6th – 9th June 2016 : One God – One People
St John’s Gospel Chapter 17 v 21 : That they all may be One.
I have just returned from a most inspiring and refreshing Parish Retreat.
On Monday 6th June we met at 12 noon for Mass in All Saints. Our Retreat was blessed by Father Craig.
We had a picnic lunch in the church hall and set out on our journey of 60 miles. We drove through the Brecon Beacons National Park where we passed and avoided many munching sheep and horses with foals enjoying their freedom.
We arrived at the beautifully re-furbished Retreat House in brilliant sunshine which lasted throughout our stay. We enjoyed Welsh Cakes in the garden gazing at the serene Lake Llangorse and her swans and the green fields with the Welsh Mountains in the distance, listening to trilling birdsong….. a scene of tranquillity and calm.
We were privileged to have John Berry as our Leader. 60 years involved world wide with YMCA, he is like a universally minded philosopher – witty, prayerful and sensitive, captivating to all who meet him. He used his international experience to lead us on the original theme, One God – One People. His subject matter was based on quotations from St. John, beginning with ch 16 v31 to ch 18 v 1. We each had a copy of this for constant reference. This chapter is known as the Great High Priestly Prayer of Christ in the garden before he was arrested. John’s central theme in all his excellent addresses and our sharing together was ‘That They All May be One’.
We had very lively and animated discussion on ‘Who is my neighbour’ and ‘Oneness Together’, which underlined for us that we must retain compassion in today’s difficult world and being the Good Samaritan.
Sharing our thoughts was deep and valuable – John’s lifelong experience of meeting people of all classes, colours, creeds and cultures was invaluable. Acceptance and God’s loves are at the heart of the expression seeking Unity without uniformity.
We had many laughs with our patient, good humoured and softly spoken conductor; for our free afternoons he had suggested we might ‘walk the lake; talk to the cows; sleep’!
We shared the readings at Matins and evensong and leading the peaceful Compline which closed each day. We ended our Retreat with Mass in the beautiful chapel taken by the Venerable Martin Williams (retired archdeacon of Margam).
Driving home through God’s glorious Welsh countryside, we look forward to another joyful, inspiring Retreat next year (to be held on 12 – 15 June 2017). We pray that you, too, may choose to come away for a peaceful, renewing time. Llangasty awaits you with open arms (and new curtains in the lounge!).
Thank you All Saints, thank you John for giving of yourself.
All Praise and Glory to our One God – One People.
Elizabeth (Sylvia Ball’s appreciative cousin)