Escomb Launches 'celtic Church'

The parish church at Escomb, by the river Wear, County Durham UK, was established after Saint Aidan’s death in 651 and before the Lindisfarne Gospels  - a multi-cultural witness for which maJor celebrations are being planned - were produced in  713. Escomb  is one of only three Anglo-Saxon church buildings from that time that is still regularly used for worship. The building holds Roman stone, and architecture showing both Irish and European influences. It has just lalunched a new development termed Celtic Church. Normal Church of England services are maintained at the regular times, but on fourth Sunday afternoons a different congregation, The Celtic Church, meets. The theme of the first service was ‘What springs of life were blocked that need restoring in order to heal people and land?’ Each person was invited to touch the ‘mysterious fruit’ carved on the ancient Celtic altar cross, and on their way back to bless themselves from a bowl of  water from an ancient local spring.  Afterwards, each took a stone that had been brought from the ford across the river that helped to make Escomb a spiritual centre, and placed them outside in the shape of a Celtic cross. See Downloads for my Escomb sermon.  

Maureen wrote this poem -  

Together we met and God was good.

Friends , sunshine and love baked food

We entered as many had done beforeTogether beyond the ancient door
And there as gentle music played
A roving peace to all arrayed
And gentle words in ancient style
Bid us stop and pause a while
Touch ancient rock cool tired hands
And know we are a part of God's plans
To be ourselves no pomp or show
For such things our God must know
There in love with one another
New found Christian sister and brother
The door open - that's not new
It's hospitality Aidan knew
So my prayer for this special place
Is that there meet the human race
Of every type , every colour
Without pretence loving each other
No social climbing or glory seeking
Just simply being God's truth speaking
 
 
The following prayers and Lament for the Synod of Whitby  echo those used at  that first service of Escomb’s  Celtic Church. Although particular points can be debated, there is no doubt they reflect the views of many de-churched and un-churched people.
 
Mother and Father God, use us to restore true community of women and men, sharing hearts and materials.
Father and Mother God, use us to restore true care of the land, in simple living.
Mother and Father God, use us to restore true honouring of the beauty of the changing seasons and the myriad creatures.
Father and Mother God, use us to restore true honouring of the springs of the Spirit
Mother and Father God, use us to restore true love between  people and creatures, a love that cradles the best life for all.
 
 
The leaders in the Church gathered at Whitby in 664
Arise O Celtic holy women
Celtic voices spoke for the mountains and the islands and the people
Arise O Celtic holy men
But the power of the continental Church turned the others
Arise O Celtic holy women
And so the synod pledged the land to the Holy Roman Empire
Arise O Celtic holy men
The Celtic ways were soon called wrong and primitive and dark
Arise O Celtic holy women
All the Celtic beauty was pushed to the margins
Arise O Celtic holy men
But the springs of the Spirit of the land remained under the ground
Arise O Celtic holy women
In our days the Empire is dying and the Celtic springs flow stronger
Arise O Celtic holy men
May we take up the vision of the Celtic founders of this holy place
Arise O Celtic holy women
May we join in the flow of these ancient ones
Arise O Celtic holy men
May the healing rivers of the gentle Spirit return to our barren land
Arise O Celtic holy women and men.
Posted at 13:50pm on 18th August 2012
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