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Category: Liturgy

Sanctum 2018 – Come and Be Involved. #Pioneer

Come and experience a Church Year all within a few days!

24th-26th July 2018

Summer is nearly here and that means we are approaching Sanctum 2018! This is a fantastic retreat/gathering or sacramental alt:worshippers. If you have never been to The Community of the Resurrection, it takes place in the idyllic monastic setting of The Community of the Resurrection in the heart of the Pennines!This year we are exploring the seasons so you can expect a bit of Christmas, a bit of Easter and a bit of…. All of the seasons.What can you expect? Some new ways of engaging with worship. Every year, I find that someone introduces me to God in a new and exciting way. Some of those ways inform how we do it back in our own context – but that doesn’t mean it’s just for ordained ministers. Whether you lead worship or just want to come along and experience something different, this is for you!

The collaborative nature of Sanctum means that you can bring your own prayer station with you or get involved with acts of worship that other people are creating!  If you’ve always wanted to get involved but don’t know where to start, this is a really encouraging space to do that in.

Sanctum is a great space to explore where God is leading us as creative people who find Him in the sacraments. It is a place to be inspired to experiment with new ideas in the coming years. – Participant from 2017

There are also opportunities to share throughout the week with workshops and the obligatory socialising.

And the shameless plug is that Metanoia are doing the Christmas Service with added Rock!!

The Book of Common Prayer

Last week I discovered the work of Michael Leunig, cartoonist, poet and writer.  I quickly fell down the rabbit hole and became hooked.  FuelledByTea pointed me towards Leunig’s prayers.  The rabbit hole deepened.  At Harvest Festival at Holy Nativity on Sunday we used this one during the service:

Dear God,

We rejoice and give thanks for earthworms,
bees, ladybirds and broody hens;
for humans tending their gardens, talking to animals,
cleaning their homes and singing to themselves;
for rising of the sap, the fragrance of growth,
the invention of the wheelbarrow and the existence of the teapot,
we give thanks. We celebrate and give thanks.

Amen.

After I had discovered the prayers, Jon Birch fell into the rabbit hole with me on Facebook and the whole thing escalated.  Dave Walker joined in and mentioned Leunig’s books.  Well here we are.  The post is arriving and I have replaced the Book of Common Prayer with Leunig’s A Common Prayer.  Spiritually uplifting.  A tonic for the soul.

Alternative Hymnal – VNV Nation, Nova

Why is Robb sharing electronica?  Who can say?  It’s not normally my kind of thing but when we were running the charity stall at Whitby Goth Weekend this came out of my friend’s iPod and I really like it. Electronic goth/industrial – no spandex in sight.  

Every time it comes on my playlist I wonder if we could throw an electric guitar and a cranked Marshall at it for Rock Mass at the blessing. I think we may give it a go at some point this year. I’ll ask The Bassplayer what she thinks.  

Now I’ve listened again a couple of times on the train maybe it could be part of a penitential rite. I’ll ask Fr Simon if he fancies making something special for it in March. 

I long to feel my heart burned open wide, til nothing else remains, 

except the fires from which I came.

Like parted souls, divided for an age, awe and wonder I´d embrace, 

and the world anew again. 

But now, this picture from me fades. 

From still´s cold hand there´s no reprieve, light the fire in me.
Shine, shine your light on me.

Illuminate me, make me complete.

Lay me down, and wash this world from me.

Open the skies, and burn it all away. 

‘Cause I’ve been waiting, all my life just waiting, 

for you to shine, shine your light on me.
I dreamed the world, with my eyes open.

But time moved on and then, new worlds begin again.

Oh my heart, in this universe so vast.

No moment was made to last, so light the fire in me.
Shine, shine your light on me.

Illuminate me, make me complete.

Please shine, shine your light on me.

No hesitation, make me complete.
Lay me down, and wash this world from me.

Open the skies, and burn it all away. 

‘Cause I’ve been waiting, all my life just waiting, 

for you to shine, shine your light on me.

Going to Church for the First Time


We wandered to the imposing door as we watched the couple in front of us get met at the door. I turn to Ruth and whisper “he’s turning them away”. After a brief interaction they are granted entry. We tentatively approach the elderly guardian at the portal. 

In uncertain French Ruth boldly states “We are here for the mass”. 
“Are you sure?  Lots of people say that they are here for the mass but get up after ten minutes and wander around” replies the keeper of the door.

We nervously exchange glances and search for words in an unfamiliar lexicon. “Yes, we’re definitely here for the mass”. 

“Well if you have problems just go to the back”. 

“Ok”. 

We enter the darkened medieval nave and find a hard and narrow pew on which to place our posteriors. The gate keeper says ‘the back’ so how far are we allowed to approach the holy of holies?  Half way seems appropriate. There is no indication of what may happen next.  No card. No screen. Ruth texts me a link to some wording in a strange and foreign tongue. A bell chimes. An organ booms. I look at the strange words. I wonder how I got here. Perhaps the sentry was right. There’s nothing for me here.

This morning we went to church at The Basilica of Saints Nazarius and Celsus in Carcassonne. As a priest it was a fascinating look into how daunting it is to go to church for the first time. We have only been learning French for a couple of years so don’t have the language to understand what is going on. At the door we were met with questions we didn’t quite understand at an imposing doorway about whether we were worthy of entrance.  There was nothing to indicate what would happen during the service. Fortunately we know the shape of the liturgy and how to find rudimentary wording online.

It was a lovely service and I think I understood about a third of the sermon and my theological French is improving vastly.  But I’m a priest and I found it daunting to gain access to the building, much less the worship.  Medieval Carcassonne is a phenomenally touristy place but there must be ways to engage occasional visitors with the worship of the church. 

Much to ponder about how we invite people into the presence of God.