'Ringing out the Old, Ringing in the New' - My CPW Highlights from 2018

Listen! They are whispering

now while the world talks,

and the ice melts,

and the seas rise.

Look at the trees!

Every leaf-scar is a bud

Expecting a future.

The earth speaks in parables.

The burning bush. The rainbow.

Promises. Promises.

Gillian Clarke, extract from The Year’s Midnight

Gillian Clarke’s poem which is taken from Janet Morley’s excellent advent anthology ‘Haphazard by Starlight’, reminds us that even in the deepest days of winter the promise of new adventures, new experiences, new life is so fundamental to our creation that the signs and sounds are evident for those with ‘eyes to see and ears to hear’. The turn of the year, or in Clarkes verse, it’s ‘Midnight’ is a time when we naturally stop and consider where we have been and wonder what the future may hold.

Looking back over 2018 my CPW highlights have been those which are unlikely to feature in the newsletter reports. They are background moments, hidden breakthroughs which keep our wonderful organisation growing and maturing in response to contemporary challenges.

There have been setbacks and sadness too but there will be other times to consider those.

Today, I would like to share with you five moments in 2018 which made a difference:

  1.  February - The trustees meet in Bar Convent, York armed with rolls of terrifyingly blank white paper, a fistful of marker pens and open minds for the future. The three-year study framework of Priesthood, Prophesy and Kingdom is the result.

  2. April – My husband Malcolm and I are standing at the head of a valley in North Yorkshire. We are up to our shins in mud. Behind us angry rams are upset that we have invaded their field. In front of us is a 45-degree slope of pure mud leading to a narrow footbridge. It is raining. We are only half way through a circular route and have been trying to decide if this is a suitable route for one of the CPW walks in May. We look at each other, shake our heads, burst out laughing and make a run for it!

  3. May – During the walking week we celebrate a joyous mass in the Lady Chapel at Mount Grace Priory. Some unsuspecting passing ramblers wander in to join us and are enthusiastically introduced to CPW by Teresa and Frank Monteiro. They are persuaded to join in our energetic music making, as are other walkers on other days. CPW spreads the Word!

  4. August – The extended families of both Andrew Milne and Jane Willcox join the CPW community briefly at Kintbury. Although we miss our dear friends, the sight of their children and grandchildren enjoying time together in the sun-filled gardens lifts the spirits, warms the heart and reminds us that this community is but a shadow of the glories to come.

  5. September – In a moment of sheer insanity I have agreed to join the Alton Castle team as cook! We assemble for a team planning day, beginning with prayer. Joy Wanless suggests we read the scripture, Chris Sweetman begins to play the guitar, then sing. The room is filled with our prayer and I know, mysteriously, but with certainty, that though there is hard work ahead, ‘all shall be well’.

There are so many other moments which might have been included. Perhaps these have stirred memories of your own? If you would like to offer your own top five for inclusion in our next newsletter we would love to hear from you.

So, what is ‘budding’ for CPW in 2019?

  1. A year long programme in which we consider our concept of Priesthood in relation to our anointing at Baptism as ‘Priest, Prophet and King’.

  2. The year gets off to a flying start with two 18+ weekends considering the future of the Church (February/Boars Hill) and the theology of the Eucharist (March/Hyning Hall)

  3. The return of an all-age CPW Easter (April/Barmouth)

  4. Two active summer holidays (June/walking/Willersley Castle, August/cycling/Cotswolds)

  5. Our Inaugural Autumn Public Lecture (October/London/Mike Kane MP)

All the above in addition to our core summer holidays for 18+ and all age in July and August! We are more than hopeful, we are Children of the Promise and we know that our God, Emmanuel, dwells among us. May we walk forward together into the new CPW year with confidence in ourselves, in each other but most of all in a God who loves us overwhelmingly, never-endingly and recklessly.

Anne Dixon, CPW Chair

Anne Dixon