Anniversary Waymark event explores Way to Go
TWO YEARS after the launch of the Way of Life programme, a significant Waymark event, called Way to Go, took place in Truro Cathedral on Saturday 31 May, writes Primrose Peacock.
There was a varied programme, including different forms of worship, workshops covering different aspects of discipleship and prayer, together with ‘market stalls’ laden with materials and useful resources.
Fr George Guiver, Superior of the Community of the Resurrection, Mirfield was the keynote speaker. In his presentation, entitled ‘Feeling our way Forward’, he asked a series of rhetorical questions about Christian discipleship today, and then concentrated on three themes in the modern world – Community, Story and Fidelity.
He suggested that the sense of ‘community’ is all too often abandoned in favour of making decisions to affect one’s own life and then arranging it to suit ones self. He contrasted the ideals of the Way of Life and the attributes of monastic life in the Mirfield Community, with the new Brownie promise to “be true to myself and develop my beliefs”.
The latter, he said, may well reflect modern thought, but something is disappearing – the bonds of living together are shrinking and together with our “need to sit under things that are much bigger than us”. We are losing the sense of community in the church too and this should be addressed.
Fr George illustrated the concept of ‘Story’ using his school photograph from 1960. At that time, our society had still largely retained values from Victorian Society when the Bible and prayer were central. There was a shared story. “There were problems with it, but it worked,” he said. “Now, there is often no sharing, little group Bible reading or study in many Anglican churches, and people struggle to find a shared story.”
Turning to the subject of ‘Fidelity’, Fr George spoke about the value of prayer, how at one time during his early ministry he had stopped praying and was brought up with a jolt under very simple circumstances during a pastoral visit after a funeral.
“Today group prayer has all too often been replaced by Law, Rules and Contracts causing a loss of the community spirit. We are losing the sense of living together … of trusting people in the community to do their work to the best of their ability. We are not sure who we are or where we belong. Society is out of balance,” he said.
Fr George emphasised the imperative of setting out a specific time for daily prayer that coincided with similar devotions with other Christians everywhere.
Bringing the three subjects (Community, Story & Fidelity) together, Fr George pointed out how each of them are found in the Church, which is a community organisation based on the Gospel and faith in God. “A strong church is not based on money, numbers or power, but one that is spiritually strong,” he said. “We have become the nurse to a weak church, although admittedly this is patchy. Society needs us to be the spiritual powerhouse with Christ at its heart.
“What are the young people who come to join us looking for? Not buildings or liturgy, but the people – communities drinking deep at the wells of God’s Grace” he continued. “The routine of daily prayer is no longer with us. We need to develop routine practices that become second nature and engender a sense of trust with fellow Christians.”
Fr George drew attention to practices in practices in Jesus’ life – such as teaching, prayer, shared meals, travel, being apart, baptism and the Eucharist. “Do our parish practices match up to Jesus?” he asked. “Maybe there is no such thing as private prayer. When we say the Lord’s Prayer, for example, there is always someone else praying with us somewhere in the world. Every time we pray, we are bringing together heaven and earth.”
He concluded his lecture by outlining methods by which the local churches and the Diocese could make a ‘prayer covenant’ for daily prayer, not as individuals, but as something we do together – maybe at a set time?
“We have to ‘plot’ against ourselves to get things done,” he said. “Become a company of persons whose life touches something deep down in people. We cannot achieve this by trying simply harder. It is only through praying with each other, we begin to sense that God is doing it for us.”
The delegates then dispersed in order to participate in workshops dotted around the Cathedral, before and following a lunch break. The closing worship and commissioning was conducted enthusiastically by Bishop Chris and the Kea Church Worship Band with community singing and the introduction and commissioning of a group of Way Guides – people prepared to give practical and spiritual help to others.
This was followed by the presentation of some interesting examples of group work currently in progress and illustrating the four journeying ‘directions’ of the Way of Life.
The Revd Hilary Samson (St Enoder) who organises monthly evening Communion services for primarily teenagers represented the ‘Journey Up’.
The ‘Journey In’ focused on the reading of Psalm 139. 1-13
Canon Tony Ingleby (Liskeard) explained the ‘Journey With’. He engages in a programme of shared meals, discussion and prayers.
The ‘Journey Out’ had two representatives. Barbara Pollard from St. Austell showed how money obtained from the Bishop’s Den was being used for ‘Pamper Evenings’ involving manicure, make-up and time for ladies to share testimonies. Lay Canon David Smith described the evolution and success of the Giving Shop in Penzance, which since opening had received 5,000 gifts, helped hundreds of people and raised £2,000.