Diary:  there is NO WCR in August, and the September date, to finish this year’s cycle, is Saturday SEPTEMBER 12th. See more dates below.

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I have just been speaking with Helen about the future of Wild City Retreats after this:

Firstly, we will definitely be continuing for another year, from October, and probably the year after that. Showing respect to the commitment people have given up to now, we will carry on with monthly Saturday mornings. Venue still open to discussion for a little longer.

LCI considers the presence of such a series to be a necessary part of their experimenting in creative ways with future possibilities for faith in the coming years, given the crises of our times, and shifting structures and expressions of church.

“The People’s Pilgrimage: many small steps to combat climate change”
In partnership with faith and activist groups, LCI are organising a very exciting educational programme of events through the autumn, building up to the  Paris Climate Change Summit in December.  See http://operationnoah.org/articles/the-peoples-pilgrimage  Looks an interesting site!  Our group will be complementing this work.

Here are just some of the dates:

22nd September: “What’s the good news for creation? Looking at the gospel and the created world.”  Ruth Valerio of A Rocha. See www.arocha.org.uk

17th October “Jesus and Wild Nature” a study day with Noel Moules  St Chad’s Church.   DO NOT MISS THIS!!

9th October, evening: a mini pilgrimage responding to climate change as a contribution to LEEDS LIGHT NIGHT

WILD CITY RETREATS, linked into this context, offers an opportunity to digest and reflect upon parts of lhis taught material, as we spiral round the cycle of the seasons.  We will offer a quiet place for those looking for new or deeper forms of spirituality through listening to the earth.  It becomes part of an open ended pilgrimage, the destination of which is as yet unkown, I’m guessing that perhaps I won’t give so much input, there will be reading to do beforehand for those who want it, and pointers for reflection, alongside formal prayer.  People can drop in and out as they are able.  We are now part of something much wider than the small group which has emerged over this year.
Helen quotes from Sara Maitland’s book, “A big enough God”, where she encourages us to learn about the Creator from creation, using imagination, and having fun.  It is about Bread and Roses (justice and beauty) and interestingly also about mayonnaise (you need to read the book…)

As I have said, we are not just looking to Celtic Christianity.  What is emerging are new forms of spirituality, drawing on many historic Christian traditions, and other perspectives, but relating to today’s world, and I hope many will contribute to this.  Please let me know if you have particular ideas or ways you would like to contribute.

This year, I have been receiving daily email meditations from Richard Rohr, Franciscan teacher of contemplative prayer. He outlines a contemplative tradition which is close to the earth, and close to the person of Christ, both incarnated and cosmic. This Saturday’s contains links to the previous week’s daily meditations, and the the end, a downloadable spoken meditation as sample of practice.  If you would like me to forward you a sample, please ask me. IF this is your sort of thing, do explore his materials.

Whether or not associated with shifting wind patterns or climate change, our unseasonal wind and rain has been catastrophic for much of our local wildlife.  I was shown round bird boxes in Gledhow Woods, by someone who has observed them for thirty years, who says that less than 50% of clutches are surviving, due to low temperatures and the washing away of insect food, directly or further down the food chain, and he found 17 boxes where the parents have deserted the clutch completely. I was bird watching at Fairburn Ings one evening – a fabulous display of hundreds of swifts – but our teacher was struck by the very uncharacteristic communal behaviour of large groups of swans and moorhens.  Both appeared to be grouping together at a loose end, having no broods to be supporting.

June 20th next Wild City Retreat, now in what the church called “ordinary time”, midsummer, high solar time, bonfire time. The tree, surprisingly, is the fiery holly.  We will have a bring your own picnic added on to our session, just for those who wish.   I look forward to seeing some of you there.