Creative Writing

Audrey M. Richmond

'As the dust settles ... '

An account of the first hopeweaver Community Day by Audrey M. Richmond. 20/10/10

When returning from a time away - a Retreat, short or long, I usually take stock 'as the dust settles'.  Having just taken part in a Hopeweavers Community Day I am doing just that, and would like to share my experiences. These notes are not "Minutes of a Meeting" neither do they claim to be 100% accurate reporting, and I know there must be much more which others could relate and which I have missed.

The day began with a cloudless sky and a brilliant sunrise. I had set forth a little apprehensively - being long retired I had lost touch with rush-hour traffic and the working world! Nevertheless I arrived at Hopeweavers' in good time for the commencement of the day with Morning Prayer. I met another lady walking up the driveway to the Studio in what promised to be a glorious Autumn day.

Morning Prayer was followed by sharing our names, where we were from, what had brought us there.  It was surprising to learn that I was by no means the only one in my experience of Church: of feeling lonely on entering and leaving feeling more alone. There was also expressed the yearning to go more deeply spiritually than what seemed to happen at Church.By request, Geoff and Jacqui gave us the history of Hopeweavers beginning several years before, and its present growth.  Jacqui emphasised that though the edges may be flexible there was a stability at the core - the provision of a place where there was a quiet acceptance of where each person was in their journey and where they might meet with both God and themselves seeking wholeness. From this time of sharing we moved our venue into the house as another group was about to arrive for a Quiet Day in the studio.


Geoff produced some very readable small books on various well-known spiritual persons, i.e. Archbishop Romero, Dietrich Bonheoffer, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Nicky Cruz and others.  We selected from them by personal choice and were led to consider: "What is a Saint?". There seemed to be a general consensus that a Saint was one who could be seen to show the Light of Christ shining through them unhindered.  This proved to be a suitable preparation for the Celebration of the Eucharist which followed. We enjoyed some singing - with gusto! - unaccompanied. Following Midday Prayer was lunch. Joining with the other group this proved to be very convivial.


The afternoon was one of diversity and options: Grape harvesting outside, and inside the preparation of apples for cooking. In the latter occupation I felt, at last, perhaps I had found my Calling! That is, until evening when it was revealed that there are now machines to do this!  I was somewhat consoled by the fact that human discernment was still necessary in order to detect imperfections in Fallen Apples!After our physical activities there were films to watch - or Siesta ... I don't think anyone succumbed to the latter.  My theory was that Motivation was Energising! There was a film about Caldey Island and another 'No Greater Love' about the lives of the Carmelite Nuns at Notting Hill.  Having been to Caldey Island many years ago I found this interesting.  The lives of the Carmelite Sisters also proved thought-provoking for me as I had once considered, and been directed towards, a possible Calling to this life.  Now I felt a greater wisdom had prevailed in my failure to follow this up.


Evening Prayer, followed by another enjoyable meal.  Already the day was drawing to a close: how the time had sped by! A full moon had appeared outside and clear skies indicating a cold and frosty night.  But in the Studio the log fire burnt brightly, warming us as we ended the day with Night Prayer.


The value of the day interspersed with monastic prayer, said in Community particularly, is always very meaningful to me. It is not "empty ritual" but rather Wellsprings punctuating our days with a continuing sense of God's presence as we journey. Over drinks and nibbles we reviewed this, the first of the hopeweaver community days, as we prepared for our homeward travel much refreshed.

Audrey M Richmond

October 2010




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