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Sacrista Prebend Retreat House: A Quiet Space in the Heart of Southwell

There is a lot of green this year. I am not writing about the green movement or political party or the way the grass still appears to be growing. I am writing about how late Easter is, this year falling on  21 April. This means the first green season (the colour of hangings and vestments in church) runs from after Candlemass (3 February) until Ash Wednesday (6 March).

Some years, when Easter is very early, we bounce from Christmas/ Epiphany/ Candlemass straight into Ash Wednesday/Lent with hardly any ‘green’ time early in the year. But what a gift it is to us this year. In prayer and lives of faith we can hold to God all that needs enlivening in the world, be it the situations which prompt youngsters into knife crime and gangs and drugs or the Brexit and political scenario or locally the attack on the Post Office. These are deadly painful things which this ‘green’ time gives us space to hold to God, remembering those words of Lancelot Andrewes, Prebendary of Southwell and after whom one of our bedrooms at Sacrista is named…

“Christ may with one word make all green again.”

Sacrista Prebend is one of those places where people come to find space to pray, to seek “Christ’s word.” Of course Christians may pray anywhere but sometimes the act of going somewhere special helps and is prayer in itself. So do pop in and see us and arrange your quiet time; or join those who come for communion (Mondays at 9am and Wednesdays at 1215pm) or one of the other prayer or contemplation groups. Our programme of quiet days (available in the Minster or from Sacrista) can also help in ‘greening up’ your life with Jesus’ life. Here are the next few but please book early as they do fill up…

Saturday 9th February   The Revd Canon Valerie Rampton

Loving God has four elements: ‘Rest, Reverence, Obedience, Delight’ 

The quotation comes from John Owen, a 17th Century Puritan. I’m sure we’ll have heard plenty about obedience, and perhaps a bit about reverence, but probably very little about rest and delight. In this day we’ll learn a bit about John Owen, explore rest, reverence and delight as ways of loving God, and have a nod at obedience.

The Revd. Canon Valerie Rampton served for 22 years in Southwell Diocese before retirement, in inner city, suburban and rural parishes, and as Dean of Women’s Ministry.  An active retirement includes being a Spiritual Companion, going to concerts, travelling abroad, and walking in the countryside.

Tuesday 12th March  Canon Angela Ashwin

Roots and Fruits: Trust, Vulnerability and Gift in the Christian Life

Jesus often uses the imagery of plants, seeds and fruitfulness when speaking about discipleship. On this Quiet Day we will explore what it means to be ‘rooted and grounded in love’ (Ephesians 3), abiding in Jesus and being pruned in order to bear his fruit (John 15). Reflecting on other Biblical analogies of trees, streams and leaves for healing, parts of this day will take further some of the themes explored by the Minster congregation in 2018-19 House Groups around our medieval carved stone leaves, although you do not have to be part of the Minster congregation to attend.

Canon Angela Ashwin is a writer and speaker who lives in Southwell. Her latest book is Faith in the Fool: Risk and Delight in the Christian Adventure.

Sat 11th May  The Revd Canon Dr. Alison Milbank

All the world’s a stage: A study day in faith and Shakespeare.

Shakespeare wrote in the aftermath of the seismic shock of the Reformation and in this study day we shall examine how he reconstitutes key Christian ideas through dramatic presentation, and consider how far we are all characters in a divine drama. We shall look at the abundant life of some of Shakespeare’s characters such as Falstaff, the questioning of all meaning in his tragedies, and the strong emphasis on forgiveness, reconciliation and pure grace in his late comedies. At the heart of the day will be Paul Edmundson’s Shakespeare Eucharist, which uses passages from his works.

The Revd. Canon Dr. Alison Milbank is Associate Professor of Literature and Theology in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at Nottingham University, and Canon Theologian at Southwell Minster.

With every blessing

Revd Canon Tony Evans Warden of Sacrista Prebend Retreat House

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