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Category Archives: News

16 
Nov

New Warden and Chaplain for Launde Abbey

davidhelen02We’re delighted to announce that the next Warden of Launde Abbey will be the Venerable David Newman, currently Archdeacon of Loughborough. The Rev’d Canon Helen Newman will also be joining the staff of Launde in a new role of Chaplain.

Before his appointment as Archdeacon of Loughborough, David was Rector of Emmanuel Loughborough and Area Dean of Akeley East. He was also chair of the House of Clergy from 2007-2009. Helen has been the Chaplain of LOROS since 2009 and previously worked with David at Emmanuel. Helen was made an Honorary Canon of Leicester Cathedral earlier this year. They have both led numerous retreats and courses at Launde in recent years and have a deep love of the place and people.

davidhelen03The announcement of their appointment was made to staff at Launde Abbey this morning. David and Helen said:  “Launde Abbey has always been a special place for us during our twenty years in Leicester Diocese and we are very excited at this opportunity to lead the community forward in its ministry of hospitality, prayer and equipping for discipleship. Our vision is for Launde to be a prophetic and sustaining resource, enabling the people of God to negotiate challenging times with courage, wisdom and hope.

Tim Stratford, Chair of Trustees, added, “I am delighted that David Newman is to take on the role of Warden at Launde Abbey and will be joined in ministry there by his wife, Helen.  Together they bring deep spiritual maturity and a breadth of experience that it is rare to find.”

The Revd Alison Christian continues to serve as Warden until her retirement at the end of 2016, and David and Helen will take up their new duties in the spring of 2017.

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Published Date: 16th November 2016
Category: News


 

25 
Sep

We are all disabled

Like many others I watched the Para-Olympics this year and was hugely impressed by the ability, courage and tenacity of the athletes. Despite overwhelming problems caused sometimes by birth defects or by a trauma during their life, the athletes had made something against all odds, sometimes doing better than they would have done had they been able-bodied.  They can never get away from their impairment.  It will always be with them, but in no way was it dictating to them who they were and undermining their ability to live and achieve.

At the same time as I was watching the Games, something happened to remind me of a traumatic childhood incident. I was invited to help at something and my immediate response was one of dread like a great lump of stone in my stomach.  I felt slightly sick and depressed as well.  Suddenly, within this dark reaction, a window of understanding opened up and I saw that when I had experienced this feeling in the past – and in my twenties it was often with me – I had blamed myself for not being strong enough to cope, weak, a failure.  Now I realised that just like a physical disability, this memory of past hurt is part of who I am.  My emotional reaction was a strong and true one, a recognition deep inside me of what happens when life goes wrong or is wrong: a drawing back from the wrongness, which is a sign of health, not dis-ease.  The experience will always be with me, although I barely think of it nowadays.  It does not dictate in any way who I am.  Rather it has helped make me who I am for a lot of good stuff has been born from it.

As if to emphasize that I was on the right track a few days later someone spoke to me of the echoes of their own childhood trauma coming up out of the blue to affect them. Again there was a deep shock felt emotionally and physically, a sense of surprise that this incident long past and seemingly worked through could suddenly take them unawares and propel them into dismay; and then, finally, a working through to a place of steadiness again.  Despite our reaction, in exchanging notes both of could see how far we had come over the years.

So where is God’s healing in all this? I am healed; so is my friend; so are those disabled athletes who so impressed us at the Para-Olympics.  We are not cured, we are healed.  Healing is about wholeness, about being reconciled to God, our friends and families, our histories and ourselves.  It is about forgiving and knowing you are forgiven.  God’s love has helped me come to terms over the years with what happened, but more than that his presence has allowed me to make use of the experience on behalf of others.  Yes, every now and again the old feeling will suddenly wind me, but recognising it and standing back from it, I can now say –No, Alison, you are not weak or a failure.  You are slightly disabled.  All human beings are disabled in one way or another.  Live with it and make something of it.

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Published Date: 25th September 2016
Category: News, Warden's Blog


 

04 
Sep

Trusting tomorrow

It is interesting how we can say the same thing over and over again – as we do in the repetition of The Lord’ Prayer and even read commentaries about it, but not ‘get’ for ourselves what the passage is offering.  It is also interesting to go back and see how a biblical passage gives and gives in different ways according to where you, the receiver, are at any given time.

This week I was reading and praying through Luke’s Lord’s Prayer (11: 1-6) and reading the notes at the bottom of my bible.  Not for the first time I came across the note that goes alongside, “Give us this day our daily bread.”  Another way of interpreting this line was, “Give us this day our bread for tomorrow.”  For some reason, known I am sure to scholars, the first interpretation has become the one we all use.

But the second is very powerful and it got me thinking about a book called “Sleeping with Bread.” This book has this title because after the war when orphan children were collected together who had lived wild amongst the bombed out buildings of many major cities, it was found the children could not go to sleep at night unless they had a hunk of bread to clutch in their hands.  They had so often gone hungry, so often been really afraid of starving that despite now being in a safe place, they were unable to trust that they would be looked after when they woke up: that there would be food on the table.  As soon as they were given a hunk of bread they went to sleep, comfortable and confident.

Asking God for the bread we will need tomorrow is not about greed or wanting to rush things. It is about asking Him to give us today the trust that we need to face tomorrow: the trust in Him.  At certain times this need is more powerful as we face life-changing experiences – illness and its treatment, bereavement, redundancy, retirement, the birth of a first baby, the children leaving home – and many other things.

So sometimes I will use, “Give us this day our bread for tomorrow,” because sometimes I need God to give me more trust in the future – the future I am walking with him – than I can find in myself.  I need that bit of bread to clutch in my hand.

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Published Date: 4th September 2016
Category: News, Warden's Blog


 

21 
Aug

The Blazing Bush

The Americans have a phrase that they sometimes use when saying “Goodbye” and it is “Missing you already.” This is a bit how I feel as I slowly watch the seasons change in this beautiful place in which I have been so privileged to work for the last four years, and know that I will never again have the opportunities I now live with daily.

Ever since the late spring when I knew I was retiring, I have been very conscious of the passing of the days; the subtle movements through the seasons. I am aware that I am living through many of the things that give me so much delight at Launde for the last time.  For example, the house martins and swallows who come with such joie de vivre and energy to Launde in the spring have been practicing their breath taking aerial acrobatics for the last few days.  I know that this is a sign that they will soon be gone.  Sky bombing, wheeling and climbing, they give us such delight before leaving for their long pilgrimage south for the winter.  I don’t like it when they go.  The world seems a slightly less joyful place.  It is easy to get maudlin.

About two weeks ago, I realised that a beautiful bush which I can see from my office window and which slowly turns red and gold and then into a dazzling fire; this had already begun its seasonal change. What with this and the swallows, I had to admit that:-

Autumn is coming and I am missing Launde already.

But then, I woke up. As I “turned aside” to look at my burning bush, I realised that of course that turning aside is the moment when we stop what we are doing and in the present moment see what is in front of us.  The phrase, turning aside, means just that.  We stand aside from out busyness, from our routine, from our driven-ness and hurry; we pause and wait and see now.  My melancholic wrapping everything around with a future sense of loss means that I am not able to be very simply here in the present.  The invitation, to paraphrase the words of poet, Mary Oliver, is mostly to stand still, learning to be astonished.  So I need to learn to stand still.  I need to learn astonishment at all the beauty I see because, at present, I take it all so much for granted.  I need to stop thinking about what I have to say goodbye to and trust that God has other wonders to show me and other experiences I need to learn for, in the words of another poet, Robert Frost there are “miles to go before I sleep.”

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Published Date: 21st August 2016
Category: News, Warden's Blog


 

09 
Dec

Still Before Christmas

We can allow ourselves to soak up God’s presence and peace as we enjoy the lovely setting of Launde Abbey and the time and space to live in God’s company. We can do some important and attentive listening to God, and hopefully leave renewed and refreshed to celebrate Christmas with deep and holy joy.

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Published Date: 9th December 2014
Category: News


 

09 
Dec

Advent Retreat

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Published Date: 9th December 2014
Category: News


 

09 
Dec

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the energy of being aware and awake to the present moment. It is the continuous practice of touching life deeply in every moment of daily life. To be mindful is to be truly alive, present and at one with those around you and with what you are doing.

Periods of teaching and practice will provide a precious rhythm through which we learn how to respond skilfully and compassionately to everyday life rather than with the automatic habitual responses that can make things worse. This retreat is not suitable for those undergoing acute distress.

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Published Date: 9th December 2014
Category: News


 

09 
Dec

30 Day Ignation Exercises Part 1 and Part 2

Many people would like to do the full Exercises of St Ignatius, or “The Thirty Days,” as they are commonly called, but cannot take time out of their busy lives to go away for over a month on retreat. To help such people the practice has grown up in the last few years of offering the Exercises in three parts over three years, each part taking ten days.

Because we realise that an undertaking like this over three years is expensive, Launde Abbey has pared the price right back. It may also be possible to offer bursaries as part payment to some people who fulfill the criteria. Please enquire at the Abbey office. The retreat is offered primarily to people who want to do the full Exercises in this way but if you cannot commit to the ten days we may be able to offer an ordinary Eight Day IGR within the same time. Please ring the Abbey to make enquiries.

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Published Date: 9th December 2014
Category: News


 

09 
Dec

Songs of Life

During our time together on retreat we will explore the strands of being and becoming that are fundamental both to our inner journey and how we interact with the world around us.

Retreatants are asked to bring with them a Bible, notebook or journal and outdoor clothing.

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Published Date: 9th December 2014
Category: News


 

09 
Dec

3 Day Individually Guided Retreat

Beryl Wood An individually guided retreat is an opportunity to enjoy some time apart with a spiritual guide to accompany you each day. The retreat will be silent throughout to enable you to encounter the mystery of God in prayer, Scripture, worship and space. If you have enjoyed Quiet Days this could be an extended opportunity to reflect upon your spiritual journey and the presence of God in your life.

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Published Date: 9th December 2014
Category: News


 

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