Monday 10th July
Last week, Graham, Jeremy and I were all away at Lancaster University for the Two Cities Clergy Residential. 70 clergy, including two archdeacons and three bishops, all going away together to pray and learn, and spend time together!
The theme this year was Faith and the Arts, and we had a range of fantastic speakers on everything from Indian Christian Artist Jyoti Sahi, to music in Black Majority Churches by Dr Pauline Muir, via interactive sessions writing poetry and all sorts of other ways that Christians have sought to express their faith in the arts. We were lucky with the weather, and so exploring the arts was beautifully matched by the glorious scenery that surrounds Lancaster, as well as a lovely chapel to worship in.
But why do clergy go on residentials like this at all? Surely we are all too busy to take nearly a week out of our schedules to traipse up to Lancaster and sit around looking at pretty pictures? That, however, is precisely the point. In the midst of our busy-ness in the busy city, it can be so easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day pressures of ministry in whatever context. Slowly, over time, our eyes can drift down to our computer screens and the pavement, and we forget to look up, look around us, and see what God is doing. Not only that, but it can be easy for clergy who work on their own in churches to feel isolated: especially if they have just moved into an area. We are all so busy, it can be hard to make time to make friends.
Bless the creators, O God of creation,
who by their gifts make the world
a more joyful and beautiful realm.
Through their labours
they teach us to see more clearly
the truth around us.
In their inspiration
they call forth wonder and awe
in our own living.
In their hope and vision
they remind us
that life is holy.
Bless all who create in your image,
O God of creation.
Pour your Spirit upon them
that their hearts may sing
and their works be fulfilling.
Rev. Helena Bickley-Percival, Assistant Curate
Thursday January 19th 2023
What a delight to meet up with my old Benedictine friend Br Patrice today. He had some encouraging words for me and it was good to catch up with him. He is a monk at the community of Solesmes in France and I have visited him in the beautiful Abbey and enjoyed its renowned Gregorian Chanting of the psalms and office
He was meeting an Abbot from another French Community in the railway station. He offered a little prayer for us outside Victoria Railway Station, which I offer to you for this weeks Weekly Devotion.
Please remember his community as they remember us at St Stephen’s in their prayers.
Revd Graham Buckle