In order ‘To grow in wisdom to proclaim Jesus Christ’, we believe that prayer and spiritual formation is crucial.
Although everyone is different and each member of the community arrives with their own experience of prayer and understanding of spiritual formation , we want Ridley to be a place where everyone can deepen their prayer life and be further shaped by the Spirit of God to reflect the character of Christ in us. We hope too it will be a place where we learn to be those who will enable others to pray and be formed in Christlikeness.
A host of resources is available to the Ridley community – including spouses – to nurture a rich and transforming prayer life. We are here:
There are many opportunities to grow in prayer during your time at Ridley:
All students are invited to talk about their prayer lives with their personal tutor, and to meet annually with the Chaplain to explore ideas, to ask for help with finding a spiritual director or seek other guidance
All ordinands are expected to be part of a small praying group. These are usually organised by students themselves although the Chaplain can help if required. These nurture ongoing supportive friendships which often continue beyond Ridley into ordained life.
Any ordinand who would like to undertake guided Ignatian style prayer is warmly welcomed to do so. Based on the original spiritual exercises of St Ignatius of Loyola this is offered either on an individual basis or in a small group.
Many find this an amazing experience of encountering God more intimately in everyday life.
Once a week an hour is set aside as a corporate time of silence in order to learn more about the discipline of listening to God. This silence extends to all public places including staircase kitchens! The Federation timetable has been kept empty deliberately; Tripos students should keep the hour, as far as their academic timetable allows. The domestic staff know that this is a period of quiet in College and are careful not to disturb us. Occasionally there will be opportunities to experience different ways of praying.
For quiet prayer there is a prayer room with readings, prayers, prayer stations offered.
A Quiet Day is held each term which all ordinands are expected to attend. Throughout the year these will demonstrate different ways of praying and have the dual advantage of drawing each of us closer to God but also of providing tools for use in future ministry.
A Prayer Weekend is arranged in January every year for first year students. The weekend is open to both ordinands and spouses, but we are unable to accommodate children. The weekend entails worship, prayer, prayerful activities and a social event. It is also a way of getting to know other ordinands, spouses and some staff in a different setting.
The Simeon Community is a dispersed praying community who meet regularly at Ridley Hall (usually 1st Thursday each month 10.30-12 in chapel) to pray for Ridley Hall along with other prayer requests. They are always open to people joining them at this time.
All ordinands are expected to say morning and evening prayer – this will be explored further with Pastoral Tutors or the Chaplain. Opportunities to discuss and explore worship and liturgy are commonplace and opportunities to lead and preach in chapel and attachments or placements are offered.
Spirituality Lectures are held five times a year followed by discussion. These lectures seek to expand our understanding of spirituality and encourage us to think and develop. Their purpose is to give every student an opportunity to discover something of the rich heritage of the Christian spiritual tradition. They also include aspects of praying such as the use of a journal or fasting.
In a three year cycle, the community is introduced to a wide range of subjects including:
While all the staff, and the student body, contribute in a range of ways to the community’s healthy heartbeat of prayer, Anne Aldridge (the Chaplain), Catherine Wright, Ian Randall and Chris Pemberton have particular responsibility for helping in these areas of life at Ridley. They teach and train on Federation courses and modules and within Ridley and encourage ways in which Christian discipleship is shaped and practised. They have a coordinating role in the corporate life of prayer and spiritual formation as well as encouraging prayer disciplines and spiritual direction.
We are greatly privileged to be able to draw on the expertise of others within the church whose gifts within the area of spiritual formation and prayer are well recognized. Our current Associates are Elizabeth Adekunle (Archdeacon of Hackney and Chaplain to The Queen), Anders Litzell (founding Prior of the Community of St Anselm at Lambeth Palace) and Jane Keiller (former Chaplain at Ridley Hall).