SPA in the City
15TH SEPTEMBER 2014 TO 20TH OCTOBER 2014
1.00pm TO 1.30pm - followed by a light lunch
St Stephen Walbrook, London EC4N 8BN
WHAT IS SPA?
SPA (Scripture, Prayer & Action) – a fellowship for spiritual refreshment and renewal, committed to times of silent corporate prayer issuing from a programme of bible study and leading to action, witness and service. It is the strong conviction of the SPA ministry that such a cell of men and women in all the churches can make a difference at a time of crisis, both for the church as well as for society. Open churches need open hearts – hearts open to the transforming power of the Holy Spirit at work in the heart of cities and communities everywhere.
BIBLE STUDY - with a difference!
‘The Holy Spirit inspired those who wrote the scriptures. The Holy Spirit is also in our hearts inspiring us and teaching us how to read and to listen’ to the words of scripture. (Thomas Keating: Introduction to Contemplative Christianity)
Bible study is not only a process of the mind – important though that is in uncovering the literal and contextual meaning of a particular passage. That approach is fine as far as it goes. The trouble is that it does not go far enough! Reading Holy Scripture should enlighten the mind, but it should also warm the heart and fire the will. When the Risen Christ taught the scriptures to the disciples after his resurrection, we read that ‘he opened their minds to the scriptures.’ (Luke 24:45). However, we also read how Jesus ‘warmed the hearts’ of those two disciples on the road to Emmaus and turned their lives around. (Luke24:32)
In preparation for times of silent contemplative prayer, whether in a group or alone, it is a good and helpful practice, after invoking the Holy Spirit, to read slowly a passage of scripture, - preferably aloud and even two or three times. In this way, quite frequently a phrase or even just a word seems to lift off the page and speak to us with a particular and immediate significance. In turn, this can carry us into
the time of silent prayer, recollected and resting in the presence of Christ.
SILENCE - A ‘SUPERHIGHWAY’ OF THE SPIRIT.
We live in an age when we are all bombarded by noise, words and information. Throughout the ages, but perhaps especially today and not least in our crowded and noisy cities, men and women have sought retreat into spaces and places of quiet - away from the ‘city’s crowded clangour’ - for what is sometimes called a ‘quiet time,’ when they can access the deeper well-springs of life, beneath the superficialities of busy and demanding lives. Undertaken as a daily commitment for twenty minutes or half-an- hour, such a practice of bible reading, leading to ‘centring prayer’ and contemplative prayer can and does transform lives. For days begun in this way, are no longer just ‘one damned thing after another’ but rather are overtaken by direction and purpose as part of God’s loving providence for us. Gregory the Great explained this whole Christian contemplative tradition as simply “resting in God,” or as the psalmist puts it: ‘Be still and know that I am God.’ (Psalm 46)
A SUPPORTIVE MINISTRY
The ministry of SPA is committed to enabling the many thousands of people working or shopping in the area to find an oasis and space for quiet, reflection and prayer. Furthermore, we try to ensure there is a time of prayer, praise, biblical reflection and silent corporate prayer along the lines explained above. This is open to people of all traditions who are seeking a deeper spirituality. SPA is also anxious to be available to clergy who might wish to explore or to teach this alternative tradition of experiencing God.
Bishop Michael Marshall
The Reverend Soon Han Choi
Audio recordings of the last 2 series of SPA held at St Stephen Walbrook:
"The Freedom of a Fulfilled Life" and
"Gods Successful Failures"
with Bishop Michael and
The Rev'd Soon Han are avaiable
To watch a Video about the work at the Church of the Heavenly Rest
with Bishop Michael and
The Rev'd Soon Han
To watch the SPA Service
recorded at the Church of the Heavenly Rest in
Video Interviews with Bishop Michael
To watch the interview on prayer:
To watch the interview on the church: