Discuss Soul Spark

Add your comments below about your experience of Soul Spark, whether in running the programme, or as a participant. Feel free to raise questions, make comments, discuss practice. This is a moderated discussion, but its light touch moderation.

32 thoughts on “Discuss Soul Spark

  1. Hi Nick
    We’re staring Soul Spark in October running the first course with participants from two churches in Derby. I may have missed this somewhere in my reading of the booklet but does the reflection on listening groups happen in the same small group – or back as a large group ? Just wondering .

    1. Hi Ali
      The reflection on the experience of the listening groups happens back in the large group. We found that enabling everyone to hear the variety of experience, not least that some really appreciate it and some struggle with it helps everyone to recognise their experience as valid – and can particularly help those that struggle to stay open and discover that the experience can change for the better as they relax into the process.
      Hope your October course goes really well.

  2. Hi Nick,
    I’m wondering about offering to run Soul Spark for the Parish on Zoom as a Lent course. You might remember that I have helped run and organised a course in the past, but it is some time ago!
    Have any of the resources etc been updated recently and any advice on running the course via zoom? Any any suggestions would be gratefully received, and I’ll let you know what happens!

    1. Hi Clare – great idea. I’m going to be doing Soul Spark on Zoom through lent too. The resources haven’t changed in recent years, and are all downloadable. Grove have now run out of stock of the book, so I’m thinking of revising it to take into account the age of Zoom – but publication of that will be a while yet! I think zoom lends itself well to Soulspark – with breakout rooms, screen sharing etc. I’ll post something on this in the next week or so.


  3. I hope you are still answering comments Nick – and if you are, thank you! I bought a copy of Soul Spark at the SEN conference and my hubbie and I have started to use it with our Life group – an already ‘formed’ group so we are adapting it a little to suit. We set up a meal pre-course with people bringing an object, memory or story to share about their faith journey. The following week -Session 1- was astonishing!Thank you for making the resource so freely available. I have a question though: The prayer cards for the first 3 sessions are all the same but the other 3 different for each session – is this correct?

    1. Hi Fi

      Great to hear you are doing Soul Spark and that the first session went well.

      The prayer cards for the first three sessions are very similar, but are different. Each card has a number in the Soul Spark heading – indicating the session it relates to.

      Part of the reasoning for being very similar to begin with is to get people into the habit of openness to God and particularly staying with the positive feelings from prayer.

      Hope this helps.



  4. We are a small rural congregation. 6 of us are doing this course for Lent.
    I’m struggling to work out how to use the handouts for each week. I have downloaded them all, but I have some queries.
    What is the Short Talk mentioned in Session 1? Where can I find it?
    Do I hand out the entire Prayer Handout in week ?
    What does the Reflection refer to? Is it a general reflection on the sections printed above it?
    I can’t find the suggestions for music on the website.
    Which is the Guideline sheet for listening groups? Is it the one called ‘Guidelines for sharing’?

    1. Hi Brenda

      Thanks for your queries:

      The Short Talk in Session 1 is basically the text in the grey boxes under the heading ‘2 Introducing the Course’ on pages 10 and 11 of the book.

      Prayer Handouts: Where there are handouts, they are to be given out to everyone each week.
      So in week 1: Listening to God through Scripture
      Week 2: Flower of Me
      Week 3: No handout – led Imaginative Contemplation
      Week 4: No handout – praying with painting
      Week 5: Banquet of our whole selves
      Week 6: The Dreamer

      Reflection: This is a time for reflection led from the front, with the points in the grey box

      Music: Sorry about the absence of the music – Amazon have kindly withdrawn the facility that I was using! I’ve not managed to find time to replace properly. In the meantime, I’ve done a quick copy of a previous version of this page. Hope this helps, but any music that is quiet and reflective – if it helps you, it will probably help others, but don’t work too hard at this. (no music is an option too!)

      Guidelines for Groups: The handout is 1-Guidelines for Sharing Groups.pdf in the Week 1 resources

      Thanks for asking for clarification. Do come back if there are more questions.

      Hope your group is deeply blessed as you journey with Soul Spark.


  5. Me neither ……. Very frustrating!!

    I am looking for guidelines to use ‘awareness of all senses’ one week as a stilling exercise during our parish Lent Course. Any ideas, links?

    1. Hi Geoff, Sorry about the frustration regarding Registration. There is no way to register I’m afraid. The WordPress package I use for site design unhelpfully uses this as a header for the section and so far I’ve found no way of eliminating the word from the header.

      With regards to ‘awareness of all senses’ I can’t recall using this with regards stilling. Its certainly something that is part of the approach to Imaginative Contemplation in the early stages of ‘entering the scene’ – looking at what is there, smelling the smells, hearing the sounds, touching things, tasting things… as appropriate.

      In terms of stilling there are resources about this to download on the Session 1 page. The excellent Pray as You Go website has some examples of stilling exercises here http://pray-as-you-go.org/prayer-resources/prepare/

      Hope this helps. May your Lent Course be blessed.

  6. I seem unable to register on line. I am keen to run a soul sparks group in Cornwall and want to move this on. Help please!

  7. I am on the Soul Spark course with my Diocese in the UK We have just completed session 4.

    I approached the course with certain expectations. Such as expectation of being led into a deeper relationship with God through Christ and prayer; expecting to be led into a deeper relationship with out Father God; to discover things about him that would mature that relationship. Instead I find a course that is all about me rather than Him. How I feel. How to engage in yoga like approaches to develop a deeper relationship and acceptance of myself. It seems very ‘me’ centred rather than Jesus centred. Playing with pictures or paintings rather than using the scriptures. i feel like I have joined a kindergarten for seekers rather than a seminary for seniors. Help!

    1. Hi Jeff,

      Thanks for taking the time to post your comments on your experience of Soul Spark. Let me offer some of the thinking that lies behind the shaping of Soul Spark.

      Firstly, that intentional seeking to engage with God / Christ / Spirit is the primary action of the whole course. Through the six sessions we use scripture as a primary but not the only means for this and give time for this early in each session. Our relationship with God is like other relationships – in that it has two sides. The attention to ourselves that Soul Spark encourages is in order that it is our awareness of ourselves that we bring into relationship with God. I’m sure you have found some people difficult to get to a deeper relationship with because they never disclose anything of any personal depth. So Soul Spark seeks to enable greater personal depth of engagement with God through the personal reflection. Thus this personal ‘introspection’ has a purpose beyond the self – the deeper relationship with God. A second reason for the focus on feelings, is that our ability to discern movements of the Holy Spirit within us is greatly enhanced by our emotional awareness. Many of the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, etc (Gal 5)) are emotions. Our discernment of the Spirit’s movements will grow as we recognise the way in which our emotions are affected by experiences, what things affect our inner love joy peace one way or the other. In this way we are able to respond to Paul’s exhortation at the end of his description of the fruit of the Spirit to ‘keep in step with the Spirit’ (NIV). It is this that leads to a deeper and more passionate response to Christ in our lives – energising faithful and committed lives.

      Soul Spark is by no means a complete answer to a deeper relationship with God. Can anything be other than God? It is actually fairly normal to spend the first few sessions wondering about whether its for me / whether it is sound / has any value!. Indeed it is found by some simply not where they are at or the sort of thing that helps them. I have always respected (and encourage leaders of Soul Spark to do the same) those who make the decision not to continue as its not for them. However, experience shows, that ‘hanging in there’ often leads through the fog into light.

      I’m very happy to discuss this further if that would help.
      May God bless you as you continue seeking a deeper relationship with him through Christ.


  8. Hello. I’m having trouble in finding the led imaginative contemplation on Zaccheus in Luke 19 in Session 3. It’s not in the Grove Booklet or on the Session 3 webpage. Am I expected to write my own?

    1. Hi Iain

      Thanks for your question. I chose not to provide a script for the imaginative contemplation as I believe that this is best led using your own words and your style. The brief descriptor of Imaginative Contemplation in the Grove Book gives the outline of what your leading should offer. Pray-as-you-go have a led contemplation that you can listen to here https://soundcloud.com/pray-as-you-go/imaginative-contemplation

  9. I am really excited about running Soul Spark as our Lent course this year, across a group of six rural parishes in Warwickshire, as “passionate spirituality” is an area we need to work on!

    The Grove book refers to an A6 session card to hand out at the end of each session but I can’t spot this on the website?

    1. Gillian – I pray it goes well for you and your group. I’m so glad you are excited by Soul Spark. The A6 session card is listed on each session’s resources as ‘Card’ and is laid out as an A4 sheet that can be printed then cut up into A6 cards.


  10. I recently received this by email, so I thought I’d post it here.

    Our home group recently used the Soul Spark course, and members reported it being ‘revealing’, ‘enriching’ and ‘helpful’. It was different from our usual Bible study courses, making us focus on our spirituality rather than our knowledge and opinions.

    The most important thing we learned was through the discipline of not interrupting whilst each gave their feedback on the prayer exercise; we are rather inclined to interrupt and so although the discipline was difficult for us, we all really appreciated it. We determined to keep this way of listening in mind and specifically suggest its use in future.

    Thank you for the course.

    Best wishes
    Helen Pain

  11. On reading Chapter 4 of S96 Soul Spark and in particular Session 1 reference is made in section 4 page 11 (Stilling)to the fact that further ideas for stilling are on the web site. I have been unable to locate where. Please can you advise.
    Many thanks

    1. Many thanks for your query Neil. My mistake. When revamping the website a few months back, I omitted to create the page with the extra resources that had been on the previous one which included a document on approaches to stilling. I have now added them to the Session 1 page.

      I hope this helps.

  12. Hi Nick

    We had our training day today with 18 potential leaders from across the diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf. We purchased 50 Grove booklets. The diocese is gearing up to run the course in the majority of parishes across the diocese. We will be running 2 more training days for leaders giving experience of the course using sessions 2, 3, 4, 5.

    With best wishes.


  13. I will be using Soulspark in a monthly series at St. John’s Ranmoor, starting Thursday 13 November. It is good to be able to access the resources on this web site … but I cannot find my copy of the Grove booklet. Is it possible to get hold of the text electronically?

      1. Thank you Nick – that is a great help.
        I will let you know how it goes.

  14. Welcome to the newly revamped Soul Spark website. I’ve decided to use WordPress to create this and so have transferred everything over. Hope it works for you!

    I’m really interested to know where Soul Spark is being used, so if you are downloading resources for running it – add a comment letting us know where you are planning to run it. Later on you can add comments about how it went.

    1. Hi

      We plan to run SoulSpark at the Anglican Church of St Mark, Northriding, Johannesburg, South Africa. This will be for our Lent programme in 2015. Some of us have been involved in attending at other parishes or using SoulSpark in priests’ training in our diocese.

      God bless


    2. Help!! I’m running the second session of soul spark this afternoon at 2pm and I can’t see the the flower on the ‘Flower of me Exercise’ – all I have is the text at the top and bottom of the page. I’m using a MAC if that makes any difference?? Could you describe it in words and I can draw it??

      We are doing a ‘taster course’ with a group who have been practicing contemplative prayer. If we think its good we will run it across the Benefice in the Autumn. We are a rural benefice between Cirencester and Gloucester/Cheltenham.

      1. Hi Valerie – sorry you are having a problem with the Flower of Me download. Using a Mac won’t be the issue – I’m a Mac user and the document was produced on a Mac! The diagram can take a bit of time to be displayed. I’ll email you direct with an alternative document.

        Hope all goes well.


    3. Hi, we are using Soul Spark as our Lent course this year. The church I came to specifically asked that a new minister help them explore Spirituality and I figured this was a good place to start!! Will let you know how it goes.

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