Saturday, March 20, 2010

Elmore: two passings

I've been rather saddened to hear two sad things, not that either was particularly unexpected.

The first is that Br Hugh Kelly, the gloriously eccentric internal oblate at Elmore Abbey passed away on March 8th at the age of 81 after a battle with cancer. There are several stories about him which I'm only just hearing, but I remember him entering the Oratory, the wheels of his walking frame squeaking like a monastic choir of church mice, assuming his place in choir and then, emulating Corporal Jones in Dad's Army, always managing to be a beat behind everyone in the chants. I pray that his soul may be raised to the intimate community of God for Eternity.

Second, it has now been formally announced about the closure of Elmore and the movement of the monks to Salisbury, necessitated by the size of the Abbey and the scarcity of monks. It's a sad decision to have made, yet it is the right one, I am sure. I can imagine though that the Doms are going to find this inordinately stressful and destabilising. My prayers are certainly with them.

It seems that the secular age in which we live will deprive us of places of holiness if we let it. It's not that the places of holiness ever really go away, but if we refuse to see them, then we are deprived of them. I look at my parish church and see a beautiful 13th building attached to a pre-conquest tower. It ought to be an holy place, but the clutter, the various not really religious knick-knacks placed hither and thither (especially on the Lady Chapel altar!), the Clavinova instead of an organ demonstrate that there is little reverence or appreciation for what goes on therein. I do not think that my parish is unusual in that. Many parish churches in the CofE are becoming "functional" as opposed to being places of worship.

Please do pray for all monks and nuns and ask God to call more so that the U.K., and indeed all the world may have places of holiness, quietness and peace where one can occasionally be permitted to pass one's finger through the veil to touch the cheek of God.

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