13th Nov – 20th Nov
As I write I have returned from six days of retreat at Glasshampton monastery (which is in rural Worcestershire). This is another house run by Anglican Franciscan friars, and it has been a house of prayer for 100 years. It is another very thin place and it was great to immerse myself in the silence and simplicity of their lifestyle for this time. These two video clips give you a taste of what the place is like, and my photos show the splendour of Glasshampton with autumnal colour – from my afternoon walks (and that this time Siena, the monastery cat, let me stroke her!).
It was particularly helpful as this time of study leave is coming to an end, to enjoy this beautiful peace-filled place and take more time to pray and reflect. In recent years Glasshampton has been my usual place of retreat – and I would really commend it to you. The enveloping silence is particularly liberating! Thanks to Moyra, who lent me her copy – I reacquainted myself with Henry Vanstone’s classic – the Stature of Waiting – it is a challenging read but a really inspiring one too.
In the richness of worship we were reflecting on how the kingdom of God has begun in us, and works through us, and how our hope is founded in God’s eternal love for us worked through Jesus Christ. Brother Amos, who preached in their Sunday morning Eucharist, included this verse from Daniel 12. – Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. This is a big challenge, but we are called to share God’s love with all we encounter like bright shiny stars.
I returned home on Sunday, and have with some relief finally put the suitcases away. I worked out I have slept in 19 different beds during this sabbatical time and have packed and unpacked the bags and the car on countless occasions! (I am no better at travelling light!) I am back fully in role on 30th November, but in the mean time I am looking forward to sharing in the 130th celebrations of Christ Church on Sunday – I popped in to Church yesterday, to collect my cassock alb to give it a wash – to find the singers rehearsing and a splendid display of photos giving thanks for the life of Christ Church.
On Monday, I popped into London for an “encounter” evening at St Martin-in-the-fields, which featured the Archbishop of Canterbury. This was a fantastic insight into his approach to his faith and experiences of God. It was great to hear him speak so openly about God’s love for him (and his love for God) – One of the things he said was that “God gives us space to be who we are and grow up into who we are called to be”.
Found a link to more of what Archbishop Justin said…
On the way out of St Martin’s, I suddenly found myself amongst South Nutfield friends. It was great to be able to travel back with them, and to be able to share our reflections on the train home!!
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