News from 2010

December 2010

Report on the prayer vigil: every one of the 50 hours was covered throughout the weekend from 3 to 5 December as people sat in the chapel upholding the Appeal before God in prayer. Also, people from far and wide wrote telling CR that wherever they were, either in their own homes or travelling, they were joining their prayers with those of the Brethren that weekend. Simultaneous with that Vigil, the Students of the College of the Resurrection held a Para -Vigil in the cold, unheated Community Church. They created a number of worshipful and inspirational services that were held there at all hours (both day and night) and in this way supported the other Prayer Vigil taking place in the Chapel.

A Way for Daily Praying by Fr George Guiver CR, Superior - guidance for daily prayer.
CR appealed to the Consistory Court about costs in the Faculty proceedings being awarded against it.  Here is the Judgment

A message from Fr John CR: "Dear Friends and Companions – Merry Christmas. I hope that you are all well and that the message of the Christ Child will bring joy and comfort to your hearts in this holy season. I want to thank those who have responded so generously with offers of gifts and of help for the auction. We are doing well with many interesting items. The Community too has been going through its attics and box rooms and has sacrificed some of its treasures and brought to light articles that will interest the collector, the connoisseur and the historian. There is a stunning picture of Princess Margaret, a beautiful collection of Italian miniatures, a rare and limited edition of the Passion – the work of Eric Gill and many other smaller items to say nothing of burses, veils, maniples etc. We are still a little behind if we are to reach our target but we are in the early stages and once everyone receives the news through the CR Quarterly I am confident that more people will rally to enable us to make our church a place worthy to praise God and proclaim his Gospel in. In the New Year we hope to make it possible for people to begin bidding (once I’ve mastered the technology) so I offer a few more picture to tantalise you. With every good wish". The pictures referred to can be found here. Please also see Woggler No 2!

Article from the Church Times 13 December: "Mirfield Brethren permitted to get warm" here. A full copy of the Chancellor's Judgment is here

From Fr Nicolas CR: "God always answers our prayers, though not always as we think he should. We will have to wait and see how he answers our prayers for a large sum of money, this weekend. Yet God also answers our prayers in unexpected ways and some of those are becoming apparent: (i) the students’ para-vigil in church has shown how much they long to have that lovely church restored to the heart of Mirfield life. Their prayers have taken imaginative forms of music, prayer, movement and meditation, to all of which that building is ideally suited and will be more so when the work is done. At the same time the students have made it clear they are praying for us, as Community. Sometimes it can seem that College and Community are very far apart. It is not so and now is a good time in the College’s life to encourage and strengthen these bonds of affection and common vocation; (ii) the very real sense that all of us are bound together in prayer has helped us see that this extended CR community is a real community, not a paper construct. I think that has taken some of us by surprise. This is something else we must not let go; (iii) the practice (as opposed to the idea) of a prayer vigil is new to CR. It has proved a powerful way of joining us together in a common purpose. Can we think about doing it again  - shorter ones maybe (a mere 24 hours would be easy after this!) or longer, trying again the 24/7 prayer we did a couple of years ago? (iv) I have found my mind filled with lots of fascinating thoughts, projects, ideas for action during the prayer time (I did some direct praying too). No doubt others of you have found the same. Could we write them down now while they are fresh and then see if we can take them further. This may be one of the ways God answers our prayer for money; (v) what if people do give the money (well, actually hundreds of people already have) - what needs to be our response? Clearly we must spend it well. As a religious community we in CR need to do it in a more fervent, united, creative way, whatever that means. In fact we must go on finding out what it does mean. All of us in this wider extended family need to do the same. As I write it is 15 hours to go. Thank you for all you have done: your time, your imagination, your prayer. Thank you for what is still to come".

Update on the Prayer Vigil from Fr Nicolas: “I struggle to pray, normally. I don’t want to do more than my usual half hour. When I do, my mind wanders. I watch the clock wondering when it will end. Even Exposition has little impact. But today it has been different. I really enjoyed my time in chapel; I was drawn to the exposed sacrament and wanted to look at nothing else. I never once looked at my watch. I didn’t want it to end. I think it must be the effect of so many people praying around supporting us. Also I find praying in the middle of the night particularly fruitful. The silence is deeper and one is more focused, especially if you come from sleep and are going back to sleep. A Bishop in New Zealand (they are 12 hours ahead) wrote this morning: Greetings. Every blessing in this weekend of prayer. I have just completed my first hour set aside for this and will share a little of the experience. Almost immediately a sense of people around praying for the hopes in the prayer guide we were sent. A call to pray expectantly. God is a faithful guide to those who seek and pours out more than we ask (which is my experience.) It seems easy to pray "give us this day our daily bread" when we can see where it will come from. It is more testing to pray expectantly when we don't see whence the answer will come. (This is true, of course, when we pray for bread for the needs of the world.) Our Father delights to provide for his children. It is Advent. We prepare to celebrate God's gift which is greater than any would have imagined!” Meanwhile the students are praying every three hours for half an hour in our Church, despite the freezing cold. I was able to get to the first session last night. (At the second I was praying in chapel and at the third I was in Bed!). It was lovely to hear Eliot’s Little Gidding read aloud and so relevant to now. If you haven’t read it for some time you might reread it now. He is an amazing poet – the best kind of ‘Christian poet’! It was lovely also to be back in our church, round the altar enjoying that wonderful clean space so redolent of the vastness of God. How it made me long for when we can return there full time. That too is prayer. Thank you everyone for taking part in this. I am sure God is sharing his blessing with all of us as we join together round his throne of grace”.
From Fr John CR: "“Dear Companions and other supporters. The campaign for the Sale of the Centenary is now up and running. Thank you all for your letters of support, offers of help and donations of gifts. It is a good start but please keep the whole scheme in your minds. I want your help, I want your prayers and I want anything that you can give towards the auction – from Dinky toys to Ming vases. My brother George is very pleased with the things that have come in. He asks me to remind you that too many lots at £5.00 could make for a long and boring day, so some items of quality will make for more entertainment as well as ensuring a good result. To help keep your interest and to inform your prayers I will from time to time post pictures of some of the items that are in the auction and a kind of spoof newsletter (for those who like that sort of thing) which may bring to your attention items that you have forgotten about. Our Church is standing cold and empty but remember the words of Bob the Builder: Can we fix it? Yes we can!” Please see this notice, the list of items required, the Woggler and photograph of three items already obtained; a gold plated Buddha (once the property of Trevor Huddleston), a silver Baptism Cup from 1913 and a silver Home Communion Set

From Fr Nicolas CR: "I braved the snow and disrupted railways this week to go to a meeting of the CIR at Wantage. CIR is the International Interconfessional Congress of Religious, a gathering of monks and nuns from the different churches and countries of Europe which meets to celebrate the religious life we share and to seek unity. This meeting of six of us was the core group preparing the next Congress and talking about our future. We were a monk from Chevetogne, a Benedictine sister from France, an English RC sister, a Lutheran sister from Bavaria and a Swiss Reformed sister from Riehen and me. It is a surprise to many to find there are flourishing religious communities in the Lutheran and Reformed well and they have much to teach us. The next Congress will take place at Triefenstein, a Lutheran community in Bavaria . The theme will be "How Holy Scripture forms and informs the religious life." Scripture is at the heart of religious life. Through reading Scripture we are formed in the likeness of Christ. This congress should be formative for all of us. We also talked about the possibilities we have to help religious communities renew themselves, or more accurately, receive the renewal God wishes to offer them. Part of this is simply recognising the richness of the gifts to be found in the ecumenical life. The six of us find ourselves constantly enriched by the gifts we receive from each other. How can we make this more widely available? Wantage was lovely. It was very cold but the Sisters were very warm in their welcome and looked after us tremendously well. They are developing a considerable website ministry, including retreats on line. We ended our meeting by visiting the contemplative community at Fairacres on the edge of Oxford . They have a rich tradition of contemplative life akin to the Carmelites and we are very fortunate to have such a community in the Anglican church. Sadly they, like most of our communities, are getting very few vocations. Where are the people who believe in prayer and who want to know God enough to give up everything else to be with him? Are you one such person? If so you should consider this life.”

Prayers which can be used at the Prayer Vigil for the Appeal
Press Release for the Prayer Vigil
November 2010

From Ben Bradshaw, a student at the College of the Resurrection: "During my time in Zimbabwe I was asked very briefly to talk to some of the Anglican clergy about Benedictine spirituality and its role in my life. Afterwards a number of the clergy approached me to see if I had spare copies of the Rule of St Benedict that they could have to help them with their own prayer and spirituality. Now, thanks to the very generous community of Roman Catholic Benedictines at Buckfast Abbey, the Anglican clergy in  Zimbabwe  will get books of St Benedict's Rule. My experience of the Anglican clergy in Zimbabwe is that they are a wonderful, faithful group of people with a big desire to deepen their spirituality and prayer life but are sadly restricted by a complete lack of funds and resources. Now, thanks to the brothers at Buckfast who have most kindly purchased 25 copies of the Rule of St Benedict, the clergy will be able to take their first steps towards a deeper spirituality using the great wisdom of Benedictine spirituality. St Benedict's rule offers those who follow its path a way to faith-filled living through work, prayer, learning and living in community. This is not a spirituality that requires a departure from everyday life, but rather a way of being that embraces and becomes fully engaged in the holiness that permeates our daily existence and the call to follow Christ in all that we do. Fr Nicolas will be distributing the books on his next trip to Zimbabwe in January".

The last (so far) of the residential week-ends for friends and supporters (lay donors to the appeal) has taken place and, once again, was a very friendly affair; people used to retreats at CR coming not knowing what to expect and finding a much more 'at home' atmosphere than they had anticipated. The group of nine gamely prepared the glut of apples for the freezer and addressed appeal envelopes to Deans, as well as reflecting on the advice of St Benedict (from Nicolas CR) and hearing (from Thomas CR and Antony CR) about inter-monastic conversation in Germany at the community of St Matthias on the Huysburg (twinned with CR). This week has seen a 20 strong retreat for clergy with Thomas CR giving addresses based around the book Ecclesiastes. The Community awaits new Ordinands from the Yorkshire Ministry Course to come for their first stay next weekend, a retreat conducted by Nicolas CR. Also eagerly awaited is the new chef supervisor, Ben Simmons, to start on Monday. Sandra has done a sterling job holding the kitchen together since Dave Campbell the previous catering manager left last month to run a local pub restaurant in Robertown.

Following the Consistory Court Hearing (see below) the community has been granted the Faculty for all the re-ordering proposals, with the sole exception of the tombs (which will remain in their present places). The response from our friends to an invitation to join us in prayer on the first weekend of December for the remaining fundraising has been overwhelming and literally from all over the world – Canada, USA, Papua New Guinea, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand. It should be wonderful
The text of a lecture given by George CR in Cambridge, November 2010 "My faith is weak" - So what?" has been added to the Sermons page

From Ben Bradshaw, Student at the College of the Resurrection: "I am very pleased to tell you all that so far we have raised £7809, a remarkable achievement which should allow us to build and furnish a church for the refugees out in Zimbabwe. We sent the first instalment of money last week and we have just received an email from the Bishop's Office who are overseeing the whole project. They have told us that building plans have now been completed and that the materials are soon to be purchased and transported. They also told us that this coming week the pegging of the church will be starting so that the legging of the church can also begin, this means that the groundwork is now well underway. This is very exciting news and I will make sure to let you all know how things are going with the building every step of the way. With every blessing. Ben".

Advance Notice: the date for the Companions Day in 2011 will be 23 July. Please make a note of this now. Further details to follow.
Advance Notice - 22 October, 2011: The Sale of the Centenary! To raise funds for the Centenary Church Appeal, the Community will be holding a Grand Auction to be conducted by George Gribben, a celebrated Belfast auctioneer. CR invites the Companions and Friends of CR to assist in this venture. We need you to raid your attics, box rooms, glory holes and garages for items that can be turned into cash. We will be looking for volunteers to collect items, to store some things until they can be collected and to deliver either to Mirfield or to a local agent. Further details will appear here as the planning progresses. Your Community needs you! Offers of help and enquiries, please, to Fr John
A few photographs taken at the Consistory Court Hearing in the Community Church have now been added to the resume
The Community intends to devote the first weekend of December to a 50 hour vigil of prayer, quite simply asking God to find us the money (or, of course, the people who will give the money) we still need to make the renovation of the Comminity church possible. Would you like to join in this? If you are close enough to Mirfield you would be very welcome to join in the chapel at any time of the day or night between Evensong on Friday 3 December and Compline on Sunday 5 December. There should be some beds available for any who want to stay and pray at greater length. However, CR asks "could pray for us wherever you are and if you would like to let us know that you are doing so we would like to make a list of those who are praying with us, with times if possible, so that we know who is with us and when". For further details or enquiries, please contact Fr Nicolas.
  Four photographs from the visit of Eric CR, Barnabas CR and Nicolas CR to the Benedictine Monastery St Matthias' Abbey, Trier, Germany between 20 October and 1 November can be found here
A hearing of the Consistory Court took place in the Community church on Saturday 30 October. A resume of the hearing can be found here
October 2010

Thomas CR has been heroic in dealing with the huge apple crop, so big because of his expert care, initially under the tuition of Linda in Companions Office. There has been much freezing and making jam and apple juice.

Fr Thomas Seville CR has been elected to General Synod for a further term of five years as one of two representatives of Religious Communities in Convocation
An exciting offer from Fr John Gribben CR: An Evening of Blarney

A message from Ben Bradshaw, a Student at the College of the Resurrection: "Thank you so much to all of you who have helped with our project to build the refugees in Tongogara a Church. Words fail to describe how touched I have been by the support so many people have given to us in raising the funds. I have always tried to thank each one of you personally for your donations and prayers but if I have not been able to get hold of your contact details, please accept my thanks now. I am very excited to let you know we have now raised a total of £4,408. Of that, approximately £3,500 has come from CR Companions and people they have told about this project! You have all taken this project in to your hearts and your donations will mean the prayers of the refugees will come true. The 24 hour prayer vigil was a very moving experience; it was wonderful to have many hundreds of people from all over the world say a prayer that day for the refugees and we only have to look at the total now raised to show that our prayers have been answered. My fellow students here at the College of the Resurrection were also very supportive and as a College we raised £668 towards the Church. The remaining funds have come from personal friends and also some small donations received from an article in the Huddersfield Examiner which further publicised our project. We have now moved close to our target of £5,000 and the fact we have got so near in such a short space of time is all down to the support from the CR Companions. If we are blessed enough to go over our target and have funds left over once the Church is built we would make sure the extra money is used to help the refugee community at Tongogara. We could use the money to help the children in Tongogara, especially in the development of their education, whether it is in text books or extra lessons. Because one day these young children will be adults and we pray they will be able to leave the camp by this time and so it is vital they are taught the skills needed so they can have a good future. I will keep the CR Companions updated on the rest of the fundraising campaign and of course any photographs of the Church once building starts. You are all in my prayers. Ben". 

On 19 October, twelve of the brethren visit the new Stanbrook Abbey at Wass in North Yorkshire. One of the nuns there was at university with Fr Nicolas in Harare (in fact he used to go out with her sister); he says it will be good to meet up again after 43 years!
The appeal for funds for the church for Tongogara refugee camp (see below in September) has been amazingly successful. Ben Bradshaw is overwhelmed! He has almost reached his target thanks to donations from Companions and Friends and the generosity of the students who joined him in prayer.
Video of Nicolas CR preaching at St Paul's Cathedral on Sunday 10 October is here

Br Zachary’s Funeral Requiem having been celebrated  24 September, such of the contents of the room he had occupied as were not required were taken to Kirklees Hospice Charity shop in Mirfield.  Since Zachary first arrived in Europe and in Mirfield in 1956, his family remaining in Bermuda , the accumulation  was perhaps not so surprising !  He was one of those people who although sometimes - according to one of the brothers - was exasperating in life, he was actually very lovable and this side of him is what remains with the Community.

On Sunday 3 October the Romanian parish of St Macarie the Great celebrated the Divine Liturgy for the last time in the Lower Church.  They have been offered a church building of their own in Leeds . CR brethren will miss the opportunity to attend their lengthy and beautiful services, to enjoy their lavish hospitality of typical Romanian food on special occasions and the attractive  sight of their young and lively families walking through our grounds (they will NOT miss the need to clear out all the paraphernalia of worship after every service!).  
The weekend 1-3 Oct was the first of the Supporters weekends.  Donors to the Church Appeal were invited. George CR gave them an off-the-cuff unscripted talk on the progress of the Appeal and the planning progress.  Other brethren took them round the grounds and gave them talks on St Benedict and St Ignatius.  
The week 27 Sept-2 Oct was one when IGRs (Individually Guided Retreats in the Ignatian tradition) were advertised and a  team of IGR guides were assembled. However, as there was just one taker the outside guides went home and Oswin CR guided the retreatant on his own.  
The apple orchard at Mirfield is producing a huge crop this year, thanks to the skilful care, propagation and pruning of Thomas CR.  Guests in  the house and anyone attending or passing through the College have been urged to take away as many windfalls as possible.  
September 2010 On 30 Sept there was a big meeting in the New Refectory, convened by Bishop Tony of Pontefract, of Moslem Imams and Christian clergy, well attended by both. People who know the area will know that there is a big Moslem presence in the West Riding, Ravensthorpe, Dewsbury and Thornhill Lees particularly. It is important to establish common ground and to affirm our belief in the same God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, in the midst of our secular society where people tend to ignore God. The Mirfield centre regularly hosts interfaith events. The next door diocese of Bradford is particularly clued up in this area and their expert Dr Philip Lewis is good enough to contribute regularly to Centre events.
From Fr Nicolas: “If you read the journal of my visit to Zimbabwe [below] you will remember that we visited Tongogara refugee camp and were overwhelmingly moved by the Anglican community there. One of the students who was with me (Ben Bradshaw) has undertaken to raise money to help them build a church. They need about US$6,000. On Monday 11 October he is going to do a 24 hour prayer vigil in the College oratory to pray for this and to invite people to join him in the praying and/or to donate to the cause”. Please read Ben's account and see photographs here, which also includes details of how to make a donation.
David Pickett, one of the students at the College, has bought one of Carol Cormack’s paintings – Meditation 1 (see News in May, below). Meditations 1 and 2 have now been sold; Meditation 3 and the Second Day are still available. All four paintings can be viewed here  
St Francis House, Hemingford Grey has now been sold (but without the cottage, which will be refurbished prior to its being sold separately). Photographs of the closing day (12 December 2009) can be found here and other photographs of St Francis House are here
The sermon preached by Peter CR at the Requiem Mass for Br Zachary on 24 September, 2010 is now on the sermons page: click here and scroll down
Photographs from the Southern Companions Day (Canterbury Pilgrimage) can be seen here
Br Zachary died on Monday 13 September, having been in hospital for a week following a stroke. His Funeral Requiem will be held at 11.45am on Friday 24 September at CR.
Please click here for a report of Fr Nicholas's visit to Zimbabwe in August/September.
Joseph Hobson, one of CR's Oblates, has written a book, the proceeds of which will go to the appeal. Entitled "Cathedral Bobbies" it gives an insight into the history and works of the dedicated teams of constables who have served to protect some of our greatest Cathedrals for hundreds of years. It records the major, yet little known, role played by the church in the development of policing the United Kingdom over many centuries. The book includes a number of early photographs of police officers who have guarded our Cathedrals. To obtain a copy please send £5 payable to "Mirfield Publications" to CR.
Jonathan Pape, Fundraising Manager, will be leaving CR at the end of this month. Peter Pantelli, the original Fundraising Consultant, says Jonathan "has worked very hard and has put his heart and soul into the project. To achieve success, however, we need different skills". Peter's resume of the appeal so far is as follows: "Individual and committed giving will beat its target but penetration is at such a high level that a major increase in this sector is unlikely; Income from trusts and grants is likely to meet its target (just) but only post Faculty/Planning; Big Gift fundraising is nowhere near its target and the programme has changed from a short, sharp campaign". It is planned to refocus fundraising in a number of ways so that income from the first group can continue to be maximised, largely through internal management by CR staff and Brethren. The Big Gift and other development areas (such as trusts) will be managed by Pantelli's consultancy, who will "re-evaluate potential based on experience and implement a realistic campaign".
The Community is welcoming donors over three week-ends this Autumn and looking forward to sharing with them more of the vision.
1 September sees a major re-structuring as all the support staff for College and Community become one site team, dedicated to serving those who come under the direction of Guy Laurie, the General Manager. There will also be a unified bursary, thus avoiding the time-consuming (and confusing) practice of passing notional money around the site, as has been done up to now. Raising income from the site rather than relying on others' generous donations is an important aspect of the continuing life and mission at Mirfield and this more professional approach should aid this (without, it is hoped, losing the homely atmosphere of CR that all have come to value). Come and see for yourselves
August 2010 The Bank Holiday weekend saw an extended retreat, a favourite for many, including those whose visits to Mirfield stretch back to the 1940s. Br Philip conducted the retreat and it was his first time doing so for some while, having previously been host as guestbrother. Also on the Bank Holiday a Bishop (resplendent in pink robes) and parish priest came calling from the Syrian Orthodox of South India. The Bishop's diocese covers Europe and Africa, so Mirfield is within his bounds and the local Syrian Orthodox parish is in North Yorkshire . They went on from the Community to visit the sisters CSP at Horbury.
Recent visitors to CR include delegates to the conference for the Society of Liturgical Studies: they arrive every other Summer from several countries and are 'sold' on Mirfield. This is one fruit of the recently formed Institute for Liturgical Studies, based at Mirfield.
Goodbyes have been said to Connie Goodfellow, the Community's nurse, who has cared for brethren for over 30 years (and, especially, sat with many brothers in their final days). Connie 'retired' a few years ago but has kept coming back and it is only now that she will get to put her feet up properly.
The Community’s first chicks are hatching in an incubator in the cellar: there are five healthy fluffy youngsters.
The Community is preparing to become accustomed to the College hosting discreet wedding receptions, with the kitchen staff providing the catering. The College was the venue on 21 August for the reception for one of its ordinands Luke Maguire and his bride, Laura, married earlier in the afternoon by Bishop Nigel of Manchester in Christ the King, the parish church next door. Jennifer Cooper of the College staff was the preacher. Many photographs were taken around CR’s front door.
Roundup: Some from the Community are currently on holiday but the work continues; there are visitors, Appeal money continues to come in, prayers for donors (it’s a huge list), picking mulberries, apples, figs (plums to come). Raspberries and other soft fruit require expertise which seems to be lacking, so the crops of these have been miniscule. Fr Dennis Berk Nov CR seems to be settling in, another younger layman is in the offing and inquirers continue to come from time to time.
The Community is laying on three special weekends for people to share the Mirfield experience. Each weekend will start on Friday evening with Evensong followed by supper and a talk from one of the brethren which will focus on an aspect of the spiritual life. As the weekend progresses there will be further opportunities to meet and eat with the brethren, tour the church, explore the grounds, take part in the worship and hear more from the brethren on other aspects of the spiritual life. The dates set aside for these events are 1-3 October, 22-24 October and 12-14 November. Suggested donation: £80 per person. To book a place telephone 01924 483348 or e-mail
 At the General Chapter the Community reviewed its buildings projects and appeal, plus the changes in operations to a single site which should allow groups to book in and come more readily. Some brothers are now away (Peter in Oberammergau with the Peckham pilgrimage there) and visitors are returning, including a friar from Zimbabwe and a Lutheran lady from Hong Kong . Dominic has just returned from hospital, remarkably strongly, after an operation. Six guests are currently staying, making Individually Guided Retreats.
After consultation with Companions and following feedback from local groups, a new "Guide for Companions" has been published, updating the previous Companions "Rule". This document may be accessed here.
On 8 August, Fr Nicolas, Sr Heather Francis OHP and Edna Moore fly to Johannesburg and, after two days, on to Harare . On 13 August Carl Melville and Ben Bradshaw fly out via Addis Ababa . The purpose of this trip: (1) Ben is a student at the College of the Resurrection who will spend the bulk of his time in a Harare parish; (2) Carl is an old hand now (though the youngest traveller) and will visit the Tariro groups and hopes to help start a new Tariro group in Chipinge which will function also as a choir school, enabling young singers to get an education; (3) Sr Heather Francis worked in Zimbabwe 40 years ago as a young teacher. She is coming chiefly to work with the various groups of Zimbabwean sisters to see how their religious life can be helped to be renewed; (4) Edna Moore from Manchester is a chiropodist and apart from working with the children she will also sort out the Sisters’ feet (and Fr Nicholas’s!). Fr Nicolas will co-ordinate as usual but he also must take some potential large donors to Masvingo to see if it is possible to fund the radical renovation of some of the diocesan schools. Please pray for everybody’s safety in travelling by air and road; for the success of the projects and for the wonderful Zimbabwean people with whom they shall be working.
July 2010 Letter from Thomas CR which was published in the Church Times 30 July.

St. James day, 25 July, is the anniversary of the Foundation of the Community, when the first brothers took their vows. Each year the day gives the brethren an opportunity to renew their commitment. St James' day 2010 included a “Fun and Fundraising” afternoon in the grounds. It was low key and without glitz, with tours of the grounds and church, a popular tombola stall, egg and spoon races and sack races, tug-of-war, a bouncy castle and - with a picture in the local paper - monks wanging wellies! Fr Nicolas' Zimbabwe stall made about £125.The afternoon concluded with Evensong in the College refectory (where the cream teas had to be finished hurriedly) with about 120 people and the mix of men and women was surprisingly equal. Over 700 people (including lots of children) came through the gates, some were friends from afar but many were locals who were passing by and who came in on the spur of the moment, having never been to the Community before; they were thrilled to be able to see the place. Over £1,500 was raised. Aside from any financial gains, the Community really connected with the neighbours. The day was a lot of fun - and hard work - and there may be an annual event of this kind. Consideration is also being given to reviving pilgrimages to the Community (but on a different day). Press Release here 

From Fr George, Superior: "The actor Patrick Stewart (of Star Trek fame) came here last week and has pledged his full support for the appeal and offered to be our man in New York. That encouraged us a lot".

Some news from Fr Nicolas: "We had an excellent retreat on the Psalms from a Scottish priest, Fr Sandy Ryrie. I, with Carl Melville and Rachel Beck, went to General synod last Monday and spoke to a fringe group about our work in Zimbabwe. On Saturday, since I wasn’t in retreat myself, I went up to the OHP sisters at Whitby to witness the profession of their Ghanaian sister Helena. It is always exciting seeing a profession. You hope so much that they will stay and find real joy and fulfilment in the Religious Life. I’ve also spent much of the past week editing the book of essays on Walter Frere which we hope soon to publish and, of course, we are meeting for hours and hours every day in Chapter discussions. So life is full!"

Exciting news: a new CR Companions Local Group for Wales will shortly be coming together: please see
Please click here for Comments from Fr Thomas Seville CR at the General Synod July 2010 as reported by "The Church Times"
Tuesday 6 July is the dedication festival; that is the dedication of the Community Church, although this will of course be celebrated in the temporary chapel. The Community will try to see that as an act of faith and hope that it shall be back in the church in its new glory before too long. The following day, 7 July, General Chapter starts; that is the three weeks the Community spends every July undertaking Community business and having a week of retreat. It ends on Foundation Day on 25 July, with a Fun and Fundraising afternoon at Mirfield open to everybody. 
Saturday 3 July - Fr Nicolas reports: "Today we had the first proper meeting of the Tariro Hope for Youth in Zimbabwe Trust since we became a charity a few weeks ago. It has been amazing how this has got going. With all the problems of life in Zimbabwe and the inexperience of Carl and myself, we now have a successful charity – a house in Harare with 13 teenagers, a group at Penhalonga with 13 destitute children supported in school and more to come. A small group of Zimbabweans have worked hard to make this possible and a lot of English people have given most generously to fund it".
Saturday 3 July - Fr Nicolas reports: "It is unusual for a number of us to do something together but today four of us, Aidan, John, Thomas and Nicolas, plus Carl Melville, went to the ordination of Ian McCormack as a Deacon at St Peter’s Church in Horbury. This is the Church where Onward Christian Soldiers was written and we sang it gloriously at the end. It reminded me of singing it in Mozambique in the KiTonga language a few years ago; or in Shona in Zimbabwe a few months ago. In fact, it is on the CD which many friends of CR have. It is unashamedly missionary and we should not be ashamed to be missionary since we have such a glorious gospel to proclaim. Anyway, this ordination was a glorious affair with about 30 priests concelebrating and a full church. It was a good start to Ian’s diaconal ministry".
June 2010 Work on obtaining planning permission for the new monastery continues; it is hoped without much opposition.
Currently staying at CR is the Very Revd Rowan Smith, on sabbatical following his retirement from being Dean of Capetown. He is a former member of CR.
CR has been hosting the Wakefield Ordination Retreat, conducted by Canon Mark Oakley. Canon Oakley, now at the Grosvenor Chapel, was formerly Archdeacon of Scandinavia in the Diocese of European and before that he was Rector of St Paul’s Covent Garden, the parish church for CR's former London Priory. 
The Community's 2009 Accounts are available to view or download here
The recently appointed General Manager, Guy Laurie, is working on plans for the restoration of the Quarry Theatre, largely by volunteers, for which there is a definite demand from local people

There is a possible new completion day for Hemingford Grey at the end of July; for the house, but not the Cottage. 

Photographs of the installation of the bell donated to the Community can be found here 
The General Chapter will be from 7 to 26 July.
Latest from Jonathan Pape - the total for the appeal raised so far is now £200,358.48. The concert in Southwark Cathedral, given by Clare McCaldin and Darren Abrahams raised almost one thousand pounds
Photographs from the 2010 CR Companions Pilgrimage to Walsingham are here
Consideration is being given to building a Care Centre on part of the site adjoining Stocksbanks Road. The idea is only in its infancy at this stage.
The Centenary Church appeal has currently raised £185,000. The Bursar has said that the works should not commence until £500,000 has been received or irrevocably pledged but as the Faculty has not yet been granted it would not, in any event , be possible to start the works yet. The tenders received appear to indicate that the cost of the works might be slightly less than anticipated.
May 2010

Sermon by Fr Nicolas Stebbing CR, Chaplain to the CR Companions, given at St Olave's Church, York on the occasion of the 2010 Northern Companions Day

The sale of St Francis’ House, scheduled  for completion on 12 May, fell through and although a new purchaser has come forward, completion will not be for two or three months yet.
Guy Laurie, the General Manager appointed a few months ago, is working to co-ordinate events throughout our site and to improve its use and viability. The most immediate impact has been the letting to local people of nine small plots in the former (but largely disused) vegetable garden, which brings in a small but welcome monthly rent. Meanwhile, planning permission for the work on the church is still held up thanks to the objections of conservationists. The equally cumbersome process has begun of applying for planning permission for the New Monastery, adjacent to the Church. 

An “Enneagram for Prayer” workshop has been held at the Mirfield Centre, attended by 35 people. This was led by a local incumbent and his wife, who are qualified in this science of relating personality type to ways of praying. The meeting was held in the New Refectory and meals were taken in the College Refectory with the few students not out for the day.

The Community is about to have a bell to ring the brothers to service once more, the Community refectory having been adapted for worship. Brother Harold, of Shepherd’s Law, Northumberland, has donated a church bell surplus to his own requirements, which hangs outside the front door and this will be able to be rung from inside.
On 25 July there will be a Fun and Fundraising Day in the Community's grounds from 2pm to 6pm. Entry is free and there will be Evensong at 5pm. Details here
The St Albans Companions have celebrated the 40th anniversary of the founding of the group with a meeting at St Mary's church, Aylesbury at which Fr Nicolas and Carl Melville gave presentations about the Community's work in Zimbabwe. St Mary's has a sizeable Zimbabwean contingent in the congregation and some were able to join in the meeting and mass (Fr Nicolas did some of the consecration in the Shona language) and singing hymns in their native language. A brief history of the first 40 years of the St Albans Group has been compiled and can be viewed here.
Congratulations to Fr Dennis Berk who has now become a novice of the Community. His novice cross was blessed by Fr George before the Magnificat at Evensong. Fr Dennis is a very gifted USA citizen, experienced parish priest and theology teacher in his early 40s, with several books to his credit. The editorial team of the CR Quarterly are especially grateful to have another person on site who is able and willing to write book reviews!
Carole Cormack, a very good friend of the Community, has produced four striking framed oil paintings (canvas 30.6cms x 40.5cms) based on meditations in the Calvary Garden. The Community is selling these paintings on Carole’s behalf and she has said that all profits from their sale will go to the Centenary Church Appeal. The price, far lower than Carole would ask in an exhibition, is £125 each. The paintings can be collected from Mirfield or they can be delivered for an additional £11 (for suitably robust packaging and insured postage). The four paintings can be viewed here and in the Mirfield Publications Bookshop. Please contact Jonathan Pape, ( if you would like more details.
15 May - from Fr Nicolas: "I’m off to London this morning as I am preaching and celebrating at St Michael’s Croydon, a church which has given me much generous support of my various Zimbabwe projects. The Mass there is gloriously celebrated with very good music and old fashioned ritual. Then I meet up with some Zimbabwean friends, partly for fun, partly to explore ways of getting goods out to Zimbabwe for a various projects".

An unexpectedly enjoyable occasion was the first recorded visit of our Founder +Charles Gore’s kin, which took place on Saturday 1 May. Professor Charles Gore and Mrs Harriet Gore and their 12 year old son William had hoped to be with the Community at Evensong but because of traffic only arrived in time for supper, after which they had a lightning tour. They had come to see the Community’s proposed changes, being especially and naturally concerned with the Founder’s tomb and the church, which is largely a memorial to him. They then returned to London the same evening, which they reached at 1.15 am. Professor Gore is a distinguished anthropologist and the third generation of Gore painters after his father Frederick Gore RA CBE, Principal of St Martin’s School of Art and his grandfather, Spencer Gore, of the Camden Group. They are all descended from Bishop Gore’s brother. To see the Gore paintings, please follow this link.

April 2010 This site now contains its own Zimbabwe page bringing together details about the Community's mission work there. On the page it is possible to make a donation via Paypal to this vital work.
Report of Fr Nicolas's visit to America: "What fun America is. I was there for Holy Week and a week after. I went to the little town of Dixon, South West of Chicago since the priest, Fr Michael Greene, is a former student of ours and had invited me to help create a link between his parish and Zimbabwe . St Luke’s is a lovely church with a very fine musical tradition. Music and liturgy were well done and the people were very friendly, also generous. Dixon is where Ronald Reagan grew up, though that is not widely known. From Dixon I flew to New York to see various nieces and my sister. It was my first visit to New York and, although I do not normally like cities, I was taken with New York – the buzz, the variety of buildings, Central Park, the friendliness of people I spoke to, especially in the subway. I had some lovely meals with my family and had the pleasure of staying with the Community of the Holy Spirit, a community whom Fr Sylvanus Berry used to visit regularly and with whom we are linked in prayer. Like us, they are in the process of building a new monastery. Everyone seems to be doing it now. Then to Washington where I stayed with Roman Catholic friends. Washington is beautiful in a rather grand way – or at least the centre is. I met another former student, Fr James McCaskill, recently of Lundwood, now in Virginia . I also saw the splendid shrine of the Immaculate Conception. The architecture and art of the church is a bit overblown for our chaste tastes but what impresses about the church is the sheer number of people there praying. That is the real test of a church’s excellence. I also got to Anapolis to meet a very generous supporter of the Shearly Cripps Home in Zimbabwe . So CR’s links go on being formed. More will come of this visit, I am sure, especially for Zimbabwe".
Please click the following links to see photographs of the new lobby and bookshop area:   lobby        bookshop entrance        bookshop
Five firms will approached to tender for the work to be carried out to the Community Church; quotations will be requested shortly.
St Francis House, Hemingford Grey has been sold for the full asking price and contract will be completed shortly. The property has been sold to a local couple.
Appeal update: grant applications will shortly be considered by Charitable Foundations, a second letter will be sent out to supporters of CR and Fr George will be visiting the USA from the 1-13 May to follow up contacts made earlier in the year. On 12 April Fr George and Jonathan Pape (Fundraising Manager) are attending an evening meeting with some of the supporters in London whilst on 23 April a potential major donor is visiting CR. On 1 May Jonathan is speaking to the CCR Group in London about the Appeal.
Details of the concert on 30 April at Southwark Cathedral in aid of the appeal can be found here
March 2010

From Fr Oswin: "Passion week always feels unsettled to me, as brothers put final touches to Holy Week addresses, pack and prepare to go, the door-bell rings frequently with those seeking spiritual counsel and the sacrament of reconciliation and the diary fills up with meetings to be squeezed in before the watershed of Holy Week and Easter week approaches. I am staying put in Mirfield this year, so I can appreciate this build up in a rather less frantic way than some. It must be the first year for many decades in which CR brothers have been the ones taking the lead in celebrating Holy Week at HR (the students are dispersed to parishes for this Holy Week). Fr Eric has asked me to handle the sacristy and, again, it must be many years since a CR brother has had the responsibility of palm branches, filling a ewer with warmed water to wash feet and placing the base for a wooden cross on the altar for Good Friday - so many props (and not in their accustomed places in the former sacristy). All in all, Holy Week will be kept in a quieter mode this year, although we shall have some guests. We'll use the quieter week to repaint the entrance to the retreat House and make it a more comfortable sitting area for guests".

Dennis Berk, Postulant, will be welcomed back from the USA on 29 March, now his visa has finally been granted.
The daffodils at Mirfield are finally coming out in the sunshine and rain. The Community has just let a large vegetable patch near the sheds as allotments for local people, as it is no longer able to maintain this or use the produce - it has proved a very popular move.
A busy weekend, with two year groups on the Yorkshire Ministry Course on site (Br Philip joined them as chaplain for the weekend) and the Wakefield School of Ministry on site on  Sunday, plus St Macarie parish celebrating their Sunday liturgy. The College students had just started their Easter break, which made space but it seems the Community no longer runs by the rhythm of terms!
Letter in the Church Times about Religious Communities.
This week there was a visit to the Community from the Methodist equivalent of Anglican "lay ministers", many part-time, who work for the West Yorkshire and Leeds Districts – the equivalent of 2 local Anglican dioceses. They have two away-days and this was the best attended – 29 came. They were most friendly and appreciative and asked many questions at a morning question and answer session. As well as looking round, they attended Midday Office and Mass and had a buffet lunch. It was a beautiful day.
Fr Antony recently visited St Olave’s church in York, where the Northern Companions Day will be held. He gave a talk there to about 20 Affirming Catholics about the Prayer of Silence. They gave a generous donation.
The fundraising office at Mirfield is trying to make contact with any Santander employees or individuals receiving an Abbey National/Santander pension. This is because it has been informed of a scheme whereby the Santander UK Foundation will match the donations of any Abbey/Santander employees or pensioners if at least four employees or pensioners give their names as helping to raise funds for the charity. You do not need to make a donation to assist, just state you are helping our cause. If you are in a position to help please contact Jonathan Pape, the Community’s Fundraising Manager, on 01924 483308 or
Public Notices for the re-ordering of the Community Church are now on display and any objections must be received by the Diocesan Registrar no later than 3 April 2010. The address to write to is Mrs Julia H. Wilding, Bank House, Burton Street, Wakefield W1 2DA or e-mail
Jonathan Pape, Fundraising Manager, presented his quarterly fundraising report to the recent General Chapter. He advised that the appeal had raised £143,576 to date. The response rate from the brochures sent out before Christmas had been good; for example, 23% of all Companions had made donations to the appeal. Jonathan said this gives him great encouragement as many charities would expect a 3% response rate to such a mailing.
Very good news: Dennis Berk (Postulant) has gained the necessary visa and intends to be back with the Community for Holy Week (having had to return to USA at the beginning of December)
Fr Oswin reports on the First Profession of Barnabas: "It was a lovely and happy day - the College was present for the profession mass, 15 or so guests came plus Sisters, Oblates, Companions and Friends and we had a good lunch together afterwards. Barnabas seemed radiant. It has been a while since a first profession (8 or 9 years). Photographs here
Interviewing for contractors (builders) for the church has gone through the first phase. The Community has been receiving sound professional advice which is giving reassurance that the work may come in at or under the £2 million mark
Guy Laurie, the new General Manager, has started work and he gave General Chapter a bracing talk. He has quickly identified several areas which don't quite fit together in working order and has ideas about operational changes (including saving money and raising more revenue), bringing a more unified and professional outlook. Previously Guy looked after the Hardcastle Crag estate on behalf of the National Trust.
The public meeting held on 5 March about the new monastery was attended by only four people (including the Mayor) but this has been seen as a good omen in that local residents were not been queueing up to protest!
A selection of sermons preached by the CR brethren has now been brought together in one place on this site - please click here and revisit regularly!
The next Reading Day will take place on Tuesday 9 March. Please click here for details.
On 5 March there will be a Public Meeting at Mirfield, mainly to discuss the monastery but comments about the church are also expected.

This month the Fundraising Team will once again be contacting those who have not responded to the packs sent out informing people about the plans for reordering. The team is also preparing its bid to the Heritage Lottery, for funding of an Education and Heritage worker.

February 2010 Sermon preached by Peter CR on 14 February. A selection of sermons will be appearing together on a sermons page on this site in the near future..
The Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC) has authorised the issuing of a DAC Certificate recommending the proposed re-ordering of the Community Church, subject to various conditions. This means the Faculty application process can now commence, which will include the display of Public Notices for a period of 28 days. Once these have been posted, any objections need to be received before the expiry of the 28 days at the Wakefield Diocesan Registry (e-mail
Report on Fr Nicolas's latest visit to Zimbabwe.
Sermon preached by Nicolas CR on 7 February.
From the Church Times 12 February 2010: "A decision by the College of the Resurrection, Mirfield to require its ordinands to attend celebrations of Holy Communion at which women preside is to be considered by the Ministry Council in March. The Council will be deciding whether it complies with the Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod 1993 and is consulting the Legal Office".
Summary of the points arising from discussion of the Draft Companions’ Rule at CCR London Group Meeting February 2010
After a spate of maladies in the last few weeks the brethren seem to be going into the pre-Lent time somewhat recovered health-wise. All are grateful to John Harper-Childs who has been looking after the sick while a new nurse is awaited.
The Company Annual General Meeting has been held and the accounts for the last year presented; these show what a difficult time financially it has been. The Chapter has held a meeting with the architects working about the further plans for developing the House of the Resurrection and the whole site.
The first of a series of days for potential donors to see the plans for the re-ordered and refurbished church has been held.
The Candlemas Eucharist in the new House Chapel was a joy, with faces in the more intimate atmosphere of the chapel lit up by candlelight and a procession out, as through its windows could be seen the world darkening and snow beginning to fall.
The conversion of the entrance area to the House of the Resurrection continues apace. The new staff-room is now well-used (although smaller than the previous one it is better equipped). The new publications office/overflow bookshop area is gaining its shelves and floor covering and it is hoped will increase the use of the books. The main reason for all this work is to provide an office for the new site manager (a better job title is currently being considered), Mr Guy Laurie, who begins on 25 February. He comes to the Community from the National Trust (Hardcastle Crags Estate).
Steven CR has spent a week teaching at Norton School in Stockton. This is something he does each year but this time it was a tougher assignment as the regular teacher was ill.
Fr George and Fr Peter have returned from America where, among other things (e.g. Fr Peter lecturing on plainsong chant to Brown University), they were speaking about the appeal. Fr Nicolas is back from Zimbabwe with good reports of how Tariro Youth Project is fairing (a full write up will appear in the next edition of  CR Quarterly).
Br Barnabas is to be professed on Sunday 7 March.  The Mass is at 11.30am. Friends are welcome to come and there are at present four spaces in the retreat house for an overnight stay, to be booked as soon as possible - please - if required.
January 2010 Fr Nicolas has produced a draft rewriting of the Companions Rule. This comes as a result of a frequently expressed desire from Companions to have something more clearly defined. The draft can be seen here: please provide as much feedback as possible on this so that it may be put in a more permanent form.
A booking form is now available for the 2010 Northern Companions Day (which is open to all!). Don't forget the Southern Companions Day too - all details for both are here
Sermon preached by Simon CR on 17 January.
The following specific events are happening in the next few weeks: 20 to 31 Jan - Fr George's fundraising trip to California and Chicago; 22 Jan to 1 Feb - Fr Peter's fundraising trip to Rhode Island and Tennessee; 28 January - the Big Gift Committee and Advocates meeting, chaired by Bishop Jack, takes place at Mirfield; 3 Feb is donors day at Mirfield which will enable visitors to see what is planned for the church; 5 Feb - The Diocesan Advisory Committee will once again discuss plans for the church; 9 Feb - Fr George, Fr Thomas, Fr Aidan and Fr John supported by Jonathan Pape the Fund Raising Manager attend the Centenary Church Appeal fringe meeting at General Synod.
Companion Pat Yates has produced a 42” square lap quilt and matching cushion which will be sold by raffle for the Centenary Church Appeal. Details here
The date of this year's pilgrimage to Walsingham is 4 to 7 June (the weekend after the National Pilgrimage). The cost is £158.15. A deposit of £20 is required (cheques payable to the Community of the Resurrection) by the end of February. Please send deposits via Geoff Dignum at 11 Copper Beeches, Milton Road, Harpenden, Hertfordshire AL5 5LW (so that Geoff can sort out the relevant paper work).
Sermon preached by Fr Thomas on 10 January.
The brethren are spending much of the first week of the year in general chapter, discussing a wide range of matters. The Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC) of the Diocese of Wakefield meets on 8 January when it is hoped agreement will be reached on the recommendation for the proposed work to the Community church.
Photographs of the worship area at CR (in what was the refectory) are here and here (courtesy of Linda Blenkinship).
Get thee to a monastery - brand new initiative for the week beginning 19 April 2010.
As part of the Centenary Church Appeal a dinner has been booked at the House of Lords on Tuesday 9 February.
Updated Companions list as at January 2010 is available here, courtesy of Linda Blenkinship.
Advance Notice of an event in London which the Community would really love to be supported if possible. It is a concert by the singer Clare McCaldin in aid of the Church Appeal. It will take place at Southwark Cathedral on the evening of Friday 30 April. Fr Nicolas says: "Clare is a remarkable person as you will see if you look at her website She came on an Individually Guided retreat to Mirfield in August 2009 and was sufficiently impressed by CR to offer this event". 

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