So it may have been a wet and stormy night outside but inside of Tewkesbury Methodist Church all was warm and bright, cheerful and entertaining as a packed audience listened to the amazing a cappella choir known as Heart and Soul. It was an absolute privilege to be there listening to their songs from around the world, some were very moving and some were great fun but all were brilliantly delivered and as I said in the vote of thanks at the end ‘this is a choir I want to join‘. A huge thankyou to the choir and their leader Hilary Davis. The proceeds from the evening will go to TMC and the food bank. Thanks to all who came and made it such a worthwhile evening.
Today I went to our usual Saturday coffee morning at Tewkesbury Methodist Church and afterwards decided to visit the neighbours, that is, our nearest church neighbours at Tewkesbury Abbey. I remember visiting as a young child on a school trip but have never been since, I had forgotten what a beautiful church it is..
Building began in 1087 and the Benedictine monastery was founded there in 1102 with 39 monks from the Abbey in Cranbourne in Dorset. The building was consecrated by the Bishop of Worcester in 1121. At the Dissolution of the Monasteries the Abbey was dissolved but the Townspeople of Tewkesbury bought the Abbey for the grand sum of £453 and it became the parish church. Today it is one of the largest parish churches in the country.
I enjoyed my visit and was pleased to meet new colleagues whom I look forward to working with during the course of the many events and projects that churches join together in, in Tewkesbury.
The church and grounds are very photogenic but i’m not sure I could do it justice on my iphone…best thing is is to pay a visit and see for yourself!
Monday and Tuesday were great days in Tewkesbury as the Mop Fair arrived in Town. It is a massive street fair which means that two streets are closed completely but it is a wonderful occasion for the whole community who turn out in full to enjoy the event.
Tewkesbury Methodist church remained open through both evenings offering it’s christian hospitality. We met many interesting people in the process who stopped to chat about anything and everything from theology and politics to personal life stories. Some brought their fears and concerns and welcomed a listening ear and others, brand new to the UK, marvelled at the tradition of the Mop fair and all the fun that was to be enjoyed.
Many thanks to the team who were involved at church and to Dave Amies for contributing the 2 photos of the opening ceremony. We will definitely be opening for the Mop fair again next year!
I found this little chappie in the Church car park last night. He was hard to spot, being well camouflaged among the leaves and stones but he was definitely heading somewhere with determination. He came to a stop at a covered drain where he was still sitting there some 1.30 hours later when we came out of our meeting. I had great concern that he had lost his way home, perhaps becoming confused by not being able to access the drain.
Frogs have a homing instinct for their own patch. They are born in water but live on land close to ponds and lakes which are important to their survival as water helps them to keep moist. As amphibians they can they can live below the surface of the water when the land environment is not conducive to their survival, such as in extreme cold (they can hibernate in the depths of a lake or pond) or in extreme heat. They also return to their ponds to breed.
These few facts about the life of these creatures reminded of me our own instinct for home and though I don’t believe we ever lose it the distractions of our worldly lives can certainly interfere with our ability to find our way home.
For us our home is Eden, which I always think of a state of consciousness where we are in communion with God, a oneness of consciousness might be a good way of describing it. In order to acclimatise to our worldly lives though we must take on a dualistic consciouness, this helps us navigate this external world in which we live and mostly we are so good at this we forget that this is not our natural state. We come to believe that this state of separation from God and from each other is real, and in essence this is the cause of all our unhappiness, distress, wars, oppression, fear of death and all inequality on the face of this earth. Oh we feel a deep yearning from time to time that causes us to call out to God for help – even those who claim to have no faith will naturally do this in times of trouble, but in essence, seemingly like the poor frog in the church car park we are confused by the vagaries of modern life, deep down we know there is a better life, a life we once knew as home but struggle to find our way there.
The problem is that as long as we see external solutions as the ultimate answer to life we will always be in a state of dualistic or worldly consciousness. It is only when we turn our attention inwards and seek the silence that is below the surface of our wordy, dualistic mind chatter that we begin to rediscover that homing instinct. Regular time in inner silence, even if only momentarily found in the early stages, will reset our device intended to get us home. As the moments of that blissful silence grow, overtime we return to the consciousness of unity as our natural living and waking experience here on earth. This is the path to the garden we love most of all, the one we have always unconsciously known as home and though we might search all over the earth for it, that way is barred! The truth is the gate is to be found within you, is accessible to all who would simply let go of the external need for control of life and seek instead the rose at the center of the soul.
I’ve been a tad too busy to post for a few days, mainly visiting poorly people, attending harvest suppers, leading harvest festivals and learning arabic!! As we increasingly engage with Syrian families settling in and around our circuit, some of whom have little or no english language…yet, I thought it would help things if I at least learnt some basic arabic. So far I can say ‘hello’, ‘thank you’ ‘coffee’ and ‘goodbye’ which is quite useful I find, especially since our local family are extremely hospitable and over coffee we have much fun teaching each other our native language.
The collection of pictures I have chosen for this post are autumnal scenes I have captured while I have been out and about this last week.
If you are in Tewkesbury on Monday or Tuesday next week it is the Mop Fair, see details here http://www.thecityofgloucester.co.uk/whats-on/tewkesbury-mop-fair-p707833. Tewkesbury Methodist Church will be open throughout to welcome visitors and we will also have the parables exhibition on at that time.
So next week I’ll maybe include some pictures of those events but in the meantime……
مَع السَلامة (maʿ al-salāmah)