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THE

HINGE INTERNATIONAL THEOLOGICAL DIALOG

FOR THE MORAVIAN CHURCH

Embracing Reflexivity Through Spiritually Reflexive Groups in the Training and Support of Clergy by The Rev. Dr. Peter M. Gubi, PhD, ThD

With responses by: Dr. Glenn H. Asquith The Rev. Cory L Kemp The Rev. Dr. Jane Williams The Rev. Sue Koenig

Vol. 22, No. 2: Spring 2017


THE

HINGE INTERNATIONAL THEOLOGICAL DIALOG

FOR THE MORAVIAN CHURCH

Volume 22, Number 2: Spring 2017 The Hinge is a forum for theological discussion in the Moravian Church. Views and opinions expressed in the articles published in The Hinge are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial board or the official positions of the Moravian Church and its agencies. You are welcome to submit letters and articles for consideration and publication. One of the early offices of the Moravian Church in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, was that of the Hinge: The office of the Hinge requires that the brother who holds it look after everything and bring troublesome factors within the congregation into mutual accord without their first having to be taken up publicly in the congregational council. —September 1742, The Bethlehem Diary, vol. 1, tr. by Kenneth Hamilton, p. 80. The Hinge journal is intended also to be a mainspring in the life of the contemporary Moravian Church, causing us to move, think and grow. Above all, it is to open doors in our church.


Notes from the Editor The Hinge, in various forms, has been published since the early 1990s. It started as a subscription-only periodical, but thanks to funding from the Center of Moravian Studies, it has been sent for free to ordained pastors in the Northern and Southern Provinces of the Moravian Church in North America for more than a decade. The Hinge relies entirely on volunteers who write articles and responses, serve on the editorial board, and edit it for publication. I want to say thank you to the dozens of people that make this discussion forum possible. Long-time readers of The Hinge may have noticed how much more professional the journal has become over the years. In the old days the editor had to physically cut and paste each item, take the sheets to a local copy center for printing, and then affix postage by hand. Now the Interprovincial Board of Communications handles much of the hard work of copy-editing and production, but they do it on top of an already demanding workload. It is difficult at times to produce The Hinge, but all of us involved in the process believe strongly that this journal provides a unique place where Moravians can discuss the vital issues that confront and shape our church. Sometimes this complicated process does not work as well as we would like. As the editor, I want to apologize to the readers, subscribers, and authors of The Hinge for this issue’s delayed publication. After a review of our situation, the editorial board has decided that in the future The Hinge will appear two times per year. We hope that by reducing the number of issues each year we can maintain the quality of the publication. In addition, the Rev. Laura Gordon has graciously agreed to join the staff of The Hinge as our new co-editor. Laura brings a wealth of expertise that will help us continue to bring The Hinge to life.

In this issue, we are honored to publish an article by Dr. Peter Gubi. Dr. Gubi is a Moravian minister in England who is also Professor of Counseling and Spiritual Accompaniment at the University of Chester. Dr. Gubi is one of the more prominent scholars in the Moravian Church who has published widely in the field of counseling and mental health chaplaincy. We are happy that he is willing to share his expertise with a Moravian audience. [Continued]

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Notes from the Editor [Continued from previous page] Peter’s article is a little different in style and content than the usual Hinge article in that he is using the vocabulary of psychotherapy as well as spirituality. He is specifically addressing the importance of reflexivity or self-awareness for pastors. It has long been accepted that counselors need to reflect on how their own feelings and reactions affect therapeutic relationships, and Peter is proposing that this is equally important for pastors. He recommends that ministerial education include training to help pastors develop greater self-awareness. In the United States this is done to some degree in Clinical Pastoral Education, but it may be helpful to expand this type of training and also provide help for active pastors to improve their self-awareness. How many times have preachers, for instance, discovered that their wounds and scars affected their sermons or pastoral leadership in ways that were harmful? One of the responses to Peter’s article was written by Dr. Glenn Asquith, professor emeritus of Moravian Theological Seminary. Sadly, Glenn died of cancer before this issue appeared in print. He was one of my professors in the 1980s and created the Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling program at MTS. In his long career as a professor, counselor, and pastor, Glenn helped hundreds, perhaps thousands of people live happier and more fulfilling lives. He assisted people in the most difficult times of crisis and transition, and his students benefitted from his knowledge and wisdom. He is now, in the words of William Walsham How, one of the saints “who from their labor rest.” In his teaching and all aspects of his life, Glenn exemplified the principles that Peter Gubi discusses in his article.

As always, we invite your response to The Hinge.

— Craig Atwood, Editor

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Embracing Reflexivity Through Spiritually Reflexive Groups in the Training and Support of Clergy The Rev. Dr. Peter Madsen Gubi, PhD, ThD, is Professor of Counselling and Spiritual Accompaniment at the University of Chester, UK. He has researched and published extensively into the spiritual dimension of Counselling and Psychotherapy, into the relationship between Counselling and Spiritual Accompaniment, and into Mental Health Chaplaincy; and has served on the Executive Board of the Spirituality Division of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. He is the author of Prayer in Counselling and Psychotherapy: Exploring a Hidden Meaningful Dimension (2008), and editing author of Spiritual Accompaniment and Counselling: Journeying with Psyche and Soul (2015), Listening to Less-heard Voices: Developing Counsellors’ Awareness (2015), Researching Lesser-Explored Issues in Counselling and Psychotherapy (2016) and What Counsellors and Spiritual Directors can Learn from Each Other: Ethical Practice, Training and Supervision (2017). He is also the non-stipendiary Minister of Dukinfield Moravian Church, Manchester, UK; and currently serves on the Church Service Committee that oversees the training of Ministers and Lay People in the British Province. Introduction In the UK, the Church of England’s recent “Formation Criteria for Ordained Ministry”1 puts reflexivity firmly at the centre of ministerial training. Although in its early days, as yet, this formation criteria will influence the training of all protestant clergy in the UK. Rennie2 defines reflexivity as “the ability to think about ourselves, to think about our thinking, to feel about our feelings, to treat ourselves as objects of our attention and to use what we find there as a point of departure in deciding what to do next”; and Hertz3 describes reflexivity as “an ongoing conversation about experience while simultaneously living in the moment.” It is now the purpose of all of the Church of England’s twenty-four recognised Theological Education Institutes, and the Dioceses’ Initial Ministerial Education Training Officers, to provide opportunity and pedagogical methods for developing reflexivity in their ordinands and curates. As the training of Moravian Ministers in the UK is conducted in ecumenical training institutions, at times (but not always) where the Church of England is the dominant partner in the confederation, this will impact the training of Moravian Ministers too. So, what insights and practices does the Moravian Church have to develop reflexivity in its training of its Ministers/Pastors? This article will THE

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Why reflexivity is important Developing reflexivity and self-awareness are necessary pre-requisites to good preaching.5 Schlafer6 and Buechner7 suggest that the preacher needs to consider how her past wounds, joys, and fears have affected her and reflect on her own experiences of God in order to reach beyond her comfort zone. Developing reflexivity and self-awareness are also pre-requisites to good pastoral care of others, where the “self ” is the resource for spiritual and pastoral care8. Awareness of self enables self-care against burnout9 and helps to build relational qualities that are needed in pastoral care10. Good “praxis” in pastoral theology is aided by reflexivity11, and reflexivity is necessary in using pastoral supervision effectively12. There is some recognition “that a deepening self-awareness and development of interpersonal skills, enabling co-operative styles of working with volunteers and a truly collaborative leadership style, as well as the ability to handle both conflict and isolation, and the confidence to seek out and develop appropriate support networks,” are all qualities required for Missional Leadership13. Reflexivity is also needed in facilitating “small group ministry” leadership14. So, reflexivity in ministerial formation is important. For many years, as a Counsellor and Spiritual Director, I have found Personal Development Groups (PDGs)15 useful in facilitating my ability to be reflexive, and my spiritual and emotional development and well-being. However, as an ordinand in the Moravian Church, training in the ecumenical Cambridge Theological Federation among Anglicans and others, I found no formal small-group space provided in my training for developing my reflexivity, or for “processing” my personal and spiritual development. This paucity led me to consider whether the provision of such a reflexive space might be helpful to other ordinands who wish to develop reflexively, spiritually/theologically, personally and relationally, and led to some initial research16. Thus, I gathered a group of ordinands to research this matter. This research, limited by its size, the number of times the group met, the qualities of the participants who may have been more psychologicallyminded than the typical ordinands, and the fact that the researcher was both a participant and a researcher in the small group being studied (and therefore the group arguably may have had some allegiance to me), nevertheless concluded that the Spiritually Reflexive Group enabled a transformative experience at both a personal and spiritual level, summarised as:

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examine the importance of reflexivity, and offer theological insights into the use of Spiritually Reflexive Groups4 as a form of pedagogy, which arguably resonate closely with the Moravian tradition.


• A space in which to learn to be more real with others and with God; • A place to sensitively challenge and be challenged before others and God; • A space where feelings and emotions can be articulated freely, and accepted before others and God”17.

Importantly, the ordinand participants concluded its necessity in their training and that of other ordinands. However, there is no literature or research on the use of Spiritually Reflexive Groups in the training of ordinands, nor on their use in the support of newly ordained clergy. This is something that I am currently addressing through my research.

Although this article draws on the research and experience of PDGs, I have chosen to rename them as “Spiritually Reflexive Group(s)” (SRG) here to embrace their usage in a different context, and to acknowledge the spiritual dimension of exploration and growth towards the formation of a reflexive theology – or “heart theology.”

Spiritually Reflexive Groups (SRGs) In the context of training for the Church of Scotland, Dennison18 states that until the development of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) in the 1940s, the focus of ministerial formation was on gaining knowledge (e.g. Biblical, Theological, Church Law). However, “reflective practice” is more encouraged today, as it “instills habits of reflection that will foster resilience in ministry and sustain practitioners in a ministry that has the capacity to respond creatively to a constantly shifting paradigm”19. In my personal experience, much of what passes for “reflective practice” today centres around considering how something went, and how it might be improved. By contrast, Kinast20 states that there is a divine dimension to the origin of all experience, which requires the ability to reformulate one’s theology in order to express the truth the theology intends21. Dennison states that developing this level of reflectivity demands time to honestly reflect, and a willingness to be vulnerable to re-enter a dissonant situation and consider the situation critically from a variety of perspectives. The reflexive element to this involves a search of self, and of one’s own process, to know what he has brought to an experience (or encounter), as well as engaging with the perceptions of tradition, faith positions, and biblical understanding towards a personal and theological reflection and an appropriate pastoral response. Whilst PDGs and SRGs are not the only method of facilitating self-awareness and reflexivity22, they enable core assumptions, beliefs, values, and attitudes to be made visible to the person because of the group THE

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• “[enable] experience in interactions with other people in very concrete and immediate ways, which can reinforce effective interpersonal patterns, challenge unhelpful ones and allow for possible changes to be tested out;

• reduce loneliness and isolation belonging to age and stage, life space or existential uncertainties by providing a supportive, bonded, at times loving, connection with peers, being shared, purposeful activity; • provide opportunities to see and feel the consequences of our projections of others;

• offer, in other group members, a range of alternative models of being, behaving and communicating which may assist in us loosening or even changing some of our own constructs and straitjackets in feeling, thinking and acting.”

Dryden et al.34 regard the PDG as a vibrant context for identifying personal development needs. If an atmosphere of trust and spirit of encounter can be developed in a group, the members can help each other identify needs, which might otherwise have been blind-spots. Lennie35 states that the preferred size of a PDG is between six and eight members. Environmental

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interaction. These colour our interactions and relationships with other people, our perceptions and feelings about the world and the meaning of life23. Within a spiritual formation context, Fowler’s24 “Stages of Faith,” though criticised as being “hierarchical”25, demonstrate the need for a place where an ordinand, or newly ordained person, can feel held and supported, as one moves from a more unquestioned acceptance of faith into a deeper mysticism of faith which is characterised by uncertainty, as reflexivity and faith develop. SRGs and PDGs can provide a space where assumptions, beliefs, values, and attitudes can be fully revealed and tested in comparison with others’ attitudes, through gaining responses and feedback from other people, and from seeing and feeling how behaviour, which is driven by our values, directly affects and is perceived by other members of our world. However, they don’t always lead to positive outcomes26, and can sometimes be destructive27 and dysfunctional28. Benson29 observes these “negatives” as: feeling excluded or scapegoated; suffering the insensitivities, righteous, relevant, or inappropriate anger and clumsiness of others; feeling unsafe and uncontained, over-dependent on or hostile to peers or group leaders; feeling bored, frustrated, impotent, or critical of self and /or others – all of which can occur for group participants at any time. Moon30 states that not all learners find reflexivity easy, and Robson and Robson31 argue that the need to feel “safe” is important, and such groups don’t always feel safe. However, Johns32 states that being in a PDG33 can:


factors (e.g. personality of the facilitator, comfort of physical surroundings, choice regarding fellow group members, adherence to time boundaries) significantly affect the development of self-awareness, as do the opportunities for honest feedback available in the group. Lennie points out that the participants of PDGs share relationships in other spheres which may impact how an individual communicates within the Group, and whether they get to know others in a meaningful way or remain hidden within the Group. All of these functions and attributes are equally attributable to SRGs. Within the American Catholic Church, small groups are used in ordination training to cultivate spirituality36 - their purpose being declared as “the creation of a space in a busy calendar to tend to students’ spiritual growth, and to centre the spiritual life of the seminary community thus contributing to the students’ spiritual development”37; although it is unclear from the literature if they are SRGs as defined above, as no uniform practices were found in the use of small groups to foster students’ spiritual formation in Foster et al.’s38 research.

Theological insights on SRGs Rose39 states that there can be no sense of self without other, for we are created in, and through, relationships, which are needed in order to gain wisdom and insight about ourselves and our issues. Others give us confidence in our own self-description. Either through a powerful sense of isolation or a profound connection, absence or presence of another is central to our experiencing. Relationships have the capacity to damage or to facilitate growth40. “We become the people we are as our identities are shaped through patterns of communication and response in which we are engaged. We carry the effects of the communication we have received and the responses we have made in the past forward with us into every situation and relationship.”41 Elsewhere42, I argue the necessity of relationship to the concept of “becoming’ and “growing” in our potential as people who are made in the image of God. Relationship enables “the journey from us to God and from God to us.”43 Rogers44 suggests that in order for a person to self-actualise and become that which they are truly capable of being45, then an enabling relationship must be present. Although Rogers’ work has been criticised by many as being “individualistic”46, Thorne47 states that authentic self-actualisation has to be socially mediated because we are relational beings. Therefore, we can only achieve our full potential in relationship/community – which a SRG can provide. McFadyen48 states that “the Genesis creation narratives speak of human creation together in God’s image in a way that should make impossible any talk of individuals as isolated, individual entities THE

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The insights that Schmid52 provides on the Trinity are also profoundly relevant for theologically understanding the transformative function of SRGs. Schmid argues that the concept of a triune God (God as communication and community) brings the dialectics of unity and plurality, identity and difference, individuality and community to a new peak of understanding of both God and human beings53. Schmid states that the Trinity reveals some profound truths. These include: we are individual people in a relational structure; God is the foundation of our relationship with each other; God is “person” and “group”; Community is “unity of ” and “in difference” without mingling; God as a dancing group in love; God as “I am who is here for you and will be with you”; God is plural (diverse, difference) yet one (mutual, collaborative); God is communication and dialogue; the human person is addressed by God to be God’s image and to be included in God’s community; the relationship of “them” as “one” is the foundation for tolerance, acceptance, dialogue, service, and love; Trinity as participation, equality and plurality; Trinity provides the foundation for a valuing of one’s own individuality and identity and it forbids the devaluation of other individualities and identities; Love of the one for the other overcomes the exclusion brought about by individuality; by encountering each other we acknowledge the fundamental “we” of the Trinity; Trinity is co-operation arising out of co-existence, co-responding out of co-experiencing, co-creating out of encounter54. Each of these can be seen in the way that SRGs operate as a coming together of unique individuals with experiences of journeying, to be one in a community of self-exploration and Divine revelation,

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because the narratives affirm that human persons are intrinsically related to one another and to God.” This way of thinking does not deny a person’s autonomy and independence49, but it acknowledges the freedom on which personal relationships are based, rather than regarding them as being coercive. “What is distinctive about the human relationship to God in creation is that God’s creative and sustaining activity elicits, enables, and deserves a free and thankful response”50 McFadyen states that the need for dialogue with God and with each other is a grace, a gift, and a “letting-be.” We can refuse to dialogue with God, but we cannot not be in relationship with God. We are called to “personhood” through relationship with ourselves, with God, and with each other. A SRG provides an opportunity, an ethos, and a space that is characterised by relationship, a desiring to become-thatwhich-we-are-capable-of-becoming, a grace, a gift, and a letting-be-inlove which is achieved through its non-directiveness, respectfulness, love, authenticity, and its acknowledgment of God’s presence through attitude, purpose, and symbolism51.


which Fiddes55 argues enables “participating in God’. Fiddes56 suggests that this sense of relational unity is based on the idea of perichoresis57: “By virtue of their eternal love, they live in one another to such an extent, and dwell in one another to such an extent, that they are one”58. Although Volf59 argues that this kind of mutual interiority is not possible for humans, this sense of social Trinitarian theology60 does provide useful insights that echo the attitudes and characteristics that SRGs must embody in their enabling of each participant.

Zizioulas61 picks up on this theological perspective by suggesting that community (and therefore SRGs) can be a place where “logos” (truth, word) can be revealed through encounter. “Revelation always unifies existence, through an idea, or a meaning, that is singular and comprehensive, forming a connection between created and uncreated rationality”62. Awad63 argues that the foundations of Zizioulas’ ecclesiological anthropology stem from this identification of “person” and “relation.” The relational understanding of hypostasis proves that the human’s essence lies not in individual existence, but in interaction with God and creation: the human is not a living being without interrelationship with others. The implications of this understanding appear in Zizioulas’ re-definition of salvation. Salvation is not a deliverance of the individual from submission to sin and slavery by gaining chaotic freedom. Rather, salvation is being in the image of God by participating in God’s relational personality. Salvation is in becoming a relational creature and realizing our being as “creature in communion.” Only then does one gain a real ontological sense of existence. Salvation is deliverance from individualistic isolation that separates the human from herself, from God, and from life in general64. Whist this understanding of Trinitarian theology does have its critics65, Zizioulas does offer a useful contribution to the understanding of the Divine within (self-awareness) and the Divine purpose that seeks “to become” and “to relate” – i.e. to deepen relationship with God, self, and others, which is the implicit and explicit purpose of SRGs. Gunton66 does, however, state that the Spirit makes the triune communion a free perichoresis, where the one and the many, being and relationship, person and substance, coincide as one God. Foster et al.67 state that “human encounter with that mystery [of human existence] has often been described as participation in the creative and redemptive activity of God, and is symbolised by notions of salvation, redemption, tikkun (the healing of the earth) and shalom (the harmony intended in creation).” So, in the SRG context, it is the Group, consisting of many, but yet being as one, that enables salvation, through enabling a greater sense of wholeness and healing to be achieved.

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The use of groups within Christian settings One of the most endemic church trends in North America, in recent times, has been the use of small groups in adult spiritual formation68. They are a response to a yearning for the sacred, and for community69. Donahue and Gowler70 state that they are a place where “belonging” can be had, and are a place in the spiritual journey that fills a void which is not met by family, formal church meeting, or work interactions. Yet, they are not a modern phenomenon71. Long before any theoretical and psychological attempt to understand the value and function of Personal Development Groups, Zinzendorf had some instinctive sense of the value of small SRGs within the Moravian tradition which he called “Bands.” In 1727, Zinzendorf began the use of “Bands” [Banden] to support the spiritual and interpersonal life of the Herrnhut community. Each Band was facilitated by a person who assumed primary responsibility for the pastoral care of the participants in the Band. The quotation below is a description by Zinzendorf dated 1745: “That we meet as Bands with each other, that we confess one to the other the state of the heart and diverse imperfections, is not done in order to consult with our brothers and sisters because we could not get along without the counsel of a brother or sister. Rather it is done that one may see the rightness of the heart. By that we learn to trust one another; by that no brother or sister thinks all the other that things are going well with some if they are really going poorly. Then no one can imagine that the brother or sister feels well when they are in pain. That’s why you talk to each other, why you unburden your hearts, so that you can constantly rely on each other.”72

The following description by Christian David (one of the early Moravian missionaries) shows how these small SRGs were used: “Initially there were among the brothers and sisters several who have a special trust in each other so that they began especially to form an association with the purpose (1) that they want to say to each other everything that they have on their heart and mind; (2) that they want to remind and encourage each other concerning everything they can see or think of each other and yet always to encourage one another to the good in everything; (3) that they want to come together once every week, in the evening, to hold conference or Bands with which they might get to know one another well within and without; (4) that they wish to give each other the freedom for heart, life, and journey, to test and

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express everything, and so love one another as their own life, to keep watch, pray, struggle and fight for one another, and to bear, spare one another, and help make life easier which is otherwise difficult, and therefore have the community which is proper to the Gospel.”73

For whatever reason, Zinzendorf started interfering with the make-up of the “Bands,” making them into “Classes” and then “Choirs” based on the perceived spiritual development of the participants, their gender, age and marital status; although later he came to regret this as he felt that people who were at different stages of spiritual development could learn from each other. Weinlick74 states that, “the unrestrained atmosphere of these congeniality groups served as both confessional and means of maintaining discipline and morale.” Podmore75 comments that Zinzendorf ’s Bands had the “function of the confessional and anticipated to some degree modern group therapy.” These groups were focussed on the mutual confession of sin, were voluntary, and were focussed on gaining unmediated grace through a direct encounter by the individual with the Holy Spirit that led to assurance76. They involved being mutually accountable, being transparent with one another so each knew what was really going on in the depth of each other’s lives in order to avoid self-deception and search their own hearts more fully – helping each other to see the true state of their own life with God more clearly77. However, they could also be unstable, when “no advantage appeared from these Bands, they were given up for a time and after a while renewed with a visible blessing.”78 Watson attributes the disappearance of Bands to the setting up of Classes and Choirs, which had a different focus79. Faull80, having recently resurrected a research interest in these early Moravian “Bands,” states that “the Moravian method of self-scrutiny and pastoral care was gentle and probing, leading the religious subject to reveal insights about the self and soul, rather than forcing a confession.” She argues that the Moravians saw this process as a “walk with God and Jesus,” and was very much a process of self-care. “Speaking, investigating, questioning, relating the experiences of the body and soul to a confidante, constitute a central moment in Moravian lives.”81 Helpers had to be confidantes of the highest order, with the ability to keep confidences and with the discretion to avoid prying too deeply into the private emotions of individuals. He or she needed tact and a friendly trustworthy demeanour that invited people to open a window to the soul82. Bunton83 charts the history of such groups, suggesting that Zinzendorf ’s Banden were influenced by Lutheran cell groups during the radical reformation, and that their use was common in the pietist movement. In THE

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Today, “directed” small groups form a part of many denominational ministries in North America85. In the UK, Alpha is one such small group ministry experience, which is “…mixed with men and women together, have a leader of the small group, and provide the participant with the opportunity to get started on spiritual development. The disciple must have a small group to reveal personal spiritual experiences, and hear others with the same spiritual grace.”86 Small groups are identified as being a mark of a healthy church in which “relationships are nurtured, so people feel accepted and are helped to grow in faith and service.”87 However, these small groups are “led” (directed) and have an educative agenda. I can find little in the literature on the value of non-directive SRGs in Church life, possibly because of a fear of their non-directiveness and lack of control over the agenda and levels of honesty which can engender uncertainty and silence which people can be uncomfortable with, or which challenge the lack of authenticity that is prevalent in many Church communities88.

Other difficulties with relationship-centred approaches to small groups have been identified by Rynsburger and Lamport89 as being: that spiritual growth in such groups can be problematic; that they promote “feel good” spirituality rather than biblically-based faith; that they assume that a simple loving and intimate community will promote spiritual growth, when what they promote and reflect are cultural values rather than spiritual values; that they discard a “truth only model” and emphasise experience and relationships over biblical truths. Rynsburger and Lamport90 state that if scripture is simply viewed as a collection of individual faith journeys, which it is in relationship-centred small groups, it will hold less authority than a Bible that teaches timeless truths and doctrines. Rynsburger and Lamport91 therefore argue for the centrality of scripture in small groups. Donahue and Robinson92 argue for the building of a Church of Small Groups that are authentic and encourage growth in community self-disclosure, care-giving, humility (to serve and be served), truth-telling,and affirmation so that “our

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the formation of Methodism, the Wesley brothers emulated the Moravian concept of “Bands” but added “outcomes” to their purpose in that they were expected to take people to another level of spiritual development, focussing on “the right state of the Soul,” and consisting of probing spiritual conversations. Watson84 states that Methodist Bands were a theological synthesis of Moravian and Anglican piety, in that Wesley “combined the Anglican understanding of mediated grace, through the practice of the means of grace, with the Moravian understanding of unmediated grace, where the Holy Spirit encounters individuals by directly conveying an assurance of forgiveness of sin and their new status as children of God.”


souls can turn to one another”; but the intention of their small groups is to lead people to Christ rather than in trusting their capacity for non-directive growth towards God via their actualising-tendency and relationship with Christ. Nash and Nash93 argue for the formation of small groups to facilitate skills for collaborative ministry, and usefully highlight various examples of “communities of practice” (or small groups) in the Frontier Youth Trust movement; yet their small groups are agenda-led. Within many evangelical churches in the UK, and in many Christian communities, small groups (Cell Groups, Home Groups or Care Cells) have historically been utilised from the early Church, and are currently often set-up to provide smaller more-personalised groups within a larger de-personalised Church, for the purposes of pastoral care, discipleship, mentoring others into spiritual maturity and Christian leadership; but again they are directed, often educational, and agenda-led94. Yet, Heriot95 observes that small “spiritual groups” are coming to define religion in North America. People join them to seek to heal and transform the self, and therefore the world. In them, the search for truth, healing, and enlightenment is left up to the individual. In Singapore, a Centre for Reflexive Theology (CRT) has been created. They believe that it is impossible to be incarnational without being reflexive, and are committed to listening to the voices of the Other, and to hearing the Other empathetically even when they disagree. They learn how others’ perspectives can enrich their own, and they teach how to be a listening community, and explore how different people understand and interpret the Bible. While they may not agree with the various perspectives, it is their hope that they appreciate them, and perhaps even use these differing perspectives to enrich their own spiritual journeys96. However, there is no research or literature that evaluates this experience or substantiates their aims. Within Quakerism, there exist small reflexive groups called “Clearness Committees,” consisting of five or six people, who are invited to congregate on an “as-and-when basis” for spiritual discernment on an issue of concern97. However, there is a paucity of literature on the effectiveness of these groups, and their purpose is very specific – to discern a response to a problem.

Within our own denomination, there is a renewed interest in some parts of the Moravian Church to reintroduce a form of 21st Century Choir System98. Graf99 suggests that, should they be adopted again, the consequences would be that: • The individual will develop his or her spiritual relationship with Christ; • The individual will deepen fellowship with his or her peers; THE

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• The entire congregation will be reinvigorated by small groups of highly motivated Christians”

Graf has pointed out that the characteristics of growing churches include an atmosphere of warmth, intimacy, and authenticity in which members can rediscover the gift of spiritual discernment and also take risks, and suggests that heart-felt conversations in Prayer Bands (or SRGs) would help people to look across the aisle and see not a stranger in the pew – but Christ. However, there is a recognition that abuses of the system took place in the mission fields100, and Groves101 recognises that people can be reticent to talk about their walk with Christ even though they have not lost their spiritual vocabulary, and are deeply faithful and believing. Groves states, from her experience, that small groups can be dominated by people with relational or mental health difficulties, or strong egos. In a group context, some folk can display “super spirituality” which can alienate others, and there is always concern for gossip within small Church communities.

SRGs as a Place for Developing Autoethnographic Theology, Ordinary Theology and Transformation Theology Although non-directive, Graf102 suggests that the content and reflexivity of Prayer Bands should be based on the following questions: • “How do you know God? How has God worked in your life up to this point? • How do you feel about your current relationship with God?

• Where did God work in your life this week/month? Where is God leading you? • What obstacles this week/month hampered your relationship with God?

• What will you do to handle these obstacles and draw closer to God this week/month?”

In my previous research103, the SRG met weekly for one hour per week and always opened with a brief prayer spoken by one member of the Group who felt led “by the Spirit” to do so. The prayer marked the purposeful beginning of the session and separated it from other social conversation that may have taken place prior to the start of the Group. There was no agenda for the Group other than that we be open and honest with ourselves as

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• Active lay leadership will allow ministers more time for creative ministry and vision;


to what was going on for us in our experience, seeking to grow in a better understanding of self, and to discern where God was in what was being experienced. In achieving this, participants were encouraged to use the “Let’s Do Theology Spiral”104 of: “Experience, Explore, Reflect, Respond, New Situation.” That is: • “What did you experience in terms of your personal and spiritual development?

• Explore how that came about for you (process). What aided that?

• Reflect on what you have learned from that experiencing about yourself or about your relationship with God.

• How might you respond (or understand God) differently or “in a new way”? • How might you approach situations differently as a result of the insight you have gained?”

The Group was non-directive and closed to others for its duration. In order to protect confidentiality, no notes were kept of the content of the sessions. Everyone in the Group was encouraged to take ownership of the experience, participate, and facilitate each other as they felt able to. Such a practice is an opportunity for reflexive (or autoethnographic105) theology (or Reflexive Ecclesiology) to develop. Reader106 refers to a concept of “Reflexive Spirituality” in which “what we learn about our own behaviour and processes of belief will itself inform what spirituality might become and directions in which it might develop.” This concept has been taken further by Wigg-Stevenson107 who states that, “rather than reflecting on Christian community or on Christian practice, Reflexive Theology highlights the aspects of doing theological reflection in Christian community and as Christian practice.” Wigg-Stevenson suggests that theological understanding emerges from the everyday and academic theology, in a way that can embed, and embody, substantive contributions to theology and ethics. “Theological claims that arise from this interactive framework are thus justified by it as well as authorised to speak back to it… Our theological practices… all reveal the disconnects and contradictions in a particular academic coherence. They rupture that coherence and press it into a moment of unsaying and silence, so that it can revise itself anew.”108

Taking this concept of reflexive theology beyond an ethnographic stance, in the context of a SRG (or community), where reflexivity is “owned” and “lived,” it becomes an autoethnographic theological process, akin to what

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“This inner person possesses all the senses which the outer person does, and by these senses in a way we might talk of today as “intuition,” or “extrasensory perception,” perceives the reality of Christ. The heart smells, sees, tastes, feels and hears… My heart tells me… it is thus to me.”109

This approach is akin to developing a tacit knowing or discernment of Christ, which can only come from a heightened sense of reflexivity, selfawareness, and openness to how the “Other” and Christ speaks, and where one finds a sense of God in that. Insights of God are then tested against Scripture and Community to determine a shared validity. A sharing of that process within the safety and reception of a SRG enables a meaningful, relevant, and transformational theology of the heart to be developed.

Davies110 seemingly echoes this kind of approach when he states that the key point of “Transformation Theology” is that Christ is real, genuinely shares our time and space, and effects change through the Holy Spirit. If one is changed, then others are changed also, just as one is transformed by the change in others through Christ. “Nothing is more personal than this kind of reorientation of life. But it is precisely where my life becomes most personal in this sense of undergoing real change, that I find myself positioned, in unity with others, before God the Triune Creator in Jesus Christ. At the point when I am most me, I find I am most him, or he is most in me, as I am in him… This is an inclusive, life-giving Trinitarian space. I know that others too are with me there, in whom he is and who also are in him, and I know too that it is the world – as it is transformed in him – that is the true source of change in me.”111 The essence of Transformation Theology, then, is to discern where Christ is in any given situation, and it is in the ordinary, as is constructed theologically, that Davies argues is “the site of our potential encounter with Christ.”112 That which is transformative does the work of the word “love” which Davies argues is fundamentally mysterious within the everyday113.

Authority, incarnation, confession and absolution The development of these kinds of “personalised theologies” (or “transformative theologies,” or “heart theology”) which can be facilitated in SRGs, raise the thorny question of “authority.” However, Ravetz114 argues that exousia (authority) is present when we become aligned to the word (logos) within us. He encourages people to experience their own process of “know-

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Zinzendorf described as a “theology of the heart,” in which the whole inner person becomes the locus of religious knowing, rather than the rational mind.


ing” as a path to discovering their own authority. “When we reflect on our thinking, we have created the thing we are knowing, and thus we are knower and known at the same time. This gives us confidence in our ability to know… and such clarity in our own inner authority liberates us from needing any outside authority”115. Ravetz terms this as “logos-ology.” Whilst recognising the value of trusting in our own authority brought about by claiming one’s own authority, such an approach is limited because it has the potential to be influenced by ego-centric influences and motives that may not be “of God” (e.g. selfhood). However, Ravetz claims that once we have found our true self through Christ (what he calls “the seed-Word”), because we are all incarnational beings (i.e. the Divine lives within), we no longer need to hold on to the “self.” “We would no longer be the centre of initiative in our own being; our identity would be that of the incarnate Logos.”116 Within a SRG, whilst honouring the logos-ology of each individual, the credibility, validity, and authority of any theological insights that may arise, may be tested against the experience, learning, and wisdom of others in the group (i.e. within the authority of the community, providing their agenda is trustworthy), and as in the Moravian context, against the authority of scripture and tradition117 – which itself is open to interpretation and dialogue. There are also difficulties to “logos-ology” when one thinks of situations when a person is convinced that they are called by God to ordination, only for their sense of calling to not be upheld by the Church community. One is left questioning the validity of their “logos-ology” in such circumstances, or wondering if it is the Church community that has got it wrong. Where, then, does authority lie? These (arguably) idiosyncratic approaches to theology have resonances with Astley’s118 notion of “Ordinary Theology”119; yet the basis of theological reflection within this paradigm leaves the question of authority unclear. Within my previous research120, the word “incarnational” was used to make theological sense of the experiencing of the SRG: “There’s something very incarnational about every person here matters, and about what each person here brings to the group… that’s very much where I am in terms of understanding the community of… the kingdom of God essentially. Everyone comes with wounds and with gifts. All are welcomed and all are valued” (M2). “For me, the incarnation is something about our presence with one another [which] speaks of God’s presence with us” (F1).

Kelly121 refers to a Theology of Presence. Although writing from within the context of pastoral supervision, Kelly refers to the development of the embodiment of reflection in practice, and then being able to risk respondTHE

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“There’s been quite a bit of repentance and a confessional quality about what… and the group has possibly been absolving and in a way giving permission. I’m certainly thinking about me rediscovering the joy of life which had been absent… there was definitely some sort of reconciliation going on for me which I think is very powerful and unexpected, and that made me feel that God was definitely in this group” (F3). “Confession happens truly when we know the other person is accepting us in our humanity and our struggles” (F1).

For some, these approaches to theology which SRGs have the potential to grow, will be criticised as too idiosyncratic, not systematised enough, as potentially breaching Church teaching and tradition, or even heretical125. However, they provide the opportunity for making and developing the skills and attitudes required for meaningful experience, relationship, and pastoral theological reflection and response.

Conclusion Whilst I have personally found SRGs to be useful, and my preliminary research indicates their value in developing reflexivity in ministerial training, there isn’t much (if any) research into their use in clergy training and support. Currently, I am attempting to address this deficit in my own ongoing research projects. My premise is that SRGs can play a significant part in the training of ordinands, and in the support of newly ordained clergy. The Moravian Church has within its history and practice the means of developing reflexivity, and the underpinning theological stance of “heart theology”

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ing and acting with phronesis (or practical wisdom).122 This leads to a theology that embraces risk as we face our vulnerable self. It risks staying with the “mundane, even the boring, and being familiar with their patterns so that the treasure which points to possible transformation and glimpses of transcendence may be intuited and mined for.”123 This requires a reflexive, embodied self in order to create opportunities for personal and professional growth, characterised by tenderness, gentleness and grace; requiring us to love our neighbours as ourselves (Matthew 22:39) and to give forgiveness to self and others in a co-created safe space, secure in the knowledge that we are loved unconditionally by God. The embodied, reflexive self is the primary resource to facilitate the promotion of shared vulnerability and real possibilities of learning and transformation. The participants in my earlier research124 described this shared vulnerability and possibility of learning and transformation as “confessional” and “absolving”; with the permission to be one’s self, reconciling and absolving.


to embrace and to lead its development. Developing reflexivity will enable clergy to: discern God’s presence and activity in the lives of others and in the wider world; be better able to balance care for others with care for self; be better able to reflect with insight and humility on personal strengths, weaknesses, gifts and vulnerability; be able to form and sustain healthy relationships inside and outside the church and with those with whom they differ; be better able to respond appropriately to pastoral situations and reflect critically on their own practice and understand professional boundaries in ministerial practice and pastoral care; and be better able to apply theological reflection and reflective practice habitually and effectively to themselves and their ministry126. This can only benefit our clergy and those with whom they journey alongside in an ever demanding and complex world. n

Endnotes 1 Church of England (2014). Formation Criteria with mapped selection criteria for Ordained Ministry in the Church of England. https://www. churchofengland.org/media/2139103/formation criteria for ordained ministry approved hofbps dec 2014.docx [Accessed 31/01/2015] 2 Rennie, D.L. (1998). Person-Centred Counselling: An experiential approach. London, UK: Sage Publications: pp.2-3. 3 Hertz, R. (1997). Reflexivity and Voice. Thousand Oaks, CA, USA: Sage: pp.vii-xviii. 4 A Spiritually Reflexive Group (SRG) is defined here as “a non-directive, closed group that aims to offer opportunities for reflection on interactions and processes in which reflexivity can take place at a psychological, relational and spiritual (theological) level’ (Gubi, 2011, p.50). 5 Buechner, F. (1977). The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy and Fairy Tale. New York, USA: Harper Collins; Craddock, F.B. (2002). Overhearing the Gospel. St. Louis, USA: Chalice; Day, D. (1998). A Preaching Workbook. London, UK: SPCK; Long, T.G. (2004). ‘No news is bad news’. In. Graves, M. (Ed). What’s the matter with preaching today? London, UK: Westminster John Knox Press; and Schlafer, D.J. (1992). Surviving the Sermon: A guide to preaching for those who have to listen. Cambridge, UK: Cowley.

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6 Schlafer, D.J. (1992). Surviving the Sermon: A guide to preaching for those who have to listen. Cambridge, UK: Cowley. 7 Buechner, F. (1977). The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy and Fairy Tale. New York, USA: Harper Collins; p.4. 8 Kelly, E. (2012). Personhood and Presence: Self as a resource for spiritual and pastoral care. London, UK: Bloomsbury; Lyall, D. (2001). The integrity of Pastoral Care. London, UK: SPCK; Lyall, D. (2009). ‘Supervision as Ministry’. Practical Theology, 2(3): 317-325; Willows, D. & Swinton, J. (2000). Spiritual Dimensions of Pastoral Care. London, UK: Jessica Kingsley Publications; Nouwen, H.J.M. (1979). The Wounded Healer. London, UK: Darton, Longman and Todd. 9 Lee, C. & Horsman, S. (2002). Affirmation and Accountability. Exeter, UK: The Society of Martha and Mary; Burton, J. & Burton, C. (2009). Public People, Private Lives: Tackling stress in clergy families. London, UK: Continuim. 10 Lyall, D. (2001). The integrity of Pastoral Care. London, UK: SPCK; Kelly, E. (2012). Personhood and Presence: Self as a resource for spiritual and pastoral care. London, UK. 11 Forrester, D.B. (2000). Truthful Action: Explorations in Practical Theology. London, UK: T & T Clark.

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18 Dennison, J. (2014). Theory into Practice: A challenge for supervisors in formation for ordained ministry. In Paterson, M. & Rose, J. (Eds). Enriching Ministry: Pastoral supervision in practice. London, UK: SCM Press; pp.105-112.

13 Diocese of Glasgow and Galloway (2012). http://md.glasgow.anglican.org/wp-content/ uploads/2011/09/2012-2013-CMD-Handbook. pdf [Accessed 07/01/2015]

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14 Gorman, J. (2nd Edition) (2002). Community that is Christian. Grand Rapids, USA: Baker Books; Gladen, S. (2011). Small groups with purpose. Grand Rapids, USA: Baker Books; Atkinson, H. (2002). The power of small groups in Christian Education. Nappanee, IN, USA: Evangel Publishing House; Atkinson, H. (2006). The power of small groups in making disciples. Tocca, GA, USA: Crooked Creek Publishing; Cromiskey, J. (2010). The relational disciple: How God uses community to shape followers of Jesus. Moreno Valley, CA, USA: CCS Publishing; Donahue, B. (2012). Leading life-changing small groups. Grand Rapids, USA: Zondervan; Jung, J. (2011). Godly conversation: Rediscovering the puritan practice of conference. Grand Rapids, USA: Reformation Heritage Books; Lewis, B. (Ed.) (2005). Small group ministry in the 21st Century. Loveland, CO, USA: Group Publishing. 15 Payne, H. (1999). Personal Development Groups in the training of counsellors and therapists: A review of the research. European Journal of Psychotherapy, Counselling and Health, 2(1): 55-68; Rose, C. (2008). The Personal Development Group: The students’ guide. London, UK: Karnac Books; Rose, C. (Ed.) (2012). Self-Awareness and Personal Development: Resources for psychotherapists and counsellors. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan; and McLeod, J. & McLeod. J. (2014). Personal and Professional Development for Counsellors, Psychotherapists and Mental Health Practitioners. Buckingham, UK: Open University Press; all state that a Personal Development Group is a non-directive, closed group that aims to offer opportunities for reflection on interactions and processes, and for the development of self-awareness. 16 Gubi, P.M. (2011). An exploration of the impact of small Spiritually Reflexive Groups on personal and spiritual development. Practical Theology Journal. 4(1): 49-66. 17 Ibid. p.64.

Ibid. p. 107.

20 Kinast, R.L. (1996). Let Ministry Teach: A guide to theological reflection. Collegeville, MN, USA: Liturgical Press; p.20. 21 Ibid. p.122. 22 Nash, P. & Nash, S. (2009). Tools for Reflective Ministry. London, UK: SPCK. 23 Johns, H. (2nd Edition) (2012). Personal Development in Counsellor Training. London, UK: Sage Publications. 24 Fowler, J.W. (1981). Stages of Faith: The Psychology of Human Development and the Quest for Meaning. New York, USA: Harper and Row. 25 Goss, P.M., & Gubi, P.M. (2015). Life-Span Development and Spiritual Needs. In Gubi, P.M. (Ed.). Spiritual Accompaniment and Counselling: Journeying with Psyche and Soul. Jessica Kingsley Publishers: London & New York. 26 Williams, D.I. & Irving, J.A. (1996). Personal growth: Rogerian paradoxes. British Journal of Guidance and Counselling, 24(2): 165-172. 27 Lieberman, M.A. (1981). Analysing change mechanisms in groups. In Bates, B. & Goodman, A (1986). The effectiveness of encounter groups. British Journal of Guidance and Counselling, 14(3): 240-250. 28 Lennie, C. (2000). The role of Personal Development Groups in counsellor training. Unpublished MA dissertation, Manchester University. 29 Benson, J.R. (1987). Working more creatively in Groups. London, UK: Routledge. 30 Moon, J. (2004). A handbook of Reflective and Experiential Learning: Theory and Practice. London, UK: Routledge; p.134. 31 Robson, M. & Robson, J. (2009). Explorations of participants’ experiences of a Personal Development Group held as part of a counselling psychology training group: Is it safe here?. Counselling Psychology Quarterly, 21(4): 371-382. 32 Johns, H. (2nd Edition) (2012). Personal Development in Counsellor Training. London, UK: Sage Publications; p.157. 33 The same is applicable to SRGs.

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12 Paterson, M. & Rose, J. (Eds) (2014). Enriching Ministry: Pastoral supervision in practice. London, UK: SCM Press; Leach, J. & Paterson, M. (2010). Pastoral Supervision: A handbook. London, UK: SCM Press.


34 Dryden, W., Horton, I., & Mearns, D. (1995). Issues in Professional Counselling. London, UK: Cassell. 35 Lennie, C. (2007). The role of Personal Development Groups s in counsellor training: understanding factors contributing to selfawareness in the Personal Development Group. British Journal of Guidance and Counselling, 35(1): 115-129. 36 Foster, C.R., Dahill, L.E., Goleman, L.A. & Wang Tolentino, B. (2006). Educating Clergy: Teaching practices and pastoral imagination. San Francisco, CA, USA: Josey-Bass. 37 Ibid. p.281. 38 Ibid. 39 Rose, C. (Ed.) (2012), p.6-8. 40 Gubi, P.M. (2011), pp.49-66. 41 McFadyen, A.I. (1990). The Call to Personhood. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press; p.7. 42 Gubi, P.M. (2015). The Importance of Relationship. In Gubi, P.M. (Ed.). Spiritual Accompaniment and Counselling: Journeying with Psyche and Soul. London, UK & New York, USA: Jessica Kingsley Publishers. 43 Schmid, P.F. (2006). In the beginning there is community: Implications and challenges of the belief in a triune God and a Person-Centred Approach. Norwich, UK: The Norwich Centre; p.8. 44 Rogers, C.R. (1980). A way of being. New York, USA: Houghton Mifflin 45 That is, a fully-functioning person, which theologically can be understood as ‘becoming closer to the Divine within’. 46 Hurding, R.F. (1985). Roots and Shoots: A guide to counselling and psychotherapy. London, UK: Hodder and Stoughton. 47 Thorne, B. (2002). The Mystical Power of Person-Centred Therapy: Hope beyond despair. London, UK: Whurr Publishers; p.10. 48 McFadyen, A.I. (1990). The Call to Personhood. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press; p.18. 49 Schmid (2006, p.25) argues that, ‘both autonomy and interrelatedness as a person are responses to God’s call into relationship with them’. 50 McFadyen, A.I. (1990), p.19.

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51 Gubi, P.M. (2011), p. 49-66. 52 Schmid, P.F. (2006), p.25. 53 Ibid. p.5. 54 Ibid. p.8-27. 55 Fiddes, P.S. (2000). Participating in God: A pastoral doctrine of the Trinity. London, UK: Darton, Longman and Todd. 56 Ibid. p.47. 57 Perichoresis is the mutual interpenetration of the persons. Moltmann (1981, p.175-175) [see below] suggests that this concept signifies a unity or at-oneness that is constantly created anew through acts of self-giving and receiving among three persons. This is emulated in the relational dynamic present among the participants in SRGs. 58 Moltmann, J. (1981). The Trinity and the Kingdom of God (trans. Khol, M). London, UK: SCM Press. 59 Volf, M. (1998). After our likeness: The Church as the image of the Trinity. Grand Rapids, MI, USA: Eerdman. 60 McDougall, J.A. (2005). Pilgrimage of Love: Moltmann on the Trinity and Christian Life. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. 61 Zizioulas, J.D. (1985). Being as communion. London, UK: Darton, Longman and Todd. 62 Ibid. p.77. 63 Awad, N.G. (2010). Personhood as Particularity: John Zizioulas, Colin Gunton, and the Trinitarian Theology of Personhood. Journal of Reformed Theology, 4: 1-22 . 64 Ibid. p.5. 65 E.g. Awad (2010) and Volf (1998). 66 Gunton, C. (1993). The One, the Three and the Many: God, Creation and the Culture of Modernity. London & Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. 67 Foster, C.R., Dahill, L.E., Goleman, L.A. & Wang Tolentino, B. (2006). Educating Clergy: Teaching practices and pastoral imagination. San Francisco, CA, USA: Josey-Bass; p.100. 68 Rynsburger, M. & Lamport, M.A. (2008). All the Rage: How small groups are really educating Christian Adults. Part 1: Assessing small group ministry practice: A review of the literature. Christian Education Journal. 5(1): 116-137.

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70 Donahue, B. & Gowler, C. (2014). Small Groups: The same yesterday, today and forever. Christian Education Journal, 11(1): 118-133. 71 Bunton, P. (2001). Cell groups and house Churches: What history teaches us. Lititz, PA, USA: House to House publications. 72 Cited in Freeman, A.J. (1998). An Ecumenical Theology of the Heart: The theology of Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf. Bethlehem, PA, USA: The Moravian Church in America; pp.259261. 73 Ibid. pp.259-261. 74 Weinlick, J.R. (2001). Count Zinzendorf: The story of his life and leadership in the renewed Moravian Church. Bethlehem, PA, USA: The Moravian Church in America; p.84. 75 Podmore, C. (1998). The Moravian Church in England:1728-1760. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press; p.31. 76 Watson, K.M. (2010). Forerunners of the early Methodist Band Meeting. Methodist Review: A Journal of Wesleyan and Methodist Studies, 2: 1-31. 77

Ibid. p.13.

78 Lewis, A.J. (1962). Zinzendorf the Ecumenical Pioneer: A study in the Moravian contribution to Christian mission and unity. Philadelphia, USA: Westminster Press. 79 Watson, K.M. (2010), p.15. 80 Faull, K. (2011). Instructions for Body and Soul: 18th Century Moravian Care of the Self. The Hinge: International Theological Dialog for the Moravian Church. 18(2): 3-28. 81 Ibid. p.6. 82 Ibid. p.7. 83 Bunton, P. (2001). 84 Watson, K.M. (2010), p.31. 85 Gorman (2002); Gladen (2011); Atkinson (2002); Atkinson (2006); Comiskey (2010); Donahue (2012); Jung (2011); Lewis (2005). 86 http://christianperfection.com/page2.html [Accessed 05/01/2015].

87 Dever, M. (2004). Nine marks of a healthy church. Wheaton, IL, USA: Crossway Books; and Warren, R. (2004). The Healthy Churches’ Handbook. London, UK: Church House Publishing. 88 Gubi, P.M. (2011). 89 Rynsburger, M. & Lamport, M.A. (2008). pp.116-126. 90 Ibid. p.122. 91 Rynsburger, M. & Lamport, M.A. (2009). All the Rage: How small groups are really educating Christian Adults. Part 3: Anchoring small group Ministry practice – Biblical insights and leadership development. Christian Education Journal, 6(1): 112-125; and Lamport, M.A. & Rynsburger, M. (2008). All the Rage: How small groups are really educating Christian Adults. Part 2: Augmenting small group ministry practice – developing small group leadership skills through insights from cognate theoretical disciplines. Christian Education Journal, 5(2): 391-414. 92 Donahue, B. & Robinson, R. (2001). Building a Church of Small Groups: A place where nobody stands alone. Grand Rapids, USA: Zondervan; pp.57-71. 93 Nash, P. & Nash, S. (2009). 94 McCallum, D. & Lowery, J. (2012). Organic Discipleship: Mentoring others into Spiritual Maturity and Leadership. New York, USA: New Paradigm Publishing. 95 Heriot, J. (2010). ‘Spiritual but not Religious’: How small groups in America redefine religion. In Maynard, J.F., Hummel, L. and Moschella, M.C. (Eds). Pastoral Bearings: Lived religion and pastoral theology. New York, USA: Lexington Books. 96 Centre for Reflexive Theology. http:// reflexivetheology.blogspot.co.uk/ [Accessed 07/01/2015] 97 Nash, P. & Nash, S. (2009). 98 Graf, L. (2012). Learning from our past: Ideas for a 21st Century Choir System. The Hinge: International Theological Dialog for the Moravian Church. 18(3): 2-12. 99 Ibid. p.11. 100 Lloyd, G. (1983). ‘Speaking’ in the Moravian Church: An inquiry into the historical and religious significance of this practice and its implications for pastoral care and counselling. Unpublished MA Thesis: San Francisco Theological Seminary, USA.

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69 Wuthnow, R. (1994). Sharing the journey: Support groups and America’s new quest for community. New York, USA: Free Press.


101 Groves, S. (2012). Response to Graf, L. Learning from our past: Ideas for a 21st Century Choir System. The Hinge: International Theological Dialog for the Moravian Church. 18(3): 17-19. 102 Graf, L. (2012), p.8. 103 Gubi, P.M. (2011), p.58. 104 Green, L. (2009). Let’s do theology: Resources for Contextual Theology. London, UK: Mowbray; p.25. 105 Autoethnographic, in that theological wisdom and insight comes from a tacit knowing that comes from ‘within’ in relation to what one experiences of the world, what one knows biblically and theologically, and where Christ is personally discerned. 106 Reader, J. (2008). Reconstructing Practical Theology: The impact of globalisation. Farnham, UK: Ashgate Publishing Limited; p.73. 107 Wigg-Stevenson, N. (2013). Reflexive Theology: A preliminary proposal. Practical Matters. Spring, 6: 1-19.

115 Ibid. pp15-15. 116 Ibid. p.106. 117 Graf, L. (2012). 118 Astley, J. (2013). The analysis, investigation and application of Ordinary Theology. In Astley, J. & Francis, L.J. (Eds). Exploring Ordinary Theology: Everyday Christian believing and the Church. Farnham, UK: Ashgate Publishing. 119 Astley (2013, p.1) defines Ordinary Theology as ‘the theological beliefs and processes of believing that find expression in the God-talk of those believers who have received no scholarly theological education. 120 Gubi, P.M. (2011), p.62. 121 Kelly, E. (2014). Risking the Embodied Self: A theology of presence in pastoral supervision. In Paterson, M. & Rose, J. (Eds). Enriching Ministry: Pastoral supervision in practice. London, UK: SCM Press.

108 Wigg-Stevenson, N. (2014). Ethnographic Theology: An enquiry into the production of theological knowledge. New York, USA: Palgrave Macmillan; pp.171-172.

122 Kelly (2014, p.41) defines Phronesis as ‘being the creative and discerning use of knowledge (including awareness of self ) in the moment acquired through ongoing reflective practice and engagement with a relevant evidence base informing practice.

109 Freeman, A. (1998), pp.89-92.

123 Ibid. p.47.

110 Davies, O. (2013). Theology of Transformation: Faith, Freedom, and the Christian Act. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

124 Gubi, P.M. (2011).

111 Ibid. p.18. 112 Ibid. p.21. 113 Ibid. p.22. 114 Ravetz, T. (2014). The incarnation: Finding our true self through Christ. Edinburgh, UK: Floris Books.

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125 Pattison, S. (2007). The Challenge of Practical Theology. London, UK: Jessica Kingsley Publishers. 126 Church of England (2014). Formation Criteria with mapped selection criteria for Ordained Ministry in the Church of England. https://www. churchofengland.org/media/2139103/formation criteria for ordained ministry approved hofbps dec 2014.docx [Accessed 31/01/2015].

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Responses to Peter Gubi The Rev. Dr. Glenn H. Asquith The Rev. Dr. Glenn H. Asquith, Jr., Ph.D. was Emeritus Professor of Pastoral Theology at Moravian Theological Seminary, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

The initiation of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) by Anton T. Boisen at Worcester (MA) State Hospital in 1925 began a revolutionary challenge to traditional theological education. Boisen was an ordained minister who received a traditional theological education at Union Theological Seminary in New York. But he received inadequate treatment for his mental illness in the early 1920’s in a psychiatric environment that regarded any religious ideation as part of the illness. The missing piece in his treatment was the opportunity to speak to a religious professional who could help him understand the spiritual meaning of his narrative. Thus, Boisen taught that, while Biblical, theological, and historical study provided a necessary framework for thought and theological reflection, theological education was incomplete until one also read the “living human documents” of real human experience. This would allow full and holistic theological reflection on the work of ministry and thus allow a pastor to provide a fully engaging spiritual presence in the encounters of ministry. As CPE and the accompanying field of contemporary Pastoral Theology developed, we also realized that the starting point of understanding others’ narratives was to understand our own narrative. Hence, CPE engaged students in what I call the “three-legged stool” of equal and simultaneous activities: self-awareness, skill development, and theological construction. Self-awareness in CPE is achieved by engagement in regular weekly small group activities, including what are usually called Interpersonal Relationship Groups (IPR), in which students learn from their peers about how they relate to others and how they respond in crisis and stress. Peter Gubi is correct in saying that, in spite of many years of IPR and “sensitivity group” activities in CPE and in theological education, there has actually been very little literature on the spiritual and theological rationale and practice for these groups. One notable exception is Joan Hemenway’s Inside the Circle, published 20 years ago (Hemenway, 1996). In it, Hemenway also lamented the lack of literature on this common and important practice in theological education, but her purpose was primarily to reconcile the conflicting psychological theories behind this practice.

Therefore, Gubi has made a very valuable contribution to our conceptual understanding and practice of spiritually reflexive groups (SRG’s) in theological education with this very comprehensive and well-documented study. It is a bonus that he has written it within the Moravian pietistic context that has always valued small groups and the sharing of individual

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lebenslaufe as a central method for spiritual growth and development. Humanistic psychology and the psychoanalytic theory of C. G. Jung, which both had a major influence on the development of CPE, stressed that human beings only reach their full potential ( Jung’s individuation) in the context of a relational community that provides honest feedback, support, and occasional confrontation. As Gubi points out, this is best done in a diverse group, not the intentionally homogeneous “Bands” and “Choirs” that Zinzendorf developed in the 18th century. For this reason, CPE has always sought diversity in its training groups, as I also did in forming groups at Moravian Theological Seminary. Gubi asserts that the best reflexive groups are autoethnographic and thus give birth to individual narratives and heart theology; he calls these “non-directive” in the sense that they honor individual experience. However, he also wrestles with the historic question of authority; such groups can become so inner-focused that they drift into an ego-centric understanding of God that strays from the central core of Biblical understanding and religious orthodoxy. Indeed, the “experience” source of the Wesleyan quadrilateral of epistemology has often been suspect in traditionally orthodox religious circles. Gubi provides a very helpful theological rationale for the authority of individual experience in his discussion of Ravetz’ concept of “incarnate Logos.” He also highlights the important combination of what Henri Nouwen called the two basic spiritual disciplines: solitude and community (Nouwen, 1981). When individual God-experience is shared in the context of the collective discernment of a spiritually-based group (community), Truth will usually emerge. Returning to Boisen’s insight about a complete theological education, I have found that the best SRG’s are those that employ the other three Wesleyan sources of revelation—scripture, reason and tradition—to provide a good balance of content and process. In spiritual formation groups, the content of the Logos (a scripture passage via Lectio Divina or a theological concept) provides a valuable anchor for individual process in developing the fullest sense of Christian community and koinonia. With that necessary balance, spiritually reflexive groups provide a powerful environment for the Kairos of God’s revelation to our individual narratives, and the resulting transformation of both head and heart sends us forth to effective ministry in the world. n References

Hemenway, J.E. (1996). Inside the circle: A historical and practical inquiry concerning process groups in clinical pastoral education. Decatur, GA: Journal of Pastoral Care Publications, Inc. Nouwen, H.J.M (1981). Making all things new: An invitation to the spiritual life. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers.

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The Rev. Cory L. Kemp The Rev. Cory L. Kemp serves as owner and faith mentor at Broad Plains Coaching, helping women connect with their inner voices of truth and wisdom, encouraging them to be visible and powerful in their way of looking at the world and how they contribute to it, so they may make a lasting impact with their lives and work. This article raises the combined truth that clergy need support and seminarians can learn how to create that support during vocational education. Central to this experience is individual willingness to be visible in receiving from and giving to other group members. It is a powerful reminder that, as individual creations of God, we are also one in God as we live, move and have our being. My response here opens the conversation to our mutual willingness as clergy to be visible and to receive support from other ministers. How does that intention then influence the Moravian Church?

Hiding is an automatic awareness on our part as clergy. Have you stopped yourself from sharing a great book title because it may not seem quite right for a minister’s reading list? Have you held back your opinion in conversation because you are afraid the other person will misconstrue your intent? You know this place in your particular way. In the end, you want to serve God and pay your bills. These are not unreasonable, mutually exclusive goals. But visibility feels vulnerable, uncomfortable, and sometimes financially unstable—even more so if you see yourself in competition for a limited number of pastoral positions.

However, invisibility comes at an incredibly high cost. Hiding your best self behind the fear of other people’s judgments eventually leads to forgetting who you are, making yourself invisible to you. What comes begging is the question of whose life you are living and to what end, breeding suspicion and distrust among those who potentially want to, and can choose to, be supportive colleagues. Besides embodying the antithesis of the gospel’s freedom to serve God without fear, it is a horrible, disempowering way to live. Choosing visibility begins with a question you can ask yourself: What do I really, really, really want? My mentors have taught me that we human beings are united in our desire to be seen, heard and loved. There

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is no greater gift you can give yourself; there is no greater gift that we can give each other, echoing the Great Commandment and the second that is like it. Being visible with each other in vocational support groups demands and benefits from remembering, especially in our words, our shared humanity.

The power of this truth was underscored for me in sharing a social media post. One clergy colleague offered a somewhat sarcastic response. Others, from my business coaching community, focused on my work and its alignment with my vision and purpose. My words also supported them and their work. I immediately noticed this difference: where I felt seen, heard and valued as myself, living my call. That experience is what I want to give because I know how uplifting it felt to receive. Do you fully understand how you come across to other people? However you answer that question, my guess is that you, like many, are all too ready to criticize yourself for most of what you have done, as well as for all the things you have left undone. That easily becomes all you are capable of hearing from anyone else. Constructive feedback is vital; encouraging support builds confidence and collegiality.

When you are willing to see your whole self, all that you have already received from God, your next step forward allows you to receive support from other people. You individually live your life and call, but you cannot do it without help. Being whole, beginning with seeing all of yourself, allows you to ask for the help you want. When you are standing in your full worth, asking to receive support, you honor the example Jesus gave in his life.

Jesus regularly sought the disciples’ help, perhaps most poignantly the evening of his arrest, asking them to just stay awake with him. They failed miserably at that, but Jesus didn’t love or value them any less. People also regularly came to Jesus to ask for his help. And when they came to him for help, Jesus didn’t start by telling those vulnerable women and men about their shortcomings as a prerequisite to receiving his support. He didn’t assume what they needed. Jesus asked each person what they wanted. Supporting one another in mutually strengthening ways—really seeing, hearing and appreciating each other—does mean letting go of the familiar need to be right, liked and take things personally. It means abandonment of the quick, cynical insider remarks in favor of paying attention to how you listen, to your own inner wisdom and to other ministers.

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How might these individual decisions and responses influence the Moravian Church? I believe that as the leadership of the denomination chooses visibility, wholeness is revealed among all of us. We become more, magnifying God through our collective soul. n

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What do you really, really, really want? How do you want to serve God’s greatest good at this point in your ministry? How visible are you willing to become in making that happen? What support are you willing to ask for and receive from your clergy colleagues? This is something you can choose to model, something that can be shared with seminarians, newlyordained clergy and those who continue on with their work as faithful individuals in community. In doing so, you ease the burden of feeling you must fit yourself into someone else’s perception; you are no longer filling a slot, but allowing God to work through you.


The Rev. Dr. R. Jane Williams: The Value of Reflexivity in Pastoral Care and Clinical Counseling Training The Rev. Dr. R. Jane Williams, MDiv, PhD, is professor of Clinical Counseling and chair of the Master of Arts in Clinical Counseling Program of Moravian Theological Seminary The Rev. Dr. Peter Gubi argues the utility of Spiritually Reflexive Groups (SRG) as safe containers for seminary and post-seminary support in which clergy can “. . . be more real with others and with God . . . sensitively challenge and be challenged before others and God . . . [and ] where feelings and emotions can be articulated freely, and accepted before others and God.” Through honest exploration of assumptions, doubts, and responses in a group context, students and newly ordained clergy mature from initial uncritical acceptance of one’s faith beliefs and personal behavior to awareness and acceptance of the mystery of faith, greater openness to selfdiscovery, and deeper sensitivity to the impact of our behavior on others. My experience in teaching MDiv and MACC (Master of Arts in Clinical Counseling) students at Moravian Theological Seminary supports Dr. Gubi’s thesis.

MDiv and MACC students at Moravian Theological Seminary (MTS) experience and learn to incorporate into ministry and clinical practice some of the fundamentals of reflexive practice through reflective writing assignments and participation in reflexive groups. The model of action-reflection-action undergirds much of the reflexive work in the MDiv and MACC programs in the belief that neither academic learning nor experience alone are sufficient for professional training. For instance, MACC students’ written reflections (called CIRs or Counseling Incident Reflections and adapted from a tool used in Clinical Pastoral Education/ CPE settings) slows down the action in a remembered counseling incident such that students can become aware of the internal responses that led them to respond in a particular way to client statements or body language. Slowing down the action of a remembered incident not only helps students increase awareness of the power they wield in the client-counselor interaction, but also aids in the student’s growing awareness of how impactful the client and counselor are on each other -- known as intersubjectivity (Cooper-White, 2011). Mindfulness practice and breathwork, taught and used in our classes, results in increased counselor self-awareness of intersubjectivity and a reduction of anxiety. [Continued]

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Classes like Learning in Community (LinC), Introduction to Spiritual Formation, Formative Spirituality, and Supervision/Peer Groups include components incorporating these transformative qualities of SRGs. In the MTS community environment, these groups are key elements in the journeying of MDiv and MACC students from an “imposter syndrome” of acting like a minister or counselor to exploring, owning, and embodying one’s unique expression of vocation as their genuine identity.

Gubi’s suggested questions for unlocking the transformative power of SRGs mirror the open-ended questions that MACC students are asked to reflect on in CIRs or in their supervision/peer groups: where they saw God at work this week in their lives/counseling sessions/pastoral care; what they learned about themselves and God in their responses,;how they might use their new-found learnings in future interactions. Many times, as students respond to these questions, there is a hushed silence that embraces the cohort -- a silence potent with God’s presence and noticed as such by students.

In MACC groups we use metaphor, contemplative/theological reflection, and imagery as a tools for transformation. Theological reflection in CIRs and in supervision/peer group is a prime means for this and asks the student to sit with eyes closed and use one’s breath to relax. Then, having brought a particular counseling incident to mind, students invite images, biblical stories or phrases, hymns or songs, or even a movie to come to mind. When something does, even if odd or strange, students shift into cognitive mode and read/tell the whole story or pericope, write out the entire song lyrics, etc. Looking at the whole rather than the small part that originally came to them, what is God saying about the counseling incident, the counselor, the counselee? Invariably students experience “aha’s” that expand their understanding not only of the counseling session, but of who they are and what God is saying to them. Repeated use of theological

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Reflexive groups in the MTS program not only further learning of content by examining how one successfully or unsuccessfully functioned in a counseling session, but, as Gubi mentions, also allow “core assumptions, beliefs, values and attitudes to be made visible to the person because of the group interaction.” Such mirroring back by one’s peers is quite transformative for the student. In hearing from trusted peers how one’s interpersonal interactions, leadership style, and expressions of belief or care affect others, group members can, in this safe yet honest space, try out new ways of interacting, offering care, and deeply exploring their faith and personal identity without fear of receiving a lowered grade.


reflection of this sort grows one’s ability to tap into inner wisdom and Wisdom/Spirit, and invites the student to be open to and aware of the Spirit breaking through in counseling/pastoral care encounters as Comforter and Guide in the moment. Comfort with use of metaphor primes the pump for such theological reflection and begins early in required MTS classes through guided meditations, reflection on and exploration of metaphors for the Divine, and the use of poetry. Empowering the right brain to participate in bringing forth images or metaphors allows some balance of the tendency to rely on cognitive thought processes alone. The movement from student to therapist (or minister) is a developmental process that seeks to increase the student’s capacity for empathy, authenticity, creativity, risk-taking, self-reflection, and self-awareness. I am grateful to Rev. Dr. Gubi for encouraging further use of reflexive groups for clergy-in-training and the newly ordained to facilitate this movement. His essay is helpful to me as I continue to hone our SRG-style groups in the MACC, and inspires me to include more of this in my teaching of MDivs as well. I look forward to his research as a way of gaining validity for such groups in seminaries. n References

Cooper-White, P. (2011) Many voices: Pastoral psychotherapy in relational and theological perspective. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press.

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The Rev. Sue Koenig

The Rev. Dr. Gubi identifies the implicit and explicit purpose of Spiritually Reflective Groups (SRGs) “to deepen relationship with God, self and others.” In his discussion on SRGs and theology, Rev. Dr. Gubi refers to a concept developed by Wigg-Stevenson who states that, “rather than reflecting on Christian community or on Christian practice, Reflective Theology highlights the aspects of doing theological reflection in Christian community and as Christian practice.” The understanding of pastoral care I am positing for this article comes from Kent Ira Groff ’s The Soul of Tomorrow’s Church: Weaving Spiritual Practices in Ministry Together.1 In a chapter entitled “The Soul of Care: One Anothering,” Groff writes: I propose three subtle shifts from common expectations of “pastoral care” to its more ancient name – the care of souls, or soul care. First is a shift from pastoral care to community care, anchoring the people’s well-being in ministering with one another...Second is a shift from emphasizing one-to-one visitation and pastoral counseling...to a broader view of soul care...Third, the emphasis shifts from “doing for” to “being with...”

“Care of souls” is terminology familiar to clergy in the Moravian Church, Northern Province, who are ordained with a charge to “study, pray, care for souls, preach, teach, administer the sacraments, and evangelize.” (Service of Consecration of a Presbyter.)

With these thoughts in mind, I will offer two possibilities for the application of Rev. Dr. Gubi’s ideas to improve pastoral care in congregational settings: in meetings of church leaders, and in corporate worship. Develop Boards of Elders, Trustees, and joint or consolidated boards into SRGs: Numerous small groups already exist in our congregations, including “small groups” that are made up of congregational leaders, such as our Boards of Elders and Trustees. Creating and embracing the opportunity for congregational boards to be first SRG’s and practice spiritual reflection during their meetings to prepare for or evaluate their other ministries will improve and strengthen pastoral care in the congregation by deepening leaders’ relationships with God and one another as they reflect on God’s presence and movement in their midst individually and on behalf of the congregation. This care for the souls of leaders, with all its possibilities for deepening spirituality, trust and authenticity, will improve the quality of

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The Rev. Sue Koenig is pastor of Graceham Moravian Church in Thurmont, Md.


relationships within the congregation, and with others, as people genuinely know and care for one another so that, for example, “...no one can imagine that the brother or sister feels well when they are in pain.” (p.5). The questions from “Let’s Do Theology Spiral” of “Experience, Explore, Reflect, Respond, New Situation” (p. 8) could be helpful both in 1) forming and shaping the group, i.e., as the structure for reflection, and 2) as a means of reflecting on decisions, actions, programs, etc., within the congregation, with both resulting in improved pastoral care.

Introduction of Spiritual Reflection into the worship life of the congregation: congregation as SRG: Worship is perhaps the setting in which many of those in our congregations most often receive pastoral care. Preaching, the sacraments, the sharing of joys and concerns, the prayers, liturgy, words spoken over the offering, and music, are all means of pastoral care. It is noteworthy that Sing to the Lord A New Song: A New Moravian Songbook includes two specific opportunities for congregations to practice spiritual reflection in Christian community. “The Examine Prayer,”2 incorporates times of reflection into a litany of responsive prayers. For example, participants are asked to “Reflect on the recent past.” “What, in your life, do you celebrate?” “For what are you thankful?” “Where have you witnessed God’s presence in your life?” “What might you have done differently to glorify God?” These questions are similar to those used in Rev. Dr. Gubi’s SRG; and for many people in our congregations, the questions­—and the invitation to spiritual reflection (and self-awareness)—are new.

In some instances, the whole congregation may function as the SRG; in other cases, smaller groups may be formed in the worship setting. We recently experienced a profound movement of the Holy Spirit as worshipers reflected on a series of questions from the Moravian Ministries Foundation, including, “What is your earliest memory of giving and receiving?” Reflecting spiritually on that question served as a catharsis, as people shared stories of deep emotional significance, received healing and cared for the souls of others. Introducing time for spiritual reflection into the worship life of the congregation holds great promise for improving pastoral care as we become more willing to embrace the vulnerability required in authenticity in our relationships with God and one another. n 1 Groff, Kent Ira (2000). The Soul of Tomorrow’s Church: Weaving Spiritual Practices in Ministry Together. Nashville, TN: Upper Room Books,. p. 105 2 Moravian Music Foundation and Interprovincial Board of Communication of the Moravian Church in America (2013). Bethlehem: Sing to the Lord A New Song: A New Moravian Songbook

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Response by the Rev. Dr. Peter M. Gubi I begin by thanking the responders for their most generous and thoughtprovoking responses. It is always good to know that one’s work is thought to be of some value. As a researcher and author, one puts one’s work “out there,” and one seldom knows how it is received–except through accidental encounters or through formal reviews. I am grateful to Dr Asquith for introducing me to Interpersonal Relationship Groups. I was unaware of that terminology, and it seems from a subsequent search of the literature, that they have never been researched.

There are many overlaps between these various types of interpersonal groups–with all of them seeking to discern the learning that comes from the way we impact on and shape each other, and, within a religious context, what we can learn about God and His intention for us from such encounters. These groups can be understood theologically as a human form of perichoresis (mutual interpenetration of the Godhead­—i.e. the divine within me, shaping and being shaped by the divine within others), and as a human form of kenosis (an emptying out of self so that in seeking to imitate Christ, through grace, participants can use the space to reflect and filter out ‘process’ that is not theirs [i.e. which is contaminated by that of others], to enable them to be more fully present to others in their encounters with them). I am grateful to Rev. Kemp for highlighting the cost of hiding for clergy, and the need for a space in which to be visible to, and be fully ‘received’ by, others. My further research1 on the perceived benefits of Reflexive Groups for clergy has illuminated their considerable benefit in this respect, in countering isolation and enabling openness and vulnerability to be shared. As Rev. Kemp states so beautifully: “We become more, magnifying God through our collective soul.”

It is good to know from Dr. Williams’ response that a form of Spiritually Reflexive Group is part of the training that is offered at Moravian Theological Seminary. Again, my further research2 demonstrates the importance of learning in community, which strengthens spiritual formation, enhances pastoral responses through the development of phronesis (practical wisdom), and enables theological development. Finally, I am fully supportive of the use of Spiritually Reflexive Groups in enhancing the church at many levels–from board level to congregation level (which Rev. Koenig highlights) that enables us to see

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Christ in our neighbour. I wonder how much more our Moravian Church could grow, as we are enhanced communally and individually? The use of Spiritually Reflexive Groups could be a great blessing. Maybe Zinzendorf intuitively knew something with the use of Banden, which we are only now recognising the full benefit of! n Gubi, P.M. (2016a). Assessing the perceived value of reflexive groups for supporting clergy in the Church of England. Journal of Mental Health, Religion and Culture. 19(4): 350-361. 1

Gubi, P.M. (2016b). Exploring the value of (Spiritually) reexive groups in the training of ordinands and in supporting ordained persons in ministry. (Unpublished ThD thesis). University of Winchester, UK. 2

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Hinge 22.2: Embracing Reflexivity Through Spirit. Reflex. Groups in the Training & Support of Clergy  

by The Rev. Dr. Peter M. Gubi, PhD, ThD

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