Me, a Mystic! Tell that to my vicar …

Saturday 9 November saw the various Faith & Lifegroups from around the Dioceses of Newcastle and Durham come together for a joint day of study, reflection and worship. The day was led by Cathy Rowling, Principal of Lindisfarne, who writes:

This day is an integral part of the course, providing as it does the opportunity to share a broader range of views and experiences, perspectives and understandings than is possible in the smaller, local groups that meet week by week. It was also good to be able to worship together as a group of almost 50.

One of the key components of the day was an exploration of different approaches to spirituality, drawing upon the work of Corinne Ware, who has devised a framework that aims to help people to identify and understand their life as a spiritual being.

Although we were careful not to pigeon-hole ourselves – (or others!) many of those present found it useful to identify particular strengths, leanings or predilections in their approach to God/faith/belonging to the Body of Christ.  The image here shows the different categories that we used. Where do you think you would be?

The questionnaire that guided us through this exercise doesn’t claim to be a totally comprehensive tool, but it does give an insight into why people prefer, or are attracted to, some styles of worship, approaches to Bible study, means of praying, and ways of ordering their own lives and the life of the Church, than others. It can also help us to understand why the person on the Church committee who always seems to come at things from an angle that we find alien to our own way of thinking does so. The afternoon took the form of four workshops based on these ‘types’ – we are very grateful to the workshop leaders, and especially to Canon Steven Harvey from the Cathedral who also shared in leading the Eucharist.

The day was described variously as being: ‘very useful’, ‘inspiring’, ‘energising’ and ‘an oasis’. Here are a few specific but anonymous comments from some of those who took part: ‘It was spiritually uplifting and great to learn together’; ‘I learnt a lot about myself and others; ‘It was a very useful day – I particularly enjoyed the section on Lectio Divina – it will help me to understand the scriptures’; ‘a day of self-knowledge achieved through love’ and (my favourite) ‘Me, a mystic! Tell that to my vicar.’

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