It may be that you feel your knowledge and understanding of your faith is complete. Or you may think that attending some of the study opportunities the parish provides is enough stimulate to your thinking, reading and praying.
Did you know that the Church provides a further route for developing your Christian character and practice? In recent years the Church of England has begun to use Spiritual Companionship (sometimes called Spiritual Direction) as a means of enabling those called to ministry – Readers, priests, Lay Workers – to examine and develop their personal relationship with God. That facility is now available to all members of the Church and is quite easily accessible. The scheme works by providing a person of their choice, properly trained and supported, to walk alongside you as you continue to explore your faith and witness. These Companions will walk alongside an individual as they grow in their faith and help them deal with the inevitable hurdles that life and faith throw up from time to time.
This is a very old tradition and was developed in the early monasteries to provide companionship and sometimes correction for individuals as they sought God’s direction in their life. In the Celtic Church, those who accompanied were called Soul Friends, which gives a good description of the Companion’s role.
As the provision of Spiritual Companions has increased, so more and more lay people, ordinary Christians like you, have used the opportunity to develop their discipleship and found it very beneficial. Leeds Diocese has recently reorganised provision of Companions throughout our five Episcopal areas and there are places available if you think this is something you could benefit from. There is a leaflet at the back of church with some further information and contact details.
The full Diocesan list of Companions is held by Father David and myself, as I am a Companion. If you wish to talk about whether or not you wish to explore this please contact either of us, and we will happily spend time with you talking through the process.