Summer activity and future plans

When July came to an end I went to Belfast for my annual holiday. For once I was blessed with magnificent weather and I had a wonderful time. It was not exactly a rest for it was quite an energetic holiday. I did a lot of visiting, some cooking, climbing and I did a lot of running with Orangegrove Athletic Club and training with them at the Mary Peters’ Ground.

Since returning I have been with a group of students on a parish mission to St Wilfrid’s and Holy Trinity Bingley. This was a happy occasion and I felt the double privilege of being allowed to serve among such good and friendly people and to be with such an enthusiastic and committed group of men and women from the College of the Resurrection. We had a lot of fun together and we shared our faith with a community of faith in a place where the Gospel has been proclaimed for 150 years.

I have just returned from Guardian’s Chapter at Walsingham. I have been a Guardian for 25 years and I was pleased to hear that the College of Guardians have agreed to make me Guardian Emeritus when my time of active service comes to an end on my 75th birthday next year.

Speaking of which I hope to mark my 75th year of life by doing a sponsored 10k run to raise money for Tariro – so watch this space.

 

John CR

Community & College Libraries – Our Volunteers

There are two main libraries on site which offer different resources, space and feel to readers. The Community Library (CR) forms a living record of the interests of the Community over time, representing the collections of the brethren past and present at the time they joined CR and the acquisitions made on their behalf during their life at Mirfield. The College Library supports undergraduate and postgraduate students in their theological, ministry and liturgical studies.

The two libraries, although different have one thing in common – looking after them requires many hands! I have been very lucky, since I started as Academic Librarian in February and I have gained 7 volunteers who come to assist. They have been helping in so many different ways, from moving books down to lower shelves reducing the need to use ladders; undertaking journal audits of both libraries – so far 200 titles have been listed; signage – from shelf markers to bay ends; shelving; helping students find books; checking reference material; disposals and cataloguing. Although still a work in progress, the College Library over the Summer has been transformed due to the work of the volunteers.

A new project for library volunteers which is crucial in helping us to preserve the historic collection will be cleaning the books at the CR Library with specialist cleaning equipment. While cleaning, identification of books which need TLC will be part of the project, as will highlighting interesting books. Previous experience of this kind of work is not necessary and training and support will be available. It is a great opportunity to be  a part of the Community, in beautiful surroundings and to work and meet up with other volunteers.

 

 

 

 

If you are interested in volunteering in the libraries, please contact Anisha Christison, achristison@mirfield.org.uk

College News

 The College Advent term began on Monday 17th September.  New families had moved here some time earlier so that their children could begin the new term in their new schools. For one couple, arrival at College happened on September 10th – just 48 hours after their wedding!

 

This year we are fortunate to have students from the dioceses across the country – Norwich, Manchester, London, Sheffield, Manchester, Liverpool, Chester, Europe, Chichester, Chelmsford, Southwark, Blackburn, St Edmundsbury & Ipswich, Leeds and St Albans. We welcome 12 new students joining us for the first time and we welcome back 12 returning students. We’re also looking forward to welcoming Lois back in January once her exchange at Church Divinity School of the Pacific, Berkeley, California has been completed. We also welcome the Revd Dr Tony Carroll, who joins us as Dean of Pastoral Studies, and his wife Gisela. Tony has already made his mark impressing students and staff alike at the Lamb and Flag karaoke evening at the start of term! And finally, we welcome Miss Charlotte Chittick who joins the staff as Administrative Assistant and Communications Officer. You can follow her posts for the College on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Fr Peter CR

 

Visit to Otwock

Picture Attributed to Nikodem Nijaki

Since 1976 religious from Poland and Germany have been meeting at regular occasions; our Brother Christopher, who did much work in eastern Europe before the collapse of communism, initiated these meetings to further reconciliation between Protestant and Catholic, German and Polish. The group – known in his memory as ‘Christophorus’ – consists now of both members who knew Christopher, but also those who have joined since then. This year it gathered in a town called Otwock, a former spa town to the south east of Warsaw. The history of this contested  country and its peoples was a living background to our reflections and prayer. As we learned, many Poles are unaware how diverse their country has been; Warsaw in 1938 for example had less than a half of its population Roman Catholic. We made a short pilgrimage to the abandoned Jewish cemetery in Otwock, no grave later than 1942, in silence, some of us placing a stone on a grave or two and offering a prayer for those whose bones are there and their relatives who became ash.

A sombre context in some ways, but to meet with sisters and brothers from Germany and Poland, Lithuania and Belarus, with a prayerful support for a Christian commitment to reconciliation in our much distressed Europe was something for which to give thanks.

 

Fr Thomas CR

Visit to the University of York Library

On 20 June, I was joined by Fr Thomas, and Brothers Marc and Steven on a visit to the University of York Library and the Borthwick Institute for Archives. The University Library received 3,000 or so books from the Community of the Resurrection in 1973, primarily to care for the unique collection, which has been on loan to the since then. The books, most of which were printed before 1800 and many in Europe, are mainly theological, but there are other subjects within the collection too. Amongst them is material from the Wilberforce family, including the abolitionist William.

Treasures in the collection include an edition of St Augustine’s De civitate Dei, printed by Nicolas Jenson in Venice (1475) and a copy of William Tyndale’s The newe Testament of our savyoure Jesu Christe, newly and dylygently translated into Englyshe wyth annotacions in the mergent to help the reader to the understandynge of the texte (1536).

Some of the archives from the Community are held at the Borthwick Institute of Archives, covering administration of the Community and College, activities in South Africa, personal papers and diaries of brethren, photographs and so much more – even letters from royalty!

Both collections are kept in purpose-built high security, temperature controlled stores; these were very impressive and everything was ordered and well cared for. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit, and were greatly encouraged by the enthusiasm of Sarah Griffin (Special Collections Librarian) and Gary Brannan (Access Archivist) who have responsibility for looking after – and helping people to use – our collection and others.

The Mirfield Collection can be found on the University Library’s online catalogue, and for more information on archives held at the Borthwick click here

[Missale: begins Annus habet. xii. meses.] Roman Catholic Church. Liturgy and Ritual. Missals ; Greberus, Joannes Nurmberge, impressum per Georgium Stuchs de Sultzbach 1484

 

                           Anisha Christison Academic Librarian

 

 

Greek for Fun retreat – June 2018

When I was being formed for ordination at Mirfield more years ago than seems possible, my absolute favourite class was Greek for Fun with Fr Nicolas (sorry to the others – your classes were great too!). Why was Greek for Fun my favourite? Because it was like uncovering the NT texts for the first time, hearing and seeing new and sometimes surprising insights, and we often had Christ-centred deep, challenging and prayerful discussions that have stayed with me for many years.

So how was Greek for Fun as a retreat? In short, deeply refreshing. On a personal level it was a great luxury to spend time just doing some translating (badly, but Fr Nicolas was very kind!) and actually being able to work as a group while at the same time being part of the rhythm of prayer, space, silence, company and eating together. I was a bit worried about coming as I had forgotten most of the basic Greek I did know, but that didn’t matter as whatever level we were at, everyone was able to join in as we looked at the Greek and pondered together what the text might be trying to communicate. As someone who preaches every week it was good to hear other insights and, by looking at the Greek, to understand on a deeper level what our English translations are trying to convey with different levels of success! (Note to self: chuck out Good News version and find RSV).

I learnt a lot this week on many levels, not just Greek, and we even made sense of one passage together which has always completely puzzled me (can’t wait ‘til this one comes up for preaching now!). I have come away with a renewed appetite for Biblical study and feel that we did find Jesus among us this week. When’s the next one?

Revd Fiona Harrison-Smith
Vicar Weoley Castle, St Gabriel

What’s On Guide 2018/19

 

The CR ‘What’s On’ leaflet for 2018 -19 has arrived and is being dispatched around the country and beyond. The leaflet covers our pastoral programme (retreats and pilgrimages), prayer and study days, and other activities and events at Mirfield. This year sees the return of a retreat for 18-30 year olds, a week in November on Making and Hearing Confession, the ever-popular Railway Retreat and much more besides.

We will be distributing copies far and wide (as well as closer to home); if you would like a copy, please do let us know – and if you would like several copies (for your parish, friends & family, etc), we would be pleased to send them out.

 

Auction 2018

Many thanks to everyone who was involved in, attended, contributed towards or bid at the auction. I think in terms of fun and joy that was one of the best weekends of my life. Everyone seemed so happy, there was a great team of helpers and everyone went away satisfied.

The result of Auction was superb. When all is in we will have raised about £25,000, which is good going for a fifth auction! Many people will be relieved to know that we did not sell the Luca Giordano painting although the bidding came very close to the reserve. I feel vindicated in that it has proved to be a more significant piece of art than was previously believed, and I hope now to enjoy it for the rest of my days.

 

John CR

CR Festival Day 2018

Saturday 7 July saw hundreds of the Community’s friends come from near and far to celebrate CR Festival Day. Companions, parish groups, Oblates and many others joined us, sharing in worship and marking the launch of our year of Monasticism and Vocation: Christ Our Call.

The Mass at midday included a welcome to new Companions as well as the consecration, by Bishop Tony Robinson, of the new High Altar in the Community church. Installed in the weeks leading up to Festival Day, the Mandale fossil stone comes from the Once-A-Week Quarry on the Chatsworth estate, high in the Peak District of Derbyshire. It teems with fossils more than 350 million years old, some of the earliest living beings on our planet. There are crinoids (tubular fossils with an internal screw-thread), brachiopods (like mussels and oysters) and corals, and there are one or two sharks’ teeth, recognizable as small dark triangles.

The altar is dedicated to the Holy Trinity, and speaks of the depths of the ages, and of the cosmos. On the top, dark red lines surround the cross we put there during the Eucharist: “See where Christ’s blood streams in the firmament” (Marlowe’s Dr Faustus). As we look from a distance, the front of the altar seems to show millions of stars, as in the Milky Way, swirling around an empty space. This evocative centre to our worship – the final major commission as part of our project to reorder the church – was supported by the generosity of many of our friends, and through a major gift from an anonymous donor.

CR Festival Day 2019 will be on Saturday 6 July – please put the date in your diary, and encourage others to come too!

Ordinations 2018

Once again we invite your prayers for all those about to be ordained, and particularly for the 22 students of the College: 13 to be ordained to the Diaconate, and 9 to be ordained Priest. In an increasingly uncertain world, it is a huge encouragement for us all that the College is able to send out men and women of faith, ready and willing to serve in dioceses across the Church of England – from Newcastle to Chichester, Carlisle to Durham, Chelmsford to Gloucester. And no sooner do we send them on their way, than we prepare to welcome another new group of students – though with very little idea just who and how many they may be! We have interviewed nearly 40 for next year but many of them have very late Bishops’ Advisory Panels, so we shan’t know until at least mid-August who is coming.

Peter CR

Whit-Friday

On Whit-Friday I joined the Vicar of Mossley and friends for a little walk (hike) around his parish. It was a wonderful event, and the people of St George’s Mossley are always very welcoming to visitors. The day began with the daily celebration of the Eucharist together in the Parish Church.

It was a wonderful jamboree of mill-town life. My friends dressed up like Christmas trees for the occasion, as is their prerogative. The roads were closed, the traffic came to a halt, the people of the parish stood in the streets defiant of the weather, and the Church Militant trudged by. Mthr Penny and I were escorted around by the churchwardens with a large Brass Band alarmingly close behind. The logistics for such an event are not easy to organise, so thank you to everyone who made it possible for us to be there.

A local preacher started the parade by announcing that people could talk to him about Jesus. I don’t know if people talked to him, but Fr David, Mthr Penny, Buddy the Dog and I had good conversations with people throughout the day – the sort of conversation where you feel privileged by the encounters.

We celebrated the Eucharist together, joined in with the celebration, welcomed the opportunities for conversation and made time for people to tell their stories. So there you go: On Whit-Friday I joined Fr David and friends and we did the work of the Gospel. And don’t tell anyone, but I enjoyed every minute!

Jacob CR

Santa Maria de Montserrat

During last week (29 – 31 May) Nicolas and I made a quick journey to Spain, to Catalonia for a meeting to organise the next CIIR (International Interconfessional Conference of Religious) which will take place in June next year. The organising meeting was uneventful and with Nicolas chairing we didn’t hang around! This is very good, especially because we were meeting at Santa Maria de Montserrat, the Benedictine monastery in the Catalan Hills. Set high up on the mountain edge there has been a place of worship at Montserrat since the C11, and the current Abbey has seen major restoration work in the C19 & C20, and alterations made to the buildings to care for the crowds of people.

Just over two million people each year make a journey up the mountain to visit Our Lady of Montserrat. Even though it is crowded during the day, there is a wonderful atmosphere on the mountain edge. It is one of those places where the economy of life seems more balanced: our primary vocation of praise, glory, worship and dedication to God is there at the centre of mountain life. Whether your heart is uplifted by the sound of the L’Escolania, the famous Boys’ Choir of Montserrat, or you are reduced to silence by the awe-inspiring views, I cannot see how people could leave that place without, in the smallest of ways, brushing up against the living God.

People come from all over the world to pray at the shrine of Our Lady, but there is no easy way up the mountain: you can walk, drive, cable-car or funicular your way up the hillside. Many lamps burn around the little Basilica, one even for FC Barcelona, who I’m told are better than our own Huddersfield Town, though I can’t imagine that is possible. High up, at the east end of the Basilica, Blessed Mary is seated with the Christ child, reassuring us of God’s maternal care, turning our hearts and lives towards the mystery of love found in Her beloved Son. All the time the Abbey is open pilgrims and sight-seers make their way through the painted corridors of the Basilica to touch and venerate the kindly image that opens our hearts and imaginations to the story of Salvation.

We were made very welcome by the Abbot and the Community, and were able to join them in Quire, and for the Offices (when the Basilica is closed). Visitors join the 50 or so monks for worship (if you are staying in the Hotel, you can even watch a live-stream from the Basilica on the TV in your room!) and, unlike Mirfield, there is little interaction with the Community; the Monastery and the School each live very separate lives. During this visit we met with the Abbess and Sisters of the monastery of Sant Benet de Montserrat, a Community of enclosed Sisters who also live on the mountain, but away from the hustle and bustle of the shrine. The Sisters made us very welcome and we were treated to a tour of their pottery workshop. It was wonderful to meet with my Religious Sisters and Brothers from CIIR in such a holy place, and I am very grateful to have been asked to make the journey.

Jacob CR

Family Fun Day!

The Community opens its doors for its annual Family Fun Day on Sunday 1 July, from 1pm till 5pm. Families are welcomed in to the grounds for a day of fun, family friendly activities, entertainment and refreshments. Supported by a volunteer army of brethren, staff, CR companions and others, the day is being organised by Tony Devine, CR’s Head Gardener.

Attractions will include a selection of games, face painting, a tombola, bouncy castle and, of course, welly wanging. All are welcome to explore the grounds or take a tour of the Church.

We are still looking for donations for our tombola stall, if you have any unwanted gifts etc and would like to donate please contact Tony on 01924 494318.

One month Professed….

April is now over, and I have been a brother of the Resurrection for seven weeks. We had a really wonderful Eucharist on March 12th to mark this, which incorporated the profession rite. Thank you to those of you who came and also those who prayed in absentia. Please may you continue to do so? In some respects, this article comes as belated news to our friends and supporters, but nevertheless, I felt it was important to let you know how it’s all going.

The short answer is ‘well.’ Day-to-day life is really no different to the experience of the novitiate in terms of getting stuck in and embracing the offers and challenges of the tasks that come one’s way. There is newness insofar as an increasing sense and level of responsibility goes. I am being asked (and reasonably expected) to assume more and to be challenged further. This is good; in some ways it resembles a career-type progression which is wholly appropriate to my age and stage of life. I am appreciating the chance to investigate my own habits of learning and study within the life a little more, as this is quite closely directed in the novitiate period.

Fr Nicolas has agreed to act as my ‘warden’ during the period of simple vows, and I know I will be able to rely on his frankness and clarity of guidance as we all continue to discern the way forward with God who goes before us.

Another aspect of profession that one notices a little more is the sense of being ‘one of the family’ just that bit more. There is a greater sense that one has been ‘gotten used to’ now. Any previous desire or perception of the need to prove oneself is unnecessary, and there is a deeper freeing up to enter further into the life which calls us. This life is God in Christ.

I continue to enjoy and welcome the engagement with Christian life that CR brings, and pray that my vocation will continue to be lived through being here for the years to come. I know that it is a gift of a position, in which ‘hands are freed to welcome others into the radiant splendour of God’s love.’ So I carry on being thankful that my own hands feel so freed, that they might lead others to His love’s freedom. I carry on being thankful, with all my brothers, for your generous prayers and support.

Marc CR

Auction latest

We are still receiving donations for the upcoming auction, which is being held on the 23rd June at the Community of the Resurrection. Some of these donations are very interesting and attractive, and some are quite unusual!

Pictured left are some WWI shells which have been turned into vases.

Pictured right (bottom) is a silver thurible, and (top) right is a cloak clasp.

If you wish to donate or enquire contact Fr John Gribben CR jgribben@mirfield.org