There is more to life than meets the eye!
No definition of
spirituality can be complete. 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:
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:
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, for the water of Baptism: 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!
The word liturgy refers to disciplined, structured worship – this however doesn’t mean that it is 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 our 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. 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.
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!
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. We are called to work for Justice and Peace; for a world where the integrity of Creation is upheld.
Walking a labyrinth - a way to pray
All Saints Church is the new home of the 'Offa House' labyrinth.
This is a large canvas labyrinth, suitable for laying down on a very large, clean, flat surface indoors. Its design is based on that found in the Cathedral of Ravenna, Italy.
The labyrinth welcomes people of all ages. Several people can walk
around its pathway at the same time, providing they are courteous.
To borrow the Offa House labyrinth
All Saints parish office. It
comes with various resources to enable a group to make the most of
Walking a labyrinth as a way of praying
This is something that Christians have been doing for centuries. A labyrinth isn't a maze. When you walk a labyrinth you simply follow the path which always takes you to the centre.
maze has deliberate tricks in it. False
trails. Dead ends. This is a labyrinth because there is only one
path. A long and complicated one, but
only one.’ (from 'The Cleaner of Chartres' by Sally Vickers)
The standard way of walking a labyrinth is to walk very slowly to the centre, pause there, then slowly retrace your steps back out again.
Why walk a labyrinth..?
What is crucial to the labyrinth experience is the length and
tortuous nature of the pathway: the journey along it can be surprisingly
disorienting. The point of this,
suggests Di Williams is that ‘by creating
the feeling of not knowing where it will go next, it allows the mind to cease
racing ahead. It helps the body to
settle to taking one step at a time, trusting the path to reveal itself without
need for thought.’
Styles of labyrinth
There are many different styles of labyrinth that have emerged over many centuries. For example:
Classical Chartres Baltic Roman