Beltane In Escomb And Scotland

A week-end at the ancient church of Escomb by Northumbria's River Wear, built in the time of Saint Cuthbert. I meet Rectory Saturday house guests, Sunday morning church regulars, and worshippers at the afternoon monthly 'Celtic Church'. Kathryn walks with pilgrims from the Catholic Diocese of Hexham from Paradise to Escomb. Community of Aidan and Hilda members in the region join them. It is Beltane, the start of summer in the ancient calendar of Celtic lands. They celebrate the greening of the earth and green the church with branches of May trees. The separation of church from nature is transcended. The pilgrims pray: 'Our Celtic ancestors were led to Escomb by sea and by the great river: may we be led to our place of resurrection through the turbulent storms of our times.'

Alistair makes retreat on Holy Island. He has handed on his leadership of Rock Church, Dunbarton (one of the contenders for Saint Patrick's birthplace) and has inspired a network of some thirty church plants. In contrast to other networks, who trumpet their blueprints but leave a trail of frustrated hopes and relationships, this work of God has grown through humble waiting on God, sensitive intuition and empowering relationships free from stereo-typing and ego. He regards this approach as Celtic.

I attend a reception at the Edinburgh Parliament, hosted by an MSP from Glasgow, for Medical Aid to Palestinians. Speakers could not resist promoting their views on the coming independence referendum. One told jokes, such as this: 'The best way to get everyone to vote against independence is for Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron to say he supports it'. The Palestinians' plight is an international outrage. Our CA&H Way of Life commits us to stand with the poor. It was good to stand with others who stand for the poor.'

Posted at 22:27pm on 7th May 2014
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