Tag Archives: shared table

22 September: Walking with Jesus

Yesterday, thanks to Sister Johanna Caton OSB we saw Matthew getting up from his desk in the tax office to follow Jesus. Today Canon Anthony Charlton invites us to walk with the two disciples who were making for Emmaus on the first Easter Day. Taken from Saint Thomas’ Canterbury website, which invites us to share its reflections.


The disciples are walking away from Jerusalem. Walking away from the three years they has spent in the company of the one their believed to be the Messiah, the Christ. But he had been crucified and buried and their hope and dreams had been buried with him. No wonder they were downcast. Their belief in Jesus has been shattered. They were walking back to their old way of life. They were leaving behind the new life that they had embraced.

Jesus joined them. They didn’t recognise him. He sensed their sadness and asked them why they were sad. They responded by relating all that had happened and they shared with him their hopes and dreams. “Our own hope had been that he would be the one to set Israel free.” Jesus listened as they opened their hearts to him. Only when he had listened did he respond by going the through the scriptures. “Then, starting with Moses and going through all the prophets, he explained to them the passages throughout the scriptures that were about himself.” These were scriptures they were familiar with. They had learnt these from their youth. Coming from Jesus they seemed to hear them anew almost as of they were hearing them for the first time. They said later: “Did not our hearts burn within us as he talked to us on the road and explained the scriptures to us?”

Why not in your mediation and prayer tell Jesus what you are experiencing. Perhaps telling him what is making you sad and unhappy about your calling, your way of life. Share with him your disappointments and then let the Scriptures shed light on what are your concerns. Is the way I see things the only way? “Let Jesus words work on all the thoughts that occur to you today”

Lord help me to understand the sufferings and disappointments that I experience. I believe that you lead me into everything, that God the Father carries me in the palm of his hand. Help me to understand what you are telling me, what you have in mind for me? Show me your way. 

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17 September: I will remember this.

I was wondering why I had heard nothing from Eddie Gilmore for a while. Well, he has been to Korea with Yim Soon, to mark their thirty years of marriage. Congratulations!

Eddie posted this account of his holiday, which got off to an inauspicious start in and around various European airports, but turned into a great treat for the soul. Let’s rejoice with Eddie and Yim Soon, and before the memories fade, be grateful for the blessings of the summer that has now brought us to autumn, a time of reflection and new beginnings. At L’Arche Kent we’ll be planting bulbs for a start!

Here’s an extract from Eddie’s story:

Having left home on the Friday I finally landed in Seoul on the Monday. It was hot and humid, the monsoon season had just begun, and I was exhausted: hungry too, since you don’t get fed on planes the way you used to. After a couple of nights with Yim Soon’s eldest sister Son Ja, whose apartment was mercifully close to a mini-mountain with wonderful views over the city, we were picked up by Son Ja’s daughter Son Young for the three-hour (if there’s no traffic, otherwise it’s seven hours!) drive East to the Sorak national park. It’s a place that holds special memories for me: good walking, beautiful waterfalls, also its close proximity to the East Sea, where we had some fun times on the beach, partly due to the mountains being closed to the public due to the heavy rain. Thankfully they were reopened for our day to Daechongbong and Yim Soon and I were on the trail at 8 a.m. having dropped our bags at the temple where we would be spending the night. We were on the top at just after 2 p.m., having almost given up a couple of times on what seemed impossibly steep sections. I’m glad we pressed on and we were rewarded with stunning views over the lower peaks and all the way to the sea. We made it back down to the temple just in time for the final check-in at 6.30 p.m. but having missed dinner! No matter, we were both too tired to eat but what a good fatigue it is that comes from extreme physical exertion. There was a ‘full Korean breakfast’ on offer at 6.30 a.m., the only condition being that we had to wear the ‘temple robes’ that had been assigned to us on arrival which were grey trousers and a yellow jacket. I’ll wear anything for a good meal!

And things kept on getting better!

Thank you Eddie, as always.

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30 July: Table talk

Everything stops for tea.

The elderly lady that Arthur and I garden for now lives alone in the house that was her bed and breakfast business. She constantly gave of herself to her family and guests with beautiful food, but now relies on carers to put her meals on the table, because sometimes she forgets important things like eating.

Today we were talking about this experience of giving back to God some of our faculties in old age and being cared for. ‘That is true,’ she said, ‘but we can still sit around the table and enjoy a cup of tea and good company. That is good, thank you for coming to see me.’

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25 July: A Child’s Grace

Thank you God, for Father’s hand.
Thank you for the world so sweet,
Thank you for the food we eat,
Thank you for the birds that sing,
Thank you God, for everything.
                                                      Edith Leatham

in 1937 Ernest Claxton published a photograph album by Harold Burdekin based on this grace, all six verses illustrated by scenes from childhood in soft photogravure.* He wrote: ‘This simple grace … is so full of praise, so beautiful, that it at once brings home the joyful message of the Giver of all good things.

‘Natural and happy hours in a child’s life may be linked up with the realisation of God’s love. If this is done at an early age, children will learn to know that He is a loving Father.’

Two years on, children were being evacuated to the countryside from London and other cities; similar scenes were played out across Europe. The war in Ukraine is by no means the first since then with families forced into refuge away from home, away from their native land.

At this holiday time, let us pray for the wisdom to know how to bring natural and happy hours to the lives of children in our families, among our neighbours, at home and across the world.

*E. E. Claxton, H Burdekin (photographer), A Child’s Grace, London, Dent, 1937;

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16 July: My Vocation today XIX, welcome!

Pope Francis has been proclaiming the important place of old people. The wisdom of his teaching has come home to me – quite literally – recently.

Home. My mother is in her nineties and lives some distance away from us in Canterbury. During the pandemic we did not visit, and local visitors were talking to her from the back door, so it was good for both sides when Mrs T came with me to see her. ‘You will be fed!’ she said, and we were, though she takes a labour-saving approach to shopping and cooking: on-line orders and prepared vegetables. And of course there were conversations until late. Setting the world to rights.

Back to Kent and time to do Mrs E’s garden. Mrs E used to run a guest house, a B&B before Air BnB. It was a true vocation, making strangers welcome. Now widowed, she lives with dementia, is often confused, but always brings me a cup of tea during the morning. Her instinct for hospitality remains strong! So far she remains in her home, with the help of carers, and is able to welcome friends for tea and biscuits.

I used to visit a convent to see one of the sisters on church business, but the sister who answered the door would always raise my spirits. The first time we met she told me, ‘Mostly we look after old people here.’ This from an old lady, walking with two sticks, and bent double. Making the stranger welcome is one of the seven works of mercy, and so is visiting the infirm. One good turn generates another in a virtuous circle.

How can I make someone welcome this week? Who might like a visit from me?

Here is a link to the US Bishops’ interesting reflections on the works of mercy.

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Meat free Lent XXXII: Nut Roast

Nicky – All Saints’ Church

Very simple recipe that can be adjusted as required.

8oz/225g chopped nuts 
8oz/225g sliced mushrooms 
1 large onion 
1 large carrot 
3 skinned/chopped tomatoes (or tinned) 
1 free range egg 
2 tsp mixed herbs 
2 tsp yeast extract or Marmite 
2 tbsp vegetable oil

1.       Cook chopped onion and grated carrot in oil for a few minutes until soft. 

2.       Add mushrooms and cook for further 2-3 mins.

3.       Stir in yeast extract.  Mix together all ingredients and place in greased loaf tin.

4.       Press down firmly.

5.       Bake in medium oven for 45 mins.

 You can freeze what you don’t use and either use it later hot or mixed with tahini, tomato puree, chives etc.

Mash it up and call it pâté!

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Meat free Lent, XXXI: Chickpea Moussaka

Nicky – All Saints’ Church: An old, well-used recipe.

 4oz/110 g chickpeas 
12 oz/340g aubergines 
12oz/340g potatoes scrubbed 
1 tbsp olive oil 
1 onion peeled & chopped 
2 garlic cloves 
14oz/400g can tomatoes pureed 
2 tsp oregano dried 
1 tsp fresh mint 
1-2 tbsp tomato puree 
          Topping: 
1 tsp cumin seeds 
natural yoghurt 
1 small egg beaten

1.       Drain chickpeas and bring to the boil in fresh water.   Boil fast for 10 mins, simmer 35-45 mins.

2.       Prick and trim aubergines and bake at 180 C for 20 mins, then slice.

3.       Boil potatoes until tender, slice thickly.

4.       Gently fry onion for 5-7 mins.  Add garlic and cook for 1 min.

5.       Add tomatoes, oregano, mint, tomato puree and chickpeas. Cook gently for 10 mins then season.

6.       Grease deep dish and fill in layers of aubergine, potato and chickpeas sauce.

7.       For the topping:

Roast cumin seeds, mix into yoghurt and add egg.  Spoon over moussaka.

Bake in preheated oven, Gas Mark 4 for 25-30 mins.

35

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Meat free Lent XXX: Super Raw Brownies

Judith T – All Saints’ Church

Makes approximately 20 mini brownies.

This recipe is from a very trendy imaginative vegetarian book that my younger son and his wife gave me a few years ago.  Actually the name of the recipe rather put me off to start with: I adore brownies, but ‘raw’ ones?!  Not to say that I don’t indulge in a little spoon-licking of raw mixture whilst cooking, but consuming an entire ‘raw’ brownie?!  Anyway two years ago, my desire to reverse my pre-diabetic status by seriously reducing my carbs meant that I looked beyond the name and decided to try this recipe for myself.  The result is delicious!  However, I’m still not sure that I’d want to advertise these nutty, chocolaty, date squares as ‘brownies’ – that builds a very different set of expectations.  Also, they aren’t cheap due to all those nuts – although if you’re looking for a less extravagant version, I’m sure you could substitute rolled oats for the pecans and some of the almonds.  However, they are very tasty, completely gluten-free, and very low on carbs – and can be cut into small squares.

100g almonds, skin on 
250g Medjool dates, pitted (about 12) 
2 tbsp set honey (raw honey if possible) 
75g cocoa powder (Fairtrade if possible) 
½ tsp salt 
50g pecan nuts, chopped

1.       Put the almonds into a food processor and whizz until you have a coarse powder. 

2.       Add the dates, honey, cocoa and salt and whizz again for about a minute, until the lot comes together into a dough-like ball.

3.       Turn the brownie mixture into a bowl, add the chopped pecans and knead to bring them into the dough. 

4.       Line a 20 cm square baking tin with baking paper and turn the mixture into it, pressing it down with your fingers until you have an even layer.

5.       Cover and place in the fridge to chill for 15 minutes before cutting up. Top with a dusting of cocoa.

They will keep for up to a week – if it’s hot, keep them in the fridge.

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Meat free Lent XXVIII: Tandoori Veg kebab

Bee – All Saints’ Church

This is a great, simple meal which my family enjoy.

Serves 8

For the bulgur wheat:
150g (5½ oz) bulgur wheat 
900ml (1½ pints) boiling water 
1 tbsp lemon juice 
1 tbsp rapeseed oil 
¼ tsp salt 
¼ tsp ground black pepper
For the skewers: 
I sweet potato, halved lengthways and cut into 1 cm (½ inch) slices
 1 courgette, cut into 5 mm (¼ inch) circles 
1 red onion, cut into thin wedges 
100g (3½ oz) natural yoghurt 
1 tbsp tandoori masala 
¼ tsp chilli powder 
¼ tsp salt 
Oil, for brushing
For the dressing: 
100g (3½ oz) natural yoghurt 
¼ tsp ground cumin 
                    A pinch of salt

1.       Put the bulgur wheat into a heatproof bowl and cover with the boiling water.  Leave to soak for 20 minutes, then drain well. 

2.       Wipe out the bowl and return the bulgur to it.  Add the lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper and mix well.  Set aside.

3.       To prepare the kebabs, par-cook the sliced sweet potato in a pan of boiling water for 2 minutes only.  Rinse and drain.

4.       Put the courgette and onion into a large bowl and add the sweet potato slices.  In a small bowl, mix the yoghurt, tandoori masala, chilli powder and salt together and pour this all over the veg.  Stir to make sure the veg are well covered with the marinade.

5.       Preheat your barbecue or grill.  Take the skewers and thread the veg onto them.  Brush a little oil over the top.  When the barbecue or grill is hot, cook for 20 minutes, turning occasionally, until golden.

6.       In a small bowl, mix the dressing ingredients.  Spread the bulgur wheat on a serving platter, lay the skewers on top and drizzle over the dressing to serve. Best eaten immediately!

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Meat free Lent XXVII: Nut and Cream Cheese Bake

With Will and Mrs T being out of town, we’ve lost touch with the recipes! Here is No 27.

Mary Cooke – Blean Church

This is a bit luxurious and is really nice served hot or cold: a delicious mingling of rich flavours without introducing any meat.  Serve it with a fresh tomato and watercress salad for a simple yet substantial main meal dish.

Serves 6-8

4oz butter or margarine (100g) 
1lb onions, skinned and chopped (450g) 
1lb courgettes, wiped and sliced (450g) 
6oz mushrooms wiped and sliced (175g) 
6oz wholemeal breadcrumbs (175g) 
12oz cream cheese (350g) 
2oz nibbed almonds (50g) 
2oz walnut pieces, chopped (50g) 
2oz desiccated coconut (50g) 
2 level tablespoons tomato paste  
few drops of Tabasco sauce 
half level teaspoon each of dried rosemary, sage and marjoram 
salt and freshly milled pepper

1. Melt butter in a large frying pan.  Sauté the onions and courgettes together until onion is transparent. 

2. Add the mushrooms and continue to sauté for 1-2 minutes. 

3. In a large basin, combine the vegetable mixture with all the remaining ingredients until evenly blended. 

4. Turn into a 2 ¾ pint ovenproof dish (1.6 litre). 

5. Cover and bake at Gas Mark 5, (375 F, 190 C) for 40 minutes. 

6. Ten minutes before the end of the cooking time, remove the lid to brown the surface.

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