The Mirfield Centre represents the public programmes of the Community. From retreats to school visits, sabbaticals to artists-in-residence and day events to residential conferences, we offer something for all needs, tastes and interests.
People who stay at the Mirfield Monastery, home of the Community of the Resurrection, come for a variety of different reasons. These can be individually arranged retreats, guided retreats led by a member of the Community or the College, week long special courses, or clergy retreats.
We aim to renew this place of hospitality, welcome and learning as a resource for Church and society in a turbulent and changing world.
Our aim is to ensure that all who come can share in our life and leave refreshed and renewed through their experience.
give someone time and space to reflect on their journey with God?
encourage a busy friend to take time out from the usual routine?
provide the opportunity for someone to experience a retreat for the first time?
Then Community of the Resurrection gift voucher could be exactly what you are looking for!
Vouchers can be used to pay for part or all of a special quiet day or retreat, or simply a monetary value valid for 1 year from the date of issue. Available from our Guest Department on 01924 483346 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Billy Whizz is the fastest boy on earth (according to the Beano). We are not planning to run to Harare and back on 26th January but John CR and Shavaun and other students of the College of the Resurrection will run 10k. Why? Because running is good for you and because we want to support Tariro – hope for youth in Zimbabwe. In January Fr Nicolas Stebbing tells me that the charity will need to raise £12,000 for school fees, uniforms, books and equipment to send kids to school for the beginning of the school year. Let’s run the straight race for them and give a future to the next generation.
Every night, an estimated number of 4,751 people are sleeping rough across England, a rise of 169% since 2010. In response to the great need of homeless people, almost 1,000 groups have taken the ‘Advent Sleepout Challenge’ over the last three years. www.sleepoutchallenge.org.uk/about
This year, a group of students of the College of the Resurrection have accepted this challenge and will spend one night outside the comfort of their College rooms in order to raise awareness and support this good cause. Following Christ’s call to clothe the naked and feed the hungry, we hope to raise a sum of £1,000 for the work of the Church Urban Fund’s Together Network. www.cuf.org.uk/together-network
Every year the monks, friars and sisters of the Church of England who have oversight of their religious communities gather for fellowship and reflection together on matters of mutual concern. In recent years this has been at Mirfield. And so we had the ‘Leaders’ Meeting’ at CR 8th-12th October, the first I’ve attended. The matters of mutual concern included reflecting on the proposed canon on the religious life as it makes its way through General Synod. This is a new departure for Anglican communities, placing us in a new relationship with the wider Church and her bishops – and you can imagine that the leaders had much to say.
But we were also able to listen to the biblical teaching of Bonnie Thurston, the American scholar and poet, who joined us. Bonnie spoke on Mark’s Gospel as it points to themes of the religious life: –
The Wilderness – What was it that was lacking in the organised religion of Jerusalem that drew the crowds out into the deserted places to hear John? Bonnie showed us how Jesus becomes the symbol of plenty in the midst of scarcity.
And Ascetical Practice – It presents an alternative symbolic universe: participating in the lifestyle is more important than holding propositions. So we learned anew that ascetics are those who have imagined a new reality and envisaged the future in hope.
By God’s grace, may it be so with our communities.
On St Matthew’s Day in 1958 I was ordained priest in Lichfield Cathedral, and on September 22 2018 I presided at a Mass of thanksgiving in St Mary’s Church, Kenton. This brought together a congregation of people I had worked with over the 60 years. There were gaps (for I have lost contact with my first parish), but as a member of the Community from 1962 we were celebrating a very varied ministry based both here at Mirfield and elsewhere, including a very blessed time in South Africa with the dual role of being chaplain to the Anglican students of the Afrikaans-medium university of Stellenbosch and being the only other mobile and youthful member of the team! Sadly, there was nobody from South Africa in Kenton on September 22, but there were many from other activities – from my time on General Synod; from living in Covent Garden seeing many for counselling and advice; Jim Swanton in Sandwich, and many many others. After being student chaplain at Stellenbosch, I came to a similar role in the University of London, though as a member of a big team. From that, I returned to Mirfield to begin my time in the Bursary which is still with me.
My ministry has been – and continues to be – exciting and wonderfully varied, involving all sorts and conditions of people, nearly all of whom were represented in the congregation in that beautiful church. Many and varied were these people, along with apologies from others. We ended the Mass, which was of our Lady, triumphantly singing the great Walsingham hymn, “Joy to Thee, Queen”.
Then came the lunch provided in the church by the team of catering ladies who seized the opportunity with abundance; old friendships were renewed and new ones made. I had thought it was a rash undertaking, but the response made it worthwhile, former London students meeting again for the first time for years. I think we could have gone on into the night with laughter and reminiscence, but I had to get to my beloved Convent and Nursing home in Chiswick to be spoilt for a long week end. So it was a fitting celebration all in the context of giving glory to God for his blessed Mother, who liked and still likes a good party.
A couple of weeks ago I said that I was about to begin to raise funds for Tariro – the charity supported by Fr Nicolas for deprived and orphaned teenagers in Zimbabwe. The object of the charity is to provide safe homes, education, employment, and medical and psychological care for young people who have been orphaned, abused or abandoned. In short Tariro seeks to give hope. The more we can do to help the more we contribute to the stability of that troubled country.
Nicolas has been tireless in his efforts to raise money and support for the project, which has become a well organised and efficient organisation with a good home team in Zimbabwe, and strong trusteeship with financial and legal advice in this country.
He tells me that in January the school fees for the new academic year will be due and he will need to raise £12,000. As I will be entering into my 76th year in January I thought that this would be a good opportunity to give thanks for the life that God has given to me, for the Gospel, for family and friends, for the Community and the College of the Resurrection – Deo Gratias! Especially I want to say thanks that I am still running and so I am going to run 10k on the feast of St Timothy and Titus – 26th January. I am hoping that many people will support me in this – and in many ways. Especially I want you to pray for me. You could sponsor me or encourage your friends to sponsor me, you could run with me and get your friends to sponsor you (or you could run wherever you happen to be on the day). I shall want people to check the route to ensure that I don’t take short cuts (or faint in the sultry glebe). Whatever, but all to the glory of God!
Having arrived at Mirfield with eager anticipation in September, the College is proving to be a profound place of learning and reflection. I have thoroughly enjoyed my first month here. Living and studying alongside an incredible group of people, there is a very real sense of community throughout the College. Not only do we delve into the depths of theology, but every aspect of our day-to-day lives enriches our understanding of what it is to be a member of the Body of Christ. Each of us has had a very different journey here and we bring our individual skills and experience to the common life. Our training offers exciting opportunities in various aspects of ministry and challenges us with new responsibilities. We are gifted with a lot of time and space for prayer, and are surrounded by highly knowledgeable and supportive staff, live in beautiful grounds, and worship alongside the Community of the Resurrection. I am very much looking forward to my three years here and pray that through all the opportunities Mirfield brings, God will draw each one of us further still into the life in which He calls us.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Visit or Stay
We welcome you to come to CR and to share in our life. Some come regularly to talk with a brother, others spend a day or two experiencing this very different environment. Individuals and groups come on retreat and pilgrimage, share in the teaching and courses we offer and join us in worship and meals.