Stephen Perry is a regular at St Mary’s. Last Saturday he joined about a dozen people from St John’s and St Mary’s who went to the prayer morning organised by the sisters at Gumley House.
Have you ever been to a Gumley House prayer morning before?
To be honest, I haven’t. I have read a little about Christian meditation, I wanted to find out more. Also, I have lived in this part of London for a while but have never been inside Gumley – and I was curious to have a poke around. I didn’t know what to expect. I thought the Catholic sisters would be wearing habits, but they weren’t! I also thought their chapel would be old-fashioned, but it wasn’t really. It was a nice, spacious room.
Did you find the morning useful?
I did. We focused a bit on Jesus in the wilderness – a story we often think about at the time of lent. I have been studying Genesis for myself and I found it helpful that one of the sisters explained that the story of Adam and Eve shows how humans had to leave God’s presence because badness entered the world, but the story of Jesus shows us God coming out to find us, goodness entering the world.
Was it helpful for you to have some time to pray?
It was a great morning – and a chance to slow down and reflect. The sisters showed us how prayer can be helped by lighting a candle or using music or hymns to provide a focus for prayer. Sometimes silence is the best context for praying. We were guided in these things. I am learning a little and will try them out myself.
Would you recommend the morning to others?
Yes – we were made to feel welcome. I would definitely go back if we did this again. The atmosphere was lovely and relaxed. We felt very supported. The only reminder of the city was the occasional sound of the airplanes.
If you would like to give contemplative prayer a go, please join us at St Mary’s, on Wednesday evenings from 7:45pm throughout lent.