The Festival of Prayer 2022: Prayer and Personality

The Festival of Prayer 2022: Prayer and Personality

Hosted by: BRF Diocese of Oxford and Ripon College
£35.00

BRF’s centenary year and the 10th BRF Festival of Prayer Keynote speaker is Gemma Simmonds.

Saturday 9 July 2022
10.00am - 4.35pm
Special offer: 5 for 4 – Buy four tickets and get the fifth place free. All five places must be booked at the same time, and all five names and email addresses must be given at time of booking. Discount code: FESTIVAL22
Festival of Prayer leaflet

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Title The Festival of Prayer 2022: Prayer and Personality
Hosted by BRF Diocese of Oxford and Ripon College
Description

Saturday 9 July 2022
10.00am - 4.35pm
Special offer: 5 for 4 – Buy four tickets and get the fifth place free. All five places must be booked at the same time, and all five names and email addresses must be given at time of booking. Discount code: FESTIVAL22
Festival of Prayer leaflet

Ripon College, Cuddesdon, near Wheatley, Oxford, OX44 9EX, Tel: 01865 874404
The festival of prayer, now in its tenth year, aims to enhance your spiritual life by offering different approaches to Christian spirituality in a day-long conference. After a two-year absence, the Festival of Prayer returns to the delightful setting of Ripon College in the picturesque Oxfordshire village of Cuddesdon. The festival is an opportunity to invest in your relationship with God, in the company of deeply thoughtful and experienced speakers.

The theme running through the conference this year is Prayer and Personality. Prayer takes us to the heart of God into a soul relationship with our creator. Understanding our personality is fundamental to recognising how we develop a life of prayer. If we know ourselves better, our prayer life can be enriched.

In the keynote address Gemma Simmonds will talk on the topic of ‘Who do you say I am: Prayer and Personality’, drawing on her experience and practice of Ignatian spirituality. 

There will be the opportunity to attend up to three workshops across two venues within Cuddesdon: Ripon College and the parish church, all within walking distance a few hundred yards apart.

You can also keep a session free during the day for personal space when you could:

        • pray
        • have an informal introduction to spiritual direction
        • walk the prayer labyrinth in the garden
        • wander the grounds of the college and village
        • visit the bookstall

Coffee and tea will be provided, but you will need to provide your own lunch.

 

Cost: £35 for the day per person. Bring four friends and get the fifth place FREE.

The parish church and the Harriet Monsell Centre have amplification and a loop system for those with hearing difficulties (HL on Workshops page).

We look forward to welcoming you to the Festival of Prayer.

Details
  • Product code: FOP2022
  • Published: 25 February 2022
  • Format: Event

Saturday 9 July 2022
10.00am - 4.35pm
Special offer: 5 for 4 – Buy four tickets and get the fifth place free. All five places must be booked at the same time, and all five names and email addresses must be given at time of booking. Discount code: FESTIVAL22
Festival of Prayer leaflet

Ripon College, Cuddesdon, near Wheatley, Oxford, OX44 9EX, Tel: 01865 874404
The festival of prayer, now in its tenth year, aims to enhance your spiritual life by offering different approaches to Christian spirituality in a day-long conference. After a two-year absence, the Festival of Prayer returns to the delightful setting of Ripon College in the picturesque Oxfordshire village of Cuddesdon. The festival is an opportunity to invest in your relationship with God, in the company of deeply thoughtful and experienced speakers.

The theme running through the conference this year is Prayer and Personality. Prayer takes us to the heart of God into a soul relationship with our creator. Understanding our personality is fundamental to recognising how we develop a life of prayer. If we know ourselves better, our prayer life can be enriched.

In the keynote address Gemma Simmonds will talk on the topic of ‘Who do you say I am: Prayer and Personality’, drawing on her experience and practice of Ignatian spirituality. 

There will be the opportunity to attend up to three workshops across two venues within Cuddesdon: Ripon College and the parish church, all within walking distance a few hundred yards apart.

You can also keep a session free during the day for personal space when you could:

        • pray
        • have an informal introduction to spiritual direction
        • walk the prayer labyrinth in the garden
        • wander the grounds of the college and village
        • visit the bookstall

Coffee and tea will be provided, but you will need to provide your own lunch.

 

Cost: £35 for the day per person. Bring four friends and get the fifth place FREE.

The parish church and the Harriet Monsell Centre have amplification and a loop system for those with hearing difficulties (HL on Workshops page).

We look forward to welcoming you to the Festival of Prayer.

Please note that spaces are limited for certain workshops and spiritual direction sessions.

* Only accessible by stairs

HL Hearing Loop

Welcome and keynote address 10.00 am – 10.50 am

Who Do You Say I Am?: Prayer and Personality – Gemma Simmonds

Workshop One – 11.15 am – 12.15 pm

1. Mystical Prayer: The Way of the Heart - Emma Pennington

2. Praying with Thomas Merton HL - Tony Phelan

3. Jesus: Man of Prayer - Ann Persson

4. Wild Women of Prayer - Clare Hayns

5. Praying with Colour - Jan Palmer

6. Prayer with Percussion – Richard Dormandy

7. The Spirituality of Being Yourself * –  Guy Elsmore

8. 'Who Do You Think You Are?' Sub-Personalities and Prayer - Jo Gallant

9. Free Session Activities

Lunch 12.15 pm – 1.30 pm

Workshop two 1.30 pm – 2.30 pm

10. Celtic Prayer: Expressions of Love - David Cole

11. Finding God in all Things: Ignatian Spirituality for Every Day HL – Gemma Simmonds

12. Exploring Forest Church - Paul Cudby

13. Prayer and Memory: A Multi-Sensory Experience - Debbie Ducille

14. Journaling - Jan Palmer

15. Prayer with Percussion - Richard Dormandy 

16. Praying with Thomas Merton* - Tony Phelan

17. Free Session Activities

Break 2.30 - 3.00 pm

Workshop three 3.00 pm – 4.00 pm

18. The Art of Peace: Embodying Contemplative Prayer - David Cole

19. Wild Women of Prayer HL - Clare Hayns

20. Sitting at the Feet of Jesus the Teacher – Ann Persson

21. The Spirituality of Being Yourself – Guy Elsmore

22. 'Who Do You Think You Are?' Sub-Personalities and Prayer - Jo Gallant

23. Prayer and Memory: A Multi-Sensory Experience - Debbie Ducille

24. Experiencing Forest Church - Paul Cudby

25. Free Session Activities

Break

Reflection and Blessing 4.15 pm – 4.30 pm

‘Who Do You Say I Am? Prayer and Personality’ - Gemma Simmonds

‘Pray as you can, not as you can’t’.  This wise, down to earth and helpful advice on prayer was written by Benedictine monk Dom John Chapman many decades ago.  It carries an understanding that there are more or less helpful ways of praying depending on our personality.  An awareness of our personality’s key needs and inclinations regarding prayer will help us to move away from an approach of ‘shoulds and oughts’.  Whether it’s ways of developing awareness of God’s presence, of communicating and responding to God’s invitations and of being physically present in prayer, understanding the link between prayer and personality will help us to pray as we can, not as we can’t.

Mystical Prayer: The Way of the Heart - Emma Pennington

Drawing on the writings of the great mystics of the past, this workshop will focus on the type of prayer known as the way of the heart or mystical prayer, where experiencing and feeling the presence of God is the path to a deeper relationship with him, rather than knowing and thinking.  There will be an opportunity to share our own prayer practices and spiritual experiences as well exploring how sensitive openness to God can lead to social action and loving service to the world.

Praying with Thomas Merton - Tony Phelan

Thomas Merton may well be the most famous monk of the 20th century. Although, as a Trappist, he was a member of a silent order, he wrote a great many books and his words are often quoted. His work includes a famous book on prayer, wonderful personal journals, and challenging poetry, as well as writing that emerged from his long commitment to the peace movement. What is it that seems so attractive to so many Christians over fifty years after his death? The workshop will give us a chance to reflect on Merton’s own prayers, his prayerful writing, and his teaching about how prayer can cut though all the ways in which we mistake our true identity, and find the self that is ‘hidden with Christ in God’.

Jesus: Man of Prayer - Ann Persson

Prayer permeated the whole of Jesus’ being. What he said, what he did, where he went, who he noticed were all a result of prayer.

Ann will combine scripture with images and music in this presentation.

Wild Women of Prayer - Clare Hayns

What might Hagar, Miriam and the five daughters of Zelophehad have to teach us about prayer? In this interactive workshop we learn more about these Old Testament women and how they experienced prayer, from the cry of the heart of Hagar to Miriam’s joyful praise song, and the plucky petitioning of the five grieving daughters. Through their stories we see how different forms of prayer might depend on position within society, personhood as well as personality. Using some of the original artwork for ‘Unveiled’ we will join with these ‘wild women of prayer’ as we too pray, praise and petition.

Praying with Colour - Jan Palmer

If you are looking for a new way to connect with God that helps you process life’s events and your emotions creatively in God’s presence then this workshop may be for you. This is a practical taster session where we will first explore the relationship between our emotions, colours and shapes. We will then move on to use the outputs of this exploration in the context of a led Examen, noticing the things that God may show us through this creative approach to prayer that we can take forward into our ongoing relationship with Him.

No artistic talent is required – just a willingness to explore and try something new. Resources will be provided but if you want to bring your favourite (unlined) journal and coloured pens / pastels / pencils then feel free to do so.

Prayer and Memory: A Multi-Sensory Experience - Debbie Ducille

How multisensory experience, ‘muscle memory’ (of liturgy) and Scripture can be used as part of prayer with older people. I would include multisensory experience, using creative opportunities to try things out, so a willingness to ‘join in’ would be helpful.

Prayer with Percussion - Richard Dormandy

 Richard will bring a large array of professional percussion instruments and show how they can become a voice for our unspoken prayer – even (and especially perhaps) when they are not played as a standard percussionist would use them.  There will then be an extended time for participants to explore the instruments, and to pray through them, followed by sharing and feedback.

Finding God in All Things: Ignatian Spirituality for Every Day - Gemma Simmonds

Many people think of Christian spirituality as something spooky, ‘above’ the banalities of ordinary life.  Through his emphasis on desire and imagination, Ignatius guides us into a deeper appreciation of the capacity of all aspects of human living to reveal the divine within.  In this understanding, prayer is discovering what we already have and are and learning to recognise and experience it.

Prayer with Percussion – Richard Dormandy

Richard will bring a large array of professional percussion instruments and show how they can become a voice for our unspoken prayer – even (and especially perhaps) when they are not played as a standard percussionist would use them. There will then be an extended time for participants to explore the instruments, and to pray through them, followed by sharing and feedback.

Mystical Prayer: The Way of the Heart – Emma Pennington

Drawing on the writings of the great mystics of the past, this workshop will focus on the type of prayer known as the way of the heart or mystical prayer, where experiencing and feeling the presence of God is the path to a deeper relationship with him, rather than knowing and thinking. There will be an opportunity to share our own prayer practices and spiritual experiences as well exploring how sensitive openness to God can lead to social action and loving service to the world.

Praying with Colour – Jan Palmer

If you are looking for a new way to connect with God that helps you process life’s events and your emotions creatively in God’s presence then this workshop may be for you.

This is a practical taster session where you will first explore the relationship between your emotions, colours and shapes. You will then move on to use the outputs of this exploration in the context of a led Examen, noticing the things that God may show you through this creative approach to prayer that you can take forward into our ongoing relationship with Him.

No artistic talent is required – just a willingness to explore and try something new. Resources will be provided but if you want to bring your favourite (unlined) journal and coloured pens / pastels / pencils then feel free to do so.

Celtic Prayer - David Cole

In this workshop we will look at the different styles of prayer covered in the book ‘Caught up in Love’ written by The Community of Aidan and Hilda, edited by David Cole. Celtic prayer, according to this book, covers different expressions of personality. By discovering our ‘selves’ we can discover the way of prayer which best suits each of us. Come and discover which style of prayer might best suit you, including styles which you may never have thought of before.  

Finding God in all Things: Ignatian Spirituality for Every Day – Gemma Simmonds

Many people think of Christian spirituality as something spooky, ‘above’ the banalities of ordinary life. Through his emphasis on desire and imagination, Ignatius guides us into a deeper appreciation of the capacity of all aspects of human living to reveal the divine within. In this understanding, prayer is discovering what we already have and are and learning to recognise and experience it.

Exploring Forest Church - Paul Cudby

In the Covid-influenced climate of 2021, most churches experienced significantly reduced numbers, despite the input of financial resources and five year evangelistic plans.  Nothing stemmed the tide, and the suggestion being made here is that it is because the Church has lost sight of modern culture.  In the same year, the Pagan Federation, with no evangelism whatsoever and scarcely any financial resources, expanded in membership by 35%!  It should be obvious that the personality of our culture is turning towards a more eco-focussed spirituality.  The Forest Church movement offers a Christ-centred spirituality expressed in an eco-context.  This workshop explores what makes Forest Church so important and why, using an interactive format punctuated by the live music of harpist and singer Alison Eve.  We will explore our own spiritual focus, some highlights from scripture, and exactly why Forest Church is not a Pagan form of worship.

Journaling – Jan Palmer

Journaling can be a key tool in our spiritual journey and is an approach that many people use in different ways in their relationship with God. If you have got out of the habit, never done it or just want some fresh approaches then this seminar may be for you. If you have great tips to share from your own experience then you will be very welcome too!

David, in writing the Psalms was perhaps the first example of how vibrant and real a written approach to connecting with God can be. We will take a look at David as our inspiration and then share some practical ideas together and do some journaling exercises that will hopefully set us off on the journaling journey afresh. Our aim will be to hear from God as we do so. Please bring a pen and journal (lined or unlined)  or blank notebook with you.  

The Art of Peace - Embodying Contemplative Prayer - David Cole

How might we cultivate contemplation into our personality rather than it just being something we do? In 4 sections: Stillness, Silence, Solitude, and Sanctuary, you will discover in this workshop how to move from being someone who simply practices contemplative prayer and meditation to being a contemplative, shifting from practice to ontology.

Jesus, Man of Prayer – Ann Persson

As water is to fish, so was prayer to Jesus. It was his environment. It permeated his whole being and was paramount in his relationship with his Father and with the people he moved amongst.  What he said, what he did, where he went, who he noticed, were all a direct result of prayer.

In this session, Ann will combine projected images with scripture and music, followed by a short time of personal reflection.

‘Who Do You Think You Are?’: Sub-Personalities and Prayer – Joanna Gallant

Our sub-personalities are a normal part of who we are and have often developed to help us adapt throughout our life. They can both enable and limit our ability to become more fully the person God has created us to be. Through teaching, practical engagement and discussion, this workshop will explore how we can prayerfully identify and integrate our sub-personalities, and how in doing so we can open ourselves up to the transforming work of God in our lives.

Experiencing Forest Church - Paul Cudby

Although the morning session explored much of the theory behind Forest Church, attendance at this workshop is not dependent on having been to the first workshop.  Some people will already have a degree of understanding of Forest Church and simply wish to attend one to see what it’s really like.  Forest Churches up and down the country vary significantly in style.  This session will be contemplative and interactive, where much of the interaction will be directly with the presence of the Holy Spirit in the natural world, with space to share our experiences for those who wish to.  We will be outside whatever the weather so dress accordingly.  Together we will explore the symbiotic relationship we have with the surrounding wildlife, and how the name of God is spoken by us together in concert throughout our lives.

If you have chosen a ‘free session’ rather than a workshop,  spend some of the time with the following (for which you don’t have to book in  advance):

  • Talk informally with experienced Spiritual Directors about what spiritual accompaniment might offer you, as a way to explore your personal life journey, develop your prayer life and search for God.   A regular meeting with a guide, where you are listened to and accepted with no expectations or judgement, could form a pattern of helpful reflective companionship. A list of Spiritual Directors available in the area will be available.
  • Walk the labyrinth which is an ancient practice used by many different faiths for exploring the spiritual journey as well as for centring, contemplation and prayer. The slow walk along the serpentine path to the core allows you to quieten your mind and focus on a spiritual question or prayer.
  • Browsing the wide range of books, including those written by today's speakers, in the bookstall located in the reception/common room.
  • Walk, pray or read in the beautiful college grounds and Cuddesdon village with its far reaching views over the Oxfordshire countryside. 

Gemma Simmonds

Gemma Simmonds is a Roman Catholic sister and a senior lecturer in pastoral theology based in Cambridge.  She lectured in Christian Spirituality at Heythrop College, University of London 2005-2018 and was a chaplaincy volunteer in Holloway Prison for 25 years.  She has been a missionary in Brazil and chaplain in the Universities of Cambridge and London.  A regular broadcaster for the BBC, her most recent book is Dancing at the Still Point: Retreat Practices for a Busy Life, published by SPCK in 2021.

Emma Pennington

Emma Pennington is Canon Missioner of Canterbury Cathedral.  Emma has a passion for prayer and spirituality and welcomes the opportunity to encourage others to deepen the contemplative life of prayer. She has given talks and led retreats and Quiet Days both in the UK and abroad, and also tutored and lectured extensively on Christian Spirituality, especially at Oxford University, where she completed her doctoral research on Julian of Norwich. 

Tony Phelan

Tony Phelan is an Anglican layman, an authorised preacher at his local church, a spiritual director, and a member of the Iona Community. He was a university teacher in German Studies at Warwick University and at Oxford.  Tony discovered Thomas Merton as a student, and Merton’s writings have proved to be a continuing source of inspiration.

Ann Persson

In the past Ann has led many Quiet Days for BRF and more recently she has led retreats for Lee Abbey. She is author of The Circle of Love – praying with Rublev’s icon of the Trinity and also of Time for Reflection – both books published by BRF.

Clare Hayns

Clare is College Chaplain and Welfare Coordinator at Christ Church, Oxford. She grew up in rural Bucks, her childhood more Pony Club than church youth group. Pre-ordination she was a Social Worker specialising in subsance misuse. She recently wrote ‘Unveiled: Women of the Old Testament and the choices they made’, a beautiful book published by BRF and illustrated by her son Micah, which tells the stories of over forty fabulous women of the bible.

Jan Palmer

Jan is a spiritual director, retreat leader, coach, wife and mum of 3 adult children who also juggles a part time role in IT. One of her passions is to encourage people in their relationship with God and each other in creative ways. Along with her husband, Gary, she speaks at FamilyLife’s (Agape) ‘A Day Together’ events and has been part of the development of Toucan (an app for couples to invest in their relationships).

Debbie Ducille

Debbie Ducille is Church Lead for Anna Chaplaincy and leads the strategic work with denominations and groups. She brings a range of experience to the Anna Chaplaincy team that includes roles in education, the voluntary sector and church ministry. She is passionate about vibrant relational life in the church, stemming from her own desire to network and connect with people and groups. She is also committed to pioneering reflective and strategic ways to think, live and act together.

Richard Dormandy

Richard Dormandy is the Vicar of Holy Trinity Tulse Hill. He is not very good at praying, but sometimes finds that he can express himself quite deeply through engaging with percussion instruments. In another innovative project, Richard is leading his church in Europe’s largest urban self-build community hall, made with straw bales. It won the Green Church Award in 2017, and by the Festival of Prayer it will be nearly complete.

Guy Elsmore
Guy Elsmore is Archdeacon of Buckingham, previously he was Area Dean of Toxteth in Liverpool and Vicar of St Bride’s Liverpool, a church which found a new lease of life as it explored a call to be “Creative, Progressive and Inclusive”. Before which he was Area Dean of Widnes and Vicar of the shared Roman Catholic and Anglican parish church in Hough Green.

David Cole

David Cole is an international Spiritual Teacher and Retreat Leader; an author; the UK Deputy Guardian for The Community of Aidan and Hilda - a globally dispersed Celtic New Monastic Community; and founder of 'Waymark Ministries'. David studied a Masters' degree in 'Christian Spirituality' writing his thesis on Celtic Christianity and Discipleship.

Paul Cudby

Paul, a former scientist turned priest, works closely with his wife, harpist and singer Alison Eve, in exploring modern expressions of spirituality outside the mainstream, alongside his role as vicar of Wooburn.   His previous role in Birmingham Diocese included being Advisor for New Religious Movements which led to writing ‘The Shaken Path’, an exploration of modern Paganism.  He was a co-founder of the Forest Church movement in 2012, co-leading Ancient Arden Forest Church until 2019.

Joanna Gallant

Joanna Gallant is vicar of St Francis of Assisi Church, Terriers, and also ministers in a broader context of Christian spirituality as a teacher, supervisor, retreat leader and guide for the Ignatian Exercises. She has an MA in Christian Spirituality from Heythrop College and loves walking with her husband and their black labrador by the coast.

This year’s event will be held in the buildings of Ripon College and the Parish Church, all within walking distance of each other. The Parish Church and the Harriet Monsell Centre of Ripon College have amplification and a loop system for those with hearing difficulties.