Prayer and Spiritual Formation at Ridley
Everyone is different and each member of the community arrives with their own experience of prayer and understanding of spiritual formation. Whatever experience we bring with us, Ridley is a place where we can deepen our prayer lives and be further shaped by the Spirit of God to reflect the character of Christ in us. We pray too it will be a place where we learn to be those who will enable others to pray and be formed in Christlikeness.
"Morning Prayer, a weekly ‘quiet hour’, compline, a retreat, the influence of the Simeon Centre, the presence of the chaplain and the Pastoral Tutor system all mean that corporate and individual prayer are the lifeblood of the institution." Ministry Council Inspection Report, published 2012
Click on a heading for information on the different aspects of spiritual formation available to ordinands during their training.
A host of resources is available to the Ridley community – including spouses – to nurture a rich and transforming prayer life.
All ordinands are invited to talk about their prayer lives with their pastoral tutor, and to meet annually with the Chaplains to explore ideas, to ask for help with finding a spiritual director or seek other guidance.
Each ordinand becomes part of a small praying group. These are usually organised by students themselves although the Chaplains can help if required. Prayer Triplets nurture ongoing supportive friendships which often continue beyond Ridley into ordained life.
Any ordinands who would like to undertake two terms of guided Ignatian style prayer are 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.
The Quiet Hour
Once a week after Morning Prayer an hour is set aside as a corporate time of silence across all public places in the college in order to learn more about the discipline of listening to God. The hour is dedicated to prayer either in groups, prayer triplets or alone. A weekly prayer resource is curated by the Chaplains, and ordinands are encouraged to make use of the chapel as a space for personal prayer.
A Quiet Morning is held each term and offers ordinands opportunities to engage with silence in different ways. Quiet Days help us as a community to practise and experience the joyful disciplines of quiet, stillness, solitude, meditation, contemplation and prayer. Throughout the year Quiet Days demonstrate different ways of praying and have the twofold advantage of drawing each of us closer to God but also of providing tools for use in future ministry.
The Prayer Weekend
An annual Prayer Weekend is open to first year ordinands, their spouses and staff. It entails worship, prayer, opportunities to explore different prayer traditions, prayerful activities and a social event. It's a wonderful way to get to know each other better in a different setting. Like our Quiet Mornings, it enriches our lives as individuals and as community, and provides ideas, practices and resources for future ministry.
The Simeon Community is a dispersed praying community who meet regularly at Ridley Hall to pray for the college. They are always open to people joining them at this time.
Spirituality Lectures are an ongoing series of termly lectures that encourage us to think about and expand our understanding of spirituality. They give every ordinand an opportunity to discover something of the rich heritage of the Christian spiritual tradition.
In a three-year cycle, the community is introduced to a wide range of subjects, which may include:
- evangelical spirituality
- contemplative prayer
- Celtic Christian tradition
- lectio divina
- the Ignatian tradition
- charismatic spirituality
- Anglican spirituality
- Benedictine spirituality
- the Jesus prayer
Ridley Hall is blessed by a group of spiritual directors who offer their time and wisdom to both ordinands and spouses. The process of connecting individual ordinands with spiritual directors is co-ordinated by the Chaplains.
- Formation in community
Formation in community
We believe that personal and spiritual formation for discipleship and ministry is crucial and, more often than not, takes place in the sustained life of small groups when people pray, share, study, and travel through sorrows and joys together. The Church is essentially relational, a community brought into being through the cross and sharing the relational life of the Holy Trinity.
Ordained leaders need to be skilled in developing and nurturing trusting relationships because it is in a context of trust that both pastoral care and pastoral discipline are best exercised. Gifts for mission and ministry best emerge within positive relationships, and leaders need to learn how to participate in such groups as members and not just how to facilitate them.
Each ordinand is a member of a Staircase Group that is coordinated by two Staircase Stewards who organise a rota for staircase members to take up a variety of tasks in the community. Each Staircase Group meets once a week for prayer and fellowship.
In addition to belonging to a staircase, each ordinand will have a Pastoral Tutor and will therefore be a member of a Tutor Group (or Emmaus Group).
The Emmaus Programme in Vocation, Theology and Practice is the formation programme for all Ridley Hall ordinands in their first and final years of training. It maps onto the Formation Criteria of the Church of England (pdf) and is inspired by the story of the disciples’ encounter with Jesus on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35).
The Emmaus Programme’s components include Emmaus Groups, which gather weekly with their pastoral tutors for Morning Prayer followed by an hour of fellowship for a range of shared activities, including Bible study and personal testimony. Pioneer ordinands follow a parallel programme that takes place at the same time.
Emmaus Groups create the space for tutorial staff and tutees to know and be known by each other, playing an important part in the spiritual life of the community and each of our journeys of discipleship.