Wesleyan Way of Life Community Pattern
A pattern for meeting as a group of no more than 8 people, including a facilitator/leader, to:
gather together regularly , outside Sunday worship;
reflect on their own faith and discipleship in the light of a shared rule of life;
support one another and covenant to be mutually accountable;
discern God’s presence in their life and in the lives around them, and;
renew their commitment to ministry and mission in daily life.
This pattern is inspired by St Ignatius Loyola’s spiritual practice of the Daily Examen:
The examen, or examination of conscience, is a quick prayer to help you see where God was active in your day. Usually done for 15 to 20 minutes at the end of a day, the prayer was popularized by St. Ignatius Loyola in his classic text The Spiritual Exercises. Use these five easy steps to pray the examen every day, and soon you’ll begin to notice God’s presence more easily.
Over time, as you pray the examen, you’ll notice God’s presence in the moment, rather than just at the end of the day. You’ll see that your whole day can be a kind of prayer. Soon you’ll discover that you’ve become, as Jesuits like to say, a “contemplative in action.”
James Martin, SJ
Like the Ignatian Examen, this pattern is composed of five key elements. The flow is from the past to the future, from reflection to action, all in the presence of God and each other.
Beginning by acknowledging our needs - of God and each other. Asking for God’s help and seeking the Light of the Spirit. Praying for wisdom, discernment and attentiveness. Looking to Scripture to inspire and direct.
Developing the virtue of gratitude by practicing thankfulness. However our day or week has been, we practice re-setting the dials of our lives to see the gifts we have received.
3. Recollection and Reflection
Reviewing the day/week we have experienced, with an eye to where God has been at work, acknowledged or not. Seeking to learn from the encounters we have had.
Looking to our shared Rule of Life, perhaps, to focus on one aspect of our discipleship, reflecting on the challenges and progress we have experienced. Sharing testimony and words of encouragement with each other.
Facing our shortcomings, burdens we continue to carry for thing done or left undone, relationships unreconciled. Bearing with one another honestly and compassionately, removing shame and embracing forgiveness, and offering one another the opportunity to learn and grow in holiness.
Renewing our commitment to follow Christ in our daily lives, and to working in specific ways to minister together in Christ’s name.