire to live out the Christian faith authentically, responsibly, effectively, and fully."
For Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, "Spirituality must now touch every area of human experience, the public and the social, the painful, negative, even pathological byways of the mind, the moral and relational world."
For Philip Sheldrake, "spirituality is the core, centre and axle on which the wheel of theology runs."
Prayer is an essential part of Christian discipleship. There are as many ways of prayer as there are people. From the disciples first asking Jesus about prayer,so many methods and patterns of prayer have developed as people have explored their personal relationship with God. Prayer has ranged from contemplative to charismatic, and has used silence, art, study, movement and pilgrimage. Spiritual direction involves developing ways of prayer which can be as simple as the way of prayer taught by Jesus in the “Our Father”, and as regular as the prayer for morning, evening and night, derived from the monastic tradition. Saint Teresa of Avila defined prayer as "spending time with a friend whom we know loves us."
Retreats are for ordinary people at any time in their lives. There are no expectations on anyone going on retreat and you don't need to be a churchgoer.
Retreats offer the opportunity to step aside from life to rest and just 'be' in a welcoming, peaceful place. They can be a real treat, giving time for prayer, reflection and recovery. Jesus gave himself times of retreat and prayer away from others. Retreats are part of the Sabbath provision.
Some retreats are individually guided, taking place in the midst of daily life, or a parish quiet day.
There are many retreat houses throughout the country, including Foxhill near Frodsham, which has its own programme of retreats. Retreat houses have a rich tradition of hospitality and welcome.
Parish clergy are happy to advise about retreats. There is further information about retreats at the Retreat Association website.
- Saint Beuno’s Ignatian Spirituality Centre
- Gladstone's Library, Hawarden
- Oblate Retreat Centre
- Whalley Abbey
- Villa Santa Tecla, Assisi, Italy
- Launde Abbey
Ios Olivos Christian Art & Spirituality Retreat Centre is an alternative centre based in the Sierra Nevada national Park in Spain.
Here are some links to sites exploring contemporary spirituality:
Blogs and websites that may be worth following as resources for spirituality. Here is a sample:
http://jonnybaker.blogs.com/jonnybaker/grace/ - Jonny Baker’s blog is full of grace – and ideas for prayer and liturgy
Jan Richardson is a writer and artist who is based in Florida. She has three helpful blogs:
http://bequietforachange.blogspot.com/ - is designed for “personal transformation through meditation”, and is written by Kelvin Wright, Bishop of Dunedin, New Zealand.
http://www.renovarelife.org/ - The Renovaré approach to spiritual formation draws on six traditions or streams rooted in the life and teaching of Jesus Christ.
The Bible Society has developed an online resource for small group conversation on the Renovare approach to spiritual formation that draws on six traditions rooted in the life and teaching of Jesus
Cursillo is a method for supporting and encouraging spiritual confidence as we seek to live and work to God’s praise and glory. Small groups meet regularly for inspiration, sharing successes and problems in individual’s prayer, study and witness chestercursillo.org.uk