Saturday 7 July saw hundreds of the Community’s friends come from near and far to celebrate CR Festival Day. Companions, parish groups, Oblates and many others joined us, sharing in worship and marking the launch of our year of Monasticism and Vocation: Christ Our Call.

The Mass at midday included a welcome to new Companions as well as the consecration, by Bishop Tony Robinson, of the new High Altar in the Community church. Installed in the weeks leading up to Festival Day, the Mandale fossil stone comes from the Once-A-Week Quarry on the Chatsworth estate, high in the Peak District of Derbyshire. It teems with fossils more than 350 million years old, some of the earliest living beings on our planet. There are crinoids (tubular fossils with an internal screw-thread), brachiopods (like mussels and oysters) and corals, and there are one or two sharks’ teeth, recognizable as small dark triangles.

The altar is dedicated to the Holy Trinity, and speaks of the depths of the ages, and of the cosmos. On the top, dark red lines surround the cross we put there during the Eucharist: “See where Christ’s blood streams in the firmament” (Marlowe’s Dr Faustus). As we look from a distance, the front of the altar seems to show millions of stars, as in the Milky Way, swirling around an empty space. This evocative centre to our worship – the final major commission as part of our project to reorder the church – was supported by the generosity of many of our friends, and through a major gift from an anonymous donor.

CR Festival Day 2019 will be on Saturday 6 July – please put the date in your diary, and encourage others to come too!