May 2023 Digest - Mucknell Abbey
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May 2023 Digest

There’s been plenty going on this month here at Mucknell, including a variety of celebrations and a painting week. We’ve also been enjoying the warmer days and the beautiful greenery on the Estate. In the Kitchen Garden things are getting going – most plants are now in the ground and getting established, and we’re looking forward to enjoying the fruits of our labour in the kitchen before much longer.


There has been much to celebrate this past month. On May 6th, we joined with a great many others in watching the Coronation of King Charles III, followed by some fizz and a festive lunch. The following day, Abbot Thomas attended a civic service to mark the occasion at Worcester Cathedral:

Over these weeks the solemnities come thick and fast: Ascension, Pentecost and the Visitation round off May, then Trinity and Corpus Christi follow early in June. Throw in a few community birthdays, and the opportunities for cake are many! Here are just a couple we’ve enjoyed lately: a tennis court for Br. Philip’s birthday, and some fiery cupcakes for Pentecost.

On top of celebrations at home, myself and Br. Jonathan were able to join with many others at Newport Cathedral on Saturday 20th for a service of Thanksgiving for the sisters at Tymawr, the Society of the Sacred Cross. The service celebrated the hundreth anniversary of their arrival in Wales. As well as seeing the sisters SSC, it was also lovely to catch up with members of other Communities who were there too, including CSMV, CSC and SLG.

Meanwhile, at home…

We said goodbye to another Alongsider this month, as Lindsay left us to begin preparing for a new job as a parish priest in Yorkshire. We will miss her keen eye in observing wildlife on the Estate, as well as her musical gifts, and wish her well in her new appointment. Our loss is Yorkshire’s gain!

We also had our customary annual painting week; that’s painting as in painting and decorating, not pretty pictures! Br. Jonathan spent the week sprucing up the guest wing lobby, and myself and Sister Alison were busy up ladders cleaning and treating the wooden frame of the greenhouse – which includes some lovely views! Others were busy around the building; we managed to get through everything on Br. Ian’s list, so it was a successful if tiring week.

Painting week meant a bit of a break from our usual hospitality, but outside of that week, guests have continued to come and go. It was great to welcome a group from a local Mother’s Union to our daily Eucharist a couple of weeks ago. Following on from my visit to Norton College last month, a group of students visited the monastery for a couple of hours one morning, and had a great time exploring the chapel. They particularly enjoyed the prayer area on the balcony, and were keen to pepper me with all sorts of questions about our life and worship.

A Life in Tandem

In January 2020, we welcomed Luke Grenfell-Shaw and his friend Zac at the beginning of his Bristol2Beijing bike ride. Luke aimed to cover some 23,000 miles on his tandem, with a variety of people joining him along the way. In the end he was unable to enter China, but covered much of the ground between the UK and the Indian/Chinese border, finishing off the remaining miles in the UK last year. He is now aiming to produce a documentary about his experiences, and although the crowdfunding target for this has been met, the trailer is still well worth a few minutes of your time.

After the joy of 7 weeks of Eastertide, we rejoin Ordinary Time this week. I’ve heard this referred to as ‘green and growing time’, as we seek to follow God’s call in the everyday-ness of life. May God bless us all as we live out our hours, days and weeks in love of our neighbour, and in full assurance of God’s presence with us.