29 Sep Monthly Digest: September 2018
Good morning on this sunny Feast of St Michael and All Angels. Our patience-making internet connection notwithstanding, here is our monthly digest for September.
- On 1st September our Alongsider, Joshua, led a seminar for us on St Augustine’s Confessions, which he had studied as part of his MA in Theology at the University of Chicago.
- On the afternoon of Sunday 2nd the Community sang Vespers at nearby Little Malvern Priory with their Chaplain, Fr Eric Knowles, and members of the local parish. Before the Reformation the Priory was a small Benedictine house, and it was a privilege to be able to sing the Office there. Sitting in the original choir stalls was quite an evocative experience. The Priory is part a chain of former monasteries in the area which we have linked together under St Wulfstan’s Progress. An article about the building and its history will be appearing soon!
- The following day Br Adrian and Sr Jessica left for Tymawr Convent in Monmouthshire, home to the Sisters of the Holy Cross, for a week-long inter-novitiate course on community relations and conflict management.
- The Church Times have begun a series on the Religious Life and the front cover for the edition published on the 7th featured our very own Br Patrick. Mucknell also featured in Archbishop Justin’s opinion piece ‘Religious Communities: A Work in Progress’, in which he cites us as an example of doing ‘what the People of God have been called to do throughout history: hold the past with one hand while looking to the future as God leads us into it by the other hand…’
- On 8th September Br Stuart addressed the staff of the Cathedral of our link Diocese of Magdeburg on the Benedictine life (In Worcester, not Magdeburg!)
- On 9th September Br Anthony and Br Ian went to Salisbury for the installation of Nick Papadopolus as Dean of the Cathedral. Nick is a good friend of the Community and we wish him well in his new post.
- Br Stuart has been in great demand recently as a speaker, and on the 10th he traveled to Oxford to lead the College of Bishops’ Retreat. The following week found him in Manchester, where he was part of the ‘stellar line-up’ of speakers at the National Cathedrals Conference. You can read more about his various gigs here. Although we have started to refer to him as our ‘absent brother’ or ‘brother resident elsewhere/somewhere/who knows where’, we are assured that his extended peregrinations have more or less come to an end!
- Br Stuart also found an opportunity on 15th, together with Sr Sally, to join our Franciscan neighbours at Glasshampton Monastery for their Centenary Celebrations. It was in 1918 that Fr William Sirr SDC left his work in London’s East End to begin a contemplative life in an old stable block on the Glasshampton Estate.
- On 17th Abbot Thomas attended a stakeholders meeting at County Hall for the new train station being built at the end of our lane. The latest news is that it won’t be operational until May/June 2019, which is about 5-6 months later than first thought. Sr Alison was also in Worcester that day attending a Safeguarding course for clergy in the Diocese.
- On 21st Fr Raymond Avent, Oblate and dear friend of Mucknell, celebrated the 60th anniversary of his ordination by presiding at our Eucharist. Br Stuart, who was celebrating 49 years on the same day, acted as his Deacon. Fr Raymond has been contributing a series of short posts on prayer, which can be found under ‘Prayers, Poetry and Meditations’.
- We were joined at Vespers by Canon Fr Mark Soady, Vicar of St Mary’s Abergavenny, and two members of the Holywell Community on 22nd. They were here to collect the icon of the Holy Family by Br Michäel that has been commissioned for the St Joseph Chapel (formerly known as the Lewis Chapel).
- We prayed our farewells to Joshua after Compline on Sunday 23rd, who has been with us as an Alongsider for 3 months. He will be moving to Cambridge later in the week to start his PhD.
- Br Michäel has returned to Canterbury to continue with his icon course, and will follow this up with a Retreat at West Malling Abbey ahead of his Solemn Profession. The Community has been putting in extra choir practices ahead of the big day, which we’re all very much looking forward to. Please keep him in your prayers, and us too as we grapple with unfamiliar Latin hymns!