Vicar’s October Letter

Dear friends,

Sian and I have just come back from a wonderful trip to Scotland. We visited the islands of Skye, Mull and Arran. The weather was cold and, although we had a few showers, was generally dry. We travelled (on the trike) around the coast of each of the islands as well as travelling along the coast of the mainland travelling to and from the islands. The scenery was absolutely incredible and amongst the most beautiful I have seen anywhere in the world. A truly memorable trip.

Whilst on Mull we travelled to Iona, a small island just off the Western tip of the South end of the island of Mull. Iona is famous for the monastery established there by St Columba in the 6th Century. There has been a Christian presence on the island since this time with monasteries, nunneries, abbeys and churches having come and gone over the years. The abbey was restored in the 20th Century and the Iona Community established. The Iona Community is an ecumenical Christian community which producing a range of Christian teaching and worship resources and providing accommodation and facilities for retreats and conferences. Today, Iona is a place popular with tourists and pilgrims alike. It is a special and beautiful place. I had wanted to visit for some time and was pleased to have been able to get there at last.

I have also had the opportunity over the years to visit Lindisfarne on the Northumberland coast known for the monastery founded by St Aidan and associated with St Bede and St Cuthbert. Aidan had been sent from Iona to establish a Christian presence there. Again, Lindisfarne is today popular with tourists and pilgrims. Again a special and beautiful place.

I have spent some time thinking about why the monks of old chose such remote places to establish and also why these places are so popular today. It is true that many people find it easier to encounter God in remote and unspoilt areas and this is understandable in many ways, without the distractions of our busy towns and cities.

Do you have somewhere that you go when you want to be alone with God? Are you able to meet with God anywhere? Do you have a place in your home where you can ‘get away from it all’ and find God? It is wonderful to be able to visit places like Iona and Lindisfarne and experience the peace and tranquillity that enabled the monks of old to find God, but it is even more wonderful to be able to connect with God wherever we want and whenever we want.

Try to find new places where you can meet with God. Places at home or near home. God is always ready to spend time with us. We do not have to travel far to find him.

God Bless,

Mike

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