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 Read more…

Plan B

Malvern. Nestling in the foot of the hills that bear its name, the town has been a place of holiday and sanctuary on many occasions. And this time was no different. As we drove up the M5, the Malvern Hills waved at us from between the passing trees, giving greetings Read more…

Calling

A Summer sunny afternoon needed a ‘thinking walk’, as Winnie the Pooh called them. To be honest though, it was more of a ‘ranting walk’. As our churches emerged from the intensity of the pandemic restrictions, the criticisers and complainers had gone back to normal too. Whether lay or ordained Read more…

A Good Innings

The first hour lasted for ages. It was cold. The seating was not exactly comfortable. The people around me talked while those taking part enacted their ritual and well-practiced actions. There were things going on which would seem strange to uninitiated. No, not church… it was good to be at county Read more…

Windows for prayer

‘Sometimes I sit and think, sometimes I just sit.’ The last twenty years has seen an increase in awareness of mental health issues. The last twenty years has also seen a resurgence in the use of mindfulness. The two are not unrelated. Adopting the philosophy of Winnie-the-Pooh (not forgetting his erstwhile companion, AA Milne), Read more…

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 Read more…

Waiting

I wonder what the word waiting means for you? Waiting for a bus can mean the difference between arriving composed or agitated. Whether it’s at the dentist’s or the hospital, the ‘Waiting Room’ is rarely a restful place. Waiting for a phone call or a visit can stop us from Read more…