Category Archives: spirituality

An Audience with an Archbishop

Thankyou to St Helen and St Katharine for replying to my request about an event I sadly missed.
Dr Rowan Williams
On Saturday evening, Dr Rowan Williams, Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge was the Guest of Honour at St Helen and St Katharine in Abingdon. The former Archbishop of Canterbury, took to the stage for an evening of poetry and conversation as part of the parish of Abingdon-on- Thames’ series of events, ‘The Hope Within Us’.

‘Rise Heart’, the theme of the evening and a phrase taken from the poem ‘Easter’, George Herbert’s poetic meditations on the resurrection of Christ, was an opportunity to hear Dr Williams’ own poetic voice, literally and figuratively as he, together with Rebecca Dougall, Head of St Helen and St Katharine school and The Revd Dr Charles Miller, Team Rector of Abingdon, discussed how poetry is a powerful creative channel for exploring belief.

Dr Williams also introduced the relatively unknown work (here in England) of Saunders Lewis, one of Wales’ leading literary and political icons, a nationalist hero and one of the founders of Plaid Cymru.

What Does Love Require of Us? – Quakers in a Time of War

A new exhibition has opened at St Nics Church called “What Does Love Require of Us? – Quakers in a Time of War” from Monday 15th – Thursday 18th September – 10am – 4pm.
What Does Love Require of Us - Quakers in a Time of War
The Society of Friends, or Quakers, meet at the Health and Well Being Centre, off Audlett Drive, each Sunday at 10:15 am. Their form of worship is to sit in silence unless inspired to say something. On occasions 2 or 3 people may share something fairly short during the hour. On other occasions the hour passes in silence.
What Does Love Require of Us - Quakers in a Time of War
Since the Peace Declaration of 1661 an important part of Quaker Faith has been the ‘denial of all outward wars and strife’.
What Does Love Require of Us - Quakers in a Time of War
The exhibition has a display showing one Abingdon Friend who was a Conscientious Objector in WW1, and tells of the Friends Ambulance Service and the Friends Relief Service, set up to give Concientous Objectors an alternative to Military Service. Quakers were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1947 recognising their long standing commitment to reconciliation, and their relief work during and after the second world war.

Fellowship at St Ethelwold’s

St Ethelwolds
You can tell from the thickness of the walls that St Ethelwold’s House is one of the oldest houses in Abingdon. The house has a Georgian front, with medieaval rooms stretching behind.

There has been a lot going on at St Ethelwold’s House this weekend. Yesterday there was an open afternoon.
St Ethelwolds
I read in a leaflet called “The Fellowship of St Ethelwold” that  Dorothea Pickering – the founder – hoped to create a small scale Benedictine Community at St Ethelwolds. Dorothea was interested in the history of Abingdon Abbey and named the house  after St Ethelwold – a Benedictine monk who rebuilt and reinvigorated the Abbey in the tenth century.  Nowadays, Bed and Breakfast, and the use of  rooms for spiritual and community activities,  ensure that St Ethelwold’s continues to flourish.
St Ethelwolds
Another of Dorotheas interests was interfaith relationships and today –  Sunday – there was a large interfaith gathering in the garden. People shared a picnic and were entertained first by a group of children singing and dancing…
St Ethelwolds
Then with some Bangladeshi music …
St Ethelwolds
That reminds me, Duncan Brown, the ex Mayor, invited followers of a number of different faiths to act as his Chaplain during the year he was Mayor.