F&F NYC - Urban Contemplative Spiritual Direction Pilgrimage - An Anglo-Catholic Pentecostal Ref
F&F NYC - Urban Contemplative Spiritual Direction Pilgrimage - An Anglo-Catholic Pentecostal Reflection
The purpose of this paper is to explore the practice of contemplation in Spiritual Direction in Urban Prayer locations through Interdenominational Spiritual Practices. This assignment will build on the author’s previous writing on the Song of Songs entitled “Introduction to the Song of Songs - An Anglo-Catholic Pentecostal Reflection” and will draw on the experiences of a pilot Urban Pilgrimage in New York City from three different prayer locations.
These locations included the Chapel at the Pauline Catholic Book Store, the Anglican Church and Chapel in the Transfiguration Church and the Pentecostal practice of open prayer, discipleship and meditation in a coffee shops in our final selected location, the Ace Hotel. The final location was chosen due to its ambience, environment and lighting which created a similar worshipping environment to a Pentecostal worshiping community. The author will reflect on these experiences, the theory from the core textbook and the author’s selected faith traditions and texts.
The Catholic text will be focused on the walking practice of pilgrimages including “the Way of a Pilgrim and the Pilgrim Continues His Way” translated by Helen Bacovcin and the “Philokalia, the Complete Text, compiled by St Nikodimos of the Holy Mountain and Saint Makarios of Corinth”. The Anglican text is the selected core text the “Spiritual Direction, Spiritual Companion: Guide to Tending the Soul” by Tilden Edwards and the “Heaven on Earth: A Call to Community in the Book of Revelation” by Michael Battle. Finally, the Pentecostal texts include the “Heavy Rain” book by Kris Vallotton and the teachings at “the Global School of Supernatural Ministry New York City” a poem and a reflection by the author himself.
For the Urban Pilgrimage practice, the author selected three locations in their Spiritual homes, representing unique faith practices and with friends who had historically experienced these traditions. Through this experience the participants were able to complete three Spiritual prayer practices. Firstly, in the Catholic practice prayer focused on repentance and remembering past families who had recently passed. In our Anglican practice the prayer time focused on lighting a candle, writing a prayer and completing noon day prayer either privately in silence or aloud in the Chapel. Then the Urban Pilgrimage finished with an open Bible reading, discussion and coffee prayer for the Pentecostal spiritual practice at the Ace Hotel. All four participants on the pilgrimage had previously been members in one of the three faith traditions. One was an Anglican from the Church of England, the second a Pentecostal from the Greater New Jersey area and finally a converted Pentecostal believer from the Greater New York area.
At the first location on the Pilgrimage the author purchased the Catholic text of the ‘Way a Pilgrim and the Pilgrim Continues his Way.” Through this text, as Spiritual Directors or Spiritual Directees, we can learn, through the translation from Helen Bacovin, to establish the richness of the art of Catholic Spirituality. The practice of praying through continually without ceasing, meditating and reciting liturgical prayer. The author of the book, who is anonymous, talks about how he was a seeker to discover the answer to one core question “how do you pray without ceasing.” This was in response to the scriptural text 1 Thessalonians 5:17 which reads “pray without ceasing.” It was in the pursuit to answer this question that leads us to our first reflection.
First Reflection – Catholic Tradition -The Way of a Pilgrim – Translated by Helen Bacovin
When visiting elderly people at Nursing homes the practice of Catholic mas, using the rotary and reciting liturgical prayer is very common. Catholics pray, recite, meditate and rehearse scripture as part of their Spiritual practice. The author of this text is seeking to go further than the practice of religion, but to seek a deeper, more authentic and immeasurable understanding of God’s peace. Primarily through seeking answers to praying without ceasing, remaining in constant contact with God despite what is going on around you and being on earth (Bacovin et al, 1985, Chapter 1).
The difference for our brother pilgrim is that he seeks not to serve the world, but to be drawn near to God and to seek no finance for fulfillment of his life, but to know God more and to establish a more faith filled, prayer filled and fulfilled life in his creator in poverty. The contrast between one who simply carries a Bible, travels from town to town and preaches the Gospel is different to the modern-day Christian of today. Take a nurse working on accident and emergency shift, a Firefighter responding to a call or an emergency first aid responder. Those are Christians on the front line serving in the battle field, fighting for God, seeking God and pursuing God in their work. They, like the Pilgrim, are also on Spiritual pilgrimages, but different vocational pilgrimages serving where they feel called to be serving God and waiting patiently for God to come into the midst of uncertainty and to grant perfect peace in their everyday lives (Bacovin et al, 1985, Chapter 1).
The author of the Pilgrims Way refers to the Jesus prayer to be both his answer, the nurses answer, the firefighters answer and the first aid responders answer as to how to pray without ceasing. To simply recite the words of the prayer continuously as follows: “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me!” These words were instructed to be read by our brother pilgrim 3,000 times in one day so as to be at one with the prayer, to be at peace and to be able to return to it as a meditation, spiritual discipline and as a contemplation throughout challenging, changing and difficult transitions. This is imperative for all people’s in life, but especially in the walk of an urban city Christian (Bacovin et al, 1985, Chapter 1).
Therefore, the practice of reciting this prayer whilst walking on the streets of Manhattan, London, Paris or Madrid will help Christians the world over to find their peace in prayers and to not stop without ceasing when reciting this prayer. The belief is that by reciting this prayer, learning about it through the Philokalia and understanding its texts it will bring meaning, purpose, peace and an active prayer life, similar to that of a pilgrim, in urban dwelling places (Bacovin et al, 1985, Chapter 1).
The Father of the Catholic Church that the Pilgrim describes it like this “The sun – a great, shining and magnificent light-cannot be contemplated and looked at directly with the naked eye. An artificial glass, a million times smaller and dimmer than the sun, is needed to look at the great king of lights to be enraptured by its fiery rays. In a similar way the Holy Bible is a shining light and the Philokalia is the necessary glass (Bacovin et al, 1985, Chapter 1).”
In order to process our true inner peace, the ability to pray without ceasing, we must see the Lord not with our eyes, but in our hearts, in our minds, in our emotions and in our inner most deepest thoughts. To be at one with God is the Pilgrims and every city dweller’s goal. Our next reflection will appeal to meet this goal and to set us as Spiritual Directors, Spiritual Contemplatives and as practicing Spiritual Christians of all faith traditions to a deeper understanding of contemplation and to explore how to navigate through the Jesus prayer. Plus build on the practices of Catholic meditation, recital, liturgy and prayer (Bacovin et al, 1985, Chapter 1).
Second Reflection – Catholic Tradition - The Philokalia – Translated by G.EH. Palmer, Phillip Sherrand and Kallistos Ware
The texts selected in the original Philokalia are taken from the fourteenth and fifteenth century and were written by monks from the Orthodox Christian tradition, not the Roman Catholic tradition. However, for the purposes of prayer, practice and meditation these texts have been used by Catholics throughout the history of the Church to inform prayer, build liturgy, practice meditation and for the Spiritual Christian reader to seek after God. Indeed, the version selected for this text has been based on the original Philokalia and translated from the Greek Septuagint translation, not the original Hebrew biblical texts. However, instead of leaving the texts without numbering, the translators have referred to the Hebrew protocol for numbering, labelling and appropriately providing the relevant verse and chapter when referencing the Bible and specific scriptural references (Palmer, 1782, Chapter 2).
The first key to using the Philokalia is how we go about using it in practice. The key to pray without ceasing is to do exactly that, to pick up your cross and follow Jesus. The anonymous author of the Pilgrim book in our previous reflection sets a great example. Through his struggles, in not having food or belongings, he embraces poverty and seeks to go deeper in his faith specifically in the pursuit of praying without ceasing. The authors, translators and editors of the Philokalia encourage the same response. Spiritual Directors, Directees and companions are all called to the wonder and majesty of intuitive prayer and to pray without ceasing. Yet, the practices of removing our intellect, our flesh and emptying ourselves completely so that we can be completely open to God and the movement of the Holy Spirit are much harder to accomplish (Palmer, 1782, Chapter 2).
The Philokalia provides a great insight into the practice of a Monk, a Nun or any person following a deeper spiritual practice in daily meditation and prayer. However, as city dwellers, people of faith and living in the chaos and confusion of everyday life how can we find peace. If instead of scrolling on social media, texting aimlessly and seeking community through empty live chats or Facebook messenger we instead go into prayer and speaking to God. How much would that instill peace within us? Especially if there were a community of believers in fellowship for the practices of Spiritual sacrifice, both in time, in focus and in everyday life.
Like other faith traditions outside of Christianity Jewish, Muslim and Buddhist faiths demonstrate to us stronger, more rigorous and deeper prayer practices. The Philokalia is the Catholic response. The chapter by “Evagiros the Solitary” provides us with a great teaching, stillness and escape from our conceived flesh like passions, thoughts and desires. The author of this paper wishes not to define these feelings or emotions as evil, but rather contrary that our flesh responses maybe contrary to our love for neighbor, abusing people with lust rather than love. Hating family or friends rather than loving them sincerely. Also, desiring things rather than the satisfaction of authentic community and friendships (Palmer, 1782, Chapter 2).
Through the one hundred and fifty-three texts provided for the reader to pray through “Evagiros the Solitary” provides us with a fantastic appreciation for the Holy Spirit and encourages us to pray for divine intercession. Through removing self we are not seeking to expand our own intellect, we are seeking instead to challenge our subconscious and fundamentally interrupt our everyday routine and thought patterns. For example, text 63 reads “The Holy Spirit, out of compassion for our weakness, comes to us even when we are impure. And if only He finds our intellect truly praying to Him, He enters it and puts to fight the whole array of thoughts and ideas circling within it, and He arouses it to a longing for spiritual prayer (Palmer, 1782, Chapter 2).
These texts prescribe us a different meditation, practice and prayer for a deeper Spiritual life, practice and fuller understanding of the Trinitarian God specifically with an emphasis on the Holy Spirit. Through these texts one can go more deeper, emotionally, intellectually and theologically with their faith (Palmer, 1782, Chapter 2).
Third Reflection – Catholic Tradition - On Balance, Integration & Spirituality – Video of Laurence Freeman
Further to an observation of a short video clip, of the Benedict Monk Laurence Freeman, the Catholic Priest is more aware of the need to re-incorporate Meditation into a deeper Spiritual life. Freeman’s unique practice of meditation into life defines how we are all made differently in the image of Christ, reflecting God’s image individually and collectively as the body of Christ.
“On Balance, Integration and Spirituality”, helps the viewer to re-engage with their spiritual self. To re-identify with Christ instead of being distracted from what is going on around us. This is imperative to pay attention to, especially during difficult and transitional seasons in life as Christians (Freeman, 2019, Email with Video).
The days of late night and late submissions for most 30 somethings is rare, but at Theological School it is not uncommon to find students who are 50 and 60 somethings being just as "playful" and "creative" with their schedule and pending deadlines. In fact, when studying in New York you can often find various conversations happening simultaneously through different languages, modes of communication and technology in co-working spaces. However, we all crave one thing; a sense of peace. The balance and integration which Freeman brings to our attention is sought after both by Christians and non-believers, an overwhelming desire for peace (Freeman, 2019, Video).
The difference between meditating regularly and meditating occasionally is immeasurable. Indeed, the routine, religious and spiritual meditation groups that meet regularly create community, identity and self-awareness for its members, people and groups. It is when they meet and they live, move, breath and have their being they come alive. Freeman reminds us that meditation cannot be successful without intent. We must plan, prepare and provide ourselves for the opportunity to intentionally build meditation and spiritual practices like prayer into our schedule (Freeman, 2019, Email with Video).
It is not like a short-term fix. Meditation takes extensive practice, time and space to be able to successfully implement change in our mental state. It must be completed in a state of comfort, safety and relaxation. Without the ability to contemplate, be still and to be consciously aware of the balance of our own spirituality we will struggle and thus suffer, like our secular brothers and sisters, from short term fixes and ultimately experience a less than satisfactory meditative sedate mental state. Fundamentally, we must work hard to find our inner peace. We must create a routine to build this meditative environment and then build it into our schedule. Perhaps contemplating during our prayer time and at the beginning and at the end of our every-day lives. This is essential in city living (Freeman, 2019, Email with Video).
For the writer personally having, just completed the training, preparation and practice of marathon training for twenty-six miles, the reality and practice of meditation was clearly absent, in fact, missing from daily routine. The previous peace, stillness and spirituality of previous Sports and Spirituality have been lacking and the author has suffered due to the absence of more rigorous religious spirituality practices of workout and worship. In order to get back to this the author is excited to plan to write a 30-day plan not just for Advent or Lent, but for every month in the year so that deeper spiritual connection can take place and create a deeper meditative practice. Not just for thirty days, but for every day (Freeman, 2019, Email with Video).
This practice, on reflection, is the biggest absence in most urban people’s lives. Certainly this writers life during ordinary time. The author, alongside fellow seminarians, now recognize this reality check has helped to realize the current loss and absence of peace in the present life right now and must seek after more contemplation Spiritual sessions (Freeman, 2019, Email with Video).
Fourth Reflection – Anglican Tradition - Spiritual Director, Spiritual Companion – By Tilden Edwards
Tilden requires us to go deeper. To explore our inner selves, our soul compass if you like. He declares seven different places we go as we explore our inner soul which help us draw closer to ourselves. Not to deny God or focus on our self-ego, but to explore our deepest, perhaps darkest, selves. As we explored in class often our battle is between flesh and Spirit as described in Galatians 5 (Edwards, 2001, Chapter 3).
“But I say, walk habitually in the [Holy] Spirit [seek Him and be responsive to His guidance], and then you will certainly not carry out the desire of the sinful nature [which responds impulsively without regard for God and His precepts].” GALATIANS 5:16 AMP
Saint Paul goes further to say that he wishes for us to explore the deepest, innermost part of ourselves. As we all seek God as Spiritual Christians we do so on a personal level, we begin to explore motivation for the self, for purpose and explore why we choose to do certain things. We dare to ask is it for my freedom? For independence? Or is it for the Freedom that Christ gave to us to set us free? To ensure that it was not a stumbling block for the weak. We must fight for freedom internally. Yet instead we often explore the purposes of our own motivation. Tilden and Saint Paul’s writings in Corinthians help us examine ourselves about the influence of our choices of is preaching and teaching in our lives. Who are we listening to? Who do we serve? (Edwards, 2001, Chapter 3).
Saint Paul asks us to explore ourselves and even through his own shortcomings and experiences he warns us about our mental state and our approach to others when seeking to Preach the Gospel.
“But I have used none of these privileges, nor am I writing this [to suggest] that any such provision be made for me now. For it would be better for me to die than to have anyone deprive me of my boast [in this matter of financial support]. For if I [merely] preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast about, for I am compelled [that is, absolutely obligated to do it]. Woe to me if I do not preach the good news [of salvation]! For if I do this work of my own free will, then I have a reward; but if it is not of my will [but by God’s choosing], I have been entrusted with a [sacred] stewardship. What then is my reward? [Just this:] that, when I preach the gospel, I may offer the gospel without charge [to everyone], so as not to take advantage of my rights [as a preacher and apostle] in [preaching] the gospel.”1 CORINTHIANS 9:15-18 AMP
Tilden then asks us to explore what is it that really motivates us. What drives us forward when we explore the dynamics of our inner beauty. We begin to see the beginnings of what Desmond Tutu describes as the alternative to ourselves, our God and our neighbor through Ubuntu theology which we later discuss in our next reflection. Today we are not asked about our flesh or our Spirit, but instead we are asked are we Republican or Democrat? From the North or the South? Patriots or Giants? Yankees or Dodgers? Tea or Coffee? Whatever we define ourselves as our own interpretation of identity can offer false truth and then can dictate our inner being, our inner souls and our inner emphasis. Tilden also asks us to consider who we are to other people in different contexts and asks us to consider our moods and emotions around different people. Essentially are we fixing our eyes on Jesus or are we caught up in the worldly desires. Instead of focusing on our own agenda, we should be focused on eternity (Edwards, 2001, Chapter 3).
Philippians 4 always gives us a great way to focus our attention as we fix our eyes on Jesus and look to the only Truth, we can rely upon in this mixed up fallen world.
“Rejoice in the Lord always [delight, take pleasure in Him]; again, I will say, rejoice! Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart]. The things which you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things [in daily life], and the God [who is the source] of peace and well-being will be with you.”PHILIPPIANS 4:4, 8-9 AMP
Fifth Reflection – Anglican Tradition - The Revelation of Illumination through Ubuntu Community Reflection on the works of Desmond Tutu by Michael Battle
“In fact, the term apocalypse means a veil lifted, disclosing something hidden from humanity.” (Michael Battle, 2017, Introduction & Chapter 1)
The term apocalypse makes us think about movies like Independence Day with Will Smith vanquishing some evil aliens as the world enters the end of days. However, this is perhaps a misconception of the reality for which Michael Battle advocates in his book “Heaven on earth: God’s call to community the Book of Revelation. (Michael Battle, 2017, Introduction & Chapter 1).”
Battle, an ordained Anglican Priest, helps us define the difference between heaven and earth. They are more than just hell and earth as many Christians believe when defining apocalypse. Ultimately, Battle introduces to us the idea that through community heaven is accessible on earth. Rather than living with a sense of self identity in being a member of earth, not heaven, as many Westernized Christians do today, Battle encourages us to look outwardly of ourselves and to God and to our neighbor. That through the stories of Revelation we can see more than politics, war or religion, but that we can see the revelation of various tribes, people and different types of people coming together (Michael Battle, 2017, Introduction & Chapter 1).
Battle identifies with his own shortcomings, from personal experience, that by narrowing his perspective of heaven and earth it can also create a narrow his view of humanity, the world and his view of God through his own eyes. Battle describes how others who may have preconceptions of community on earth through their own experiences being limited due to their own interpretation, reality and reading of the book of Revelation (Michael Battle, 2017, Introduction & Chapter 1).
Through his own experience, despair and challenges Battle can see how Revelation may dominate his personal perspective of heaven on earth. That as a person who has experienced racial oppression that he may come up against his own preconceived ideas about his relationship and perspective of heaven on earth. Indeed, Battle challenges himself and us all to focus on God in our communities and not the failings, judgements and clear shortcomings between heaven and earth. Instead Battle challenges us to focus on a heart from for humanity through the Revelation of God’s love (Michael Battle, 2017, Introduction & Chapter 1).
“Throughout history most civilizations have contemplated their own end. In my writing, therefore, one will not find a great deal of debates between faith and history or how one applies the historical-critical method to Scripture. In short, my premise is that John’s Apocalypse is a vision in which heaven and earth cannot be separated because God’s presence cannot be inhibited (Michael Battle, 2017, Introduction & Chapter 1).”
Illumination focuses our attention on the need for us to develop a theology of community. Between our own interpretation and the true meaning of God’s word we can often get lost. It is often so imperative to develop a pattern of what is the truth and what is scripturally accurate. As a human race historically, we have been quick to judge and misunderstand God’s word in Revelation. Instead of wrestling with it and praying over it. Battle raises the idea of how we can inform our interpretation of God’s word through our own experience, through community and through Ubuntu theology. Ubuntu teaches us to focus not on our interpretation of scripture, but on those around us and to not simply those who have harmed us, but all of our nearest, our neighbors.
Not that we should ignore those experiences, but that Gods revelation ultimately calls us to a higher account. Not to focus on our shortcomings of judgement, lack of understanding of the text or comparisons between humanity and its creator, but instead to focus on our love for God and for our neighbor in our own context of community. We are called by Battle to not narrate our lives here on this earth in a reality of judgement and hell on earth, but through the lenses of heaven on earth in and through community with our God and fellow brothers and sisters here on this earth. Love God. Love Yourself. Love Neighbor (Michael Battle, 2017, Introduction & Chapter 1).
Sixth Reflection – Pentecostal Tradition - Poem (Written by Author) & Reflection on Teaching at Global School of Supernatural Ministries New York City
“The truth of the Gospel sets you free,
Not in the reality of life, but in the reality of me,
Sin and repentance ring true,
Yet they will not pull you through.
First steps of a Christian are not simple or plain,
The Fathers heart of God is alone what sustains,
The length and depth of the Father's love recovers all,
To develop a relationship in Summer, Winter, Spring and Fall.
Do not remain lonely in your fellowship with Christ
Build a community, a family and a faith that will entice,
Bring forward your ideas and sins to the Lord
Put to death your misdeeds and seek first his Kingdom and word
Progress in your relationships in the pursuit of healing others rich and poor
Remain humble, accountable and faithful in your community and much more,
Try not to hide from your sin and remember you are saved by grace,
Bring your humanity, faults, prayers and return to the Almighty's face.
The end of life is not sin and death,
It is rebirth, new life and faith,
Truth is not right or wrong,
Instead it's joy, life and song! (Author’s Own, 2019)”.
The site and sound of Pentecostal Worship, the diversity of different people in the congregation and wonderful prophetic teaching encourages and sustains members whilst attending a Pentecostal Church or Worship night. The Global School of Supernatural Ministries is a Healing and Prophetic Ministry called Global Awakening and is delivered by Georgi and Winnie Banov out of Harrisburg, PA, and here in New York City. It is quite different to the deep Catholic meditation or Anglican repentance prayer in liturgy perhaps certain Christians are used to at say for example at General Seminary (GCSSM, 2019, Term One).
Yet, as students of the Global Awakening school they are all still caught up in the modern and latest all-encompassing Netflix movie or series, a denial of their faith tradition and board of their childhood Church services. Yet, instead of complaints and gossip in the school you can witness a more supernatural experience, challenging cries of "come on" and deep and meaningful spiritual outward prayer and a welcoming evening worshipping community. Essentially, it is a different spiritual environment which focuses on “what difference Jesus makes in their everyday lives”. The power to do his work is not coming from the Worship but coming from the student’s pursuit of God. Their desire is to overcome the obstacles and challenges of their own lives serving God. They feel called to pursue opportunities and experiences to honor God and to be the hands and feet of Jesus when in Pentecostal Church. Not a sedate or unconscious state, but an active faith and pursuit of God (GCSSM, 2019, Term One).
The relationship between our shame and God’s grace is forever a challenge for all Christians. Often Pentecostal Church messages develop a focus not on our sin, but on our aspirations, our heart to serve and to develop a new mission for our lives. The tradition of following Church is not to feel guilty and to think about the shall and shall not of life. Yet, the reality is that the Church teaches we as humans are not in the same way in line with the nature of our God but can be in fellowship with him. Indeed, in Pentecostal worship it is the nature of the faith leader to call the congregation to be the change, to be the difference and to be the pattern of love of Jesus in their neighborhood (GCSSM, 2019, Term One).
Georgie Banov, founder of this selected school, speaks about the shift and national repentance of his home country of Bulgaria in his weekly message. A nation today which is experiencing a shift in the culture in terms of economics and poverty as the population of families, communities and nationals flee to neighboring countries to pursue work. However, during the nineties in the time that the government changed, and Christianity was becoming more acceptable, there was a move of God and a fresh revelation of the Holy Spirit. A revival. The prophecies of this movement represent different feelings, experiences and emotions expressed outwardly and manifested into real life testimonies. Such Spirituality maybe quite different to our Catholic and Anglican brothers and sisters (GCSSM, 2019, Term One).
It is in is this fashion that perhaps Christians need to re-imagine their own lives. Jesus Christ was not resuscitated when he died and rose again on the Cross. He was resurrected! In a new body. This is the importance, the imperative truth and new focus for a new life, a new body and a new faith in the resurrection is vital. The King is not dead, he is alive in a new body, a new life and a new faith. Jesus said Believe in my Father, believe also in me. As Christians, In Jesus name, we share these same promises as resurrected Sons and Daughters of the risen King. God's core characteristic of the love of God is that we experience true community, worship and relationship with Gods people and Gods body, the Church. In Catholic, Anglican and Pentecostal spirituality all access to God is possible through Christ who strengthens us (GCSSM, 2019, Term One).
Seventh Reflection – Heavy Rain - Chapter 7 Kingdom Vision Building - Kris Vallotton Reflection and Interpretation for Free and Fit NYC Vision
Based upon the readings in Vallotton's book Heavy Rain the Chapter "Casting Vision and Capturing Hearts" the author wanted to focus on the value of Kingdom building and growing out of the previous reflection on how we respond as it rains in dry seasons of life rhetorically speaking. The Scripture from 1 Peter 2:7-9 calls all Christians into a royal Priesthood and the author of 1 Peter declares that the Lord ordains all believers to be disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is from this perspective which we can link Vallotton’s picture of Kingdom Building into our own ministries (Vallotton, 2010, Chapter 7).
The practice of Pentecostal prayer and spirituality is to activate our faith and Vallotton desires for us to draw near to the Kingdom of God and create a vision for our ministry. Much like Walt Disney, Christians have a vision, and they deeply invest and believe in it. Even if it takes a lifetime for it to come true and to be fulfilled, we can complete the processes described by Vallotton to bring our vision into life. The work that we can do can be completed to do the work that God has set out for me to do and has predestined, pre-ordained and pre-chosen for me to do (Vallotton, 2010, Chapter 7).
The vision of Free & Fit NYC, the Sports Ministry of the author, is in in the vision of Building Community through Sports, Social Justice, the Arts and Service. Through each specific sphere of the mission the volunteers and members would like to impact the world for Jesus Christ through local mission, global vision and kingdom building. It’s simple. Through the local impact of the Church in tandem with service men and women of the local vicinity in major urban influencing cities such as New York and London the members can plan, prepare and build a Kingdom building community within the local mission locations to grow into a global movement and vision (Vallotton, 2010, Chapter 7).
The comparison, complaining and contrasting to others, different organizations and secular movements can often distract all Christians from achieving their Kingdom Vision goal. Christians can often under-estimate their impact, thus reducing their impact and it can delay them moving forward and instead of big movements, build and more deliberate movements it can build traction (Vallotton, 2010, Chapter 7).
For example, a vision for the writer on a personal level is to use the Masters of Divinity education from Seminary, the Global School Awakening and experiences of Ministry to combine both the gifts God has freely given, the skills that have been developed over time to build over the next three years in a Ministry which is established, well founded and routed in the word of God, equipped, skilled and aware of the society and communities it serves. Without a clear vision, goal and mission the task seems impossible, but with a trusted leader, life coach, Spiritual Director, mentor, support system and prayer life it can lead to success. To use the gifts of prophecy, the Supernatural and alongside well founded and sound teaching and doctrine the author will be able, with Gods support, and from those in power and influence to patiently build a Kingdom movement for Gods Kingdom. For Gods will to be done and not our own (Vallotton, 2010, Chapter 7).
Author’s Reflection’s – Thoughts and Reflections from Anglo-Catholic Practices in Urban Places
The various books, experiences, practices and different spiritual influences we have sited have given the author great insight into the differences, similarities and contrasting styles of contemplation and spiritual prayer across Catholic, Anglican and Pentecostal worship. During the experiences of writing this paper reflection has also included a social media campaign completed in Washington DC which references three different styles of Worship, workout and prayer in landmark spiritual worshipping communities of Catholic, Anglican and Pentecostal locations.
The first location was the Catholic Basilica in Washington DC next to the Catholic University of America, the National Cathedral is the Episcopal Anglican Church and finally the Museum of the Bible a Pentecostal funded museum from a Para Church ministry. These different locations with Prayer Spaces, Chapels and different Spiritual landmarks all created real life practical venues for the writer to experience Anglo-Catholic experiences like the Urban Pilgrimage described in the introduction from New York City. Evidence of these workouts and worship sessions can be found on the Instagram account entitled “Freeandfitnyc” with an @ symbol at the beginning of the Instagram account.
Finally, and in conclusion to this study, the author would like to explore the idea of forming an Anglo-Catholic Pentecostal worshipping community, a Church or independent ministry. All three traditions appeal to so many Christians and it is apparent that all these faith traditions offer strong and deep spiritual practices which can offer many opportunities for contemplation in one to one or group Spiritual Direction sessions. If, possible a 24-7 prayer room could potentially house such a community as it allows for all three different denominations, and others, to share the practices of these different faith-based traditions and for an open urban pilgrimage space of it own.
The London HTB 24-7 prayer room is a great example of this environment and various other prayer rooms around the world which offer open prayer spots for Christians of all faiths and traditions.
Further research is required into the practices of Anglo-Catholic Pentecostal spiritual contemplation and certainly more reading around the subject is required for the author to apply these spiritual practices into his own life. Through the Kingdom Vision Building of the Pentecostal Church, the Meditation and Recital of the Jesus prayer from the Catholic Church and the Ubuntu practices of the Anglican Church these spiritual practices will help to form the author and build on the vision of the writer’s ministry to build community through Sports, Service, Social Justice and Service.
Appendices - Participant’s Reflection on Urban Pilgrimage “Silence & Solitude.”
‘On Saturday November 9th, 2019, I participated with Tim Cheux on silence and solitude event in New York City. It is something I was interested in because I am in a season of wanting to be more intentional about practicing spiritual disciplines, and I have a heart for the city. It was a welcome experience to participate in something that was ecumenical/interdenominational. Having been discipled in an evangelical tradition, it broadened my horizons. It helped me understand more of what could draw Christians together rather than in the present landscape, driving them apart. We gather in four spaces that were representative of the praxis of four different traditions.
The four were: the ACE Hotel Lobby Bar as the Pentecostal praxis, a Catholic chapel within the Pauline bookstore, an Episcopalian sanctuary, and a reformed church's prayer room. The thing that was impressed on me the most was the historical value placed on silence and solitude and the spaces made available for that on church property. From my perspective, it is far less valued within contemporary worship as a result of the extreme busyness of people, coupled with always being tethered to technology. Whatever the case maybe it seems apparent that the church has historically placed emphasis on silence and solitude that seems a bit lost today.
What I learned and what is truly beautiful is Christians of all backgrounds can take advantage of these spaces right here in the city. I did not know these spaces existed, and now as part of my practice, I can utilize them for purposes of spiritual discipline. I most preferred the prayer room and the sanctuary. Both had materials for guided prayer, and both were an environment that reflected the beauty of Christ, the sanctuary being more elaborate, and the prayer room was more unadorned.’
Helen Bacovcin (Translator), Walter J. Ciszek S.J. (Foreword), (June 17, 1985), “The Way of a Pilgrim and The Pilgrim Continues His Way”, Paperback, Image Classics.
Michael Battle, (2017), “Heaven on Earth: A Call to Community in the Book of Revelation”, Paperback, Louisville: Westminster John Knox.
Tilden Edwards. 2001. “Spiritual Director, Spiritual Companion: Guide to Tending the Soul.” Paperback, New York: Paulist Press.
Laurence Freeman, (Video Received via email for class 2019), “On Balance, Integration & Spirituality”, Video and Emailed received from Dr. Professor. Westina Matthews.
Global School of Supernatural Ministry, (2019), “First Term Reflection”, Author’s Own Submission, Adapted from Original School Submission.
Kris Vallotton, (2010), “Heavy Rain: Renew the Church, Transform the,” Paperback, Regal Books.
Saint Nikodimos (Compiled by), Saint Makarios (Compiled by) , G. E. H. Palmer (Translator) , Philip Sherrard (Translator) , Kallistos Ware (Translator), (1782), “The Philokalia: The Complete Text (Vol. 1)”; Compiled by St. Nikodimos of the Holy Mountain and St. Markarios of Corinth.
Websites Used for Bible Readings:
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