The Spaceforsoul story
Some ten years ago now, a small group of people began meeting regularly together on a Sunday night. For some time, we had been searching unsuccessfully for a safe space where we could explore the questions, doubts and uncertainties we were struggling with in relation to our faith. Most of us felt we no longer fitted within organised Christianity and were either wrestling with the churches we belonged to or had left them altogether. Some of us were beginning to explore progressive Christianity as a new way of thinking about and living out our faith and wanted to connect with others who were on a similar path. Some of us were searching for a place where we could come together to share our spiritual journeys with each other in a deeper way than we had ever been able to do in church.
We could not have imagined at that time where this journey would lead us. We could not have foreseen that our small group of fellow travellers would eventually grow into the much larger and more diverse community that it has now become. It was a venture that was born out of frustration and a longing to find an open-minded, inclusive and forward-looking spiritual community where we would have the freedom to follow our own spiritual path and where, for the first time in a long time, we could feel at home. The solution was a simple one. If we could not find such a community, then we would create one ourselves. We gave our fledgling community a name, found a place to meet together once a month and invited interested friends and colleagues to join us. It was a small but hopeful beginning.
©Copyright Naomi Young
So much has changed over the last ten years. Our Bristol-based Soulspace community now meets fortnightly on Sunday mornings and has a mailing list of over seventy people. We have a lively online community of around 150 people who follow us via our website, Facebook page and regular news and resources emails. The quarterly newsletter that we used to email out to keep our followers in touch with what we were doing has developed into a substantial publication called ‘Awakening’ which contains articles on a wide range of topics as well as information about resources which people can draw on in their spiritual journeys. We now have an educational arm, the Centre for Spiritual Exploration and Accompaniment, which offers a number of low-cost courses and workshops every year. And last year, we appointed our first Patron, the Reverend Dave Tomlinson, whose writings have enlightened and inspired so many of us over the years.
What we have created together is a very safe, sacred space where it is ok to be wherever we are on the journey, to believe what we believe, to think the way we think, to experience what we experience and to practice in ways that are meaningful to us. It is a space that encourages and supports us in asking questions, in challenging dogma, doctrines and traditions and in exploring doubts, uncertainties and unknowns without fear of judgement. It is a space that offers us the freedom to discover and be ourselves and to find our own spiritual path. It is a space which invites us to listen to and nurture our deeper spiritual selves and to celebrate their uniqueness and beauty. It is a space for soul.