Retreating

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Another window – another view. This one is from Alnmouth Friary, which is a house of the Society of St Francis, on the Northumbrian Coast. It’s a gloriously beautiful place and I’m here with a group of our clergy who are on retreat together. As well as the spiritual exercises, I hope to unfurl the Brompton early tomorrow morning and do some exploring.

I’m glad to be here but I’m going to have to retreat sooner than I would like. The period between now and General Synod is particularly full for me. But I’m glad I came because, although I have never been here, this place is full of memories.

In the early days of ministry in Belfast – in the mid ’70’s – SSF were given two derelict houses on the Peaceline in North Belfast just round the corner from where we lived. They were stoned as they moved in – probably because the neighbours on the Protestant side of the line thought they were Catholics. They took refuge in our house and we had a cup of tea. It was probably on another occasion that Bro Hubert blessed our cats – a blessing which has cascaded through the generations all the way to Poppy.

I’ve been remembering – Bro Peter was part of the clergy team as I served my first curacy. He subsequently left the order and married. His ashes and those of his wife are buried in the garden here.

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