Tag Archives: All Souls

Zooming All Souls

St Nicholas holding his church at Barefrestone, first home of L’Arche Kent.

We in L’Arche Kent zoomed our All Souls’ Remembrance Service. With my internet connection on the blink, I was not present for it all, but the stories I heard of people I had known and lived with, as well as those who had joined the community when I was less involved, were moving.

I was moved to smiles and laughter, but after my connection declined one last time, I was left feeling outraged but not with my net provider. My connection was restored by the evening and a new hub is on its way. No, it was the way so many of my friends had been treated before I met them.

Many people born with epilepsy or a learning disability were, before and after the Second World War, locked away in rural hospitals or asylums, sometimes housing 1,000 or more. Drugs to control seizures were not available, so people were herded away from society, ‘it’s better for them’, their parent were told.

Time and again this morning we heard how people had blossomed on leaving ‘care’. I had seen and worked in such places and saw how dehumanising they were. Not even personal clothing, but heavy duty corduroy trousers and jackets, twill denim shirts, navy blue jumpers, all rough from being washed on the highest setting in industrial machines. Ablutions in troughs with cold water. Many by then on modern drugs, as much to control behaviour as seizures.

One young man with Downs turned out to be a gifted, self-taught-by-ear pianist, learning on a ward instrument. He was used to raise charitable funds but remained on the ward. An elderly man had disappeared for three days, a cause of panic as the countryside was searched in vain. He had been sitting in front of a foxes’ lair, watching the cubs at play; the animals accepted his presence. I was not the only member of staff who wondered why he was in the asylum.

Neither of these men joined L’Arche Kent, but the men and women who came brought their own gifts that had been buried for 20, 30, or more years. Artistic talent, gardening, hard work, sense of humour, dress sense, loyalty, persistence, sensitivity, loving care, faith.

L’Arche and other organisations allow people with disabilities to flourish within society and within the church – I won’t say churches, distinctions between us blur into the background with L’Arche. But if an unborn baby is found to have Downs Syndrome, doctors will recommend abortion and the same for any other perceived disability. How many people are dismissed as not quite human in 2020? Migrants for a start? What do we do about it?

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Filed under Autumn, Christian Unity, L'Arche, PLaces

Going Viral LII: A hidden gem.

Another briefing from Revd Jo Richards, who welcomed Bishop Rose to Saint Mildred’s Canterbury for All Saints. Bishop Rose looks after Canterbury diocese on behalf of Archbishop Justin Welby. Photo by Tim. More change to worship is coming.

Good Morning to you all on this All Soul’s Day, another damp autumnal morning.
It was a delight however yesterday to welcome Bishop Rose to St Mildred’s for our All Saints’ Day Eucharist, which you can watch here. It was a lovely service and thank you to all those who worked so hard behind the scenes to make it all happen so smoothly, a very memorable day, a hidden gem as Bishop Rose called it – and literally as it took her a while to find it!

From what we understand, following the Prime Minister’s announcement on Saturday night, places of worship will once again close on Thursday 5th November, with the exemption of funerals, individual prayers and to broadcast acts of worship. Further details will be coming out this week from CofE, as to what exactly this means, but our initial thinking is that we will live-stream a Sunday Eucharist from St Dunstan’s at 10.00. As before this will be on Facebook Live, and uploaded to YouTube. If we go down this route it would be really good to have pre-recorded readings and intercessions, and may well have pre-recorded hymns ie – what we did from the Rectory, but in St Dunstan’s – please watch this space!


Meanwhile, today being All Souls Day, thoughts for all those who remember loved ones today. From Exciting Holiness: “Since its foundation, Christians have recognised that the church, the assembled people of God, is at its most perfect when it recognises its unity in God’s redeeming love with all who have said, who say now,  and who will say in the fullness of time ‘Jesus is Lord'”.

God Bless you all, and do keep safe, keep praying and keep connected

Rev Jo Richards Rector of the Benefice of St Dunstan, St Mildred and St Peter, Canterbury

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Filed under Christian Unity, corona virus, Mission, PLaces

November 2: Solitude

sjc. solitude hanging

The room is still but for the ticking clock
and like a snowfall stillness settles round,
and in come presences that needn’t knock,
familiar, homing souls, without a sound.

It isn’t always so – so calm, so quiet,
but now the gentle spirits take their ease
as afternoon melts into shadowed night
and birds seek shelter in the darkening trees.

As night advances, sky turns indigo
and slate-grey clouds in bundles fill the east.
I watch. I seem alone, but I’m with you –
my brothers, sisters summoned to the feast.

In solitude I know that we are one.
In solitude I hear the bridegroom come.

SJC

Definitely a poem for All Saints’ Tide. Thank you Sister Johanna! 

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Filed under Daily Reflections