Sabbatical Update – 4
Hello again! It’s been a while since my last post and I’ve a fair bit of news.
My last entry finished as I was heading north from Durham to spend a week on retreat in Northumberland. That retreat took place at Nether Springs, the Mother House of the Northumbria Community. The Northumbria is a new monastic community in the Celtic Christian tradition. It has members living all over the world, both married and single, who live out the community’s rule of life in their daily lives in the community. Some members choose to spend time as part of the House Team at the mother house, helping to host retreats and living the monastic rhythm there.
My retreat there has been the highlight of my sabbatical time so far. The time for prayer, contemplation and study was invaluable and I’m doing my best to live out the rhythm of life that I learned there in my daily life. The hospitality was also amazing. On my first evening, as my fellow retreatants and I were being given an orientation to the house, we were welcomed with the words “you are God’s invited guests.” What a great way to great people. I felt very at home.
After my week at Nether Springs I spent four days in Manchester, exploring the city. It was a neat opportunity to learn about the industrial history of Britain and how it impacted average people. While I was in Manchester I also spent some time in discernment and realized that the time was coming to return to Canada, sooner than I had planned. I had seen nearly all that I wanted to see, and really desired to spend time resting and studying at home and having Christmas with my family.
So I made arrangements to spend a week visiting Exeter and Bath, a day in London, and then return to Canada.
Exeter was an amazing city. It’s very walkable and there’s a lot to see and do. The two highlights were discovering an exhibition of photographs of Canadian soliders from WWI in Exeter at the local museum and attending Sunday worship with a Quaker congregation.
Quakers practice silent worship. They gather in silence and wait on the Holy Spirit. If the Spirit moves a person to speak they do so, and if not the hour passes in silence. I was worried that the service would feel long or that I would get bored but there is something very profound about gathering that way.
Being a Jane Austen fan a visit to Bath was a necessity. I visited the Jane Austen Centre and the Bath Costume Museum, but I also went to the Roman Baths and was surprised by how interesting I found them.
Fancy a dip in the Roman Baths?
Finally, after my time in Exeter I went to London, visiting the Globe Theatre, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Museum of London. I was delighted to discover that the Museum of London is near the sight where John Wesley had his conversion experience and was moved to begin the work that would eventually see the foundation of Methodism and our own United Church.
Marking the spot of John Wesley’s conversion.
I flew home on December 1st after a wonderful two months away.
Since then I’ve been studying, engaging in prayer and reflection and giving my apartment some much needed attention. It feels delightful to feel like my living space is in some kind of order.
Although I’m back in Canada, I have no doubt there are still more adventures in store for me.
Till Next Time