Aidan And Hilda In Seattle

Tom Cashman, our Pacific NW Regional Guardian in the USA, drove me from Vancouver, where he gives spiritual direction every few weeks, across the border into his home town of Seattle. This green and spacious city is named after the Indian Chief Seattle, whose famous declaration 'We did not weave the web of life ... we are sons and daughters of the earth' has influenced world thinking and resonates deeply with Celtic spirituality. My host, Carol Everson, helps head up the finance department for Seattle's more than four hundred parks. I enjoyed the multi-cultural festivity of the Seattle Center and its Olympic Sculptor Park that overlooks the waters of The Sound. Bill and Melinda Gates have their Charity Foundation's headquarters here. The Seattle Times features New World Habits Disposable Cup campaign (www.newworldhabits.org).

On Friday Tom and I visited Christine and Tom Sine's community house. We learned of their extraordinary range of thinking and knowlegde of eco-housing, new monastic, evangelical justice and Celtic movements, and of their land at Camano Island. There they invite students to camp, re-imagine the future, experience holistic Celtic worship and give them tools to work with.

On Saturday members and friends of the Community gathered for a day together for sharing of journeys, and I gave news of life-giving Aidan and Hilda developments around the world. Shannon and Pat Loughery told us about their faith home community. Pat manages the USA CA&H web site. He hopes his friend will compete in the 2012 Olympics in London, in which case he will support him and we can hope to see the whole family come north to Holy Island for a few days.We talked about pilgrim places in USA. I would like the Gates Foundation to help this city honour the Indian places and people whom the European incomers displaced.

On Sunday I attended Carol's local Saint Columba's Church, preceded by an adult Sunday School on Baruch and Wisdom in the Apocrypha. This was followed by a 5.0 pm visit to Church of the Apostles (COTA), also known as Fremont Abbey. It began in a cafe, in the bohemian, arty suburb of Fremont, which styles itself 'the Arts Centre of the Universe'! It transferred to a dis-used Lutheran-Episcopal church building opposite. Downstrairs has become an arts centre and music auditorium with cafe. Upstairs is the worship area. Each Sunday service includes liturgy with beautiful power point art, an interview or chat, a period of Open Space during which people wander to a chapel, icon, drink facility etc, and informal Communion. I had listened to a Greenbelt UK talk by the previous pastor, Karen Ward, which cited it as an example of a church that has monastic features. The day ended with sung compline at the cathedral. Despite a plain building, archaic language, and hard pews that did not face the choir, it was packed and some brought cushions and reclined around the altar. Surely this says something - like the Copenhagen night services that students love? I am now ready to return.

Posted at 14:11pm on 22nd May 2011
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