Going for Gold

Fr John with his brother George

A huge congratulations to Fr John, who kept himself busy over the summer by competing in the Irish Masters Athletic Association Championships. The race took place in Tullamore, Co Offaly on the 18th August and Fr John won Gold in the 100m sprint, and Silver in the 5k run!

Well done; what an amazing achievement.

College News – Bishop Mark

Bishop Mark Sowerby was licensed by Bishop Nick (Leeds) on Monday 23rd September in Upper Church at the Community of the Resurrection. He was joined by students (new and returning) as well as family and friends.  Bishop Nick preached and Fr George Guiver presided at the midday Mass. It was a wonderful day with a fabulous buffet lunch in the College Refectory for all who attended the occasion.

We wish Bishop Mark and Ruth every happiness with us as they begin their new life in Yorkshire. We’re so pleased that they have returned to the north!

Zimbabwe after Mugabe

Robert Mugabe died on the day I arrived in Harare. The news people made a lot of it. The people of Zimbabwe largely ignored his death. That in a way says it all. He left the country a political and economic mess and his successor has made things worse. Corruption continues; Government members get richer. Everyone else gets poorer. Yet the people of Zimbabwe are amazing. They find ways to survive. The schools still run and the young people we support mostly do well.

I said mass in all sorts of places: at the Tariro House to pray for the departed parents, known or unknown of the young people; at St Phillip’s Tafara, a township on the edge of Harare; for Sisters at Penhalonga, Shurugwi and Gweru, and at St Luke’s Greendale in Harare where I had grown up. The churches are thriving with good bishops, good priests and wonderfully committed people. Churches are a major factor in people’s survival in such a hard economic climate. The Christian faith also gives them hope so they can resist the evil around them.

Tadiwa
Angela

For me, it is the young people who really give me hope. Here are two of our newer kids: Angela who is nine and who was being badly looked after by her mother. She is now happy in a boarding school. And Tadiwa who is sixteen though he looks much less. His mother is dying and can’t pay his school fees at St Augustine’s, Penhalonga. It would be tragic if he had to leave school as he is very clever and hard working, so we are now supporting him with school fees, extra food and the warmth and friendship of the Tariro family. CR’s great work in Zimbabwe continues in these Tariro young people. Robert Mugabe is the past. Mnangagwa will soon be the past. These young people will be the future Zimbabwe.

Fr Nicolas CR

If you would like to learn more about Tariro please visit tarirouk.com

SCP Vocations Retreat at CR

14 – 16 February 2020

A relaxed, friendly and fun weekend hosted by the Manchester Chapter of the Society of Catholic Priests for those considering God’s call to ordained ministry in the Church of England.

All are welcome: of all backgrounds and traditons.

£90 Accommodation and meals included

For more information and to book your place contact, The Revd Penny Warner SCP, email revdpennyking@outlook.com

Bookshop offer

Bookshop offer

How To Be A Missionary Today

A Lent Course by Fr Nicolas Stebbing CR

This 20 page booklet is illustrated with photos of Fr Nicolas’ work in Zimbabwe.

Priced at only £10 for a pack of 10 booklets, with Free Postage!

Booklets need to be pre-ordered.

To ensure you don’t miss out please order now!

Orders must be received by 30th November at the latest. Email Adele Hannah (ahannah@mirfield.org.uk) to reserve your copies. Booklets will be dispatched early in the New Year.

8th Annual Walter Tapper Lecture

“Art can speak to people in a way words cannot” said Nicholas Mynheer, the artist and sculptor, during his mesmerizing presentation at the 8th Walter Tapper Lecture. Mynheer, who was commissioned by the Community to design the altar for their Resurrection Chapel – arguably the focal point of CoR – said his art “is influenced by creation, the bible and by the desire to glorify God”. Even the casual observer could not fail to see these three in the finished work, and his measured and humble attitude invited all to look afresh at his own art, as well as inviting us to reimagine our own approach to faith interpretation.

The lecture provoked many questions from the large audience, and his erudite answers provided further food for thought, as each inspired us to reflect on how God can be made present for our generation, even in stone. His mission, he declared, is to turn the “darkness of despair…into the lightness of hope”. And how beautifully he does just that.

Benji Tyler CoR

A College Like No Other

The College of the Resurrection, Mirfield – a theological college like no other, so the website suggests. I am just about to start my second year of three at the college, and having started at Level 2, I will do the final year of the BA in the coming year – complicated I know! So far my time at college, and as an Ordinand, has been so many things it would be difficult to quantify in such a short piece of my musings. However, thanks to the kindness of those who follow me on social media I have a few questions as starting points!

Why did I choose Mirfield? When I was going through the discernment process Mirfield was not top of my ‘Colleges I want to look at’ list, Cuddesdon was. I was told that the best way to choose a college was to look at places based on where other priests I admire had trained, and that would give me an idea of where might be good for me, based on the person I saw myself becoming in ordained life. I knew a number of excellent priests who I admired and respected hugely who had trained at Cuddesdon, so it was top of my list. However, coming away from the open day, I felt like it was not the place for me to be for this season. Mirfield was the last college on my list to visit. Fortunately, as I pulled into the car park at the college a smile made its way across my face, and it did not leave again until I had told everybody about how amazing this odd little college in West Yorkshire was about 4 days later. Mirfield won me over because it felt right, I knew from the moment I arrived that it was the place for me, and that feeling has still not dissipated one bit!


What is it like being at a combined Theological College/Monastery? Living, working, praying and playing alongside a monastery is one of Mirfield’s main selling points. The monastic life is woven throughout our own in every aspect of life in college, culminating in a state of being that goes by the name ‘Common Life’. This common life is all about learning as a community of Christians how to think, how to live, how to be… Attempting always to put others before ourselves, as difficult as that can be! It is one of the best, and one of the worst things about living at Mirfield in many ways, but I have no doubts that it is one of the most important aspects of our formation as future ministers in God’s church.
At college we have both morning and evening prayer, and mass every day as a community, joining the brothers for evensong, compline and midday office are optional, although a number of students attend both regularly as part of their prayer life. The brothers of the Community of the Resurrection offer both informal moral support, and more formal Spiritual Direction to us as students. I see it as a real privilege to step on the conveyor belt of prayer that goes on at the Community, and very comforting knowing that I am prayed for every single day that I am a student at the college. Walking alongside the brothers for three years and being welcomed into their lives is very humbling indeed.

Mirfield, a college like no other… The best bit is, that the tag line is absolutely true. It has its odd quirks, and its issues no doubt, but most importantly it is a wonderful place to accept God’s love into your life and allow God to form you into what you are supposed to be, whatever that is. I love Mirfield, and I can’t wait to get back and do another year. If you have any more questions, then don’t hesitate to ask me on Twitter: @JordanMcD2. I hope you enjoyed just a tiny snippet into my world, or should I say our world.

Jordan McDermott CoR
The full blog is available to read on A Blaze of Light website.

CR Festival Day 2019

On Saturday 6 July, we were delighted to welcome so many friends of the Community to Mirfield for CR Festival Day. While some stayed for the weekend (including a number of Companions who had taken part in a quiet day on the Friday), others joined us for the day, joining the Community for worship and engaging with our theme based around the Rule of St Benedict.

Bishop Michael Ipgrave of Lichfield – recently elected as the Community’s Visitor – preached at Mass, and after an excellent lunch in the College refectory, guests were able to explore ‘Stations of the Benedictine Life’, exploring the connections between Benedict’s Rule and the way we live today. Many took the opportunity to relax in the sunshine and to browse the book and plant stalls.

Later in the afternoon, there was the chance to join the brethren for Exposition and Benediction, and then Evensong. Please do join us for CR Festival Day 2020, which will be on Saturday 11 July, and encourage friends, family and people from your parish to come along too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ancient and Modern Insights into Human Flourishing

The study day on Ancient and Modern Insights into Human Flourishing was organised as a part of a series of events following on from the publication of Religion and Atheism: Beyond the Divide in 2016.

The four speakers at the day were chosen because it was felt that they could take issues further which have already arisen in previous events and to deepen our understanding of aspects of the dialogue which have not been adequately dealt with so far.

Raymond Tallis spoke of ‘Flourishing without God’. His presentation explored the ways in which human beings find ways to flourish which do not rely upon a religious vision of the world. Central to Raymond’s contribution was the notion that humanists should reclaim the spiritual dimensions of life and so re-discover a ‘transcendence from within’ the world.

He spoke of this view as a ‘spiritual irredentism’ which seeks to learn from the insights of thinkers such as Feuerbach and Durkheim and so to view God as ‘the ultimate intentional object’ that needs to be re-appropriated by us for human flourishing.

Challenges which this position provides for the dialogue between the religious and non-religious include the fact that the bridge across the divide between the religious and the non-religious seems to have ‘asymmetrical piers’. That is to say, religious belief has inspired cultural creations which all acknowledge as great achievements (music, cathedrals, art and so on) and so humanism needs to be less oppositional in its stance towards religion and more positive in elucidating what it brings to the table in these dialogues.

Suzanne Stern-Gillet provided a fascinating insight into the significance of the Neoplatonic tradition, principally of Plotinus (204-270), for dialogue between the religious and the non-religious about matters concerned with ethics, spirituality and visions of God. She spoke very much in the spirit of Raymond Tallis in that she made it evident that it can be too easy in such dialogues to assume that one side of the divide has a monopoly on the spiritual or on dimensions of transcendence. As she made evident in her paper, even a cursory knowledge of the philosophical tradition reveals this to be false.

The Neoplatonic tradition has in many ways pride of place in this aspect of the dialogue because living ‘the good life’ is seen in this tradition as becoming ‘god-like’. Plotinus who for many is seen as the natural post-Aristotelian heir to the Platonic tradition of philosophy developed a whole language for talking about these issues in the Enneads. Importantly for the current dialogue, this language is not Christian, though it was later taken up by the Christian tradition to speak of the mystical journey of union with God. Plotinus is in fact describing the adventure of coming to know reality through seeking to live the good life. In this sense epistemology, ethics and mysticism are united in his account of philosophy in a way which is suggestive for both the religious and the non-religious.

Nicholas Adams shifted the register of the day to social and political matters of leadership and discipleship. Drawing on the work of both the Jewish German-American philosopher Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) and the Anglican theologian Daniel Hardy (1930-2007), he raised the question of how it is that Christian culture seems to have become obsessed with models of leadership when the true vocation of Christians is to discipleship.

Indeed, as Nicholas elaborated during his presentation, these issues go beyond the current crisis in the Christian community and affect how our present democratic political system is so obsessed with finding the new ‘strong man’ to lead nations out of their current malaises. Inspired by the philosophy of Arendt, Nicholas developed a critique of the current Christian and secular obsessions with these leadership models of rule by showing that leaders in the ‘command and control’ style of ruling tend to be lonely figures because this way of ruling is by nature not collaborative and tends towards the instrumentalisation of people through subordinating collaborators to the goals of the leader.

Such a model of ruling is by its very nature unstable and leads to crisis after crisis which we are experiencing both in the ecclesial and political worlds at present. Developing Arendt’s notion of ‘action’ and Hardy’s understanding of ‘sociopoiesis’, Nicholas illustrated how it could be different if we understood ‘rule’ in terms of collaborative action and the creation of communal life. Both depend upon a natural attraction towards the good rather than compulsion by commands. If, as Hardy suggests, there is a ‘grain to the world’ which provides a natural way to act and to be, then such models of ruling are by nature attractive because they correspond with the truth of reality.

Regardless of whether one is religious or non-religious, such ways of acting and of collaborating in societies and in churches provide a way out of a managerialism that has been identified as one of the great pathologies of models of leadership in modernity by thinkers such as Max Weber (1864-1920) and in recent times by Alasdair MacIntyre (1929-) in his 1981 After Virtue.

Fr George Guiver CR closed the day with a talk entitled, ‘Prayer and Human Flourishing’. Drawing on his experience of life as a monk in the Anglican religious Community of the Resurrection in Mirfield, he spoke of how contemporary notions of prayer have often detached themselves from the essentially corporate nature of prayer in the Christian tradition. Explaining how a life devoted to prayer involves being embedded in communal practices and rituals, George made clear that community is at the heart of prayer, and in a similar manner to the presentation by Nicholas Adams, George developed the notion that a community is drawn together by the attraction towards God. Prayer understood in this way provides the resources for the more solitary dimension of prayer, but this draws on the power of being connected to a body of which one is an essential part.

Whilst George’s paper focussed on the experiential dimension of prayer, he also highlighted aspects of it which have implications for wider society. Again reminiscent of Nicholas Adams’ paper, he spoke of how the bonds which connect us together are generated through these common rituals and, without using Hardy’s term ‘sociopoiesis’, he demonstrated how a life given over to prayer is by its very nature one which generates community.

The day concluded with a round-table discussion chaired by Richard Norman which sought to bring the different strands of the day together and to raise issues that required further exploration. A central theme of the discussion was whether secular humanism can meet the challenge of ‘asymmetrical piers’ from which to bridge the divide and construct a shared vision of human flourishing.  Does Raymond Tallis’s focus on human distinctiveness make excessive claims about what separates human beings from the animal kingdom?  Can humanists share a version of the Plotinian idea that the civic virtues, by developing our human reason, can raise us to a state of oneness with the divine?  Are humanists in a position to endorse Nick Adams’ claim that collaborative models of communal activity, in contrast to the rule of the strong man, work because they ‘go with the grain of the world’?  And do secular practices such as mindfulness lack the important dimension of prayer which is embedded in communal practices and rituals?

We are grateful to the Mirfield Centre and to the support of the Community of the Resurrection for hosting the religion and atheism group for this study day and we hope to continue the dialogue at Mirfield in the future at another such event.

The Revd Dr Tony Carroll

Fr Peter retires as College Principal

On Wednesday 3 July, College staff past and present joined CR brethren for a dinner to mark Fr Peter Allan’s retirement as Principal of the College of the Resurrection. Fr Peter came to the College as an ordinand more than 45 years ago, joined the College staff over 30 years ago – and has served as Principal since 2011. It’s an astonishing record of commitment and sustained care.

It was a delight to welcome so many of Peter’s colleagues to wish him well as he heads to the Diocese of Lichfield for a period as House-for-Duty Assistant Priest in the Severn Loop parishes – alongside pursuing theological interests.

Fr Peter’s licensing by the Bishop of Lichfield will take place on Monday 5 August at Holy Trinity, Leaton. The Community looks forward to this opportunity to strengthen links with the Diocese during Peter’s ministry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

News from Fr John

I recently returned from Walshingham having exchanged my gold star for a silver one! After 25 years as a Guardian I have now retired from office and have become a Guardian Emeritus.

I have had some interesting offers in recent times which has made me think that a future auction may not be an impossibility! Watch this space for further information, but please do get in touch if you think you have anything special that may persuade me to get out the auction hammer and start planning…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fr John CR

Former student returns as Principal

Bishop Mark Sowerby is to be the next Principal of the College of the Resurrection in succession to Fr Peter Allan CR, who will retire at the end of the academic year. With his wife, Ruth, he will move to Mirfield from the Diocese of Chichester, where he has been Bishop of Horsham since 2009. 

Bishop Mark, who has three adult daughters, is no stranger to the north nor, indeed, to Mirfield. Born in Ripon, he trained for ordination at the College of the Resurrection, served his first curacy in Knaresborough, and after several years in the Blackburn Diocese, spent eight years at St Wilfrid’s, Harrogate. From 1997-2001, Bishop Mark served as the Church of England’s Vocations Officer and as a Selection Secretary for the Ministry Division. More recently he has chaired the national Safeguarding Training Working Group. 

Speaking of the appointment, the Chairman of the College Council, Bishop David Walker said, “I am delighted that Bishop Mark has accepted this position. He brings to us a depth of experience as a senior leader in the Church, a passion for the training and flourishing of our clergy, and the ability to respond to opportunities and challenges with both warmth and determination.”

Fr Oswin Gartside CR said, “This is very good news indeed; we are very much looking forward to welcoming Bishop Mark and Ruth to the College. Bishop Mark knows what the contemporary church needs from its clergy. He also knows the Community at Mirfield and the College very well: he will be able to provide continuity in all the right places at a time of necessary change. The College is in good heart and now, building on the firm foundation laid by Fr Peter, we are looking forward to seeing it develop and thrive under Bishop Mark’s leadership. The coming year will be a stimulating time to be an ordinand at Mirfield.”

 Bishop Mark said, “I have known the College of the Resurrection for well over 30 years and I am greatly looking forward to playing a part in the formation of outstanding men and women to serve God’s church. Ruth and I are very happy to be returning to Yorkshire and sharing in the life of College and Community.”

 

Library Volunteer Team

Have you wanted to volunteer but not all the time? Why not join the ‘On Call’ volunteer team.

The Librarian is looking to recruit volunteers who can be called upon as and when needed for small projects, throughout the year.  ‘On Call’ volunteers will not be required to help all year round, just when small projects arise.  Projects may take a few weeks, to a couple of months and could range from checking reading lists to helping with moving books around in the Library to amending spine labels on books, shelving  and changing barcodes on books. Previous library experience is not required.  If you are interested in putting your name forward for the ‘On Call’ volunteer team, email Anisha Christison: achristison@mirfield.org.uk

 

Book Amnesty
If you have used the Community and College Library in the past and have borrowed items, there is now an easy way to return all items during our Book Amnesty Month in April in person or by post. There will be no repercussions for overdue books!

Face the different

Sometimes it is worth to step out of the familiar and face the foreign. There is a lot to learn. About God, about the world, about ourselves. Here in England I just can’t stop feeling that everything is so different.

At home, in Hungary I am Pastor Novotny Dániel, a respected Lutheran priest for 20 years. Here I am Daniel Novotny, a funny little and round guest in the College. At home I preach to more than a thousand people on almost a daily basis as school chaplain of a large Lutheran grammar school. Here I just stumble with English and keep silent for days. At home I give lecture on dogmatics and philosophy of religion. Here I am just a humble student sitting in the classroom, who realizes that knows nothing. At home my house is loud by my four children gathering around their father. Here the only touch is the peace handshake in the Eucharist liturgy. At home I am piled with heavy duties above my strength. Here I got the chance to step out time and space to meet God and face myself in a really radical way.

I came here with a strict plan to finish the writing of my first book, which also should be my PhD dissertation. Instead I found myself in an intense spiritual training about humbleness, self-discipline and mostly about the measurement of the essence of my personal faith. My faith got tested, perhaps like the other Daniel of the Old Testament.

There is a lot I have learnt here. I am so grateful for this to Christ, who came to me through the brothers of the Community, the College teachers and students, the sacramental moments in the Upper and in the Lower Church, through the mystical garden and the blooming spring. Thanks for all.

Dániel Novotny

Walsingham Pilgrimage 2019

Recently a party of 9 students, accompanied by Fr Thomas CR made a weekend pilgrimage to Walsingham. Taking all the prayer requests from the board in the College Oratory to include whilst on pilgrimage, we put them alongside our own supplications at the shrine.

With the other pilgrims we entered fully into the life of the Shrine and attended the Pilgrimage Mass, Shrine Prayers, Liturgy of Healing and Reconciliation with laying on of hands, Sprinkling and Benediction.

It was ‘low season’ at the Shrine so we students had the whole of one of the guest blocks to ourselves. We used the spacious and comfortable upstairs living room as our Pilgrimage Common Room where we listened to the two excellent addresses given by Fr Thomas (about two anti-types of Mary, Rebekah and Hannah), and also to relax in at the end of the day.

Many thanks to Fr Thomas for his prayerful leadership of our pilgrimage, to Frs Kevin and Andreas and all the team at the Shrine for making us all so welcome, and of course to our pilgrimage officers, Ben and Max, for organising our weekend of prayer, reflection, fellowship and fun so impeccably.

Mitzi James CoR

 

To read the article in full please click here to visit the College website