Dear Companions and friends,

I hope that you are all well.  I feel that a Chaplain’s letter is long overdue.  Life at HR has kept me very busy and certainly we have all found that lock-down has been no holiday.  There has been extra domestic duties for us all – partly relieved by the willing hands of Charlie (our novice) and enquirers.  The General Chapter this year has been one of the happiest I have known and it was great to have our Brethren Robert and Peter here for a lengthy stay.  Many of you will have joined us for our virtual celebration of Festival w/e.  While I would much rather have had you with us in persons, it was a realty enjoyable experience and we picked up some tips about communication as a bonus.  Thank you all for your support while we have been apart.

Some of you have followed my meditations on Facebook (daily throughout Lent and Easter, then weekly and as things moved nearer normality, occasionally).  It was good for me and led me to look at Gospel stories in a new light.  Again, thank you for your encouragement and although daily or weekly are no longer possible I will try to continue with some frequency.

The emergency has given me a fresh incentive to study.  Thomas led us on a really great study of Bonhoeffer’s Life Together.  It was very inspiring and I recommend it to anyone who hasn’t encountered it.  This year has seen something of an awakened interest in the religious life and we have a number of serious enquirers so please keep your prayers for us and for those who want to give their lives to God in this particular vocation.

Would a chaplains’ letter be complete without auction news?  The news is good.  We now have a date.  It is some time off so we have exactly a year to prepare.  We have some marvellous stuff and there is something for everyone.  There are stamps, coins rare books, some fabulous clocks, antiques, paintings, comics, cinema, sport and royal interest, rare propelling pencils – you want it and we’ve got it.  Of course I’m never satisfied.  We have the material for a very good auction but I’m looking forward to a really great one.  When the next one comes I will be nearer 78 than 77 and no-one is going to take me seriously after that.  Our highest total so far has been £60,000+.  Let’s try for 70.  I enjoy it all so much that sometimes I forget the serious side.  The Community like everyone else will suffer great loss of income because of lost revenue in every department.  In terms of our own needs this is not really important – but the works that we do for the Church and for the world do depend on our maintenance of the institutions that operate at or from Mirfield (Teaching, retreats, spiritual direction and support to overseas missions).  The auction is a great effort on the part of many people and it will go quite a way to helping CR in its work for the Kingdom.  So please help in any way that you can.  At the moment there are a lot of things being offered to me from all over the country so one way in which some could help would be to collect and transport.  Please keep the auction in your prayers and please tell others about it.

‘til we meet again

Every blessing.

John CR