The Fishermens' Chapel

I am on holiday on the island of Jersey. A week in St. Brelade church’s retreat cottage is a love gift following my input into its glorious Festival of Spirituality last year. To my left is an interesting drive. A notice says ‘Vagrants cannot, tramps must not and gentlemen surely will not trespass’. I resist temptation.

To my right is the sandy sweep of St. Brelade’s Bay, a paradise for bathers, boaters, walkers and lazers, which provides lifeguards and refreshment alcoves.

Crowning this is the Fishermens’ Chapel besides St. Brelade’s Church. This is thought to be the site where Brelade, or Branwalader, a monk whose father was the Cornish King Kenen, established a community of prayer in the 6th century.

B. takes me out to a meal and gifts me with a week’s food. His new five valve Mercedes evokes wonder in aficionados. He made his money through an ethical investment company. He has put his proceeds into a company called Caring Connects. This puts feeder money plus personal contact into projects that bring community well-being.

G lends me his third car, and three inspiring holiday reads. These include a signed copy of William Wilberforce’s A Practical View of the Prevailing Religious System of Professed Christians in the Higher and Middle Classes in this Country contrasted with Real Christianity, George Seaver’s wonderful little book The Faith of Edward Wilson of the Antarctic, and a book about Lord Leverhulme, who invented sunlight soap and is a model of a half redeemed capitalist.

Yes, Jersey has some very rich people. But it is made up of twelve civil/ecclesiastical parishes which sustain wise use of money and respectful community. It is not unusual to find a banker, a politician and a street cleaner sharing round one restaurant table. I walk a coastal path and pray that Jersey will again become an island of prayer and pilgrimage.

See the video of St. Brelade and Fishermen's Chapel

Posted at 11:02am on 11th June 2014
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