Friday, July 18, 2008

The Friars' Garden

We've just finished Day Two of our Retreat with Archbishop Rowan, held within Canterbury Cathedral itself. We've had the cathedral and "precincts" all to ourselves these past two days, and it's been a profound blessing to have the run of the place.

The staff of the cathedral (which employs about 250 people, from stonemasons to musicians to gardeners to clergy) have all made us feel welcome. Feeling the need for some pastoral care, I sought out one of the clergy and was tenderly prayed-over in a small room adjacent to the peaceful Crypt of the cathedral, a quiet and holy place for prayer.

Later this afternoon, eager to stretch my legs, I walked out of the cathedral gate into Canterbury, looking for a side street I remembered from Lambeth '98. There it was: the GreyFriars' modest Guest House and beautiful Prayer Garden. I had come to this very Prayer Garden in '98, at a painful point in the Lambeth proceedings. Visiting this Prayer Garden today was like coming full circle. Standing on a bridge over a wee stream flowing through the garden, I caught sight of a mother duck and her three baby ducks. She would alternately paddle away from them, then circle back to "herd" them together. Full circle indeed.

We've had glorious worship during our Retreat; the acoustics of Gothic space and the heartfelt singing of 600+ bishops makes a stunning combination. I'll try to send my video piece to this blog, as it may have captured some of our singing in the background. In spite of Heidi's expert training and patient ministrations, I'm not yet sure I know how to do this.

I'd like to introduce you all to my Bible Study group, but I'll wait till I talk with them all tomorrow before I show up with videocam. There may well be folks who'd rather not be video'd. Meanwhile, love and blessing to you all from Canterbury...+CHILTON

1 comment:

motheramelia said...

Wonderful to read of your full circle. Blessings and prayers and love.