People who stay at the Mirfield Monastery, home of the Community of the Resurrection, come for a variety of different reasons. These can be individually arranged retreats, guided retreats led by a member of the Community or the College, week long special courses, or clergy retreats.
We aim to renew this place of hospitality, welcome and learning as a resource for Church and society in a turbulent and changing world.
Our aim is to ensure that all who come can share in our life and leave refreshed and renewed through their experience.
After many months of lockdown it was a great joy to be able to begin the process of reopening the retreat house to guests last week. After much planning and consultation the Community welcomed a small number of individually-guided retreatants for a retreat conducted by Oswin and Nicolas, as well as a few individuals who have been enquiring about life in the Community.
One consequence of the great variations of heat and rain we have been experiencing in recent months is a glut of fruit that has been emerging all over the grounds, out of which have appeared gooseberries, blackberries, blackcurrants, raspberries, mulberries, figs and, of course, apples. A good number of lockdown afternoons have been given over to an effort to gather in this great abundance, and through the good offices of Fr Thomas some of it has already begun to appear in the refectory in the form of jam. Added to this, after a flying visit to Stanbrook Abbey in North Yorkshire yesterday, Nicolas, Thomas and Charlie were finally able to collect the juice from last year’s apple harvest, pressed and bottled and ready for sale.
Although we had to postpone this year’s auction due to Covid, the good news is that we now have a date in mind for next year. It is some time off so we have around a year to prepare. We have some marvellous stuff and there is something for everyone. There are stamps, coins, rare books, some fabulous clocks, antiques, paintings, comics, cinema, sport and royal interest, rare propelling pencils – you want it and we’ve got it.
Of course I’m never satisfied. We have the material for a very good auction but I’m looking forward to a really great one. When the next one comes I will be nearer 78 than 77 and no-one is going to take me seriously after that. Our highest total so far has been £60,000+. Let’s try for 70. I enjoy it all so much that sometimes I forget the serious side. The Community like everyone else will suffer great loss of income because of lost revenue in every department. In terms of our own needs this is not really important – but the works that we do for the Church and for the world do depend on our maintenance of the institutions that operate at or from Mirfield (teaching, retreats, spiritual direction and support to overseas missions). The auction is a great effort on the part of many people and it will go quite a way to helping CR in its work for the Kingdom.
So please help in any way that you can. At the moment there are a lot of things being offered to me from all over the country so one way in which some could help would be to collect and transport. Please keep the auction in your prayers and please tell others about it.
The Community has recently received an amazing addition to the Library collection. A generous donation has been revealed to be an extraordinarily beautiful book, full of fascinating illustrations from a collection belonging to the museum – Pinacoteca Vaticana. The book is a showcase for the ‘Light for Art’ project, where a new system of lighting art (created by ENEI) was installed at the museum. The technology of the lighting is to help safeguard Rome’s artistic heritage.
Title: Pinacoteca Vaticana; Papal Monuments Museums Galleries; In the Painting the Expression of the Divine Message In the Light the Root of the Pictorial Creation.
Authors: Baldini, Umberto et al. Published by Milano, Fabbri / Rizzoli., 1992
On August 7 (the day that new local restrictions were announced that made everything feel uncertain again) we opened our Retreat House doors to our first guests for over four months. It has taken a lot of preparation and planning to get to this point and we have had to endlessly re-visit government and hospitality industry guidance to ensure that our practice meets the COVID-19 secure criteria. Welcoming guests and offering hospitality is an important part of monastic life and feeling our way towards being able to resume this as soon as possible has been uniquely challenging in a time of pandemic. While the well-being of brothers, whose home this is, has been our primary focus, we have also had to take into account all our inter-relating site partners, as well as our staff and volunteers, who are now beginning to return to site in a limited way after months of absence.
It was a happy coincidence that, at about the time we were ready to re-open, we heard that VisitEngland, in partnership with the national tourist organisations of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, had launched a UK-wide industry standard and consumer mark, ‘Good to Go’. It seemed a good thing to apply for so that we could pass on our confidence about re-opening to all our past and potential guests who might be wondering if they could now safely come and stay. After completing a detailed questionnaire about our risk assessment process and the measures we have taken to operate as safely as possible, we have now received our ‘Good to Go’ certificate.
We’ve only been open a few weeks, so it is still early days and we are not complacent about the future. Life with COVID-19 puts us all in a new situation. While it is not how we would like it to be we are learning to live much more with the possible and the provisional – to become aware that, in this place where attentiveness is encouraged, a few life-saving practices can, quite naturally, become part of that attention. While we have had to make some changes and introduce some restrictions, it has become very obvious, even in the short time we have been open, that it takes more than a pandemic to hinder the work of the Holy Spirit and that in the risen Christ something new and life-giving is always waiting to emerge. Come and see!
Over the past few months, the Community has been working hard behind the scenes to ensure that all those who live, work, visit and stay here are kept as safe as possible.
Due to the hard work and dedication of a small team who have worked tirelessly towards the reopening of the Retreat House, we are pleased to announce the Community has achieved “We’re Good To Go” status!
Acquiring the Industry Standard mark means that a tourism and hospitality business has followed government and industry COVID-19 guidelines, has a Risk Assessment in place and a process to maintain cleanliness and aid social distancing
Pre-booking is essential. We are not able to accept short-notice bookings at this time. Please ensure that you read our Covid-19 Secure Risk Assessment and guest information before you book.
While there will be much that is familiar, we have also introduced procedures and practices to help keep everyone safe. These include:
Frequent hand washing and sanitising. (There are several hand sanitising points around the site.)
Maintain 2m social distancing at all times wherever possible and wear a face mask when it is not possible.
To view the full list of procedures we have put in place please read our Guest Information document.
We aim to open the Church during service times only and anyone wishing to join us mustcontact the prior before attending.
Due to the current situation we sadly cannot welcome guests, visitors or friends to share our Festival weekend with us this year. We do still intend to hold the Festival, to thank God for all that he has given us and to thank him for our wider family. We would also like to thank everyone who supports the life and work of CR here at Mirfield and further afield, and so we would like to welcome you to join with us virtually. We intend to stream our services, and hope that you can join us if not for all, then for some of the weekend. Please see below for our proposed timetable, the final version will be published in the June Quarterly, and will be available on our Website and Facebookso please check for updates.
Virtual Festival Day Timetable
Friday 10 July:
Silent Prayer in the Community Church (Live Stream)
Meditation – Fr John (Pre-recorded)
Solemn Evensong (Live Stream)
Compline – Greater silence begins (Live Stream)
Saturday 11 July:
Mattins (Live Stream)
Talk from the Superior (Live)
Talk on Benedictine life – Fr Nicolas (Pre-recorded)
Solemn Mass with Sermon (Live Stream)
Stations – Various talks and a virtual garden tour (Live)
During Festival Eucharists it is customary for our Companions to renew their Commitments. This year Commitment cards will be put on the altar at the offertory and Fr John will say a prayer on behalf of the Companions, we hope that Companions will affirm their commitment at home either at that moment or at some time during the day.
After a lot of consultation and a great deal of calculation we have decided to postpone the auction scheduled for 5 September 2020 until a date to be decided in 2021.
Given the imponderables created by the pandemic this seems to be a wise decision. Mirfield auctions are popular not just because they raise money, they are great social events bringing together a lot of people and I have made a lot of friends because of them. So it seems right to wait for a more congenial atmosphere rather than try to dispose of the items already collected or promised.
I confess to feeling a little disappointed. However as Desperate Dan would say Nil Desperandum! Let’s look on this as an opportunity. About a decade ago I suggested that we have a one-off auction in which I believed that I could make £10,000. The first two auctions raised over £60,000 each and in total we have raised about £200,000. I hoped that this year’s would raise £10,000 and that this would be a good time to retire. Actually with pre-auction sales, what I already have in store and what has been promised we are quite near achieving that. So with a whole year ahead of us let’s be bold. £50,000 is not beyond our possibilities and that would make a grand total of a quarter of a million. Let’s do it!
The Community of the Resurrection and its various operations mean a lot to many people, the financial cost of the virus will be very, very heavy but with God’s help we can move mountains. Please pray for us, please support us.
I hope that you are all managing to live with the lockdown. I know that some of you will have sorrow and anxiety so that a simple ‘I hope that you are all keeping’ well does not fit the bill. I know and believe that God will be with you and bless you wherever you are.
I have received quite a number enquires about the Festival weekend. As Robert Burn’s says ‘To a Mouse’ ‘the best laid plans of mice and men oft go astray’. There is very little chance that the Festival will be held under normal conditions. We are determined that we will still celebrate our thanksgiving for all that God has given to us and the CR family. We are hoping to stream our services, and will continue to make plans over the coming weeks. Further details will be published in the June quarterly, on our website and in the next Newsletter so ‘watch this space’.
Speaking of mice one of the great moments in auction history was the day when during the first Mirfield Auction my brother George brought the gavel down and pronounced ‘sold’ for £18,000 on the set of Thompson furniture. The Thompson signature is a little mouse carved somewhere on every item. Even if one could afford it most of us wouldn’t have room for a Thompson suite so this year’s auction is offering you the opportunity to appreciate just a taste of Mouseman craftsmanship in the form of this lovely Thompson napkin ring. Please don’t forget that I need donations and take the opportunity to look for things that you no longer want. I have been offered several exciting items including rare coins and a beautiful Beijing antique clock. If you have anything that you think would be good for the sales please let me know so as I can be prepared to receive them once the doors open again.
The campaign is going reasonably well and is giving me light relief from all the bad news and sad news that is around us at the moment. My smallest item is a fourpenny piece, my largest is an organ and my most beautiful is a burse and veil (see the auction album).
The Corona troubles are very sad and even though for most people it means upset of our routine, travel problems and many other frustrations for many others it is pain fear and disaster. Let us remember them in our prayers, be thankful for what we have and don’t panic. There is one verse that helps me face all possible futures – ‘Will not the righteous Lord do right?’
If you shop online you can help raise free donations for the Community. All you need to do is start your online shopping at easyfundraising, then shop as normal. For more information please visit easyfundraising
Amazon is donating 0.5% of the net purchase price (excluding VAT, returns and shipping fees) of eligible purchases to the charitable organisation of your choice. If you would like to support the Community through your Amazon purchases please visit Smile Amazon
It’s certainly true that we’re in strange times at the moment, but it must also be said that the lockdown is still allowing for glimpses of happier times to shine through. The college was really thankful to Laura, who recently organised a stonking quiz night to round off the celebration of St George’s day (April 23). It was particularly good to be together with our brothers and sisters of the college – albeit virtually – except maybe for the literal G&Ts enjoyed which really lent a feel of Thursday bar-nights to the proceedings!
I enjoyed hosting Thomas CR and Charlie, our postulant – (himself a college alumnus) – for the evening, and their presence onscreen ensured that we romped home with a winning score following rounds on a range of topics from Name that cathedral to Food and Drink, English literature and Animals. We had a great laugh together and a memorable time amidst the vicissitudes of the lockdown. Thanks to all who took part, and again to Laura, our sister for organising. God awaits us yet with the fruits of fellowship and love in our difficulties. I remain thankful for these, and not least that quarantine cannot quell quizzing!
To hear more from Br Marc about his time in lockdown please watch his interview with Caleb of York Gateway church.
Many thanks to all those who have already donated to the sponsored bike ride in aid of Tariro Hope for Youth in Zimbabwe. You won’t be surprised to hear we have had to postpone it. I am hoping we’ll be able to do it in September or October, but at present of course it’s impossible to do any planning. We are living in strict isolation, but are very lucky to have our grounds. I have explored the possibility of doing enough circuits of our grounds to cover the planned distance of the ride, but the terrain is too difficult – the one circuit I did, with a mountain bike, almost did me in. It would also be boring, and cut out all the people who are going to be involved, so I was relieved it didn’t work. We’ll be letting you know in due course when we hope to fire the starting-pistol, but in the meantime many thanks for your support. Tariro needs it, and will need it even more after this crisis.
Due to the Covid19 Pandemic it was with deep regret that the College had to close its doors, and our Students departed uncertain as to whether they could gather again before ordinations take place. Like other educational institutions, we have had to make greater use of remote teaching methods to ensure our current students can complete their studies. We have also made special arrangements for students who may wish to train at the College from September this year. Applicants are invited for a Skype Interview with the Principal and two members of the academic staff. They are further offered the contact details of students who are making themselves available for telephone or skype conversations and even a Zoom-Tour! We have seen good numbers of prospective students this year and hope these measures will keep the Mirfield option open to as many as possible. The College has also published an Audio-Visual introduction to life, study and formation in Mirfield, and hope it will be seen and enjoyed by any prospective students.
Disability – accessible accommodation and facilities We do not want any ordination candidates to be excluded from our training offer, and to ensure we are fully accessible for wheelchair users we need to make alterations to the existing building. There are plans in hand to create changes to accommodation, teaching rooms, doorways and corridors. We have started looking into funding for the project and would be delighted to receive your support and ideas.
New Curriculum & Common Awards Durham University is replacing Sheffield as our principal university partner and from September 2020 new students will be offered courses leading to the qualifications of the Common Awards suite of degrees and diplomas. Until summer 2021, we shall also be “teaching out” the Sheffield BA and so honouring the academic commitments made to existing students of the college. A greater compatibility with the training pathways of other TEIs might afford those undertaking predominantly non-residential training the opportunity to experience a period of residence within our distinct community.
We have talked for several years about streaming our services, but daunted by what we thought were the technical challenges, and also thinking our singing too ropey. Then came the lockdown, and we took an instant decision on Saturday 21st March – with the help of our tech-savvy student Ryan, we then found ourselves on the air for the first time on the following morning, using an old tablet held in place on a broom-handle with an elastic band. We have attempted to obtain better equipment, but having tried 3 tablets and sent them all back, we were still left with our old original tablet, which then started becoming temperamental, switching off when it felt like it. So we moved on to one of the brethren’s mobile phones, with good pictures but poor sound quality. At the time of writing we are trying a borrowed iPad. The main thing is that it happens, and we have amazing numbers of people participating from all over the world. It is hoped to produce an article about all this in our next CR Quarterly Review – if you have any thoughts or experiences to contribute, please do send them to us by the end of May.
I could not think of a better place to be ‘stuck’ than the grounds of the Community of the Resurrection. They are a real blessing to those of us who are fortunate enough to live in and around them, and especially so with the beautiful weather we have been experiencing of late.
Watching the blossom appear on the trees, followed by the green foliage gradually unfolding, and although the numerous varieties of daffodils have now died back, the floor is carpeted with bluebells.
The dawn chorus is as beautiful as any sung mattins, as the birds begin to attract their mate and mark out their territory. The chiffchaffs and blackcaps have returned from their warmer winter climates of the Mediterranean, and hopefully in the coming days we shall also begin to see swifts, swallows and house martins, having completed their long journey from Sub-Saharan Africa. As ever the tawny owls continue to fill the night air, along with the many bats, and the high-pitched calls of buzzards can be heard in the day as they soar in the sky high above, while also from time to time being seen performing aerobatics by lower church.
Many beautiful butterflies have also been appearing over the past month, with at least 10 species having been spotted. Hopefully soon the dragonflies too will be out dancing by the pond.
Whilst out in the grounds the upper church bell continues to toll, as the brothers once again begin to gather for prayer, signalling some things do not change. I find this comforting; not only as it connects my daily prayer to theirs, but also as a continuous reminder of the whole church being drawn together and upheld in prayer by one another.
Visit or Stay
We welcome you to come to CR and to share in our life. Some come regularly to talk with a brother, others spend a day or two experiencing this very different environment. Individuals and groups come on retreat and pilgrimage, share in the teaching and courses we offer and join us in worship and meals.
Very grateful to @CR_Mirfield for allowing Fr Charlie novCR to return to @OldhamParish to preach at my 40th Anniversary Mass, and to Fr Charlie himself for hitting the right note in his sermon. Glad he was able to catch up with some of his @CoRMirfield former fellow students
Welcome to the first eight new deacons of 2020 for @SouthwarkCofE. Ten more later today. Five for the Croydon Area at 2pm and five for the Kingston Area at 5pm. A joyful day. @green_delorine @RobCarr @Daniel_J_Wyman
Congratulations to our newly ordained deacons from the Barking Archdeaconry. To find out more and watch this weekend's four ordination services visit our website - https://www.chelmsford.anglican.org/ordinations. #newrevs #ChelmsDioNewRevs