Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for October, 2009

Stained Glass Window in Chester Cathedral (circa 1961)

Stained Glass Window in Chester Cathedral (circa 1961)

This cold, rainy afternoon in Hawarden, Wales, I paid my bill and told the staff at St. Deiniol’s Library “thank you” for the incredible blessing of this Canon Symonds scholarship. It truly has been a gift to be here in this peaceful place with a full theological library two minutes from my room, excellent meals, a beautiful park down the road to wander through, and the bus stop 1/2 block away when I wanted to go somewhere. These 25 days at St. Deiniol’s have allowed me to have interesting conversations with people from all walks of life and to work on narrowing my focus for a Ph.D. dissertation that I hope to begin soon. It has also given me a beaucoup of information for my devotional prayer book that I have in my head and is working its way to my heart. I have also exercised my legs and lungs alot climbing up and down lots of stairs!

So, I catch the morning flight tomorrow that will bring me home to my  family by late Wednesday evening. During the final month of my sabbatical I will see where the pilgrimage continues. I know Harvey and I will go for a week to our beloved Vancouver Island to rest on the stormy winter beach. After six years of house remodeling, I really need to clean out the attic since it is finally cool enough to do so, and will continue to  renew to return to my pastorate at First Christian Church, Beaumont on November 22.

The attached photo is of a huge stained glass window in Chester Cathedral that was installed in 1961. During WWII most of the church’s ancient stained glass was blown out through bombings. This gorgeous modern art work by W.T. Carter Shapland is a depiction of St. Weburga (whom the cathedral is dedicated to and the shrine with her remains is located here), St. Oswald, St. Aidan, St. Mary and Joseph and Jesus, St. Chad, St. Wilfrid,  and St. Etheldreda. These are all part of the communion of saints of the early English church. (This photo is from a post card I purchased at the cathedral as the numerous photos I took of it just never turned out well).

Thanks for reading my sabbatical blog. It really has been fun to write and hopefully you have enjoyed it also. It has been wonderful to have you journey with me on this pilgrimage, I have felt your spirit with me.  You have blessed me with your presence and prayers.

I will continue to post occasionally. I am contemplating posting some of my devotionals about the Anglo-Saxon, early Medieval abbesses on this blog at some point. These women led fascinating faithful lives that encourage us 1200-1400 years later. If you would be interested in learning more about these saints, please let me know.

Blessings!

Pastor Brenda

brenda. directory photo. 2008

Read Full Post »

Flower Power in Chester, England

Flower Power or Bountiful Bicycle Bouquets as sported in Chester, England

Chester, England is a beautiful small Roman-walled city filled with medieval half-timbered buildings still being used as department stores and offices. It is only a 20 minute or so bus ride from Hawarden, Wales.

On Saturday morning, this medieval cobble-stoned town was buzzing with shopping activity. It was difficult to maneuver through these “pedestrian and bus only” streets and narrow twisty lanes brimming with stylish pre-Christmas shoppers. It was hard not to notice the fashion phenomena for British women of all ages of black tights with a mini dress with Ugg boots. I felt so “last year” in my black jeans and coordinating sweater.

Outside of Chester Cathedral there was an 80-ish distinguished looking gentleman with a handsome long navy blue trench coat and a head full of gorgeous white hair. At first I thought he was just yelling and then I realized that he was a street preacher. There was another man with him holding a Bible. This gentleman with his loud strong British voice was calling for repentance and salvation. In the shopping area of downtown Chester there were people loudly singing songs, playing guitars with amps, and even two men dressed up as a turtle and a dolphin. It was a bountiful cornucopia of sights and sounds for ears and eyes and souls on Saturday morning in this little city with a long history.

Chester is filled with numerous historical tourist sites complemented with lovely carefully manicured flower beds and hanging baskets overflowing with brightly colored foliage. At each of these sites there are also old bicycles sprayed silver that have been recycled as wreath stands for bountiful bouquets. It is more attractive than it sounds in an artistic edgy kind of way. Perhaps it is a symbol or icon of the city. It is a bit strange, but as they say, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Harvey who is a biking enthusiast should keep a wary eye on me as I know what I can do with an abundance of bikes….hah!

May you have bountiful beautiful blessings today!  Pastor Brenda

Read Full Post »

Garden, St. Deiniol's Library, Hawarden, Wales

Garden, St. Deiniol's Library, Hawarden, Wales

Peace, Love, Justice, Truth…the names of four solid granite megalith type benches in the back garden of St. Deiniol’s Library in Hawarden, Wales. Their names are inscribed on the ends of the benches with one end in English and the other in Welsh. For some reason, when I wander through that zen-like garden with its pebbly path, I always gravitate to the “peace” bench. Drinking Bigelow vanilla chai tea on the peace bench is blissful.

At each chapel service and worship service I have attended while on sabbatical, there is a time to “pass the peace.” You greet each other by shaking hands and saying, “the peace of Christ to you.”

So, over thousands of miles, I greet you today with “the peace of Christ be with you” and may  the blessings of Christ’s peace, love, justice, and truth be yours now and forever. Amen.

Pastor Brenda

Bench named Love

Bench named Love

Peace Bench, Garden, St. Deiniol's Library, Hawarden, Wales

Peace Bench, Garden, St. Deiniol’s Library, Hawarden, Wales
Truth

Truth

Justice

Justice

Read Full Post »

George and Mr. Spacely skyping!

George and Mr. Spacely skyping!

As a child, one of my favorite cartoons was The Jetson’s…it was just a wishful dream that one day we might have a Rosy the robot housekeeper, fly around in our little spacecraft to the store, and talk to another person live through a screen. Remember how George’s boss, Mr. Spacely would yell at him over that television screen and we never imagined that it could happen one day?

Well, one of those Jetson’s predictions has come true…Skype!! Harvey, James, and I have been able to stay in touch through Skype and each time, I feel like I am in a Jetson’s cartoon. It is incredible  that we can talk for free and see each other live as we talk across thousands of miles. It’s an amazing world!! Now, just need Rosy and my own little spacemobile (and maybe a cute Astro, ruh-roh George).

The pilgrim journey is certainly more pleasant when you can stay in touch with your loved ones. Thank you God for technology!

Much love and blessings from Wales!

Pastor Brenda

Astro...ruh roh George

Astro...ruh roh George

Read Full Post »

Glimpses of Beauty: Home and Garden in Hawarden, Wales

Glimpses of Beauty: Home and Garden in Hawarden, Wales

Numerous times I have passed by this beautiful home in Hawarden, Wales, whizzing by in a bus and with a quick glimpse thought the flowers in front of it must be artificial. They were just too perfect. I know you are thinking, why in the world would it even enter your mind that someone would plant fake flowers in their yard? Well, I have seen it a few times in my life.

Yesterday, I stopped by the house on a long walk and got a close-up look, and amazingly, those perfect flowers are real. The house looks like something from a fairy tale and the garden is immaculate.  The owners of that home bless all who go up and down that busy street with a glimpse of beauty that brings joy to the soul.

Bring beauty to someone’s life today.

Blessings!

Pastor Brenda

brenda. directory photo. 2008

Read Full Post »

Ruins of original

Ruins of original medieval St. John the Baptist Church, Chester looking through to the 19th century bell tower

This Sabbath morning, I went to the early service at St. Deiniol’s Church, Hawarden. I wish you could hear the church bells that ring for long periods on Sunday. It makes your soul swell.

Treated myself to a long walk to the Harwarden Estate Farm Shop. This store opened about 5 years ago and has won numerous awards for their organic homegrown produce and homemade breads, cakes, cheese, and meat. It is a Welsh/British foodies dream come true. There is a map in the cafe with little numbered flags that shows which produce came from where. This farm store is located on the Prime Minister Gladstone Estate in Harwarden, Wales. Had a wonderful lunch in the farm cafe of English Onion Soup….very similar indeed to French Onion Soup, except it must have been made with a very strong black beer. As my Mother would say, “not sure all the sin was cooked out!”! hee hee! It was accompanied by homemade thick slices of mouth-watering wheat bread with farm fresh butter. Came back to my room with a loaf of soda bread, gingerbread, and Welsh cheese to enjoy over the week.

One of the people staying here on the weekends is a tourist guide in Chester. He told me about another ancient Anglo-Saxon church in Chester, St. John the Baptist Church, that I had not heard of and has family connections with the abbesses I am studying. Next door to this church is an original Roman amphitheater. During the middle of the afternoon, the bells were ringing for about 30 minutes from the Chester Cathedral and from St. John’s Church as if they were taking turns, it was beautiful to hear. It was a most unusual experience to walk over hundreds of old stone cemetery slabs that have been used to line the sidewalks (instead of concrete sidewalks)along this part of the River Dee. The edges of the slab sidewalks were lined with broken tomb markers, old church pediments, and I even think I spotted part of a broken piece of Saxon cross. So, I truly was walking through and on history.

Must of been fate…as I was wandering through the center of Chester trying to find the right bus stop, I once again came across that wonderfully tempting Dinky Donuts tucked into a tiny place at the bottom of the Chester Wall stairs. People were lined up the stairs to wait their turn to get a bag of those delicious hot morsels of sugar coated donut or a fried Mars bar. Yes, of course, I had to have a small bag of those Dinky Donuts! If you are ever in Chester, you have to get some of those!

The trees are quickly turning beautiful reds, oranges, and golds and remind me that Fall is my favorite season of the year!

Hope you have a wonderful Sabbath day of worship, rest, and renewal.

Blessings,

Pastor Brenda

Inside St. John the Baptist Church, notice the rounded Norman arches

Inside St. John the Baptist Church, notice the rounded Norman arches

A view towards St. John the Baptist Church, Chester

A view towards St. John the Baptist Church, Chester

Roman Amphitheater, Chester

Roman Amphitheater, Chester

Dinky Donuts, Chester Wall

Dinky Donuts, Chester Wall

Yummy Homegrown/Homemade Meal at Gladstone Farm

Yummy Homegrown/Homemade Meal at Gladstone Farm

Read Full Post »

Soothing the Soul

A Gift of Lavender (and prayers) to Sooth the Soul

A Gift of Lavender (and prayers) to Soothe the Soul

The Chaplain at St. Deiniol’s Library recognized my grief and  left this lovely  and touching surprise of a bouquet of lavender by my door this afternoon with these words,

” They say that lavender is soothing to the soul. These are in memory of  your nephew, that his soul and yours may be soothed.

We will miss you Chase! 1987-October 9, 2009

brenda. directory photo. 2008

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

North Ages

Early Medieval Northern Britain

Shoulders of Giants

My Writing, My World

Patricia Adams Farmer

celebrating spirituality, beauty, diversity, storytelling

Perigrinatia Express

Reflections on Wilderness Wanderings

All the Wonders

Beth A. Richardson -- Author, Photographer, Musician, Cartoonist, Friend of Jack's

Faith Hope & Chocolate

Rooted & grounded in love, prayer and laughter

Saints' Bridge

A Thin Place Where the Communion of Saints Cross Time and Space

Archaeodeath

Archaeology, Mortality & Material Culture

Senchus

notes on early medieval Scotland

Gemæcce

Joining together on this pilgrimage of life

Pastorpilgrim's Blog

Joining together on this pilgrimage of life

Early Medieval Ireland and Beyond

A blog about the archaeology and history of early medieval Ireland at UCD School of Archaeology

Medieval History Geek

An amateur's blog about Medieval history, books, etc.

Ancient Bodies, Ancient Lives

How can we use material traces of past lives to understand sex and gender in the past?

Bones Don't Lie

Current News in Mortuary Archaeology and Bioarchaeology

Esmeralda's Cumbrian History & Folklore

Snippets and longer bits on Cumbrian history and folklore

Grateful to the dead

A church historian's playground

Richard Rohr: Unpacking Paradoxes

contemplation in action, as I try to live it...

Milk and Honey

Just another WordPress.com weblog

%d bloggers like this: