CR elects a Superior every 5 years. Fr George had served 15 years in the role, and now has leave to take a sabbatical (see the next article). The brethren expressed their enormous appreciation for the faithful and imaginative ways in which George has drawn the Community to a closer walk with God over these many years.
Br Eucharius, the Prior of St Matthias in Trier and a good friend, came to preside over the election (it helps that he is also a judge in Trier). This time around, a couple of days after New Year’s Day, the brothers elected Fr Oswin. Oswin came to the Community from the Diocese of Liverpool in 1997 and most recently has been the Prior and Novice Guardian. Previously he spent time in Japan with the Church Mission Society. He has maintained an interest in inter-religious dialogue and teaches Theology of Mission at the College.
The way we work things the newly-elected Superior takes over immediately, guiding brothers through the work of Chapter. He is then installed in post by the Community’s Visitor (currently +Graham Norvic) as soon as may be. We were fortunate that Bishop Graham could come the following Sunday. The installation is a liturgical renewal of the Community’s life, taking its place within the celebration of the Mass. The new Superior promises to teach and care for the brethren; he receives and returns their greeting of peace and the brethren renew the commitment of their profession. The Bishop gave Oswin his blessing and Oswin prayed for the Community, its wider family and works. We were joined on Sunday morning for the installation at Mass by, among others, Sr Phyllis and Sr Jean Clare from St Peter’s Horbury.
Here is an extract from the sermon Bishop Graham preached on this occasion from John 1 43ff. on the call of Nathanael, and also the painting to which he referred, of Nathanael asleep under the fig tree painted by Mark Cazalet, the artist of the screens in the Community Church:
“Keep company with Jesus and you will know and see greater things than you know and
“Jesus sees Nathanael entire, without pretence, uncovered. Jesus knows what Nathanael is and who he can be. Nothing of Nathanael is hidden from him. And yet Jesus still calls him.”
“Through your daily round of prayer and worship here you are a community called to be a sign of the constant presence of Jesus Christ in His Church, a spiritual ladder linking heaven and earth … That’s what CR offers. An invitation to “come and see.” And who knows where that may lead them – and you.”
Mark Cazalet Nathaniel asleep under the fig tree © the Methodist Art Collection