What is Urban Abbey?
UrbanAbbey is for those that want to take their Christian vocation to the next level! Perhaps you sense that God is calling you to something, but you are not sure exactly what. Urban Abbey is exactly the place for you. It is a 10 month programme that combines daily prayer, directed study, and practical pastoral training together with mission and outreach in the local community.
Where does it happen?
We are based at S Giles-in-Reading, a Church of England parish in the heart of a busy urban area, in the town centre of Reading, Berkshire. You can find it on Google Maps here.
So describe how it works.
Interns (members of UrbanAbbey) live together in a small community and are given a monthly allowance to cover living expenses. Training includes:
Spiritual Formation/Direction: The heart of life for the Interns is our daily prayer and our daily celebration of the Eucharist. All Interns have a Spiritual Director to assist in them in their spiritual development and discernment.
Study: Interns engage in guided study, under supervision and in groups. This includes a grounding in Christian theology, philosophy and spirituality.
Homiletics: Interns are trained in the art of preaching, and are supervised by an experienced preacher, with opportunities to put the art into practice.
Pastoral training: Interns are able to reflect on their pastoral relationships (particularly those that inevitably develop through the youth and community outreach) with two volunteer supervisors.
Mission & Outreach
Interns get practical experience in exercising mission and outreach in our local community. The part of Reading in which we minister in an area marked by economic downturn, low levels of social connectedness and high levels of church disengagement. The work of the Interns involves:
Faculty & Staff
1.Spiritual Formation/Direction Fr Martyn Griffiths. Fr Martyn meets with each intern fortnightly to offer them guidance in their spiritual formation, and offer them suggested reading and general guidance.
Fr Griffiths is currently looking after Holy Trinity, Reading.
2. Pastoral Ministry - Practical. Mr Scott Wheeler. Scott supervises the practical side of pastoral training. He meets fortnightly for instructing, preparing and equipping interns to engage in real pastoral engagements.
Mr Scott Wheeler is a lay-pastor in the United Reformed Church.
3. Pastoral Ministry - Theory. The Rev'd David Harris. Fr David supervises the the more theoretical side of pastoral training. He meets regularly with the interns to discuss the theological background of Pastoral Ministry.
The Rev'd David Harris is the Rector and Vicar of S Giles-in-Reading.
4. Theological/Philosophical study. Dr K Tomas Krejci. Fr Tomas supervises the theological/philosophical training of interns. This includes group sessions as well as individual guided reading & discussions
The Rev’d Dr K Tomas Krejci is the Assistant Curate at S Giles-Reading.
5. Homiletics. The Rev'd Stephen Cousins. All interns have the opportunity of writing and delivering short sermons at week-day services. They are guided in this by a supervisor, who meets regularly with them. Sermons are sometimes recorded on video for constructive critique.
The Rev'd Stephen Cousins is Priest Pastor of Benson with Ewelme.
6. University outreach. Mrs Sue Mott. The interns help run our Old Wine Philosophical Dinner Club. Using this as the base, they also engage in outreach at our local University, with particular attention to the many student residences in our parish.
Mrs Sue Mott is a Visiting Fellow of the University of Reading.
7. Youth Outreach. Mr Chris West. Westy assists a team of volunteers which guide the outreach and activities of the interns. The interns meet monthly with the whole team to discuss activities.
Mr Chris West is Youth Worker in the Parish of Sonning.
8. Safeguarding. Mrs Jan Hearn. Safeguarding is of critical importance in Church ministry. Jan supervises the interns in their own safeguarding practices, as well as has helps them through any safeguarding issues they face.
Mrs Jan Hearn is our Safeguarding Superviser.