Oxford For St. Hilda!

I drive seven hours to Oxford. I speak at St. Giles on 'St. Hilda, the Synod of Whitby and the Great Emergence'. The audience includes Anglicans, Baptists, Orthodox, Pentecostals, Quakers and Roman Catholics. The Orthodox lady tells me she recently met John Tavener, that inspired and most spiritual composer, who died the other day. Although he was in a wheel-chair he was in good spirits. I visit the famous Blackwells Bookshop and ask for a CD of Tavener's 'Ikon of Saint Hilda'.

The following morning I visit the Bible Reading Fellowship headquarters at nearby Abingdon. BRF will publish my book on Saint Hilda in March. For the first time, they film an interview with the author as part of their marketing. Different members of the team ask what are the selling points for bookshops, media, and institutions. The selling points are too diverse to make one single brand impact. The book should go with Biographies of inspired lives. No, with Celtic Spirituality. No, with Womens' Studies. No, with Emerging Church. No, with educational and church institutions named after Hilda. No, with the twilight film genre, and dracula fantasists who have hi-jacked Whitby's heritage. No, with death cafés and those wanting to making a good death. No, with leadership training on how to span competing frameworks with integrity. No, with spiritual direction and nurture.... I learn that the Archbishop of York's foreword has arrived in time. I point out that the sub-title is 'A Spirituality of Now'. Afterwards I email this suggested flyer:'This is a book for everyone who is in a hard place, feels exiled from their past, is drawn to Celtic spirituality, wants to unlock the song in every heart, make a good death, and leave a great legacy.'

I enjoy a lunch with two couples and three singles who take initiatives to bring change through inter-faith friendship and listening to God. I tell stories of Celtics saints in Britain at a Quiet Evening at the Quaker Meeting House. On Friday I lead a half day retreat on Irish saints. I leave early in order to drive to Hartlepool. I will preach at St. Hilda's Church, speak at St. Hilda's School, and meet with local groups and clergy. A Hartlepool lady told me that although it has social deprivation, Hartlepool has a high degree of spirituality. I ask myself why this is. Could it be that its birth-right - Hilda's transforming, grassroots community of men and women - still holds something of its ancient power?

Hartlepool lives the Hilda spirituality. Oxford has named a college after her. Whatever next! It is time for Hilda and all she stands for to make a comeback. Please help to make this happen. Get the book! Hold a 2014 event to celebrate the 14th centenary of her birth!. Live the life! Join Community of Aidan and Hilda Voyagers world-wide who renew their vows on November 17, Saint Hilda's Day!

Posted at 09:29am on 15th November 2013
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