Sunday, April 30, 2006


I'm posting this from a coffee shop in Seattle - opposite Fremont Abbey (see next post) but I thought I'd take the opportunity to update my blog with news of our trip so far. This is my first time to N America and also the longest flight I've ever done, so the jet lag was a bit of a nightmare but it was good to be in a hotel with a pool etc. for very early morning swims when I couldn't sleep etc. This image is the view from our hotel room overlooking the harbour in downtown Vancouver. We could watch the sea-planes take off and land and see the mountains to the north.
We loved Vancouver - it's such a great city. We hired bikes one day and cycled round Stanley Park - fantastic - round the shoreline to Yaletown (a very funky area). There is literally a Starbucks on almost every corner in Vancouver and as breakfast in our hotel was very expensive (we found out on the first morning) we had breakfast in the Starbucks round the corner from our hotel each morning.
On our last night we had dinner in the revolving restaurant at the top of our hotel which gave us a great 360 degree view of the city. On our last day we went to the aquarium and saw the dolphins, the biggest sea-lion known to man (chernobyl sea-lion I called it), balooga's, sea-otters etc.
Then we took the boat to Vancouver Island where we were staying with an old college friend of Pip's - Maila - and her family: husband Rob and little daughter Teija (+ dog and 2 cats). They live in a classic N American house with a porch etc. - just like in the Waltons! Here's a pic:

We had a great time with them - spent two afternoons on the beach, went to the iMax cinema one night, out for dinner etc.. Vancouver Island is actually the same size as England+Scotland - not the small island I was imagining.
I've put a set of photos on flickr here.
We then took the boat from Victoria down to Seattle - where we are now - for the next leg of the trip which I'll blog about in the next entry. Tomorrow we go to San Francisco for the last leg of the trip.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Holy Saturday Service of Vows + Easter Sunday

Those who track this blog will know that yesterday was a very significant day in the life of the hOME community here in Oxford. We had a 'Service of Vows' at Dorchester Abbey (a very old monastic site just outside Oxford). We had Bishop Colin with us and many renewed their baptismal vows and 8 of us made monastic vows of simplicity, purity, accountability and presence (our versions of poverty, chastity, obedience and stability) for the year to come. These 8 form the first ever hOME Chapter and I am thankful to God for my brothers and sisters who form the stable core at the heart of hOME in what is a very transitory culture. I have uploaded a flickr set of photos (taken by Jim) here.
This morning (Easter) we had a really great, mellow, Resurrection Breakfast - fruit, pastries, coffee etc. by the river at the end of our garden, and then an easter egg hunt, followed by a service of prayer and meditations in our house. We had a long length of muslin - representing the grave clothes - that we laid over each of us where we sat, and then we went through the service - prayers, the lectionary texts, a visual meditation using a great video (from + the track 'early' by Chicane, a reading from Tom Wright, and a meditation using the questions : 'where do we need to see resurrection in our lives/world?' and 'where can we already see signs of resurrection?', and then we finished with a eucharist. tops.
This afternoon I'm trying to put the finishing touches on my seminar 'slow church' for the conference in Seattle - tomorrow we fly to Vancouver. phew!

Friday, April 14, 2006

The Great Triduum (or 'the great 3 days')

Next year I want Holy Week to be more Holy rather than the week I run around like a headless chicken trying to get lots of services prepared!
However, really looking forward to:
Good Friday Prayer Gathering this afternoon including Stations of the Cross Meditation.
Holy Saturday Service of the Vows : tomorrow afternoon in Dorchester Abbey with the Bishop -
people renewing baptismal vows with some of us making year long new-monastic vows (with the
hope being that these will be renewed each Easter, but this is the first time).
Resurrection Breakfast on Sunday morning with a service of prayer and meditation following.
Then, the day after, i.e. Easter Monday, Pip and I are heading off for 3 weeks to Vancouver (week 1), Seattle (week 2, where we will be hooking up with Karen and the COTA crew, staying at their Abbey, and participating in their new monasticism conference and I'll be doing a workshop ('Slow Church') at the Tom and Christine Sine 'The Church Has Left the Building' conference), and then on to San Francisco (week 3), before flying back to the UK.
It was nuts to think about doing this trip the day after Easter (won't do that again) - but really looking forward to it all the same.

p.s. apologies to all who have been waiting with bated breath for my next thrilling blog post - our 'upgraded' broadband line at home has been down for around 6 weeks now! Good old British Telecom.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

hOME Chapter Retreat at Burford Priory

I have been a very poor blogger recently due to ongoing broadband issues at our house (my advice - don't ask for a line speed upgrade unless you really need one as it might take a month to put right).
Anyway, just had a fantastic weekend at Burford Priory Some of you will know that in hOME we have a special service coming up on Holy Saturday (the day between Good Friday and Easter Monday) at Dorchester Abbey where some will be renewing baptismal vows and, in addition, others will be making a form of Monastic Vows for the year to come - vows of simplicity, purity, accountability, and presence (our versions of the traditional monastic vows of poverty, chastity, obedience and stability). The idea is that we will renew the vows each year at Easter. Those making the vows will be given a cross to wear by the Bishop with 4 knots on the cord representing the 4 vows.
Those who take the vows will form the Chapter within hOME to serve and bless the wider community. Membership of the Chapter has been open to anyone who feels called by God to explore this path, and the provisional Chapter has been gathering through Lent to write the Vows and the Rule that we will all hold in common. Once formed the Chapter will elect an Abbot.
Part of this Chapter formation process has been the weekend just gone in Burford Priory - a wonderful Benedictine Monastery where we stayed for 2 nights, prayed with Brothers and Sisters 5 times a day, ate meals with the community in silence whilst being read to (so not technically silence then!) and had some group time with the Abbot there - Brother Stuart.
Your prayers are apprciated - particularly for the one or two who are still wrestling with whether or not to go ahead and make the vows for the year to come.