The Climax: Prayer Houses

To keep the rhythms and to allow for unfolding possibilities (such as a holiday in Toronto!) we left the last 36 hours free. Thank God. They were filled with two unscheduled and life-giving visits. Fred, who has served Christ in the streets for many years, accompanied Randal and I on a two hour return journey to the original Madonna House at Combermere, founded by Catherine Doherty, who is perhaps most well-known for her book Poustinia. There we met with Fr. Bob Wild, one of the leaders, saw the Russian style wood chapel, a farm, poustinias, the main house and had lunch.  Fred emailed me: 'Thank you for you're illuminating talk on Celtic Wisdom. I will not forget it. As I listened to you, Our Lord awoke dreams in me I haven't entertained much in these past 22yrs working on the street with the marginalized. Thank you also for yesterday, a wonderful day spent together with Randal, visiting my Madonna House community in Combermere. My heart sang, my spirit danced all the day long. I was so happy that you and Fr. Bob Wild met and it happened in Catherine's first Poustinia in North America'.

Folllowing seven hours on two trains and a bus I arrived at Greater Ontario House of Prayer at Hamilton. My Tyndale student Andy had arranged for me to stay overnight and meet next morning with ten of the staff, to recount my experience as a church planter, of The Community of Aidan and Hilda,  of weaving together God-given strands within Christianity and of new monasticism. They link with 24/7 prayer but wonder whether they should seek a rhythm or rule of life.  My 'treat' was for Andy and staff member Peter to drive me to Niagara Falls - a stunning sight - before returning me to the airport.

We flew through a truncated night. As I drove from Glasgow airport I jet-lagged into the side of the road, so  took time out to climb Edinburgh's Arthur's Seat, there to sleep, perchance to dream. I returned to a privilege: the Open Gate and the church of a holy Island.

Posted at 06:27am on 20th June 2013
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