Encourage One Another From Land's End To Heaven Knows Where

Christians are to encourage one another, 1 Thessalonians 5:17. Andy and Jo Bowden, who support childrens and youth workers in parts of Yorkshire, sent me some information in order to encourage me’. This includes a Pilgrimage for Children, Young People and Families to Whitby entitled ‘St. Hilda’s Way’. http://dioceseofyork.org.uk/children-and-youth/events/st-hildas-way-2016-a-pilgrimage-for-children-young-people-and-families/

Jo emailed ‘I have been reading some literature about Hild, including your book, Hilda of Whitby. In the last chapter, you describe your vision - "Sometimes, in my mind's eye, I see Goths and pilgrims intermingling...etc" At the very moment I was reading this section, Andy was on the phone to English Heritage at Whitby Abbey, arranging our last day, the Sunday morning of July 31st where we will meet at the bottom of the steps, with the bishop of Whitby, Paul Ferguson and make our way up to the Abbey grounds. As the pilgrims move into the grounds, in the section at the back, facing the sea(where the original Anglo-Saxon 'village of God' was I gather), there will, simultaneously be an 'in-promenade' dramatic production of 'Dracula' happening on the other side of the Abbey. So - your vision will be, in a way, realised - Goths and Christians intermingling. When we went to visit the Abbey to talk to the two girls from EH they loved what we were doing, and one of them is also a Goth - a Buddhist one ! They are being very supportive and helpful. I must admit, I read your vision with a few tears in my eyes as I saw what we are actually going to end up with is going to be so close to what you saw.

Then I received an email of encouragement from Vanda Perrett, of Land’s End, the southernmost tip of Cornwall and UK. After reading last week’s blog she wrote: ‘I have enjoyed the fruits of your labours for many years and was delighted to see the blog on Cornish Saints. I am Rector of the Land's End benefice where in 2020 the church in Sennen celebrates 1,500 years of Christian worship on that site, St Levan and St Buryan also were founded in the later 600’s. If you are forming a basis for the community of Aidan and Hilda in Cornwall I would be really interested in finding out more. We see the Celtic church as having much to inspire and to educate our mission and living today, and are keen to explore this further. In 2020 we plan a whole year of celebrations and are looking to host all sorts of events around the Celtic church and the Cornish history. I wondered if you may be interested in perhaps giving a lecture or leading an event… ‘

You may think ‘the grass is greener on the other side but familiarity breeds contempt’. Well, this week I received encouragements even on my home base. Students from Jessop Liberal Arts University USA asked us to give them talks at St. Cuthbert’s Centre on Holy Island.

Then I was encouraged by a long-time friend who has surmounted mental health challenges. He rang to say he is becoming a Secular Franciscan' He asked how I was. I told him I had been depressed. He said 'My prayer meeting says the answer to being depressed is not to think about yourself but to use all your energy in compassion for others'. I thanked him for this wonderful and encouraging advice.

After racing across the incoming tide to meet Newcastle’s new Bishop Christine for a working lunch with active post-stipend clergy at a Hunting Lodge a few miles inland, I felt so encouraged that she, like Bishop Aidan long ago, was willing to come into the familiar territory of others rather than to take us out to meet her in her familiar territory.'

Now I must sign off and encourage someone down the road!

Posted at 12:20pm on 19th May 2016
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