The Gathering

Yesterday was the second ‘Gathering’ of the diocese  in the Cathedral – a ‘Casting the Net’ event where we focussed on on of our Marks of Mission’, Rooted in prayer, word and sacrament.   It was a chance to go to a workshop as a taster session (on things as diverse as yoga, singing, the Benedictine way and visual meditation, meet someone from another congregation, share in a big eucharist, tell stories of how mission is happening here.

I had offered to steward on some way, and was expecting the job of looking after babies.  But Fr. Ian Paton was unavoidably unable to lead a workshop introducing Eucharistic theology as a prelude to baking flatbread for the eucharist, and I found myself assisting Val in his place, with about 10 minutes notice.

It was great, and we explored leaven and food and feast.  Some of the young girls from the Church of South India who were there reported at the eucharist that they had learned the most important thing about Easter – that you don’t eat bread with yeast for 7 days.  Oh well, perhaps we weren’t quite teacherly enough.  One of the things we talked about was the Orthodox custom of offering blessed (not consecrated) bread for those barred from communion.  Could this be a pastoral way forward for our unbaptised in the SEC?

When we came back together into the nave, there was a wonderful aroma.  Not the flatbread but beeswax – for the Benedictines had been polishing the choir stalls and finding that work is prayer.  And as we cleared up the glitter in the Chapter House, I was shown the flattish rounded stones brought from Wales and transformed by Messy Play into ladybirds, spiders, snails …  ‘living stones’ indeed.

Great energy and purpose, friendships, an openness to the new, a mix of young and older, a real can-do spirit.

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