This is my last update for you as your Synod Spirituality Consultant. My term of office ended in March, and I do not feel able to commit to another three years. However, you are not completely rid of me yet!
You will be aware that when I last reported there had been “Walking the Way Together” pilgrimage walks in three of the six Areas of our Synod, with another three planned for 2020. We now find ourselves in very different times. As I write the lockdown is still in place and the two events planned for May and June have regrettably been cancelled. We still have a provisional date in place for the autumn - Saturday 19th September at Church Stretton - and I will keep you posted as the situation develops. And although I don’t have any official duties any more I will be contributing to the planning of the day, and to reorganising the remaining two (hopefully next year) alongside Stuart Scott.
Life has changed beyond recognition in the last few months, and I have been reflecting on what that has to say to us about silence and contemplation. We have all to a certain extent been “on retreat” but I doubt that for most of us it has been a peaceful and spiritual time. We may have found ourselves with no quiet spaces in the day because those of our families who would usually have been elsewhere have been at home. Or we may live alone and have found ourselves with too much quiet on our hands but little peace of mind. It has been a time of ill health or loss for many, and of anxiety for all. My hope and prayer is that you will have found God alongside you in it all, and that you will have been sustained by that sense of presence.
You may remember that I told you about a gathering at Westminster College for people from throughout the URC wishing to develop their spiritual lives. This was one event which did take place, as it was held before the lockdown, and it was a fruitful and rewarding weekend. Our speakers Susan Durber and Terry Hinks each brought something special to the gathering, and I am sure that those of us who were there found resources which have sustained us through the subsequent difficult times. The steering group is looking at future possibilities, so watch this space.
Although nobody has yet been appointed to fill the Spirituality Consultant post there are one or two ideas in the pipeline for future events. A Quiet Day to be facilitated by Jan Scott with input on Mindfulness, which was planned for June, has had to be cancelled, but consideration is being given to offering something online. And I am taking advantage of this less busy time to do some work on a “Walking the Way Together” booklet with suggestions for prayer as you walk around your local area. Prayer, after all, can happen anywhere, and is needed now more than ever. So rest assured that support is still there for you, and I wish you every blessing as you continue your spiritual journey.