Norway – A Way For The World


Graham Booth and I surmounted unbelievably complicated Covid regulations in order to spend eight days in Norway.  I led a retreat on the idyllic Wolves Island in the parish of Frode Fjelbraten, for his colleagues,  co-workers and youth workers, and for members of Anamcara (the Norway branch of the Community of Aidan and Hilda).

 The theme was ‘A Way of Life for the third millennium’.  We explored how humanity is wired in to ‘The Way’ (Tao); how Jesus’ Beatitudes can be lived as three life-giving principles of Simplicity, Purity and Obedience against which we can measure everything we do.  For example, obedience to that which is of God in every human being is the answer to racism, elitism, sexism and ageism.

 We explored waymarks such as life-long learning, hospitable life-style, listening, healing, loving the poor and building a just society. Over the following hours they engaged in exercises in pairs or groups

 One youth worker who had read my two books Before We Say Goodbye and The Cowshed Revolution thought that youth formation starts with conquering the fear of death and ends with building a just society with Relationship (divine and human) at its heart.

 Before and after the retreat we stayed in a house owned by Frode’s hospitable parents. His mother is a chiropodist and gave me  the best feet treatment in my life – I shall be proud to be lowered to my grave with those feet! They live on the large island of Flekkeroy, as does its pastor, Anamcara leader Haken Borgenvik, who cooked a delicious meal for friends on our last night.  This revived memories of the link between Flekkeroy and Holy Island.

When Hitler invaded Norway five Flekkeroy students took a boat, stole petrol from the airport, and boated across the ocean. The airplane petrol was unsuited to boats. So in order not to seize up they had to clean their engine frequently and re-fill it with petrol.  They showed heroic courage and became ill. They were washed up five days later on Lindisfarne,and given beds in the Manor House Hotel. British Intelligence were informed and recruited three of them for intelligence work!

 Some years back Flekkeroy residents sang and danced in Holy Island Village Hall to celebrate this event. The island’s oldest resident, Peggy Taego, shook hands with the oldest surviving student, and a public seat commemorating their names now greets visitors on their left before they reach Lindisfarne castle.

Haken Borgenvik told me that plaques commemorate these students at the place where they took the boats from Flekkeroy.

  At the end of October he and one other plan to take life vows with the Community of Aidan and Hilda.

Posted at 16:57pm on 7th October 2021
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