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Welcome to our new Diocesan Spiritual Advisor

We are delighted to welcome our new Diocesan Advisor in Spirituality, The Revd Ray Andrews from Costa Blanca. Ray is passionate about spiritual wellbeing, has previously worked in mental health and as a spiritual retreat co-ordinator. Ray tells us of his hopes for the role.

At Diocesan Synod last week, Bishop Robert announced Ray's appointment, in succession to John Newsome, who has retired from his work as Advisor in Spirituality. The Advisor in Spirituality is an honorary role in the Diocese. "Ray has a wide brief for looking after the growing network of spiritual directors, encouraging retreats, quiet days and promoting everything connected with spiritual growth and development... if your chaplaincy or archdeaconry would benefit from his advice, please do be in touch with him," said Bishop Robert in his Presidential Address.

"A couple of people, who I have worked with for a number of years in the area of spirituality, were encouraging and enthusiastic, so I gave the role some serious thought and prayer." says Ray (pictured). "It felt very right, it felt the right time and a very important thing to devote some years to."  "

"This is a very special diocese, it is so huge and so diverse and chaplaincies work very hard. I think that is one of the reasons that this role is important. It encourages people and gives permission for people to step back, to reflect and to listen to what God might be saying to the churches," says Ray. "I do think it is a time of change and so I think it is very important to take those opportunities, to settle our minds and still ourselves to listen and pay attention. To have someone take responsibility for that and to hold that is really important."

Ray is passionate about raising the awareness of the deep spiritual traditions in our faith and "helping people to recognise the need to question what the spirituality of our faith is. Offering opportunities to explore that individually within the relationship of a spiritual director or together as a community."

Another passion of Ray's and an aspect of the role is about promoting and developing the formation of our diocesan network of spiritual directors.  "We are talking of a spiritual friendship... referring to the forming and developing of people to provide a kind of intimacy, a safety where we can explore and deepen our faith, explore our experience of God's activity in our lives, in the church and in the world." 

Ray brings particular experience as a spiritual retreat co-ordinator, and Ray is enthusiastic about retreats, quiet days and traditions in our faith which grow people spiritually. Ray also has experience working in mental health. "I am hoping to bring some humanising to the whole concept of spirituality to what we imagine it might be, so that it becomes easier for people to explore their spirituality and shape their lives from the spirituality of the Christian faith," says Ray. "What I want to bring to the role is accessibility, I want people to be able to reach me and I want people to know that I am here. I want to be approachable. That is one of my hopes."

If you would like to speak with Ray about spirituality in your chaplaincy or your personal spiritual journey, Ray would be delighted to offer his support.  You can contact him on his email address: revrayandrews@aol.com to arrange a conversation.

 

Interview and story: Jamie Ellis