Meditation in the Christian Contemplative Tradition
Regular contemplative practice is the foundation of what we're about at the NCMC. Members of our community - whether they are part of the Sunday morning church congregation or our wider network of seekers - are united in a thirst for a Christian path that is about inner transformation and experiential knowledge of the divine.
Individually we find many different ways of approaching this, broadly informed by the Christian contemplative tradition, as taught by mystics and masters through the ages and kept alive through the monastic traditions of both East and West.
We see ourselves as part of an emerging movement to reclaim and renew these ancient practices, finding fresh expressions that meet the needs of people wherever they are in relation to traditional structures - a church without walls. We are also open to the wisdom of other traditions, and recognise and celebrate the interspiritual nature of the culture in which we find ourselves in 21st century Norwich.
In this quest, we have been influenced and inspired by a number of luminaries who are helping lead the way, and in particular Cynthia Bourgeault, Richard Rohr and James Finley, all of whom we have been privileged to host as part of our speaker programme.
We have a particular affinity with an approach to silent meditation known as centering prayer. Originally pioneered by Trappist monk Fr Thomas Keating in the 1970s, centering prayer is now practised by thousands of communities and individuals worldwide, including 12 step recovery groups, and an organising body called Contemplative Outreach provides support and resources. Our allegiance to centering prayer is not exclusive of other approaches, but it seems to offer a solid foundation for teaching and communal practice.
We are currently offering workshops and groups designed to introduce people to this method, and to provide opportunities for deepening our understanding and our experience of the contemplative life. All are welcome - whether you're just curious, or a committed centering prayer practitioner, or if you're following another meditation practice - all that's needed is an honest desire for contemplative awakening, and we trust the Spirit to do the rest.
See www.contemplativeoutreach.org to find out more about centering prayer and to access resources. There's also lots of material on YouTube - try searching for Cynthia Bourgeault and Centering Prayer for some great introductory talks.
Silent Prayer for Peace
We also offer a regular monthly space where we can hold the concerns of the world in our hearts as we meditate together, in silence, with an intention towards peace - within and without.