Sabbatical Update – 3
Hello from Durham! This is the fourth city I’ve visited since my last blog, and I’m quite enjoying seeing the original Durham. I started this leg of my trip further south though.
On November 1st I traveled from Dundee to Peterborough, arriving around supper time. After supper and a good night’s sleep I was ready to go exploring.
My first stop was Peterborough Cathedral. It was absolutely magnificent. Construction started in 1118 and took 120 years. It’s incredible to think of the the faith and dedication it took to complete such a project. The Cathedral life was part of a monastery and as wandered around I thought of the centuries of people who had lived and worked and prayed there. The stories those walls could tell. I spent some time in prayer there before moving on to explore more of the city.
My next stop was the Peterborough Museum. There was an exhibit of of some of the treasures of the Cathedral that were no longer kept in Peterborough. This included a beautifully illuminated Book of Psalms. Again, the hours of work that went into creating such a thing and the centuries of people who read it was profoundly moving.
The next day I went to Ely to attend a conference and it was a highlight of my trip so far. The conference I was a attending was the Anglican National Fresh Expressions Conference and the theme for the day was Blended. The Fresh Expressions movement is about finding non-traditional ways of being the church, reaching those who are are interested in faith but for whom traditional worship isn’t a good fit. Fresh Expressions exists in Canada but it isn’t as wide spread and hasn’t been around as long.
I had a great time learning about Fresh Expressions, how they work and what they look like as well as engaging in the conference theme. The theme, Blended, looked at how traditional worshiping congregations and Fresh Expressions can work with each other and why both are important parts of the Christian landscape. Typically of me I bought a couple of books so I could read more on the subject. I spent two more days in the area, one of which I spent visiting Cambridge before coming North again to visit Durham.
Durham Cathedral is the burial site for the Venerable Bede and St. Cuthbert. These two men were major figures in early Christianity in the North. Durham Cathedral and these tombs are one of England’s pilgrimage sites. To stand before those tombs and pray in the Cathedral was a very moving experience.
Naturally I had to visit a museum and Beamish Living History Museum was a great place to visit. I spent three and a half hours there and still didn’t see everything. It’s hard to pick a favourite thing here but there were some lovely animals to see and I got to dress up and have my photo taken at the photographer’s studio. Since it was so near Remembrance Day I was able to learn about how the First World War affected the families in the area. It was incredibly moving and made the Remembrance Day Ceremony the next day incredibly poignant.
I’m off now on a weeks retreat with the Northumbria Community and I look forward to updating you again before too long.
Until next time.
P.S. I’m afraid you’re getting this a week after I wrote it. I didn’t manage to send it before my retreat and there wasn’t internet at the retreat centre.