Friday, 16 December 2011

Advent Breathing Space at Seal 3: There and then, here and now

During these Breathing Space talks we’ve been thinking about that famous phrase from the beginning of John’s Gospel “The Word became flesh”. We’ve thought about what kind of Word Jesus might be. We’ve thought about flesh and what that means to us. So there’s not much left to think about, just that word in the middle – became.  But actually that is a word full of meaning for us too in this context.
The Word became flesh.

At a specific time, in a specific place, something happened, says the word “became”.  I became a priest when I was ordained. I became a mother when I gave birth. We become successful if we manage to achieve a goal. “Becoming” can be a sudden event. All in a moment things change. Or “becoming” can be a more gradual process. However long it takes, though, we can look back and see that things have changed and that there is no going back because of what has happened.

When that change is a dramatic one there is one reaction which is very common. It is common whether the event in question is tragic, like the shooting this week in Liege, or happy, like a lottery win. “Who would have thought that such a thing would happen here and now?” people tend to say. “In this place, at this moment, in our neighbourhood, to me, to us…who would have thought it?” There may be no real logic to this. Such events are essentially random – as likely to happen to us as to anyone - but somehow we don’t expect it. Unless we have delusions of grandeur, most of us tend to think of ourselves as basically ordinary, living ordinary lives with broadly predictable courses. Why should anything specially good or bad happen in our neighbourhood, here and now?

The Christmas story, with its assertion that “the Word became flesh” challenges that though. If God was going to become flesh, it had to happen in one particular place and one particular time. That’s the nature of flesh. Human beings, no matter how hard we try, can’t be in more than one place at a time.  We are here, where we are, or we are nowhere. Biblical scholars argue about the historical accuracy of the nativity stories in the Bible but one fact is indisputable. Jesus was born. He grew up in the Galilean town of Nazareth in the early years of the first Century. As our Gospel reading tonight told us, he was born in the reign of the Emperor Augustus, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. Luke pins it down in time and space very deliberately. There and then this thing happened. He knew it was true – whatever the details – because Luke knew those who had known Jesus, and he had seen the impact of his life on their lives. They had spread his message around the Mediterranean, at considerable personal cost. Many had been martyred. If Jesus hadn’t been real, none of that would have happened. What they had experienced in knowing him had convinced them that this was the work of God among them, that Jesus was God’s message, God’s word. Much to their surprise, I am sure, God had shown up in their world, in their lives, through Jesus, and it had changed everything.

In the Old Testament reading Moses is confronted by the same amazing fact, that God is where he is. He meets God in a burning bush out in the desert, while he is minding the sheep one day. Who would have thought it? Moses had long ago abandoned any idea that he could help his people, and had run away.  Whatever God might be doing to rescue his people – if anything – Moses was convinced he wasn’t part of the plan. But God had other ideas, and out there, in the middle of nowhere, God makes his appearance.

William Blake wrote, in his poem Jerusalem, “and did those feet in ancient time/ walk upon England’s pastures green?” He was referring to the old legend that Jesus had come with Joseph of Arimathea, who happened to be his uncle, on a trading visit to Glastonbury when he was just a boy. Legends like that reveal that, despite our scepticism and our disbelief, deep down we long to feel that God might just show up where we are. That legend isn’t terribly likely to be true – though I wouldn’t say that too loudly in Glastonbury – but ironically the story of the birth of Christ tells us that our yearning isn’t really so far-fetched. Turning up where we are, in the nitty-gritty reality of human lives, is precisely what God is about, whether that is in a scandal hit young mother in Bethlehem or in the muddle and the mess of our lives now. All we need to do is open our eyes and our hearts a bit wider so we can see him.

The Word – God’s own expression of himself – turned up and dwelt with us in human flesh in Bethlehem. That is the Christian Gospel, and it is truly good news, because if he came there and then to ordinary people in ordinary places then there is no reason why he can’t come here and now to us. Wherever and whenever we are, God is with us. In the silence tonight, let us think of the places in us where we might least expect to find him, and let us ask him to be born in us here and now, just as he was there and then.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Advent Breathing Space at Seal 2: Wondrous Flesh

During Advent at St Peter and St Paul's Church, Seal we hold three Thursday evening "Breathing Space" Holy Communion services at 8pm, in the candlelit Lady Chapel. They are very small, intimate services, with just a handful of us gathered together, but for those who come they provide some stillness amidst the hectic clamour of Christmas shopping, cooking and worrying. 
This is the talk I gave at the first Breathing Spaces last night - I will post the others in due course. The theme for these three services is "The Word became Flesh", and what that might mean for us. The  third of these services take place on Thurs 15th Dec.

The Word became Flesh: 2
Breathing Space for Advent 2011
Genesis 1.26-3, John 13.1-16

These three Breathing Space talks for Advent are focussing on the statement so familiar from the beginning of John’s Gospel “The Word became Flesh”. Last week we thought about what kind of Word Jesus was, how God spoke through him. This week we will think just a bit about what that Word became - flesh.

Flesh – we can’t live without it, quite literally, but we often have problems living with it too. It is subject to disease, injury and pain, and to the wear and tear of time. In the end it fails us completely; we all die. Sooner or later some vital part of it gives up, no matter how fit or careful we are.
Even its pleasures can lead us up the garden path into trouble . Food and drink are great in moderation, but too much of the wrong kind and we know there is a price to pay. Then there is that fraught, delightful, complicated business of sex. It’s a wonderful gift, but it can cause emotional mayhem, betrayal and hurt as well. No wonder people through the ages have struggled with their bodiliness, and sometimes wanted to be able rise above it to what seems like a much more serene, spiritual existence. No wonder negativity about the flesh is so persistent – popping up in many cultures and religions. Blame for that negativity in our culture is often laid at the Church’s door, and sometimes that is fair criticism, but there is really nothing in Christian faith itself to justify such an accusation. In fact, once we start looking, we find it is quite the opposite.

The book of Genesis, as we heard just now, begins with a great hymn of praise to all things material. God looks at his creation, this immense variety of physical stuff that he has brought into being and proclaims over and over, “it is good”. The crown of that creation is humankind in this account, men and women, made in God’s image - a “wondrous being” as Haydn describes it in his Creation oratorio. That’s us! Wondrous beings – in all our physicality.

So where did the negativity come from? The problem is that Christianity doesn’t just have Jewish roots. It was also shaped, more profoundly than it realised at times, by the Greek thought world in which it spread during its early centuries. Greek philosophy was very varied, but there was a strong strand in it which distrusted the physical world, which insisted that perfection was spiritual and that to reach it you had to leave the clay of your body behind. The Jewish idea of the goodness of matter was impossible to reconcile with this, and in some ways we have lived with the fallout of the cultural clash ever since.

The idea that flesh is inferior to spirit has often won the day, I suspect, because it chimes with our experience of ourselves, especially if the flesh we inhabit seems less than glorious to us – and that can often be the case. When all we can feel are our aches and pains, and the mirror shows us more wrinkles than we want to see it is hard to think of ourselves as one of those “wondrous beings” that Haydn celebrated. We can understand why people might have felt that it would good to leave their bodies behind. We can all get fed up of them sometimes.

But there was one big challenge to that negativity, one reason why it never completely triumphed in Christian faith. And that was the incarnation, the idea that in Jesus, the word and will and identity of God became this troublesome flesh. That God himself felt its pains and delights, and ultimately endured death, just as we all must. For those early Christians of Greek origin, this was very difficult to get their heads round. It was counter intuitive, faintly disgusting. But they couldn’t just ignore what was, after all, a foundational doctrine of their faith, and there it has been, a highly inconvenient but ultimately wonderful challenge, ever since. The Word was made Flesh, says John. We don’t quite know what John, of his fellow early Christians, understood by that, but it is clear that they believed it. God, the mighty God, was one of us, like us, suffering and delighting, living and dying. And if you believe that, then you have to believe that flesh is blessed not cursed, loved not hated. If incarnation was good enough for God surely we should be enjoying it and treasuring it too, recognising flesh for the gift it is.

That doesn’t just affect how we think about ourselves, but how we think about others too. If our flesh matters, then so does everyone else’s, including those whose physical existence is painful, those whose bodies are starving, or cold or crying out for loving touch. In our Gospel reading we heard of Jesus washing his disciple’s feet. I am very glad that when he showed us what love and service look like he didn’t just choose to say a prayer or demonstrate a particularly sensitive counselling technique. Good though those things are, washing feet was an infinitely better choice. You can’t wash feet from a distance. You can’t wash feet in an ethereal, spiritual way. You’ve got to get down on the ground and take them in your hands and touch them.

The Word became flesh, and thank God for that. God became a “wondrous being” to remind us that every other being – even me, even you - is wondrous too.

Friday, 2 December 2011

The Word became Flesh: Advent Breathing Space at Seal: 1

During Advent at St Peter and St Paul's Church, Seal we hold three Thursday evening "Breathing Space" Holy Communion services at 8pm, in the candlelit Lady Chapel. They are very small, intimate services, with just a handful of us gathered together, but for those who come they provide some stillness amidst the hectic clamour of Christmas shopping, cooking and worrying. 
This is the talk I gave at the first Breathing Spaces last night - I will post the others in due course. The theme for these three services is "The Word became Flesh", and what that might mean for us. The second and third of these services take place on Thurs 8th and 15th Dec.

If you come across any other online resources for Advent which you think people might like to read, please let me know and I will post them, or add a link to them here.

Breathing Space 1:  Hebrews1.1-4, John 1.1-17

“In the beginning was the Word,” says John’s Gospel. There are no shepherds, wise men or angels at the start of his account of the life of Christ. It is just straight in with the theology – beautiful theology, it’s true, but harder work than stories of mangers and starlit journeys.
But there is a big clue in John’s opening line to help us understand what he is telling us, because we’ve heard something very like this before; back in the book of Genesis, in fact, where it all began. “In the beginning” was how that story started too, with the creation of the world and everything in it. All it took then were some words. “Let there be light…”, said God, “and there was light”. 

People who study words and the way we use them call this a “performative utterance”, words which make something happen. A marriage vow is a performative utterance. It’s saying the words “ I, N, take you, N, to be my husband, to have and to hold, for better for worse” which actually makes you married. In English law it’s not signing the registers which does this, it is saying the words. Once you have said the words, everything is different.

God’s performative utterance in creation “Let there be…” brings into existence the sun and moon, the land and sea, the elephant and the earwig, and everything else, including us according to the book of Genesis. When John  echoes these words, “in the beginning” he is trying to tell us that God is about to speak again, to utter a new Word in the person of Jesus who will bring about a new creation, a new kingdom, a new beginning for anyone who is prepared to let his life take root in them.

But what kind of word is Jesus? Words are expressions of ourselves, our wishes, our opinions, our beliefs. The kind of words you can write on a page can be precise and unambiguous. But a Word made flesh – a person - is a very different thing. There’s no way you can fully describe another human being. You have to meet them to know them, and in any case, people are different at different ages and in different situations, different with different people.

You can understand a word on a page. You can pin down what it is saying, but you can’t do that with a person, a Word made Flesh. That’s why the lawyers around Jesus were so frustrated by him. They loved words, and they loved to be precise with them. Jesus baffled them. What was he saying? What did he mean? What might God be saying through him? What they didn’t realise was if you really wanted to hear this Word, God’s Living Word, you had to get to know him. It was the relationships he built with all sorts of people which really spoke the loudest about who he was. In meeting him they discovered they were loved and precious – they became  a new creation because of him.

God’s word changes the world, not by giving us a new rule to keep or a new set of beliefs to subscribe to – dead words on a page - but by inviting us into a new relationship with him. He speaks to us in a Son, says the letter to the Hebrews, a Son who comes to show us that we are all God’s children, part of his family. Through his life, his death and his resurrection Jesus shows us what that means. We are ultimately safe in God’s hands. God does not give up on us because, like the best of loving parents, he just can’t. It is impossible, unthinkable for him. Because of that we can be sure that we  have an enduring place in his family, room to be ourselves, to grow and change, to get it wrong and put it right, to become that new creation he wants us to be.

In the next two Breathing Spaces we’ll be exploring a bit further what it means to call Jesus the Word made flesh, but for tonight I’d like to leave you thinking about that family of love into which we are called through Christ. Are you confident of your place there, or do you hang back, peering through the windows and wondering if it really means you? Come on in, says God, through his Living Word – it’s a whole new creation and it is for you.

Advent Links

Advent has begun
Here are some resources which might help you to stop, think and pray as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ,
Here is Christian Aid's online Advent Calendar

Christian Aid also has four reflections for the Sundays of Advent to download.

Paperless Christmas Nine short videos to make you think. From Bible Reading Fellowship.

Advent ideas for families from Domestic Church

Daily videos to make you think from Changing Worship

Jesse Tree resources to colour and decorate in the run up to Christmas

Ready, Steady, Slow - Advent reflections from the Church of England

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Ursula King, "The Universe as Epiphany" 6th Dec

Silence in the City invite us to their next talk on Tuesday, 6th December at 7pm in Westminster Cathedral Hall (doors open/refreshments at 6.30).  Dr Ursula King is the speaker and the title is: “The Universe as Epiphany: Teilhard de Chardin’s discovery of the heart of God in all creation.”

Dr. King is Professor Emerita of Theology and Religious Studies at Bristol University and a vice president of the World Congress of Faiths. Her specific areas of expertise are in the life and work of the French Jesuit priest and paleontologist, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, and in feminist theology.
She has published many books including Christian Mystics: Their Lives and Legacies throughout the Ages; Spirit of Fire: The Life and Vision of Teilhard de Chardin; Religion and Gender; and The Search for Spirituality: Our Global Quest for a Spiritual Life.

Dr. King is a renowned speaker and she lectures at conferences and universities around the world.

To book a ticket you can go to the website: and follow the link How to Book on the home page. You can also send a cheque, writing “Ursula King” on the back, made out to Silence in the City and a stamped addressed envelope to: Silence in the City, 77 Tower Bridge Road, London SE1 4TW. We suggest a donation of £10.

This is a valuable chance to hear about this great modern mystic who has been largely overlooked for too long.

An online retreat with Cynthia Bourgeault

Rev. Dr. Cynthia Bourgeault will be leading a month-long Centering Prayer Online Course/Retreat hosted by Spirituality and Practice, starting this November 7, 2011. The course costs $49.95.

Cynthia welcomes participation by those seeking instruction and new to Centering Prayer, but also ensures an opportunity for more experienced meditators to deepen their practice through the introduction of new reference points and material.

The Centering Prayer Online Retreat consists of the following elements:
Emails on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for one month in which Cynthia Bourgeault will discuss what Centering Prayer is and what it is not, the value of intention, the four guidelines to the practice, and the fruits of the practice.
Audio recordings from Cynthia's workshops.
A guided Centering Prayer meditation with step-by-step instructions.
One-hour teleconference with Cynthia, which will also be recorded.
Online Practice Circle for community sharing and Q&A with Cynthia.
Whether you are new to Centering Prayer or an experienced practitioner, this Online Retreat and Practice Circle is bound to enrich your practice. To register, click on the "Subscribe to E-Course" button below.

One Month, November 7 - December 2, 2011 - $49.95

To register, please click on this link:
(full link is, but this may be too long to work!)

Sunday, 30 October 2011

"Quiet Space" for Advent, St Barnabus, Joydens Wood

Saturday 26 November 2011 from 2.00pm to 5.00pm
Space to think, to listen, to reflect, to create, to read, to play, to paint, or simply to be still.

at St Barnabas Church, Tile Kiln Lane, Joydens Wood, Bexley, Kent DA5 2BB
To register, contact the Vicar, Reverend Ren Harding at or telephone the Vicarage on 01322 528923

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Advent Services

What is your church doing for Advent? Are there any special reflective opportunities happening amidst the hustle and bustle? Let me know, and I will give them some publicity here. For example...

5pm on Advent Sunday, 27th November 2011

'O come, O come Emmanuel' - a service of readings, hymns, prayers and silence, reflecting on the Great 'O' Antiphons and expressing the hope and expectancy which marks the Advent season.

Thursday, 20 October 2011


Southwark Diocese, which is just over the "border" from us, produces a regular Spirituality newsletter with interesting thoughts and details of what's going on in the Diocese. These events may be of interest to those in Rochester too, so you might like to bookmark the page.

Spirituality newsletter
Southwark's Prayer and Spirituality page

Monday, 17 October 2011

Greetings cards for festivals of other religions.

Here's an idea from Margaret Dunn - thank you, Margaret.
Greetings cards for festivals of other religions.  These are welcomed by our friends and neighbours and some cards could be made available in churches for worshippers to take free.  There's Divali soon for Sikhs and Hindus. It needs only a picture of an aladdin's lamp or a candle, but there are many designs to download from Activity Village and elsewhere.  A gift of a candle is also welcome.  Margaret Dunn
There is a calendar to help you find the dates of the various faiths' festival here:

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

in Luddesdowne

You are invited to a day of quiet reflection
which will focus on different approaches
to praying with the Bible

Saturday, 22nd October 2011

10am for 10.30 until 4pm
Cost £10

Please bring a packed lunch – coffee and tea will be provided
For further information and to book a place please contact
Ann Whiteside on 01474 814453

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Franciscan Vigil for Peace

On Saturday 17th September at 730pm St Luke the Evangelist Gillingham are holding a Franciscan Vigil for Peace, being a time of silent meditation and spoken prayer in the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi.  This service will probably last about an hour, and people are free to come and go as they please.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Network Day - Nov 2nd

The autumn Network Day will be at St Andrew’s Edenbridge on Wednesday the 2nd of November.  Bishop Brian will help us reflect on The Desert Spirituality.

The day starts as usual with coffee at 10, for a 10.30 start, and will finish at 2.30 pm. Bring your own picnic, drinks will be provided. Everybody is welcome!

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Julian Meetings

Julian Meetings, an organisation which encourages contemplative prayer inspired by the teachings of Julian of Norwich, a fourteenth century mystic, has several groups in Kent. You can find out where they meet on their website here.

Here is some more information, taken from the website.

"The Julian Meetings:
A Julian Meeting is usually 6 -15 people of various denominations, both lay people and clergy. They meet regularly in a house, church or chapel. A brief reading, or a piece of music, leads into about 30 minutes of silent contemplative prayer. This may be followed by a time for tea or coffee and conversation.
Julian Meetings vary and are free to do things in their own way. Our main guidelines are that a meeting is based on contemplative prayer in the Christian tradition and welcomes people of all denominations. We teach no specific method of meditation. We encourage people to find what is right for them; to discover how they can integrate contemplation into their daily prayer life and how personal and group contemplative prayer can enrich each other.
Those who attend Julian Meetings usually take a full part in the life of their own church, but some have no formal church links. Local and regional quiet days or retreats, and an annual national retreat, enable wider sharing between people from several Meetings."
  • foster the teaching and practice of contemplative prayer in the Christian tradition.
  • encourage people to practise contemplative prayer in their daily lives, and to explore ways of doing this which are appropriate for them.
  • support the individual ecumenical Julian Meetings - groups whose members meet regularly to practise Christian contemplative prayer together.

Monday, 23 May 2011

God in all things: Spirituality taster course

God in all things

A ‘Taster’ Course in Spirituality

6, 13, 27 June, 4 July 2011 7.15 - 9.15pm
(coffee/tea available from 7pm)

St John’s Centre, Wrotham Road,
Meopham DA13 0AA
Here is an invitation to explore ways of listening and responding to the presence of God in our everyday lives. The evenings will explore different ways of praying, using some well-tried spiritual practices, and include resource material. There will be opportunity for meditation, quiet reflection, learning, sharing and worship - sometimes assisted by the use of music, art and poetry; and for those who wish individual discussion with a group facilitator will be available.
Open to anyone who thinks of themself as searching for God in any way, and introducing some of the themes of Christian spirituality.

Week 1 (6 June) ‘God around us’
Listening to God – a variety of approaches
Week 2 (13 June) ‘God in everyday
Listening to God in the everyday – with insights from the Ignatian way
Week 3 (27 June) ‘God in darkness’
Listening to God – the darker experiences of our lives
Week 4 (4 July) ‘God in our onward journey’
Listening to God – the call of the Spirit

Cost? £7.50 per session, or £25 for series of 4*

What next? Send your registration form and cheque to the Diocesan Office (address on form), put the dates in your diary, and we will look forward to seeing you there!
* Concessions for unwaged and students – please speak to Suzanne Carlsson.
Please return this form by 16 May 2011 to:
The Training Department, Diocesan Office, St Nicholas Church, Boley Hill, Rochester ME1 1SL

The course is open to all and is facilitated by members of the Diocesan Spirituality Network.

Any enquiries (this course) to:
Paul Stevens
116 Burnt Oak Lane
DA15 9BN
0208 300 2524

Any enquiries (Spirituality Network) to:
Susanne Carlsson
Coordinator of Spirituality
Eden Hall
Stick Hill
01342 850388

Friday, 20 May 2011

Taize Worship at Coxheath

Holy Trinity Church, Coxheath

Saturday 4th June

On Saturday morning 4th June there will be a time of Taizé worship in Holy Trinity Church, Coxheath. If you have not experienced this type of worship do come along; it is a beautiful time of quiet reflection and prayer with gentle music and the opportunity to light a candle.

Heath Road, Coxheath, Maidstone ME17 4BG

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Check out the Archdeaconry pages

Following a bit of advertising, details of regular services and events in parishes around the Diocese are starting to come in. I am adding these to the Archdeaconry pages - see links to the right headed "What's on in your area"- so you should be able to find something happening near where you live. For example, if you like Taize worship, why not try Rochester Cathedral on the first Sunday evening of each month, or you can join the "listening to God" sessions at Christ Church Orpington on the first Tuesday evening of the month. Seal - my church - holds a "Breathing Space" contemplative Communion on the third Sunday evening of the month, and St Lawrence Bidborough has a regular prayer corner available with a special focus for prayer for people who drop in during the day.

Does your church do something you'd like to let others know about?
If so, email the details to me, Anne Le Bas and I will post it on your Archdeaconry page. (Please check it is ok to do this with your parish priest, or whoever leads the service first, though!)

If you have a one-off service or event I will include that as a blog post on this page.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Myers Briggs introduction Workshop - places still available!

There are still places for the Myers Briggs introductory workshop on July 2nd - see here for details

Sign up soon if you'd like to go!

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

40 Tracks for Lent

I've been sent a link to an intriguing "Lent project" by Sunil Chandy, a musician who has set himself the discipline of composing a piece of music for every day in Lent this year, exploring the wilderness experience and its place in our spiritual journey. His thoughts about the compositions and the way they spring from the his theme are as fascinating as the music itself. It would be well worth hanging onto the link for next year (or using at some other point in the year - why save reflection for Lent?)
Thanks for permission to share this, Sunil.

It is also linked to on the Engage Worship site, which is full of creative worship and prayer ideas.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Daily Meditations from Richard Rohr

If you haven't discovered Richard Rohr yet, you might like to investigate the website of the Center for Action and Contemplation here . There are also daily meditations you can access or download from the site.
Here is an extract from his biography on the website "Fr. Richard Rohr is a Franciscan priest of the New Mexico Province. He founded the New Jerusalem Community in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1971, and the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1986, where he presently serves as Founding Director.
He now lives in a hermitage behind his Franciscan community in Albuquerque, and divides his time between local work and preaching and teaching on all continents.

He considers the proclamation of the Gospel to be his primary call, and uses many different platforms to communicate the message. Themes he addresses in service of the Gospel include Scripture as liberation, the integration of action and contemplation, community building, peace and justice issues, male spirituality, the Enneagram, and eco-spirituality."

Monday, 28 March 2011

Cynthia Bourgeault at Silence in the City

Dr Cynthia Bourgeault will be speaking at Westminster Cathedral Hall on Tuesday 7th June 6.30 - 9.00pm and her theme will be "Encountering the Wisdom Jesus" and on Wednesday 8th June from 10am - 4.00pm "Deepening the Encounter with the Wisdom Jesus." Anyone wishing further information regarding the event, cost and availability, and about Cynthia Bourgeault herself, will find this on the following website

Myers Briggs introduction Workshop

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator MBTI Introduction Workshop
For those working with their Spiritual Journey

Saturday 2nd July 2011

11.00 am - 4.00 pm Coffee and tea provided – please bring your own lunch
To be held at Holy Trinity Church Lamorbey 1 Hurst Rd Sidcup Kent DA15 9AE.
Led by Sue Wilson (Registered MBTI practitioner) Fee:- £40 payable in advance. For details please contact Lynne Buckley Pastoral Assistant at Holy Trinity Lamorbey

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a self-report questionnaire, based on Carl Gustav Jung’s Psychological Types theory of individuation, developed by a mother and daughter, Katharine Briggs and Isabel Myers. The MBTI helps people to: understand self and others, appreciate differences in self and others, look at potential areas for growth and become more effective.

Sue Wilson has been a registered MBTI practitioner for the past 15 years. She first started using it when she was a trainer at the BBC. The one day Introduction to MBTI workshop is based on exploring the different aspects of our personalities in a positive way. Before the workshop, each participant will receive a questionnaire and an answer sheet to fill in. There are no right or wrong answers – just what instinctively comes to mind. It takes about 30 minutes. The answer sheets will show what preferences have been reported. It is NOT a test. Each questionnaire is the property of the person who filled it in.
The workshop looks at how and why the MBTI came into being, the different ways we prefer to re- energise ourselves, take in information and then make decisions and finally looks at the way it can be another tool for us on our Spiritual Journey. It is by understanding our strengths and growing points and how it feels to stand in someone else’s shoes that we are able to develop and therefore know God more deeply.
If any participant has completed the MBTI questionnaire before, it is still very profitable to do it again as our personalities are not static. Handouts are included for future reference - the MBTI is a life long helper.

At foot speed

"Slow down, you move too fast; you gotta make the morning last..." sang Simon and Garfunkel in the 1960's. Life seems to have got even faster since then, with instant communication, high speed travel and fast food. In this article , "At Foot Speed" from the US United Church of Christ , Felix Carrion urges us to move "at foot speed. " It reminds me of the old Bedouin saying that the soul can't travel faster than a camel can walk. (I don't know how fast that is, but I'm sure it's a lot slower than the pace at which many people hurtle around the world today!) How about taking some time today to walk "at foot speed" - after all, Jesus almost never moved faster than this (except for the occasional boat or donkey ride) and he seemed to get plenty of effective work done... And here's another article, which warns us of what we might miss if we're too intent on getting where we going to notice what's around us on the way...

Monday, 21 March 2011

Art and Christian Spirituality

Rochester Spirituality Network invites you to a talk and practical workshop about:

Art and Christian Spirituality
Saturday 4 June 2011
Christ Church, Orpington, 10am - 1pm

Poet Sarah Fordham will share how she has experienced art and spirituality as ‘companions along the way’* of her own life. The talk will be followed by a practical poetry and art workshop with Sarah and artist Sue Orange.Those who would like to are welcome to bring a picnic lunch to share after the workshop

Bookings: 01634 560000 email:

Sarah Fordham has for many years pursued her interest in contemplative art - through her own creative writing, her studies and facilitating others to express themselves with words. She has worked with a wide variety of people from prisons and rehabs, to cathedrals and schools.