They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common;they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need.Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved. Acts 2: 42-47

Holy Habits is a resource we are using to deepen our discipleship by reflecting on, and developing our practice of, the habits portrayed by Luke in Acts 2:42-47. Each habit is being explored over a period of about two months, through three key-note services, a weekly resource sheet, house-group study resources, daily bible reflection booklets and various other events. It is hoped that this range of resources helps people find ways to engage with the ten habits.

Following several months of prayerful preparation by the Holy Habits team, the first habit, Prayer, was introduced by Rev Arthur Cowburn in a service on Sunday 18 April 2021. The planned launch event was cancelled because it coincided with Prince Philip’s funeral, but other activities were a Prayer Walk on Saturday 29 May based on the labyrinth in the car park, and a Zoom showing of the film ‘The Way on Saturday 5 June. As well as the labyrinth, another legacy of this habit is the Wednesday Morning Prayer, usually led by Rev Les Judd. This prayer time, which uses the words and songs of the Northumbria Community, is greatly appreciated by the ‘regulars’.

Our exploration of the second Habit, Breaking Bread, began on 13 June, and included three keynote services led by the Holy Habits team and Rev Arthur Cowburn, following the pattern of ‘understanding the habit, ‘forming the habit’ and ‘going forward with the habit’. For various reasons the planned bread-making session was postponed, perhaps to be revisited as part of another habit. Those who watched the film ‘Castaway’ on Zoom were interested by the aspects of ‘breaking bread’ to be discovered in the film.

After a summer break, and consultation with Rev John Hughes, the team is currently working on our third Holy Habit, Worship, with three keynote services planned for 24 October, 21 November and 12 December. Information about additional events will be available shortly. Our fourth habit, Biblical Teaching, is planned for the new year, with habit number five, Eating Together, after Easter. The order in which the habits are rolled out is linked to what suits different seasons of the church year, but the pandemic has also influenced both our ability to plan ahead and the sequence; some habits work better on Zoom than others!

Many thanks to those who returned feedback forms about the habits and to everyone who has given of their energy, creativity and time to enable our Holy Habits journey, which we hope will continue to refresh us spiritually and renew our discipleship as individuals and as a church community.

We thank Deacon Carole Smith who is part of the Holy Habits Group for the article above.