January Newsletter 2019

Published by Steve Clarke on Sun, 6 Jan 2019 17:08

Welcome to this months newsletter. You can download the October edition by clicking here.

In this months edition you can find:

  • The vicar's monthly column.
  • This months diary.
  • Prayer suggestions
  • Notices for this month
  • News from the PCC- including details the renewal of our Electoral Roll.

Here is Steve's 'Vicar Column' for this month:

The beginning for the New Year is often about new beginnings or recalibrating our lives. Deep in the ancient traditions of the church are spiritual practices that we can access that can help us take care of our soul.

The Examen is a really easy and useful spiritual practice that helps us review where we have been and look ahead, trusting that God is with us, and His desire is always to guide, lead and equip us for every good work. 

The ‘Examen’ was pioneered by Ignatius of Loyola. It is a way of listening to our own lives and where God seems close or distant. The purpose of such reflection is to discover where we are most available to God. Using our imagination the expectation is that we would allow God to speak through our feelings and experiences.

As a daily practice Ignatius encouraged disciples of Jesus to ask two simple questions:

1. What opportunities or experiences of God’s grace and love have I missed today?

2. How have I experienced God’s grace and presence today?

They are designed to encourage a greater awareness of God’s presence in daily life.

Below are some questions to help form in your mind the highlights and challenges of the past year in a way that will help form a sense of hope, dreams and vision for the New Year.

Maybe at some point this week you can find some space and take time to be silent and still, Use your imagination to scan through your year, bringing to mind different highlights. Maybe have your diary or calendar close by, or try looking through the photos on your phone. Maybe take a look through your social media posts to jog your memory of the last year.  Don’t worry about getting everything to the front of your mind (it might get a bit crowded). Just allow what comes to your mind to linger for a moment and then move on through the year. If it helps take each season one at a time.

Here are some questions to help shape your thoughts:

  • Where was I drawn to God? 

In fears, in joy, in pain, in creativity?

In prayer, in liturgy, scripture, creation?

In work, leisure?

In family, friend, colleague, church community, neighbour?

  • Did I feel myself being nudged or prompted in any particular way?
  • Out of all the year’s experiences, is there one experience that I feel most grateful for?
  • What insight, revelation, grace do I receive from the experiences of the last year? 

And finally…

Having reviewed the last year- what gift do I hold for this new year? 

Or to put it another way: 

What would I like to bring into the New Year?

The Examen is a great form of meditation you can use at any season of life, at the end of a week or even the end of the day before bed or finishing the days tasks. On the welcome desk throughout January you will find some Examen bookmarks to take home and use as part of your prayer time if you’ve found this helpful.

Happy New Year!

Revd Steve Clarke

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