Inner Room is a project that creates space for people to be creative. It is rooted in the Christian faith, welcoming people of all faiths and none. Run by a poet, its focus at the moment is on creative writing.
Inner Room believes that:
- Everyone is creative (including you)
- Everyone can approach universal truths through the particular details of their lives
- Everyone is invited to be creative by a creative God
If this resonates with you, please read on.
* Please note: Inner Room is happening on Zoom because of COVID-19 *
What does Inner Room do?
Now in its third phase, Inner Room offers a space for the creative reading and the creative writing of poetry. From February to April 2021 four groups of writers, from beginners to experienced, are taking part in one of two workshop series: The Craft of Poetry or Connecting with Poems. Our writing sessions, Room2Write, are continuing by popular demand. Kudos to all of you turning up regularly for the 7.30am slot on Monday mornings – aka pyjama poetry. The Parish Reading Room is also continuing. Its sessions in February and March draw upon Lent poetry books, including Janet Morley’s anthology, The Heart’s Time. And in Easter week we are holding another of our popular bring-a-poem sessions, on the theme of ‘Joy’.
The project’s management team is due to meet in mid-April to decide the future of the project but whatever we decide we already have plans for National Poetry Day in October 2021… Other events are being considered, too, so if you’d like to be added to our mailing list to hear of future events, or if you have any questions, please do get in touch – email@example.com
There is no charge for taking part but we are inviting donations. If you are a participant and would like to contribute towards this work, please do so here
The story so far
Phase 2 of Inner Room ran from November 2020 to January 2021. We held two series of poetry writing workshops – The Craft of Poetry and The Creative Process – as well as a larger poetry appreciation session – The Parish Reading Room. Writing workshop participants also took part in Room2Write, an experiment to help those of us who sometimes struggle to create a regular writing routine. Our popular bring-a-poem events included the Christmas Reading Room and Room Over The Border, to mark Burns Night.
Phase 1 ran until October 2020, on Zoom, with a larger poetry reading group and three smaller writing groups, all meeting monthly. Events included:
- What is Poetry?
- What does Poetry do?
- Poetry and Prayer
- Faith, Doubt and Poetry
- English Poetry – an overview
- God, Love and Poetry
- The Creative Process – a series of four creative writing workshops
- Inner Room on Zoom – an online poetry reading on National Poetry Day (October 1)
Inner Room launched in March 2020 with a one-day poetry workshop at The Old Deanery, in Exeter, for members of Devon’s spiritual direction network. Patch a few words together – a title taken from the Mary Oliver poem, Praying – looked at how to use poems in spiritual accompaniment and offered the opportunity to explore the creative process through writing. Prior to that, Inner Room ran a pilot workshop on Poetry and prayer in St Stephen’s Church on National Poetry Day 2019.
Why the name?
Two reasons. It suggests that feeling of inner spaciousness – what psychologists call ‘flow’ – which is such a helpful way of being when you’re creating something. And you may also recognise the reference to the bible verse Matthew 6:6 – which in some translations says: when you pray, enter your inner room and close the door. So we hope Inner Room is a place where you can relax and give your creative self some private space, aware (if you’re a Christian) that you’re in the presence of a loving, supportive, creative God.
The Inner Room prayer
whose Son spoke in story and in metaphor
and whose Spirit guards and guides us,
help us to know in our hearts
that you have created us in your image
to be creative.
May we become like little children:
playful as we learn,
open to the wonder of creation
and trusting in your love.
And may your creativity flow through us
to enable us and those whose lives we touch
to grow in faith, hope and love.
In church jargon, Inner Room is a ‘pioneer lay ministry’ from the Parish of Central Exeter, facilitated by the poet Helen Evans with the support of a team drawn from the parish and beyond, which includes the Rector, Sheila Swarbrick and the Exeter-based poet and novelist, Richard Skinner. It will run initially until Spring 2021 and be evaluated then. It was inspired in part by two courses: Exploring Christian Spirituality, run by the Diocese of Exeter, and Foundations in Christian Ministry, run by the South West Ministry Training College. Inner Room is one way the parish offers the breathing space that’s part of its mission, within its overall ministry of love and reconciliation, and in line with its commitment to being an inclusive church where all are welcomed.
If you’d like to join the mailing list or if you have any questions, please feel free to contact Inner Room by email at InnerRoom@parishofcentralexeter.co.uk