Slow Down, Show Up and Pray by Ruth Rice
Ruth has a gift for explaining her principles for creating a wave of wellbeing in a simple and profound way
Slow Down, Show Up and Pray - Simple Shared Habits to Renew Wellbeing in Our Local Communities
By Ruth Rice
Reviewed by Shaun Lambert
Ruth Rice in her book Slow Down, Show Up and Pray finds in breakdown and burnout that it is a radical decentering of self which leads her out of breakdown. This radical decentering comes out of an immersion in contemplative slow prayer. She then applied this principle, prophetically and imaginatively in bringing into a being a national movement of Renew Wellbeing Cafés.
Ruth has a gift for explaining her principles for creating a wave of wellbeing in a simple and profound way. She is also able to spot the phrases that those of us who have experienced mental ill health resonate with, ‘it’s ok not to be ok.’ We are not to be patted like dogs or be pressured to get well, but to be seen as people with God-given strengths (along with our vulnerabilities) that we can learn to access for wellbeing.
If you have not read the book, then I strongly recommend it for all! I do not want to give away the plot, but Ruth deftly weaves her story of vulnerability and renewal (although it’s ok not be be ok) into the wider narrative of how her vision for a series of cafes that would be third spaces for any seeking a safe place simply to be themselves, just as they are.
Although Ruth does not want to create clones of her Renew Wellbeing café model, there is great wisdom in the pattern, process, and structure of these safe places of creativity, craft, conversation and prayer. There is also real perception in the emphasis of making a link with the local authority and local mental health professionals. What is created is something co-produced between those with the vision, those who find a home in the cafés and the person of peace who is the local mental health professional.
Like Ruth I have met many who struggle with local church, who somehow have fallen through the holes in the net of mental health provision. This is not a ‘come to us’ model, but a creative going toward our neighbour. This is a walking along the road from Jerusalem to Jericho and not passing by on the other side. This book is like a Narnian wardrobe, it pulls you into the possibility of a new way of doing things. Come and feel its gravitational pull!
Ruth Rice is Director of Renew Wellbeing, a charity which runs simple cafe style spaces attached to a quiet room where inner habits of wellbeing are shared. Ruth longs for every church to find ways to bring God's peace onto the high street and open spaces for all to attend to their wellbeing.
Baptist minister Shaun Lambert is the author of Flat Earth Unroofed