Clarification, Apology And Holy Day.

Misunderstandings have circulated which relate to references in my published writings to Villages of God and Sketes, and also to The Open Gate Retreat House on Holy Island. The term ‘Village of God’ refers to a hub church with varied facilities which links up in friendship with those who provide other resources in the area. There is no suggestion that this could or should develop where it is not desired. ‘Sketes’ refers to people who wish to live a life in semi-solitude, but near to people who follow a similar calling, perhaps meeting up at week-ends. Sketes have usually developed in deserted places, though a few have developed in urban areas where they are unnoticed. We do not believe they should be in places where they are obtrusive or unwelcome.

The Open Gate is a small retreat house on Holy Island run by the international Community of Aidan and Hilda, which has only five members on the island. It’s purpose is to serve those pilgrims who value what it offers. It is a registered charity which means none of those who work there make a profit out of it. I am sorry if we have given any other impressions. We love the island and seek to listen to it.


I had the honour of being invited to an island wedding, so I postponed my holiday by 36 hours. It was a delight to share in the joy of someone I knew as a child. I left England’s Holy Island at 4.30 am (to beat the incoming tide) and drove to Wales’ Holy Island. By the Roman fort at Holyhead is Saint Cybi’s Church, where this seventh century saint was buried. Cybi was the son of a Cornish warrior chief. He became a Christian and preached widely in Britanny, Cornwall and South Wales. He used to walk half way across Ynys Mon (Anglesey) there to meet with his soul friend, Seiriol, whose hermitage was at Penmon. I asked the church guide if the English had publicly repented of their ravagings of this church. He said “They were all thugs, the Welsh as well as the English”. I said, “There is a thug in every person, but also the possibility of nobility”. Our Community has a vocation to renew prayer at holy sites and to bring healing to wounded memory.

I had a meal with Voyager Richard Adams who shares in a ministry at Penmon. I also called on Anne and Nigel Snaith. They have formed a trust whose purpose is to establish a nearby retreat house. Anne runs H’Artworks, a gallery and design workshop at 6 Church Street, Beaumaris. They and the Trust need financial support. I stayed in a retreat cottage administered by our Voyager James Percival, overlooking the idyllic coast at Llandonna. Please pray for this Ynys Mon group.

Posted at 00:49am on 12th June 2015
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