Last weekend we had a family retreat to Lee Abbey, which is a Christian community on the Exmoor coast at the end of the Valley of the Rocks. I had never been before and, knowing that the community has a different Christian tradition to my own comfort zone, I was slightly in trepidation as we travelled on Friday. And yes, it was different, but no – I needn’t have worried. It was truly wonderful to spend a few days in the company of fellow Christians from a huge variety of backgrounds and traditions, all seeking nourishment and refreshment. But then there were the ‘God-instances’ too that said, ‘this may feel different and uncomfortable – but I am here with you’.
Firstly, on arrival I was reading the background information on the settlement. It turns out that the first people to build on the land were Cistercian Monks who were given the site in around the year 1200. Those monks were the Cistercian monks at Forde Abbey here in the middle of our own Benefice!
Secondly, the retreat leader, who led the talks throughout the weekend, was a founding member of the Northumbria Celtic Christian Community and one of the authors of the Celtic Daily Prayer that Michelle and I often use.
I couldn’t help but be reminded of those great lines from T S Eliot’s Little Gidding:
“We shall not cease from explorationAnd the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time. Through the unknown, remembered gate When the last of earth left to discover Is that which was the beginning; At the source of the longest river The voice of the hidden waterfall And the children in the apple-tree Not known, because not looked for But heard, half-heard, in the stillness Between two waves of the sea.”
Lent is a time of self-discovery, and sometimes that can feel really daunting and take you to areas that you would rather not know. But in taking those steps you may well find that God is already there showing you the way – and suddenly what was scary can actually become something much more nourishing.
Sunday 12th March
8am – Book of Common Prayer Holy Communion; St Stephen’s, Winsham
10am – Morning Prayer; St Mary’s, Thorncombe
10:30am – Holy Communion; St Michael & All Angels, Chaffcombe
Tuesday 14th March
9:30am – Morning Prayer (Celtic tradition); St John’s Tatworth. A simple and quiet service of morning prayer in Lent.
Wednesday 15th March
9:30am – Holy Communion; St Mary’s Thorncombe – followed by Coffee Morning at 1015am. ALL WELCOME
The first Lent Walk last week in Winsham was a huge success! Thank you to everyone who came and thank you for the lovely tea afterwards!
The next walk is tomorrow (Thursday 9th March) in Thorncombe. We will leave St Mary’s Church at 1100 for about an hour’s gentle walk, returning to the church just after 1200 for light refreshments. At 1230 I will lead a short time of prayer and reflection. ALL welcome to either or both the walk or the prayers! If the weather is really poor then I will adjust to a much shorter and local route!
On Palm Sunday we will have a Benefice Service (with Donkeys for the Palm Procession!) at St Stephen’s, Winsham. 1030am on 2nd April.
We would like to do a dramatised reading and so are appealing for people who would be happy to have a part! If you would like a part then please let either myself or Michelle know!
Please hold in your prayers all you know who are struggling in any way, in body, mind or spirit. We are asked to pray by name for:
Dave Boyland; Terri Boyland; Sheila Clement; Wendy Cotton; Hannah Knott; Jan Knott; Mary Marsh; Tony Taylor; Margaret Bandy; Dorothy White, Tony Meech, Di Nicholls, Hester Down, Stella Hutchison; Oskar Lee; Margaret Shields; Andrew de Pury; Frank Long; Jean Dodd, Cyril Larcombe, Valerie Palmer, Jane Scott, Nan Austin, Ron Bone, ‘James’, and Sue Luty Wells’ sister.
We remember all those whom we love but see no longer; especially at this time Donald Raddon, whose funeral is in Chaffcombe on Monday 20th March.
The Collect for 2nd week of Lent from the Book of Common Prayer:
ALMIGHTY God, who seest that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves:
Keep us both outwardly in our bodies, and inwardly in our souls;
that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body,
and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Reverend Philip Butcher
Rector – Two Shires Benefice (Tatworth, Thorncombe, Winsham, Chaffcombe & Cricket Malherbie)
3 Home Farm
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