‘250 people from around the Diocese of Southampton gathered at Botleigh Grange on the last weekend of June, for a live Called & Gifted Workshop. Sherry Weddell, author of Forming Intentional Disciples, led the Workshop and captivated the audience with her humorous and engaging teaching style. Sherry explained magnificently the role of the “lay apostle” – a lay person who is a disciple of Christ, and who accepts their call to go out and evangelise. Those who are “called” are also “gifted” – through Baptism and Confirmation, we are bestowed with tremendous spiritual gifts – or charisms. When we exercise our charisms, we channel God’s love and provision to the world. Charisms are given to all the baptised, but come alive as we grow in our lived relationship with God.
In the days leading up to the Workshop, Sherry trained around 30 interviewers. Workshop participants have been offered a chance to take part in a “gifts discernment interview”. Interviewers will help someone begin to discern the charisms God has given them. After an interview, each participant will also have the chance to take part in a small discernment group in their local area. These groups will help each person as they begin to practise and develop their charisms.
Sherry Weddell also trained a teaching team of 14 people while she was in the Diocese. The teaching team hopes soon to be able to offer more live Workshops around the Diocese in different parishes, so that even more people have a chance to go through this inspiring process.
They sound like wonderful ‘workshops’ for discerning, recognising and validating ones gifts, anything that helps to reveal our strengths, and shed light upon our weaker attributes, that we might strengthen them and utilise them for the greater good of God, is great work. Too many people (especially in England) are unsure of their strengths and weaknesses, due to our cultural reluctance to be generous with our thanksgiving, and often under handed with our praise and constructive criticism, which I think is a cultural thing, which indeed leaves us unknowing ourselves fully, especially with our lack of personal cultural discernment.
However my little experience of a True Charism is something that comes through someone as opposed to revealing itself as one of their own gifts, or strengths, or even their weaknesses aspiring to be made perfect.
A charism might be inherent to their deepest aspirations, it might be fuelled by their deepest inspirations, formed tangible from the deepest contemplation, and made manifest from the deepest inner dialogue, but I think on a far more intimate and deeply subconscious and prayerful level. A Charism ruminates in a souls deepest being, eventually articulating a deepest previously unfulfilled longing and knowing, that is months and years and many moons in its unfurling and emerging, before finally taking shape through the blessing of the Holy Spirit.
I don’t think Charisms can neither be forged, nor contrived, nor self-grown, nor produced but rather is like intense prayer kept simmering, reducing, concentrating, then becoming almost homeopathic, until there is an absolute holistic strength permeating every imagining ~ before its blessed manifestation.
In fact I would say it is not of the person at all ~ but of God. God who is Love and Spirit.