New user? Register here:
Email Address:
Password:
Retype Password:
First Name:
Last Name:
Existing user? Login here:
 
 
News >

Barefoot rector discovers new spiritual meaning in life

by Ed Beavan

Click to enlarge

Footsteps: the Revd Stephen Lowe goes shoeless

Footsteps: the Revd Stephen Lowe goes shoeless

A SHROPSHIRE priest, the Revd Stephen Lowe, is following in the footsteps of St Francis of Assisi by eschewing shoes.

Mr Lowe, Team Rector of Much Wenlock, stopped wearing shoes last September, and believes that going barefoot helps him to maintain his spiritual focus.

He first had the idea when he was washing his parishioners’ feet on Maundy Thursday last year, and thought it was appropriate for him to be barefoot, too. “When I was barefoot, I found real spiritual meaning in it, and I wanted to take it out into the community.

“I got some jokey comments from some people, but it really inspired some good spiritual conversations, and I feel it’s a worthwhile thing: it helps my spiritual focus and holds me in the present moment.

“It affects my attitude as I approach life, as each step is different as the foot meets warm or cold, hard or soft, and it reorientates my heart and mind to be ready to meet people with their variety of needs.”

Mr Lowe, who is a former chaplain of the Martyrs’ School in Papua New Guinea, also believes that shoes illustrate society’s insulation from reality, and urges people to go barefoot metaphorically and think about how they can “tread more lightly” on the earth in terms of environmental issues.

The barefoot priest still wears shoes for funerals, at restaurants, and to climb the Long Mynd hills near by, but plans to continue without shoes for the foreseeable future.

He has even walked barefoot on frosty days, which, he says, is not as uncomfortable as one would imagine.

Job of the week

Vicar

London and Home Counties

Diocese of Oxford Archdeaconry of Berkshire - Deanery of Newbury The Bishop of Reading seeks to appoint a VICAR for St. Mary the Virgin, Greenham Greenham is a single parish benefice on the sou...  Read More

Signup for job alerts
Top feature

Finding a way, with words

Finding a way, with words

The writer Anne Lamott appears for the first time at the Greenbelt Festival next week. Her confessional books interweave faith, literature, pain, and humour. She talks to Jo Browning Wroe  Subscribe to read more

Question of the week
Should the UK send troops to protect Iraqis against Islamic State fighters?

To prevent multiple voting, we now ask readers to be logged in. This is free, quick and easy, honestly. Click here to login or register

Top comment

A radical and necessary move for democracy

On the anniversary of the Chartists' attending church, Steve Parish examines their demands, and asks what has changed  Subscribe to read more

Thu 21 Aug 14 @ 12:48
RT @SCM_PressThe Reformed epistemologists and Charles Taylor have been like ships passing in the night... http://t.co/lLVsWXcXxi http://t.co/cAsHDmoIt1

Thu 21 Aug 14 @ 10:50
Enter our photography competition 'Life and Soul - show your Church in Action' & win £150 http://t.co/nRaYGLOFEd