What are the spiritual practices that strengthen you for the long haul in your work for justice?
In this series, the NCC Christian Education, Faith Formation, and Leadership Development (CEFFLD) Convening Table will share personal stories of practices that have nourished them for the long haul of justice ministries.
Faithful action in our communities, regions, countries, and the world, is sustainable when we are spiritually fed by the same Spirit that prompts us to bring Christ’s love and justice to bear in our world. Each monthly segment shares a testimony of how a specific practice has been helpful for the faith formation or leadership development of an individual or congregation. The series will share resources (e.g., books, website, articles, videos) that give readers/viewers a chance to learn more about the practice and to use these tools to move forward in faithful efforts toward justice.
We hope this series will show connections across faith traditions that have some similarities in practices, helping to build stronger bridges of understanding around commitments to shaping spiritual lives and communities to be agents of peace and justice in the world.
Rev. Matt Bridges – The Spiritual Practice of Reimagining Faithful Hymns
Rev. Matt Bridges is a United Methodist Pastor serving St. John’s United Methodist Church in Santa Fe, New Mexico. His video highlights a reimagining of hymns and sacred songs, offering a spiritual practice that enables us to listen deeply to other voices in our communities.
Rev. Sheila Spencer, The Spiritual Practice of Intentional Presence and Intentional Listening
Rev. Sheila Spencer serves as Interim President of Disciples Home Missions for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the Co-Convener of the Christian Education Faith Formation Leadership Development Table.
Rev. Dr. Tammy Wiens – The Spiritual Practice of Song Writing
Rev. Dr. Tammy Wiens is NCC’s Director of Christian Education and Faith Formation and is the staff liaison to the Christian Education, Faith Formation, and Leadership Development (CEFFLD) Convening Table of the NCC. Her spiritual practice brings together her love of music and her curiosity about God’s work. She shares a story about writing three hymns with her husband, Rev. Dr. Sheldon Sorge, which includes one based on Psalm 62 which was appropriately written during a silent retreat. Listen to a recording of the hymn, Psalm 62.
Despina D. Prassas, Ph.D. – The Spiritual Practice of Using Icons to Enhance Your Faith
Despina D. Prassas, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Theology at Providence College and an adjunct faculty associate professor in Church History at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. Her research has focused on ascetical theology, specifically the writings of the early Christian monks, and St. Maximos the Confessor. Her book, St. Maximus the Confessor’s Questions and Doubts, was the first English language translation of the work. Other areas of interest include the intersection between monastic spirituality and psychology, and ecumenism.
Carmichael D. Crutchfield, D.Min, Ph.D. – Practicing the Presence of Jesus
Dr. Crutchfield is the Clara Scott Chair of Church and Ministry, and Professor of Christian Education, Spiritual Formation and Youth Ministry at Memphis Theological Seminary (MTS), and General Secretary of Department of Christian Education and Formation for the Christian Methodist Episcopal (CME) Church. Also, he serves as pastor of Mother Liberty CME Church in Jackson, TN.
Dr. Susan E. Humble, PhD – The Spiritual Practice of Deep Listening Prayer
The spiritual practice of Deep Listening Prayer has become such an integral part of Dr. Humble’s life. She begins and ends each day with this form of prayer. She currently serves as the Head of Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations for the Christian Science Church. She began to seriously engage in this work after completing her Doctoral Program in Religious and Theological Studies. She has served on the NCC Education Convening Table since 2016 and served as co-convener from 2018 until 2020.
Janné Grover – Praying for Spiritual Freedom
Janné Grover is a member of the Council of Twelve Apostles, the lead missionary quorum of Community of Christ. She is assigned to the Central USA Mission Field and also serves as director of Formation Ministries. She has served on the NCC Christian Education and Faith Formation Convening Table since 2013.
Susan Naylor – Mission Prayer
Susan Naylor prays the Mission Prayer each day and even has it printed on her business cards. She is an executive minister for Community of Christ, serving as a Worship and Leadership Formation Minister and World Conference director. She was recently appointed the World Church Secretary and First Presidency’s Office director beginning January 2022.
Rev. Sheila Spencer – The Spiritual Self-care Practice of Rest
Rev. Spencer had to take time to embody the spiritual practice of rest before producing this message. She serves as Interim President of Disciples Home Missions for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the Co-Convener of the Christian Education Faith Formation Leadership Development Table.
Rose Schrott – the Spiritual Practice of Breath Prayer
Ms. Schrott is a recent graduate from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary’s master of divinity program who is interested in the intersections between public theology, writing, and spiritual practices. When she’s not reading or writing, you can find her tending her plants, drinking coffee, or cuddling her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Copper.
Rev. Brenda K. Smith – The Spiritual Practice of Journaling
Read about the Spiritual Practice of Journaling AT THIS LINK. Rev. Smith is a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Her most recent call was as the Program Director for Faith Practices and the Book of Faith at the national office for her denomination. She just retired, but wants to continue offering ministry in the areas of race relations and police/community relations. She has been a member of the NCC Christian Education Convening Table since 2016.
Dr. Reshma Susan Phillips – The Spiritual Practice of Staying Sensitive
Read about the Spiritual Practice of Staying Sensitive AT THIS LINK. Dr. Phillips is a member of the Mar Thoma Church and serves on the Mission Board for the Diocese of North America and Europe. She is an educator and has been serving on the Christian Education and Faith Formation Convening table since 2018. Guided by scripture, she offers reflections on the spiritual practice, “staying sensitive,” and concludes with a prayer: “Savior Jesus, enable us to always stay sensitive towards injustice, give us an understanding mind and a readiness to work for justice and peace for all. Amen.”