A thin place

In the recent BBC series The Pilgrimage, seven celebrities (although I’d only heard of one of them) walked the Pilgrim’s Way in North Wales. Along their journey, they discussed many aspects of spirituality and belief, and displayed both understanding and vulnerability (although the programmes were notable for the absence of […]

A new way of being

I went back to school last week. It was in my role as Chaplain to those training for ordained and lay ministry through the South West Ministry Training Course (SWMTC). A week-long Lent School in the lovely city of Salisbury. It was a privilege. An honour to draw alongside those […]

One more step

Six years ago I bought a FitBit. A little one that clips on to a pocket. I was finally emerging from a second episode of M.E./Chronic Fatigue. Strangely, that period had been longer (7 years) but less serious than the first time some 20 years previously when it was worse […]

A matter of life

‘I matter therefore I am.’ One of the highlights of the recent short sabbatical was being in Salisbury to hear and meet Luigi Gioia, former Roman Catholic Benedictine monk turned Anglican priest. In a wonderfully stimulating study day, Luigi talked about how Benedictine spirituality is still very relevant. (He even […]

The iron wall

‘Henri said that for Vincent, and anyone trying to reach compassionate solidarity, it was also “like breaking through an iron wall. This was excruciatingly difficult, but also exhilaratingly beautiful when one succeeded.”’ My companion on retreat at Sheldon this week has been Carol Barry’s beautiful book Learning from Henri Nouwen […]

Pastoring the Pastors

Many years ago, I lived in a flat at the top of the Vicarage of a large church in Bristol. In those five years I saw and experienced first-hand the 24 hour a day demands, intrusions and joys of such a place. From sharing Christmas lunch with the vicar and […]

The Grace of Renewal

‘Hello. We are expecting you.’ The words on arriving for a long overdue retreat were both welcome and unexpected. For me, retreats are often for taking a break. To get away from it all – whatever ‘it all’ means. The pandemic had already put paid to three and the last […]

From Being Comes Doing

The retreat was long overdue. The pandemic had put paid not once but twice to Alton Abbey, my spiritual home, and Boris had wrecked two weeks’ annual leave in June. The best part of a year had passed since I last had ‘a period of solitary refinement’ as someone once […]