Christopher’s Life/Faith Journey
Christopher’s faith tradition is evangelical and, along with his wife, Marilyn, has explored faith community through spending sabbatical time with the Church of the Saviour in Washington DC and at the Reba Place Church in Evanston, Illinois, USA. They also spent seven years with an inner-city Christian network in Brisbane which sought to establish longer term friendships with people at the edge of society. They currently worship in a Baptist Church and are part of a local Brisbane prayer group which has a connection with Northumbria Community in England.
I grew up in the Baptist denomination. I studied psychology, anthropology, social work and social policy. After working in the family welfare field I did postgraduate study and then taught social work and social policy at the University of Queensland, and then did about 12 years at Christian Heritage College as a part time lecturer. It was there I developed a unit in spiritual companioning which was taught under the title of: Attending to the Human Story.
During the 1990’s my wife, Marilyn, and I moved into the Brisbane inner city to join network known as, “The Waiters Union.” The idea was to wait on God and the poorest of our neighbors. Many of the people we had contact with had mental health issues, and they became our friends. People often sought me out for life and faith conversations and I realized that a more secular counselling style and even mentoring was insufficient.
I did a short course in spiritual companioning and following that began my formation in spiritual direction. This also coincided with my teaching and my companioning “praxis”. We left the network a number of years ago. I am semi-retired, still see people for spiritual direction, do supervision, and am involved in the formation of spiritual directors. We attend a local Baptist Church and love our involvement there.
Marilyn and I are also in a prayer group that has links with the Northumbria Community in England. This is a diverse and dispersed network of people, alone and together, gathered around a Rule of Life as a Way to follow the Way.
A major shift in life and faith happen for me in the 1980’s when I lost a younger brother. I learned the journey of descent (from writers like Henri Nouwen and Jean Vanier). Life experience and bringing such experience into dialogue with Jesus of Nazareth is the foundation of everything.