Monthly Digest: July 2018 - Mucknell Abbey
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Monthly Digest: July 2018

Nothing hidden from its heat…

It feels like it’s been a slow, quiet month here at Mucknell – not least because of the exceptional weather. We’ve found that in hot, humid conditions a black polyester habit really comes into its own, constraining us to adopt a less hurried approach to life (!). Anyway, here is the digest for July…


  • On 2 July we welcomed Joshua Heath as an Alongsider. Joshua has just completed a Masters degree in Theology at the University of Chicago and will be with us until September. In October he will start a PhD in Theology at Cambridge under the supervision of Rowan Williams. His subject will be the work of the Russian theologian Sergei Bulgakov (1871-1944). On the same day workmen arrived to put up scaffolding on the south side of the Community Block as a preliminary to remedial work on our windows and doors. Their convincing renditions of Heartbreak Hotel, Love me Tender and other Elvis classics was a joy for us all. So when we say its been a ‘quiet’ month we don’t mean it literally.


Community Block July 2018

The Community Block


Joshua inside the Community Block…


  • On 4 July Br Stuart and Sr Alison traveled to London for a meeting of the Advisory Council for Relations between Bishops and Religious Communities. In related news, the General Synod held at York gave its consideration to a first draft of a Canon which it is hoped will provide a framework for Religious life in the Church of England. Click here for the Church Times article.


  • On 9 July we welcomed Claire, an ordinand at Cramner Hall in Durham, who was with us for two weeks on placement. We wish her well in her final year of study.


  • On 12 July Br Michäel was elected to Solemn Profession (Life Vows) by a meeting of the Elective Chapter. The rite of Profession will take place later this year.  At 29 we think he will be the youngest member of the Community in its (albeit short) history to have taken Life Vows, and certainly the only Frenchman!


  • On 14 July we scattered the ashes of Sr Margaret Jarman CPP in a very simple ceremony following a Requiem Eucharist.


  • On 20 July Br Stuart went to Lambeth Palace to review the experience of the first three years of the Community of St Anselm, of which he is a Trustee. On 23rd he went to Ditchingham to lead a retreat for the Oratory of the Good Shepherd, and on 30th he was off once again, this time leading an annual retreat for the Sisters of the Community of the Holy Name at Derby. So, not such a slow month for Br Stuart!


  • On 28 July it rained, accompanied by great jubilation, especially among the gardeners. Luckily the Abbey has a borehole from which we’ve been able to keep the kitchen garden irrigated and some of the less robust trees from certain death. Although the number of self-seeded flowers that have grown up around the place without any discernible source of water has been quite amazing (e.g the pretty weed in the feature photograph).



This is what is being referred to as a Squmpkin, and we’ve been growing it – or, it has been growing – in our kitchen garden. However, despite what the portmanteau invented by Sr Alison suggests, latest intelligence believes it to be a cross between a squash and a courgette.

Onion drier

Recycling: Sr Alison created this onion drier from tree stakes and shelves taken from our old fridge.


  • Our thanks to Richard for procuring us a copy of Aelred of Rievaulx’s Spiritual Friendship after ours had gone missing.