31 Jul July Digest
It’s been a lovely sunny month here in our corner of Worcestershire, which we’ve been enjoying. We were however very pleased to be able to forego our (long, black) habits for a few days when the heat was at it’s peak.
It was a great joy to welcome some of the members of our Friends Association for the afternoon of Saturday 16th. The sun shone bright and warm, and following the Office of None, our 30 or so visitors had a variety of options for an hour or so. Some opted for a good catch-up with Br. Stuart and Br. Jonathan, others joined Br. Michaël to learn more about iconography, a few joined Abbot Thomas and some of the community for Lectio Divina, and a few active souls had a tour of the estate with Br. Adrian. We then reconvened for a delicious tea, before concluding with Vespers.
On Wednesday 27th, Br. Adrian was elected to Solemn (Life) Vows. Please hold him and the Community in your prayers as he prepares for his Profession of Vows in late September.
Following the arrival of Freya last month, Sr. Sally has welcomed another granddaughter into the world! Phoebe was born about a week ago, and Sr. Sally was able to go and visit her, her parents, and her other sons and grandchildren in the last few days. She’s been enjoying lots of cuddles – so much so, that she forgot to take any pictures! Fortunately Phoebe’s parents had a few to spare:
Out and About
As well as keeping busy at home, various community members have been occupied elsewhere. From the 8th to the 12th of July Br. Philip was in York for General Synod. It took us a little while to catch up with the news from this group of sessions however, as he managed to bring Covid home with him! Fortunately no one else in the community was affected, and after over a week of self-isolation, Br. Philip was eager to tell us all about his time in York. One of the things he reported finding most helpful was taking opportunities, usually over meals, to talk to people he might not usually connect with, particularly those whose views on a whole variety of issues might differ from his own. He found the conversations he had encouraging and fruitful, leading to greater friendship and respect. Living well with those with whom we disagree is a vital skill for any kind of community life; perhaps this is another way in which those of us who live in community can be an encouragement to the wider church.
Speaking of the wider church, the Lambeth Conference is currently taking place, and Br. Michaël is there as part of the chaplaincy team. He and the rest of the chaplaincy team would welcome your prayers throughout the Conference, which runs until 8th August.
At the start of the month, Br. Stuart had the great joy of representing the community at Luke and Danielle’s wedding; some of you may remember Luke from his time as a Brother with the Community here. It’s been good to keep in contact with him over the last 4 1/2 years, and more recently to hear about and then meet Danielle as his girlfriend and then fiancée. The smiles on theirs and Br. Stuart’s faces show something of the joy of their wedding day.
Meanwhile at Mucknell…
Life here has continued very much as normal; however ‘eventful’ each month’s digest may look, our ‘bread and butter’ is the daily round of Offices, domestic work and caring for the Kitchen Garden and Estate. We are truly blessed to do so in such beautiful surroundings, where we have a front row seat to the seasonal changes the year brings. This month we have especially been enjoying the swallows darting and swooping around as they get their juveniles ready for their long migration. Numbers have been down the past couple of years, so it’s been wonderful to see so many around again this year. We also had our meadows cut for hay this month, attracting the usual posse of gulls, kestrels, buzzards and even a red kite or two. We have had frequent sightings of the hares (especially since the hay has been cut) and deer, including one of the mums with her growing fawn.
Thanks to a combination of an excellent irrigation system and some very early starts for the team, the Kitchen Garden has come through the recent dry and hot weather well, and is in full flow, giving us a good supply of beans, courgettes, tomatoes, cucumbers, peas, onions, potatoes, lettuce – all of which we have been enjoying at table over the past few weeks. We’ve also had our first pick of our plums this past week, and are looking forward to the rest of the bounty of the orchard in coming months.
Our daily round of worship continues too; all of us have a part to play in sustaining this, the centre of our lives. One element of this is our Sunday Eucharist, where we take it (more or less) in turns to preach. This past month we’ve heard from Leah, reminding us of the importance of God’s mercy, from myself on the differing nature of our individual vocations and from Br. Jonathan on playing hide and seek with God.