November 2019

Sunday 10th – I’m afraid I’ve been away again. So much for stability. In my unavoidable absence I’m sorry to say I missed the funeral of our dear friend and Oblate, Raymond Avent, which took place on Thursday afternoon. Sr Sally has kindly written this very short account:

“The funeral service of Fr Raymond Avent took place last Thursday 7th November here at Mucknell Abbey. The Oratory was filled both with people and incense as we joined our hearts and voices in giving thanks for his life and ministry over so many years. Following the Eucharist we all processed to the grave side in the Garth where the community sang the Kontakion after the coffin was lowered into the grave. Following so much rain and grey skies in the morning, the sun suddenly broke through and we were all held in the warmth of the sunshine for a brief moment…..a reminder to those who were there that after the sadness of death there is resurrection.
He touched so many lives with his quiet, gentle, prayerful presence and wise spiritual counsel and I among many others will miss him very much. My life has been enriched by knowing him and I am very grateful for all he has taught me.
Raymond met his last illness with constant grace and his end in total peace. May that peace bless all of us now and in eternity. Amen. Alleluia!”

Raymond with Sr Sally
Raymond with Br Aidan

Br Stuart gave the address, which can be read here.

It was a busy week for Br Stuart, who as I speak is writing down all the things he’s done. In the meantime, here is the excellent sermon that our Alongsider Lydia preached this morning on the Resurrection, which I think put our manifold anxieties into better perspective. You have to imagine it being said in an Oregon accent.

The itinerary is now complete, and I can tell you that on Sunday 3rd Br Stuart went to West Malling Abbey, where he provides spiritual counsel for the sisters. He was driven there by Br Michael, who was, as usual, attending his icon course. Then on Tuesday he travelled to Lambeth for lunch with the Community of St Anselm, followed by a meeting of the trustees. There would have been sightings of him in Salisbury on Wednesday, where he met with the former monks of Nashdom and Elmore, together with their trustees, and on Thursday he returned to take Raymond’s funeral. He says in his notes that he was at the Abbey “ALL DAY”, which is certainly deserving of comment, because either that evening (or on the following morning) he returned to London for a meeting of the Advisory Council. This was topped off with a meeting of the trustees of the Anglican Religious Communities Development Trust.

We are honoured to have his company this weekend, but he leaves us again on Monday for a five day ‘summer holiday’ in North Wales.

Tuesday 12th – Sr Sally has been busy in the incense workshop, which sometimes doubles as a poustinia, weaving baskets. The photos below give some idea of the process, which she learned at a workshop in Herefordshire.

I was volunteered to take this photograph yesterday. Pictured, as you can see, are a barrister and a monk on a motorbike. And why not?

Our friend Richard Clews, bar-at-law, with Br Philip