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Contemplative Prayer at Salisbury Cathedral

by Michael Ford last modified 15 Jun, 2022 06:56 PM

Contemplative Prayer sessions were able to resume earlier this year, after a forced break due to covid.

For several years Salisbury Cathedral held a monthly a session of Contemplative Prayer in the Trinity Chapel, on the first Monday in the month, organised by David Russell. The pandemic saw these monthly meetings suspended, but they were able to resume once again earlier in the year, co-ordinated now by the Revd Canon Nigel Davies, the Vicar of the Close and the Revd Maggie Guillebaud . The sessions begin at 10.00 a.m. and last for about 50 minutes. There are three or four guided silences and the content varies according to who is leading the session. These sessions are not just for those who attend the Cathedral and might be of interest to other people in the Diocese, or others from different Christian denominations, so here is the list of the sessions up to the end of the year. 

The Revd Canon Nigel Davies, Vicar of The Close at Salisbury Cathedral, writes of the importance of contemplative prayer: 

A stanza from a Depeche Mode song come to mind when trying to encourage people to experience Contemplative Prayer – they are these from a song entitled ‘Enjoy the Silence’. 

‘Words are very unnecessary 
They can only do harm’ 

Sadly words can often do this and they can often get in the way when it comes to praying.  The Anglican tradition of worship is very much word orientated, even word heavy.  We will all have been in church when ‘a moment of silence’ is invoked and it is usually just that, a moment amongst the verbiage.  We seem frightened of long pauses - they can provoke anxiety as we wonder if the Officiant has forgotten what comes next!  But silence, and stillness, are important elements in prayer and worship as the well known words from a familiar chorus remind us: 

Be still and know 

That I am God 

Be still and know 

That I am God 

Be still and know 

That I am God. 

Perhaps they are a steal from Psalm 46 where we are exhorted to be still, and by inference silent, and so discover God.  Spending time in silence, contemplating, does take practise; we need to learn to keep the random thought from rushing in and overwhelming us.  

If you are not familiar with silent prayer, Contemplative Prayer Sessions at Salisbury Cathedral might be just what you need. The silences are not too long, and each one is surrounded by words which guide you into the contemplative moments. Do join us: 

4 July (Thomas), Bishop Karen 

1st August, (Bank Holiday) The Revd Canon Ed Probert 

5 September, Dean Nick  

3 October, Bishop Richard Chartres 

7 November, Bishop Andrew 

5 December (Advent), The Revd Jayne Tyrer 

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