A NOTE FROM MARION THOMAS
Opportunities for prayer and reflection
As I write, it’s November and fireworks are exploding just outside my window. It’s a perfect time for both looking back and looking forwards at some of the opportunities for prayer and reflection in the Synod. Only some, of course, because I’m sure that many of you will be doing things in your local churches and areas that I know nothing about. It would be lovely to hear about any prayer events that have been going on, so please do get in touch to let me know what your church has been doing.
I am pleased to report that the events which I have been involved in organising this year have been a success. There have been three pilgrimage walks with the title “Walking the Way Together”. The first, at Sutton Park on 11th May, was well attended and clearly appreciated. People who came along were given a booklet with the route and prayer suggestions, and did the walk in their own time, stopping at various points along the way. There were two options, a short walk suitable for all and a longer one for more serious walkers. It was a lovely day and a fruitful time was had by all.
The next event, at the Miners’ Welfare Park in Bedworth on 8th June, followed a similar pattern. I wish the same could be said for the weather! Sadly it was a wet and miserable day, but a few hardy souls came along and walked the routes. My thanks and admiration to all who turned out for that one. It certainly shows that we in the West Midlands Synod take our praying seriously. And the local church have kept the resources for people to use on another more suitable occasion.
At the final venue, Rodborough Tabernacle on 13th July, the format was rather different as the walk was on public roads. A group of walkers led by one of the church members spent a reflective afternoon on Rodborough and Minchinhampton Commons. And rather than a second shorter walk, there were prayer stations in and around the Tabernacle for those who wanted a less active time.
My thanks to everyone who worked so hard to make these events a success - particularly to Stuart Scott who walked all the routes beforehand, and did all the necessary work to make sure that we complied with permissions and safety regulations. Stuart and I have already begun work on another three events next year in the remaining three Areas of the Synod. We will be in the lovely Cotswolds at Broadway on 16th May, with two further venues planned at Keele University and somewhere in Shropshire later in the year. More details will be available soon, so watch this space!
I also want to tell you briefly about a gathering for people from throughout the URC who want to develop their spiritual lives and learn more about contemplative forms of prayer. This will be held at Westminster College, Cambridge from 28th February to 1st March next year, and will be facilitated by the URC spirituality steering group (of which I am one) with input from Susan Durber and Terry Hinks, two of our very gifted URC ministers. The cost is £160 for the weekend, and if you would like further details and a booking form, or indeed if I can be of support to you in any way in your prayer life, please get in touch with me - my contact details are below.
Synod Spirituality Consultant