No definition of our spirituality can be complete, because the spirituality of All Saints’ is ever changing and developing as we grow in the love, understanding and service of God. Indeed our spirituality is not something set in stone that our worshipping community has to adhere to, but rather it is something that grows out of our common journey, a journey that involves many people with different backgrounds and approaches.
That said, our spirituality as it currently stands can broadly be considered under the following headings
1. Sacramental: Since its founding All Saints’ has existed within the sacramental or ‘catholic’ tradition of the Church of England. This tradition believes that material things are of importance as gateways to the spiritual. A sacrament is ‘an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace’. Thus we believe that everything that is ‘outward and visible’ has an inner and spiritual meaning. This is true for the bread and wine of the Holy Communion, it is true of Scripture, and it is true of each and every one of us.
The Spiritual Life is about discerning and working with these hidden elements of our life – there is more to life than meets the eye! This approach has traditionally been associated with the mystical and contemplative traditions within the Church.
2. Liturgical: The word liturgy refers to disciplined, structured worship – this however doesn’t mean that it is necessarily very formal and starchy. Our main Sunday Service is a lively, colourful, service of Holy Communion (the Mass), rich in symbol and ritual, and involving music and singing of many different kinds. In ou liturgy we seek to worship God with all our senses of sight, sound, smell, touch, as well as movement.
At All Saints’ we see our worship as training for living the Spiritual Life. As with any form of training, structure and discipline can been seen as positive and helpful. Worship and prayer change us, and it is in contemplating God through a discipline of regular and structured worship and private prayer that we grow and our lives are deepened in the knowledge and love of the Divine.
3. Thoughtful: God is always beyond our understanding and our knowledge of God is always partial, yet we have been given enquiring hearts and minds, and through our searching we get to know God better. The Church of England along with other Anglicans has always valued three main areas of enquiry:
b. The Tradition, practices and experiences of Christians through history.
c. The Reflections of Christians of our own time in the context of the world as we find it.
We seek to discern God through our personal and corporate reflections on these things. There are no questions that can’t be asked!
4. Transformative: We expect our faith to make a difference, not only in our lives but in the life of our society and world. We are called to be ‘transformed people’ so that we can in turn work alongside others of goodwill in the transformation of our society into one of Justice and Peace, and one where the integrity of Creation is upheld.