Sheffield United Church offers quiet space to reconnect to the divine

Community Nov 14, 2017 by Julia Lovett Flamborough Review

Every Monday night, the sanctuary in Sheffield United Church grows dim.

The only light illuminating the large room with its cathedral ceiling comes from a couple of candles set upon the altar in front of the pews. This is what it means to be still. This is what it means to be silent.

“I’ve been just kind of searching for a new and … old meaning in religion and trying to get to the core of things, and that has brought me to meditation. I’ve come across it a lot as a path to the divine,” said Marty Pullin, a member of Sheffield United Church.

“It seems like a very important thing to try to revive,” he added.

The initiative, started by Pullin and another congregation member, is called Stillness and Silence and its aim is to give those who attend a place for quiet contemplation.

He explained that much of Jesus’ teachings are about using meditation as a way to connect with God, so earlier this year, he pitched the idea of having one hour in the evening for people to come out and sit in silence at the church as a way to reconnect with the divine that is found within.

“He says, ‘Be still, peace, be still,’ trying to calm people down, telling them not to be afraid. Those are meditative kind of statements,” said Pullin.

In this day and age, the world is hectic and doesn’t take the time to slow down or stop to recharge. Pullin said that is why he saw the need to offer this hour to the public.

“That’s our society today. We’re so busy and it’s seen as bad to stop being busy and to sit and meditate,” he added.

Historically, meditation, times of stillness and reflective prayer were part of the church rituals. However, as the church grew, it became more about listening to the minister speak.

“A lot of religion now and for a long time has been letting somebody tell you what the divine is all about and people did not have their own experience of it, they just had to listen and believe,” he said.

Recently, however, it is making a comeback with more and more people making the effort to take time out for themselves. Pullin explained since he started, he has felt healthier and more vibrant.

“Before, I used to get every cold that was going around and every flu and in the last two years since I started meditating, I haven’t got sick at all,” he said.

“So there’s a physical benefit, a mental benefit and spiritual benefit as well … when you’re still and silent you’re getting in touch with what’s really real, what’s at the heart of reality.”

For now, the church will have one evening — Monday from 8 to 9 p.m. available for the initiative, but Pullin said that they may expand the hours depending on turnout.

“It would be nice to have it more, maybe in the future we will, but just for a start, that’s what we’re doing,” he said, noting that it is open to anyone, all you need to do is show up.

As a man who believes that the Bible is meant to be taken as truth in the metaphorical sense and that God and the kingdom of heaven are found within, this non-activity is the perfect way to reconnect to the divine.

“I hope that they take away an experience of their true selves, what is beneath their minds,” he said, adding that the divine gets obscured by stress, anxiety and over thinking.

“You could pray silently, you could meditate, you could contemplate on something or just sit there and enjoy the silence,” he said.

“You need to experience it for yourself.”

Anyone interested in attending is welcome.

Sheffield United Church offers quiet space to reconnect to the divine

Community Nov 14, 2017 by Julia Lovett Flamborough Review

Every Monday night, the sanctuary in Sheffield United Church grows dim.

The only light illuminating the large room with its cathedral ceiling comes from a couple of candles set upon the altar in front of the pews. This is what it means to be still. This is what it means to be silent.

“I’ve been just kind of searching for a new and … old meaning in religion and trying to get to the core of things, and that has brought me to meditation. I’ve come across it a lot as a path to the divine,” said Marty Pullin, a member of Sheffield United Church.

“It seems like a very important thing to try to revive,” he added.

The initiative, started by Pullin and another congregation member, is called Stillness and Silence and its aim is to give those who attend a place for quiet contemplation.

He explained that much of Jesus’ teachings are about using meditation as a way to connect with God, so earlier this year, he pitched the idea of having one hour in the evening for people to come out and sit in silence at the church as a way to reconnect with the divine that is found within.

“He says, ‘Be still, peace, be still,’ trying to calm people down, telling them not to be afraid. Those are meditative kind of statements,” said Pullin.

In this day and age, the world is hectic and doesn’t take the time to slow down or stop to recharge. Pullin said that is why he saw the need to offer this hour to the public.

“That’s our society today. We’re so busy and it’s seen as bad to stop being busy and to sit and meditate,” he added.

Historically, meditation, times of stillness and reflective prayer were part of the church rituals. However, as the church grew, it became more about listening to the minister speak.

“A lot of religion now and for a long time has been letting somebody tell you what the divine is all about and people did not have their own experience of it, they just had to listen and believe,” he said.

Recently, however, it is making a comeback with more and more people making the effort to take time out for themselves. Pullin explained since he started, he has felt healthier and more vibrant.

“Before, I used to get every cold that was going around and every flu and in the last two years since I started meditating, I haven’t got sick at all,” he said.

“So there’s a physical benefit, a mental benefit and spiritual benefit as well … when you’re still and silent you’re getting in touch with what’s really real, what’s at the heart of reality.”

For now, the church will have one evening — Monday from 8 to 9 p.m. available for the initiative, but Pullin said that they may expand the hours depending on turnout.

“It would be nice to have it more, maybe in the future we will, but just for a start, that’s what we’re doing,” he said, noting that it is open to anyone, all you need to do is show up.

As a man who believes that the Bible is meant to be taken as truth in the metaphorical sense and that God and the kingdom of heaven are found within, this non-activity is the perfect way to reconnect to the divine.

“I hope that they take away an experience of their true selves, what is beneath their minds,” he said, adding that the divine gets obscured by stress, anxiety and over thinking.

“You could pray silently, you could meditate, you could contemplate on something or just sit there and enjoy the silence,” he said.

“You need to experience it for yourself.”

Anyone interested in attending is welcome.

Sheffield United Church offers quiet space to reconnect to the divine

Community Nov 14, 2017 by Julia Lovett Flamborough Review

Every Monday night, the sanctuary in Sheffield United Church grows dim.

The only light illuminating the large room with its cathedral ceiling comes from a couple of candles set upon the altar in front of the pews. This is what it means to be still. This is what it means to be silent.

“I’ve been just kind of searching for a new and … old meaning in religion and trying to get to the core of things, and that has brought me to meditation. I’ve come across it a lot as a path to the divine,” said Marty Pullin, a member of Sheffield United Church.

“It seems like a very important thing to try to revive,” he added.

The initiative, started by Pullin and another congregation member, is called Stillness and Silence and its aim is to give those who attend a place for quiet contemplation.

He explained that much of Jesus’ teachings are about using meditation as a way to connect with God, so earlier this year, he pitched the idea of having one hour in the evening for people to come out and sit in silence at the church as a way to reconnect with the divine that is found within.

“He says, ‘Be still, peace, be still,’ trying to calm people down, telling them not to be afraid. Those are meditative kind of statements,” said Pullin.

In this day and age, the world is hectic and doesn’t take the time to slow down or stop to recharge. Pullin said that is why he saw the need to offer this hour to the public.

“That’s our society today. We’re so busy and it’s seen as bad to stop being busy and to sit and meditate,” he added.

Historically, meditation, times of stillness and reflective prayer were part of the church rituals. However, as the church grew, it became more about listening to the minister speak.

“A lot of religion now and for a long time has been letting somebody tell you what the divine is all about and people did not have their own experience of it, they just had to listen and believe,” he said.

Recently, however, it is making a comeback with more and more people making the effort to take time out for themselves. Pullin explained since he started, he has felt healthier and more vibrant.

“Before, I used to get every cold that was going around and every flu and in the last two years since I started meditating, I haven’t got sick at all,” he said.

“So there’s a physical benefit, a mental benefit and spiritual benefit as well … when you’re still and silent you’re getting in touch with what’s really real, what’s at the heart of reality.”

For now, the church will have one evening — Monday from 8 to 9 p.m. available for the initiative, but Pullin said that they may expand the hours depending on turnout.

“It would be nice to have it more, maybe in the future we will, but just for a start, that’s what we’re doing,” he said, noting that it is open to anyone, all you need to do is show up.

As a man who believes that the Bible is meant to be taken as truth in the metaphorical sense and that God and the kingdom of heaven are found within, this non-activity is the perfect way to reconnect to the divine.

“I hope that they take away an experience of their true selves, what is beneath their minds,” he said, adding that the divine gets obscured by stress, anxiety and over thinking.

“You could pray silently, you could meditate, you could contemplate on something or just sit there and enjoy the silence,” he said.

“You need to experience it for yourself.”

Anyone interested in attending is welcome.