StillPoint

Monday, 26 October, 2009

StillPoint, a collection of resources and spaces for those attracted to the contemplative tradition, is a new fresh expression in Oxford. Ian Adams and Matt Rees explain.

StillPoint - logoStillPoint began out of our work as Ordained Pioneers and the hOME and mayBE fresh expressions of church communities in Oxford. We became aware that there were many 'on the edge' of our work who were interested in spirituality but not religion, who would not look to the church for what they are seeking. We had become increasingly convinced that there were great resources and practices that could nurture faith coming from the contemplative tradition. One of the great opportunities for today is that ancient contemplative approaches to faith find resonance in our current post-religious context. We therefore wanted to explore how we could enable people to encounter such treasures through some form of resource centre offering ways into the practise of Christian spirituality. This could open up a depth of faith for Christians living in the 21st century, and could assist spiritual seekers to encounter the Christian contemplative tradition. This would be offered as a gift, as a way in, an accessible approach to Christian contemplative spirituality.

StillPoint - exhibtionIn a place like Oxford, the sense of being 'spiritual and not religious' is huge, so connecting with such people is important. We also wanted to do it for ourselves, so that we could be living a depth of the faith informed by such practices. The focus then has to be assisting people on their particular spiritual journey, a key area for the church to get involved in if it is serious about mission in the twenty first century.

A challenge for the church is to shift an understanding of the faith from 'something you do' like going to church, to a sense of Christianity defining 'a new way of being', enabling you to become more whole, more self aware, more human and to make a difference in the world. This is a call to discipleship, and perhaps we have often dumbed down on what it means to be a Christian disciple. It is important to discover and practice a spirituality that brings love, transformation and peace.

StillPoint - launchSo we began StillPoint, offering a mix of resources and possibilities. We have run a series of meditation workshops drawing on the Christian tradition. We have invited some long-experienced practitioners of the Christian contemplative tradition to run workshops and offer their insights. We have also put on an Art Exhibition on a theme, again aimed at enabling people to quest. It is very important to us that StillPoint is focused on the experiential. We want StillPoint to be a centre of practice rather than another study centre.

StillPoint - cinemaWe have deliberately from the beginning not used church spaces, but used a cinema and a local arts café as public space, to seek the spiritual in the ordinary so that it can be trusted space for spiritual seekers. We have created a website, again aimed at those who might define themselves as spiritual and not religious.

Our hope is that StillPoint increasingly supports spiritual seekers to explore the Christian faith and for Christians to increasingly understand and grow into the depth of their faith, fit for the twenty-first century. It is still early days, but it is already exciting to see what has happened and the potential for it to grow and make an increasing impact where we are.