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Lindisfarne Gospels Pilgrimage

pilgrims, gospels and coffin at Durham Cathedral

From 12 to 24 September a band of pilgrims walked from Gainford in Co Durham to Lindisfarne, journeying with two facsimilies: one of the Lindisfarne Gospels and another of St John’s (or Cuthbert’s) Gospel. We also travelled with a replica of Cuthbert’s coffin and a flag with Cuthbert’s Cross.

You can read more about the pilgrimage here:

Many who walked wore black t-shirts with the pilgrimage logo (see below) and, as we’d like to share these very good quality shirts with others, the folks in the Northumbria Community Office have kindly agreed to sell them. If you’ve been influenced by St Cuthbert or walked any of the pilgrimage routes inspired by him (e.g. St Cuthbert’s Way, Northern Saints Trails), this is a great t-shirt to have!

The shirts have the logo below on the front and are blank on the back. (There are still some t-shirts available with the pilgrimage programme on the back – contact heather.graber@northumbriacommunity.org if you’d like one of those.)

Lindisfarne Gospels Pilgrimage logo

The ‘C’ stands for Cuthbert, but also his cross and the Christ whom he followed so closely. The four symbols (heart, water, candle flame and book) represent love, life and light – key themes in Cuthbert’s favourite gospel of John. The book represents learning as well as the gospel. The ducks are eider ducks (often called ‘Cuddy ducks’ after Cuthbert who supposedly decreed that no one should eat or even disturb them) and remind us of his great love for creation.

The shirts are unisex with a relaxed fit, made of organic cotton, GOTS accredited and Fair Wear Foundation certified and printed in the UK by a Living Wage employer. They’re very comfortable to wear and are available in Small, Medium, Large or X-Large.

You can buy one for £10 + £3P&P (in the UK) by ringing the Northumbria Community Office at 01670 787645, Monday to Friday, between 9am and 3pm.

‘Consecrated Celibacy’ by Christine Barnabas

Companion Christine Barnabas first began writing her book Consecrated Celibacy: A Fresh Look at an Ancient Calling in 2018/2019, several years after her vow of consecrated celibacy in 2011.

“Each time I met another person on this journey, I was affirmed in my resolve to ‘one day’ write a book for those who know that they want to commit to staying single but are very clear that joining a traditional religious order is not for them. All those I met agreed how helpful it would be to have a resource at hand about how this calling could be lived out ‘in the world’.”

Christine Barnabas

So she began writing! You can read more about how Christine’s book came to be here.

Consecrated Celibacy was launched at Nether Springs in early September where Tina Fields (Northumbria Community Resources Lead) interviewed Christine. You can watch the interview here:

“As someone who’s been married for almost 27 years….I had the assumption that the book might be an interesting read, but wouldn’t have anything for me to take away. I’m pleased to say, I was entirely wrong!”

Tina Fields

If you would like to read Christine’s book for yourself, you can order a copy here.

We pray that, as Christine has now ‘birthed’ her book and introduced it to the world, she would be encouraged as it speaks to others on their journey. May she know fruitfulness as she prays, serves and lives.

Queen Elizabeth II

Prayers of Thanksgiving

We give thanks for the life and service of Queen Elizabeth, for her humility, gentle spirit, servant hearted leadership and for all she communicated of the Christian faith. We give thanks for the welcome of God to her, ‘You are my beloved one in whom I am well pleased.’

‘Call out in us again a willingness to love and serve.’ (from the Eata liturgy)

We pray for King Charles III. May God grant him wisdom in the coming days and years, and that his own service might prove to be a profound blessing. 

‘Call out in us again a willingness to love and serve.’

We pray for those who grieve, that they might know the consolation of God as they walk this difficult path. 

‘Call out in us again a willingness to love and serve.’

We pray for the UK and the Commonwealth in the disorientation following her death. How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?

‘Call out in us again a willingness to love and serve.’

We pray for ourselves that God would strengthen our own vocations to live Availability and Intentional Vulnerability in the name of Christ:  ‘Call out in me again a willingness to love and serve.’

We invite you to add your own prayer by clicking on the button below, which will then be held within the prayer rhythms of Nether Springs, the Mother House of the Northumbria Community.

Cover Photo: Open Government Licence v3.0

Gather Round a Treasure: ‘Community of the Heart: Building Blocks’

A new resource from Trevor Miller…

We are delighted to announce that some core Northumbria Community teaching from Trevor Miller, one of our Elders, is now available in booklet form. Part of our, affectionately named, ‘traffic light’ series (under the specific umbrella of ‘How then shall we live?’), this particular foundation stone explores four key building blocks, which Trevor highlights as crucial to any understanding of Community as ‘a way for living’:

RelationshipCreating the story of Community through relationships as Covenant: an inner togetherness of a mutual commitment to God and one another which treats daily life as a training course.

MemoryWriting the story of Community to provide Continuity: an ongoing story that is still being written.

Language Telling the story of Community by establishing a means of Communication that is not just about words, but about other creative means of pointing to the story of our life alone/together.

Tradition – Living the story in a way that demonstrates Culturality: an awareness of the plurality of cultures that is the reality of life today.

You can listen to an introduction from Trevor himself, by clicking on the link to the online shop below. The booklet can be purchased for £5 + P&P.

CELEBRATING ST AIDAN’S DAY

31st August 2022

Long ago, on the island of Iona, a meeting had been called. An angry brother spoke about his failure, telling of the hardness of heart in the kingdom of Northumbria, a land of darkness refusing the life-giving light, inhabited by a stubborn, unreachable people. And one man heard, and his heart was stirred with compassion for that land and its people. To open his heart to this could cost him everything: leaving the island he loved, the companionship of his brothers, their prayer and work. Were there not others still to reach much closer to home? If he stayed seated among his brothers no one would notice him, no one would know what he had heard in his heart: the cry of the desert, ‘Come over to Northumbria and help us.’

‘O Lord’, he prayed, ‘give me springs and I will water this land. I will go, Lord. I will hold this people in my heart.’ A moment later it was his own voice, the voice of Aidan, that broke the awkward silence. ‘Perhaps, my brother, if you had spoken with more gentleness, and of the love of Christ, giving them the gospel to nourish them like milk is given to a tiny baby, then you would have won them and remained among them.’


I think the key thing about Aidan that we can learn from is this. Listening. He listened to God habitually. You could say he listened for God even when there was nothing forthcoming, so that when God did speak he was already paying attention. He listened to other people, recognising that everybody had something to teach him and so paying attention to what they had to say. He listened for every sign of what God may be doing in the heart or life of each person he met, whether they acknowledged God yet or not. He listened deeply, rather than assuming that he already knew what they needed to hear. It showed humility, not presumption. He paid attention, and was willing to have the course of his day or his life altered by what he heard. Andy Raine


JOIN IN

THE AIDAN LITURGY

Some reflection questions:

  1. Part A of the Aidan liturgy describes a willingness to respond to God’s call. How can we hear the call of God ‘deeper in [our] hearts’? What might help to deepen our attentiveness and sharpen our response?
  2. Part B of the Aidan liturgy expresses the desire to be more open to the world and a plea for God’s intervention and protection. How do we maintain an openness that feels ‘pain and brokenness’ and ‘suffering and injustice’ without giving in to despair? Given so much disturbing daily news, how can we remain ‘free from sin’, ‘protected from all anxiety’ and expectant ‘in joyful hope’?
  3. Part C of the Aidan liturgy asks for ‘the gift of friendship and of faithfulness’ and to ‘be freed from selfishness’. Why does true friendship and loyalty require us to be authentic? In what sense is pretence a form of selfishness? How does being authenticity relate to being ‘intentionally vulnerable’?
  4. Part D of the Aidan liturgy speaks of the desire to be ‘an island set apart’. What is the difference between solitude and isolation? How can times of silence and solitude help to prepare us for ‘the busy world beyond’? Why do we need courage to be ‘left alone with God’?
  5. Read Part E of the Aidan liturgy. In your own context, what situations and issues need God’s wisdom? How might you demonstrate God’s goodness in the midst of these?

Listen and reflect…