Anglican Spirituality from a Systems Perspective

Resources for an Adult Formation Class held in Lent 2015 at St. Paul's, Seattle.

This three-course offering provides an opportunity for participants to reflect on their own spiritual development—something that can be particularly fruitful during Lent.  The series is appropriate for both newcomers and longer-term members and will be a mix of brief lecture with individual and group reflection.  The series will be led by St. Paul’s parishioner, Michelle Heyne.  Michelle works as a parish development consultant and leadership trainer and is the author of In Your Holy Spirit: Traditional Spiritual Practices in Today’s Christian Life. Michelle is a professed member of the Order of the Ascension. More about Michelle.





March 1: Five Core Spiritual Practices

Useful systems of spiritual practice provide a balance between nurturing our existing strengths and providing us with some stretch or challenge.   The element of Anglican practice we’re most familiar with is the Eucharist—the weekly practice that grounds our life.  This session will provide information about how that fits with other elements, such as daily practice, individual reflection and community life, and our ongoing life of Christian service.

The In Your Holy Spirit spiritual map

Weekly Practice: Holy Eucharist

The Holy Eucharist celebrated several times each week as to allow people with a variety of schedules to find one that might serve as their weekly spiritual practice.

Daily Practice: The Daily Prayers of the Church

There are two things to do here. The first is to equip and support parishioners in saying the Daily Prayer of the Church on their own in the course of daily life. The second is to offer the Daily Office in some routine form on most days of the week.


There are two primary acts for the parish to take. One is to offer members assistance in identifying and maintaining ways of being reflective. The second is for the parish itself to engage in reflective processes, ways of listening to and learning from its own life as a community. The beginning place for this is to create an environment with significant space for stillness and silence.

Parish Community

The parish needs to provide opportunities for social life among parishioners and create an environment in which they may find and live what Augustine called a “real life,” a life in which they might be genuine, be open and honest about themselves, and still be in deep relationship with others and God. This is a community where our differences can be expressed and will be accepted; in which we can fight with those we love without fearing the loss of the relationship.  


The parish can hold in front of its members the moral vision of Christian Faith. The primary place, the most effective place, of service for the Christian is in his or her daily life. We serve within our friendships, families, work, and civic life.  The parish can help members identify how they serve, how they may better serve, and the gifts each brings to that task. The parish can also have at least one service ministry that is done as a parish. This is a call to a wise and generous love.

The Process of Change

The parish can provide a foundations program that equips people to take responsibility for their own spiritual life and moral action in daily life. It can also model an approach to change or experimentation and learning from experience.  It can teach methods that allow people to face change. 

A PDF of the spiritual map


Two books on the model being used

In Your Holy Spirit: Traditional Spiritual Practices in Today’s Christian Life - Michelle Heyne, Ascension Press, 2011. Focused on the individual's spiritual life. Was the "1 Book-1 Diocese" selection in the Diocese of Georgia in 2011 - 12.  Frank Logue on the book. Bishop Scott Benhese on the book.

 In Your Holy Spirit: Shaping the Parish Through Spiritual PracticesRobert A. Gallagher 2011, Ascension Press. Focused on the improving the health and faithfulness of the parish church.

 About Spiritual Maps

A page from the Order of the Ascension 

Other spiritual maps

Threefold Rule of Prayer - Also called the Prayer Book Pattern and the Benedictine Triangle

The Threefold Rule of Prayer - Fr. Robert Gallagher, OA, includes a chart drawing on Underhill, Leech, Thornton and MacQuarrie

The Renewal-Apostolate Cycle - Fr. Robert Gallagher, 

March 8: Benedictine Spirituality

Benedictine spirituality is part of Episcopal parish DNA.  The Benedictine Promise to seek God through Stability, Obedience (Listening), and Conversion of Life is a rich source of spiritual nourishment as we consider where we tend to feel most comfortable, most “stuck,” and where we might be called into newness of life.

 Shaping Holy Lives - Address by Archbishop Rowen Williams

 Church Identity and Our Benedictine Roots - Bishop Richard Grein, AHC

 The Benedictine Promise & the Dynamics of the Spiritual Life - Fr. Robert Gallagher, OA

                            Obedience - Michelle E. Heyne, OA a homily at the OA retreat 2014

                            Stability - Esther deWaal, an address at St. Paul's, Seattle, October 1992

                           Benedictine - from the St. Paul's web site

March 15: Episcopal Culture and Practice

The Episcopal Church has developed a particular form of Christian spirituality that has emerged from its roots in Anglicanism and in the American experience.  That culture is powerful and contains often-unspoken assumptions with important implications for individual and parish spiritual life.

The Episcopal Way - Our roots are in the Celtic and Benedictine traditions of spiritual life — the common prayer of communities, day by day, week by week, shaping belief and action. In the 16th century, that tradition expressed itself in Thomas Cranmer's Book of Common Prayer.
Episcopal Ethos - Anglicanism has a culture, an ethos. In his short tract, The Anglican Way, James Fenhagen emphasized three elements: comprehensiveness, personal holiness, and                       holy worldliness.

                         Episcopal Spirituality -- On the Saint Paul's web site 

                       Anglo Catholic -- From the Order of the Ascension    On St. Paul's site


Also of interest for members of Saint Paul's

Michelle Heyne and Robert Gallagher appeared recently in the OD Practitioner, the professional journal of the Organization Development Network - "Understanding from Within: Working with Religious Systems." They used Saint Paul's as a case in the article.

      PDF of the article - "Understanding from Within: Working with Religious Systems"

Postings on the blog "Means of Grace, Hope of Glory"

Worship that swept us off our feet - postings refering to St. Paul's, Seattle
Worship that swept us off our feet
So what’s transferable?
Small issues with large consequence
Instinctual and intuitive leadership
The role of the bishop and the diocese 

A book
The Hospitality of God: Emerging Worship for a Missional Church, Mary Gray-Reeves & Michael Perham, Seabury Books, 2011. Page 79 - A chapter on St. Paul's