Thanks to a generous donor, we have commissioned two paintings by Nicholas Mynheer (who sculpted the Resurrection Altar in our church) to go in the St James’s Chapel on either side of the altar. They show scenes from the life of St James, and according to the wish of the donor are to be in memory of our former Superior Sylvanus Berry CR. To install them, we need legal permission in the form of a Faculty. The following link takes you to the public notice that we have to make available for 28 days.
This is a new post. The Business Manager will be the chief executive officer of the Charity’s activities, combining financial administration with operational management to realise the goals set by the Community.
He or she will have the prime role in co-ordinating the smooth delivery of the activities of the Charity, helping sustain its work. The Business Manager will have care for a small but diverse and committed staff team.
Key qualities for the role include: good, supportive communication at all levels; the ability to motivate others; and a focus on achieving and sustaining results. The person the Community is looking to appoint will have a readiness to assist as needed, working closely with the brethren of the Community whose home this is.
If you think this might be the role for you, please take a look at the job summary and person specification below.
Gen. 2:18-24; Heb. 1:1-4; 2:5-12; Mark 10: 2-16
May I speak in the name of the Son, to the glory of the Father, in the power of the Holy Spirit. AMEN
“And they become one flesh.”
If this is not a place where tears are understood,
Where do I go to cry?
If this is not a place where my spirits can take wing,
Where do I go to fly?
If this is not a place where my questions can be asked,
Where do I go to seek?
If this is not a place where my feelings can be heard,
Where do I go to speak?
If this is not a place where you’ll accept me as I am,
Where can I go to be?
If this is not a place where I can try to learn and grow,
Where can I be just me?
I haven’t forgotten this poem, A People Place by William Crocker: it was printed out and stuck on the wall of LS 2 in the school where I worked for ten years before coming to test a vocation in CR. LS 2, (unless they’ve knocked it through by now), served as the staff area for the motley group of teaching assistants comprising myself and several others. We were women of a certain age with grown-up children; those with degrees in life from the University thereof and scant interest in living beyond the weekend or the next six weeks’ holidays. We were young men of ambition, befriending the young people and learning with mixed success how to manage their classroom and maximise their learning. We were happy together and sad together for 27 weeks of the year, celebrating achievement and learning to contend with failure, frustration and sometimes privation. We did coffee and we did life; the office and work of human being. And in many ways, that little LS 2 became a covenantal space; an ark for the students and staff who were crammed into it during those precious 190 days of learning.
Week two of teaching and week three of vicar factory. How is it going, I wonder? Have you cried or flown? Are you speaking, finding your voice – in prayer and secret at best – if not in refectory and tutor group perhaps as yet? Can you be here? Are you finding those of whom it might be said, “I was a stranger and you welcomed me; I was upset and they took care of me; I behaved like an eejit for the whole of induction week; I have said my sorrys (or not); I look for the resurrection of relationship and the life of the term to come?
A week of retreat for others of us in this congregation or year n of religious life. Whatever the reason we showed up, we can ask the same creational questions as Crocker today as we seek to amend our lives and be transformed by the comfort of this holy sacrament which unites us all in the body of the one spirit – which allows us all to put on Christ and to receive and develop his mind. We hold him in our hands and uplift his cup of love with our unready hearts, with that saintly hue of unfinished business that is the working out of salvation and the crux of faith seeking understanding.
And if this is not a place – if this is not a covenant of resurrection the place whereby we can be raised in the arms of the son to the heart of the Father – then we merely embellish the too prevalent narrative of a church that is unaware, impenitent and mal-equipped to serve the coming kingdom of Christ, our vocation and common home: that place I can become ‘just me’ because ‘you’re you’.
Jewish-Christian ethics as they’re presented in today’s lessons from Genesis and St. Mark tend to an ecclesial vision, it seems, that is more than simply an environment in which to practise Ubuntu. For if the church we want to see and serve is to be its best people place, we will need to be those who are more and more prepared to put in the work and create from the dust that enfleshed ekklesia foreshadowed in Eden, as Eve enters her complete humanity with Adam and the two know not separateness or divorce, but unity; not nakedness, but the re-creational endowment of the Father, either to other; real weddedness; true marriage. Oneness.
If it is proving a tough gig entering life at CoR or engaging with the spiritual impulses of retreat, then, as difficult as it may be; as painful, this is everything it means to approach the heart of discernment; it is right reception of a kingdom made for little kids: children who fall in and out, get into scrapes and difficulties, who properly expect to be stricken, bound up, recreated and sent off to do it all again: those who grow up in every way into their head; into Christ
Because we are heirs of the triune life of God we are of and through and by one another. A people constituted thus are not readily to look to divorce and schism, but conversely to build the assembly that evermore animating dust with the beautiful mind of Christ, that all relating might be transfigured, and many helped to rise on the wings of faith seeing love breathed into and opened up in and to them more and more.
The community of faith in this place, espoused by such a love as it feeds on the Eucharist day by day, week by week may still witness powerfully to a church grasping to be simpler, humbler and bolder. But it must start and end with the bridegroom’s rule in our minds and hearts and the prayerful self and other-awareness that this fosters. Only then will we be made free in the truth of our interdependence; upbuilt in our weddedness either to other and Christ’s militant Church rise to become the people place we want to see and to serve: the joy of heaven to earth come down.
God grant that I have spoken in his name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. AMEN
The post-holder will deliver all financial services to the College.
S/he will work closely with the Principal, but will have significant responsibility in areas where s/he will be expected to work with minimal supervision.
The Bursar will have a key role in the smooth running of the College and its relations with the wider church, as well as with prospective and former students; and liaise with the Facilities Manager in matters concerning staff and student accommodation.
S/he will be a member of the small Management Team of the College.
The role requires absolute discretion and confidentiality. S/he will demonstrate willingness to contribute to the unique character of the College of the Resurrection – “a theological college like no other” – its values, academic pursuits and shared life.
Our dear brother Aidan CR passed away in peace on Friday 17th September.
Aidan was in his 91st year and the 58th year of his profession in the Community.
The Requiem Mass for Fr Aidan will be held in the Church of the Resurrection, Mirfield, at 11.00am on Friday 8th October.
If you would like to attend the service please email our guest office, the brethren CR hope that you will be able to stay for refreshments afterwards.
For those who are unable to attend in person, you can access the service as it is live-streamed with this link: https://www.facebook.com/Mirfieldservices or you can find a link on our streaming page:
This notice comes with our continuing prayers for peace and consolation from God for all who grieve.
Thank-you for your prayers for all the Community.
The brethren CR.
This content is reserved for Mirfield companions
CR’s Charity Auction took place on Saturday 4 September, after months of planning and organising we are pleased to say the event was a success!
The Great Hall was packed full of wonderful treasures, and bidders came in great numbers looking to grab some bargains! It was a wonderful happy day and we thank all who attended – you showed a great amount generosity, goodwill and good humour!
The auction has raised around £14,000, with further amounts expected once Gift Aid has been processed. The sapphire ring, the Mouseman lamp, the rocking horse and the Kashmir rug were the star items on the day.
We would like to thank everyone who donated, we couldn’t have held the auction without your generous donations! Thanks also to brethren, Companions, College, staff, volunteers and friends who assisted with the auction.
Special thanks to our auctioneer George Gribben for his expertise and great sense of humour, and his brother Fr John CR who worked tirelessly to make the day a success. He continues to amaze us all with his energy!
Welcoming guests and offering hospitality is an important part of monastic life and we are delighted to be able to welcome more and more guests and visitors to the site after a difficult 18 months.
You may be aware of our upcoming programmed retreats. You can, of course, also stay here as an individual guest at a time that suits you, joining the Community for prayer and meals. As well as residential stays, you can even book a private room and lunch for an occasional Quiet Day. The Retreat House has a Common Room with a small library which can be used by individuals or groups of up to 20 people. We also have an art room, if you feel creative, and acres of natural beauty in our spacious grounds to enjoy.
Please note: To ensure the safety of brethren and visitors we still have some covid restrictions in place. We advise you to speak with a member our hospitality team for full details before booking.
For more information please contact 01924 483346 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
To view our retreat and events calendar please click here.
Mark 7: 1ff – Pharisees
Some years ago I was preaching Holy Week in a very Anglo-Catholic parish. The worship was magnificent – elaborate, colourful ritual combined with superb music. Every service seemed to take us somewhere near heaven; angels and archangels hovered just off stage. It was very easy to believe God was present; yet, where God is, the serpent usually appears too. So it was in Eden; so it was in this lovely church. On Easter Eve there was a major row. The servers wanted the Vicar to wear the lace alb on Easter Day. The Vicar refused. The lace alb was old and tacky; he would wear his own very nice one. The servers were adamant. If he wouldn’t wear the lace alb they wouldn’t turn up to serve on Easter Day! Clearly they had got their priorities wrong. Liturgy can be very fine. Good vestments, good ritual can bring one into the presence of God. But none of it is God. God, Christ and certain Christian values like love must come before everything else.
It’s easy to see how wrong those servers were, yet all of us lose our sense of proportion over silly issues. Some people won’t come to mass if the priest does wear a lace alb. Barbara Pym is so funny about church life because what she writes actually happens. Yet Anglo Catholics are not alone: hymns, candles, flowers, tea making, guitars. The list is endless of things that perfectly nice Christian people will fall out about. We all understand why Jesus criticised the Pharisees for elevating hand washing and food rituals above caring for parents or for the poor. We all condemn the Pharisees for missing the real point of the Law Moses had given them. Yet we all do similar things. How often in monastic life do we use the rules of our life together, the conventions of monastic obedience to escape a demand of love. I do it, often. I expect others do as well. There is a Pharisee in each one of us. Rules are good; rituals are good; hand washing, clean pots, silence rules and laudable customs are all good. They help us live peaceably together. They create safe structures and large spaces in which we find God. They point often towards God and yet they are not God. That is the mistake we make. Love comes first because God is to be found most surely in love. Jesus doesn’t want us to spend our time arguing about hand washing, church rituals or any of the other distractions of Christian life. He wants us to discover love. He wants us to find the God to whom these rituals point. How can we do that?
It’s not rocket science. Jesus tells us to stop fussing about the rules and look at the evil in our lives: “evil thoughts, fornication, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.” Now I suppose none of us is guilty of all of these, but if we are honest we can all tick off a few that will need to appear in our next confessions. Sadly, our society is guilty of all of these. Any newspaper will tell us that. What is our reaction to that? To read about it with shocked delight? To watch films about it on Netflix? Or can we simply turn away from it? That is what Jesus asks us to do – recognise that all that stuff is simply bad and turn away from it, have nothing to do with it. But if we are going to turn away from this where do we turn to? Jesus doesn’t really answer that question in today’s Gospel, but James does in the epistle we heard before. James gives us two very useful pieces of advice. The first is: “Let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” That means, Listen properly; don’t talk till you know what you are talking about; don’t get angry. Or at least, don’t talk when we are angry – or write emails! We say very stupid things when we get angry and usually create more trouble than we started with. The old advice about counting to ten before speaking is really important. How much sin and stupidity would we avoid if we did that!
The second piece of good advice from James is this: “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this; to visit widows and orphans in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” Well, keeping ourselves unstained from the world means turning away from every evil as we have seen. To visit widows and orphans really means to do everything we can to help those who are suffering, especially when they are helpless. Who are the most helpless people in our society – refugees, asylum seekers, people escaping from Afghanistan? Those are the ones I think of. Perhaps there are many other kinds of people who need this help. But what is important here is the fact that James puts this activity at the very heart of what true religion means, even before avoiding sin. Helping the poor, the weak, the people with no rights. We cannot love God unless we do that. And the more we do of that the more our love for God grows. Christianity is not complicated. It is very simple. It is based on a few small and simple rules. They are just difficult to do all the time. But if we do them our lives are changed. It may seem that doing the rules will be hard, unpleasant work. It turns out to be quite different. God is in this work and so the work becomes a joy, full of the love of God.
So I want to finish with a story from my own life: a very small event in my life which changed everything.
Many of you know that I grew up in Zimbabwe, in the days when Zimbabwe was a racist country, and I was a racist. As a teenager I saw this was wrong and tried to change. That is not an easy thing to do. Then one day when I was about 19 I was staying at St Augustine’s Mission. I was sitting on a veranda reading a book and I could hear that unmistakable sound of small kids playing. I looked up and saw they were African kids. “Good heavens, I thought. They sound just like ordinary kids.” Then I realised what a terrible thing that was to say. I had never seen African kids as ordinary kids. The world kind of turned in a moment and I began a journey which changed the course of my life and brought me here. I have to say, it has been enormous fun!
I am sure each of you has events like that in your own lives, events which changed your life. Something happened that brought you into the Christian faith, or made ordinary religion suddenly serious. Something that made you look differently at God, or people around you. Something maybe that makes us realise that refugees are not faceless creatures messing up our lives, but men and women just like us, with the same fears and hopes; the same care for their children, the same longing for peace. We need to look for those events in our lives and see if they are still operating, still bringing us into the love of God. That’s a good thing to do on a pilgrimage weekend like this.
ASSUMPTION OF THE BVM 2021 (HR)
Song of Songs 2:1-7; Gal. 4: 4-7; Luke 1: 46-55.
‘Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord and my Spirit rejoices in God my Saviour; for he has looked with favour on his lowly servant.”’
May it be given to me to speak in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. AMEN.
Today we thank God for Mary: the girl, the woman, the mother, the disciple, in the keeping of a feast that places her identity, her obedience, her discipleship, her generosity of spirit, and the grace of her abiding faith in total relation with her Son in the presence of the Father. The assumption – forasmuch as we may get hung up on its place in theology – does essentially what it says on the tin, to put it crudely. Mary’s vocation, her giftedness and givenness are today perpetually integrated within the Godhead for which she offers herself in the completeness of the “yes” who is made flesh within her.
As we emerge from the pandemic, Mary signifies the hope we each so desperately need to encounter and to befriend in a society in which the values she embodies and from which she lives appear to be at a premium. Or at least that’s what the rhetoric would have us believe. I suggest, however, that COVID teaches us different – that we have seen in the past year and a half in fact a reworking of the assumption of the mighty and meek, as their narratives are also integrated into Mary’s canticle, in a proclamation and witness that attest powerfully to upturned expectations and the transfiguring of life itself.
The pandemic after all has realised for us in real terms, what Mary knew 2000 years before: the disconcerting, yet sure truth that God magnifies the lowly, exalts the humble and breathes the life of his divinity into the humanity of those forgotten by kings and governors. Our lady is just what she was born to be: vocation and response and entire offering for such as these to whom the Kingdom of her Christ and ours rightly belongs.
Mary’s very essence as woman, as mother and as universal human type is today a refreshing focus for the whole of Christendom at a time when it is sorely needed; when the future of the Church Catholic would be manipulated and placed in jeopardy at the behest of policy wonks and empire builders, whose only thought seems to be, as the psalmist recognises, that ‘God does not matter’ except according to the narrow limits of the latest document devised by last year’s sub-subcommittee. And when was the last time they emptied a bin, boiled a kettle, cleaned a toilet or held a flailing hand? But perhaps they learned to give the peace in Sign during lockdown. Perhaps.
The hope of Mary, the joy of Mary, the love Mary both conceives and is assumed into by today’s feast, remind us that she has done all this ever and again in the free offering of her very life – her very ordinary, unremarkable – indeed unassuming life for her baby boy, her gift in utero – the same Christ who is her earthly annunciation of “yes” and “amen” for the life of the world – that the least of us may have life abundantly; life whom we will hold in our hands and taste with our lips a few moments from now. – All thanks to the incorruptible givenness of the “yes” she let be “yes”. And not so that we escape death, but that we may perceive eternally the power of resurrection and the hope it carries and forever offers to greatest as to least. Mary’s soul and body enshrine for us that hope and all its potential joy and sorrow met in the life of the triune God.
Today, we are assured once again that life is gifted to us in this clement, sweet, loving everywoman. It is in Mary’s way that the kingdoms of the world can become kingdoms rent topsy-turvy by Magnificat, mothered into risen life by the Theotokos who bears Godself for their sake to magnify and enrich them. “My soul magnifies/my Spirit rejoices”; continuous present. He magnifies me and lifts up my brothers and sisters that in their like simplicity and total personhood, they may inherit the earth by entering its heaven, receiving to themselves the perfect life of its God and King here and now.
Here is truth in God’s own canticle; here is the veracity we can also choose to enshrine today; the righteousness in which we too are at home.
So do we re-enter the restrictive rhetoric of pre-Covid times, as it begins once again to limit human potential and flourishing and entomb personhood in the narrowness of politicking? Because this is neither the Marian way nor that of the Church her Son Is seeking for his bride.
Today, we are assumed into the infinite potential of entire, whole and perfect response to the call of the God who is the vocation of us all: Mary shows the Church our vocation. Dare we say with her, “Here am I the handmaid of the Lord; let it be with me according to thy word.” If we do believe with her what is told us by the Lord, we begin to delimit and dissolve wrangling and strictness and the zeal God will not own, and magnify and rejoice instead in the infinite wideness of the mercy come down from the heights and lived out in the lowest and lowliest places.
Those, like Mary who live there, live in God and God lives in them. For this place is none other than the heavenly court – the habitation of love. And his presence – his soul – is revealed in it and within all who strive to enter it. We’re invited with her today to rise and adore and welcome others with mothering arms and gaze as children, Paul reminds us, upon the mystery of love.
Dare we not say with Marian faith and fear, “Be it unto me according to thy word,” that we too may rise in her wake to adore that mystery, leading others to gaze upon the face of God? He that is mighty has magnified us too, and in looking to the heart and soul of Mary, we see the fullness of God borne in the Christ who conforms all things to Godself, that the kingdoms of this world may be transformed and minds and hearts made new.
Mary, mother of us all, pray for us to your Son, that like you, we may be made worthy of such transformation and of the reception of so sweet a guest for our good and that of all the children of God. AMEN
Auction starts at 1.30pm
Friday 3 September between 10.30am and 4.30pm
Saturday 4 September between 10.30am and 1pm
Extra Viewings – We are offering extra viewings during the week leading up to the Auction.
Extra viewings will take place from Tuesday 31 August to Thursday 2 September between 2pm to 4pm.
As many of you will already know, the Community’s Auction will take place in the College refectory on 4th September.
This year we are extending our viewing times. Bids can be made in the usual way in the refectory on the day of the auction, we will be able to take some bids by phone and the greater viewing time will allow more time for people to leave commission bids. The quality of items remains high and there are lots to suit every purse. Star items include a gorgeous antique rocking horse, a 1950s Mouseman standard lamp an antique silver French ciborium 18/19 century and some really beautiful antiques from China. There are vintage Dinkeys, coins, stamps and collectibles of every sort. Oh yes, on a personal note, I will be donating a large section of my comic collection and cinema books.
In this year when there has been a large drop in revenue a really good auction would be very welcome. You could help in many ways. Come along and enjoy the day. You might find something really useful or beautiful. I do need publicity so share this news with friends and with any dealers near you. And pray for all who will be involved in making the auction a success.