Flourishing, Leeds Sanctuary


This week, Anna discusses Flourishing – a holistic, God-centred understanding of wellbeing…

Flourishing is the final value of Leeds Sanctuary. This value was developed during Lockdown. We were seeing so many people struggling with their wellbeing that I started to explore wellbeing resources that might help people see themselves as a full, whole, complicated human being with a variety of needs.

As I researched the topic I discovered many useful tools that look at everything from our financial wellbeing to our spiritual wellbeing. They focus on particular elements of us as individuals with the view of seeing our full complexity as individuals, but also in community.

Photo by Nik Shuliahin on Unsplash

Often when one area of our wellbeing/life is causing us stress, it has a knock-on effect to other areas. For example, if we are struggling in our relationship with our father, it makes us feel upset and stressed so we don’t sleep. In this example our relational, emotional and physical wellbeing have all been impacted, therefore no part of us can be looked at in isolation.

As this area of our work grew I wanted to explore how this fit with Christian teaching and the Bible, as we are a Christian project at our core. Through a fantastic piece of work we developed a theology of flourishing; taking the view that God wants us to flourish, so we will desire and work towards the flourishing of self, others, community and the environment.

It is about more than surviving but is about thriving, and is also vulnerable; it recognises the beauty in our fragility. It does not flee from suffering but looks it square in the face and deals in reality not fantasy. Ultimately, our theology concluded that:

“If ‘we flourish’ then ‘I flourish’. If ‘I flourish’ then ‘we flourish’. If flourishing doesn’t include others, then it’s just about individuals prospering. That will always diminish the vision of human flourishing we find in scripture.”

In this last week before Christmas we wish you a blessed Christmas and happy New Year. We at Leeds Sanctuary hope and pray you will find moments of flourishing over the festive period and perhaps join us at one of our retreat days or courses in the New Year.

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