Aidan And Hilda Week

 What a priceless group of disciples and mission leaders gathered at Holy Island's Open Gate Retreat House for Aidan and Hilda Week: five from USA, one each from Australia, Denmark, England,  Norway and Scotland. We learned about one of the world's greatest cross-cultural missions, and about the Cloud of Witnesses in 7th c Northumbria - Britain's Golden Age from the Tay to the Humber.  

We learned to listen deeply, like Aidan, to God in Scripture, creation, the poor and ourselves. We explored how to develop compassion like Hilda, 'the merciful mother', and like her to release the song in every human heart.

Doug McMurry, who lives in Virginia  near the place of the first treaty between whites and Natives on theAmerican continent, performed an aboriganl protocol by presenting me with a copy of his book Forgotten Awakening.  We Whites wish to repent of the colonial style of evangelisation of American Natives, but Doug reminds us that God was at work in them through sovereign sweeps of prophecy before Whites arrived. His book tells of a Northumbrian who went with an indigenous approach.  After our retreat Doug travelled north to speak about Scottish revivals in Edinburgh and Troon.

The Scottish CAH group, family and other friends joined Heather McDonald as she took her life vows in St. Mary's Church. Guardian Simon Reed came from London, and St. Mary's Vicar Sarah Hills represented the Bishop to witness these vows in a moving ceremony, graced with music by her children.

By providential co-incidence my Australian friend Joel McKerrow followed up gigs at Gracelands Festival in the Netherlands and Greenbelt in UK with a gig at St. Mary's Church Holy Island on our last night. Before that he led our retreatants in a poetry and prayer workshop. Joel was a 'deconstructed evangelical/charismatic' who spent six weeks holed up in the Open Gate in the depths of winter some years back when it was closed to the public. He and his wife fed themselves, he used our library and wrote poetry night and day. That was the beginning of his 'reconstruction' as a world famous poet and releaser of creativity. His forthcoming book will refer to this.  You can get more info' and audio downloads from

On Saturday August 31 an Ethiopian friend will spend all night praying near the place where Aidan was escorted by angels to heaven on this day in 651.  On that day I will preside at Holy Communion at Berwick Parish Church at 10.0 am. And on that day all Aidan and Hilda followers are asked to make this the A for Action Day.  We make an action for justice as our salute to Aidan.




This is a must see series for all who love the Shannon - the Saints Way. It highlights the spiritual importance of the Shannon waterway corridor, and our duty to protect it for future generations.

Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3
Episode 4


Posted at 16:20pm on 30th August 2019
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