Christmas Prayer

Jesus, child of the crib, With Mary who bore you. With Joseph who protected you. With animals of the stable who watched over you. With the angels who sang of you. With the shepherds who ran to you. With the Kings who would acclaim you. With our brothers and sisters throughout the world, we welcome you. Jesus, Saviour of the world, we welcome you, Amen.


WHOA! OR WOE! We had a special little man stay at the retreat in the summer, Jane's 2 year old grandson Dylan. He’s still at the early stages of forming words but every time he sees something exciting, like a piece of cake or the runner ducks speeding across the lawn, he points his finger and comes out with an almighty “WHOA!” If ever there was a WHOA! moment in history it’s surely Christmas, and yet for many it’s more a time of woe than wonder. Grief, breakdown of relationships, financial worries, disappointment when the day doesn't quite live up to expectations, all these can rob us of the excitement and joy of this special time. So as Advent begins and we start our journey towards that great festival, how can we use these days to reflect and recapture the “Whoa!”? What's so special about Christmas anyway? At Christmas, God gives us his Son as a gift for a world in turmoil, then as it is in turmoil now. A world turned in on itself, separated from its Creator spiritually, environmentally, and fragmented in its relationships. In Jesus we’re invited to become one with God, to receive Jesus and to know that we ourselves are God’s children. We are cherished and invited to cherish others. We can all be part of that wonderful moment when Mary gives birth and the darkness of night is filled with an amazing light, and the world is never quite the same again. So as we journey through Advent, whatever our circumstances, perhaps we can ask ourselves how the miracle and mystery of Christmas might transform us, renewing in us a sense of hope, courage and confidence. How might we make this Christmas different? Are there some 'woes' that we have been hanging on to for too long? The answer will be different for each of us. Sadness, anxiety, uncertainty can all rob us of purpose and drain our energy. Let’s take time each day to reflect on the hope beyond the hype, to entrust ourselves and one another to the God of life and let’s learn from little Dylan to look for the “Whoa!” moments and share them, at Christmas and always.

St Francis Day Prayer

May our compassion be as rain where there is drought may we restore beauty where greed has destroyed may we bring hope to spirits broken by cruelty reassurance to those tormented by fear gentleness to those traumatised by violence healing to those scarred by brutality may we open cages, cleanse seas end hunting, plant trees put right what is wrong, join hands and stay strong on this St Francis Day and always


How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is given.

And God imparts to human hearts the blessing of his heaven...


May it be so for each of us and may hope, joy, peace, comfort and courage fill our hearts, inspire our world and bless all creation

this Christmas and always



As the first Advent Candle is lit today. May its flame shine brightly and powerfully. May it shine into the forgotten corners of the world, where children lie in refugee camps and where hungry babies slowly slip away. Where animals languish in rusty cages and prisoners of conscience wait in prison cells for the world to remember their names. Where the lonely wait for someone to knock on their door and the bullied wait for their torment to end. Where the abused wait for their voices to be heard amd those in war zones wait for the guns to go silent. May it shine into hearts that have given up on life. In hearts broken by grief and pain. In lives devoid of basic essentials May it bring hope and healing and may its light give each of us a glimpse of how much good there is in the world when all the headlines are so hard.  Stronger together xxx


When we watch the rain fall and waves lap against a shore, When we watch trees swaying in the breeze and flowers gently bowing their heads at evening time, When we see the swallows gathering together ready for their long journey home, When we see children laughing and playing, when we see toddlers walking for the first time, When we hear music playing and geese calling as they fly overhead When we look out at hills in the distance, and see mist rising, When we see dogs racing round chasing sticks, when we are in front of the fire and watch the flames dance, When we see stars breaking through, lighting up a dark night when we see rose petals falling softly to the ground, When we listen to our own hearts, when we embrace one another, when we are alone, when we are together, Let us be thankful for the gifts of creation, for the gift of life, and on this Animal Welfare sunday let us above all be compassionate and until the cruelty ends give all we have to make our world safe and keep it beautiful for all creatures to enjoy.


May compassion be as powerful as the incoming tide,
may peace be as strong as the waves
may beauty touch hearts with its wonder
and may we inspire courage in one another and in our world
today and always



It might not seem very special to be a face in a crowd, but this photo means an awful lot to me. A super tech camera was able to take a picture of every single runner in the starting pens and here I am runner 41006 out of 43700.

Nothing different about me, nothing special.No fancy gear. No fancy dress. Just a middle aged woman waiting to run 13.1 miles from Newcastle to South Shields.

It's the crowd itself that makes the photo so special. The other 47,299 faces. . On the surface just a crowd. But there is no such thing as just a crowd.

Jesus knew that. He preached to many crowds, but he saw more than just a mass of people. He saw beyond the hundreds of faces- he saw hearts in pieces, he saw damaged bodies, he saw longing and hope. He saw too greed, prejudice, indifference, cynicism. Every human condition. The best and the worst. He preached about a God who goes on loving in spite of the worst we can be. He preached about a God who challenges us as the race sponsors do to 'be our greatest' That doesn't mean we have to run marathons. It means we are to run the race of life with integrity, humility, compassion and faith.

The starting pens were full of eveyday people. People who like me coveted their neighbours snazzy leggings, Who moaned about the queue for the loos. Who were anxious and irritable as well as excited and supportive.

A plane flew over as we waited trrailing a banner that read 'Jesus loves every one of you' Some people laughed. Some were indifferent. Some were moved. Some didn't see it. But God like the high tech camera saw every face in the crowd and understood every reason why people were there. Why they were pushing themselves to their limits. Why they so wanted to make a difference. A crowd made up of ordinary people with ordinary hopes, faults and dreams.

I will never forget the day I was a face in that crowd and I can't help but think that we all made each other that bit more than we were when we left home and drew each other that bit closer to the Kingdom of Heaven where I am sure one day there will be one enormous crowd- cheered home by one incredible God




We are having a fourth en-suite put in at Mill House.Pretty straight forward you would think......

Only once the floorboards were up, it became clear that all was not well underneath and that some major remedial work was needed.So now we have no water, no ceiling and dust aplenty!

Sometimes in our life, everything can look alright on the surface, but in reality rthere can be a few rotting floorboards lurking below. Undealt with feelings of bitterness, regret, guilt, resentment which if let will gradualy affect out stability and quality of life.

Maybe today could be the time to have a look at and face some of the work that needs to be done, either on your own or with someone you trust. We can't expect to tackle them all at once or have a new ensuite in five minutes, But maybe bitterness could begin to become grace, or resentment acceptance. Guilt maybe could be inspected and forgiveness could be part of the refurbishment plan. You can't force change, there are no quick fixes. Trying to force yourself to feel something that you just can't feel is counter productive and will just make you feel worse.

God, the master builder, knows us through and through and is our supporting beam and our security. Integrity and longing which so fill the psalms are our prayer. Honesty in how we feel. Longing to let go of burdens that have exhausted us as we have tried to keep them under wraps can all be brought to God without shame.

So lets have a go at a bit of DIY or maybe DIT – do it together. We have all sorts of builders on site, plumbers, electricians, tilers, joiners - they need each others skills and insights to complete the job. We need each other too to get our house in good shape, one floorboard at a time.,,,,



One thing leads to another ....


I didn’t really enjoy school, but one thing I did get excited about at the beginning of each new year was the prospect of a nice clean exercise book. I always pledged to keep it neat and tidy and use my bestest handwriting. It was a chance to make a new beginning. Study harder, get better results and all in all be an ace student! Of course by week two, my new book was as scruffy as my old one and I had slipped back into my old routine of scrawly handwriting, and homework done at the last minute!

A lot of school work is done on computer now but a new school year still affords us the opportunity to start again. To renew our commitment to one another and to God. To give our best, in our studies, our friendships and our prayers. It gives us a chance to begin again. To renew our determination not just to think about ourselves but about the wider world. To help organisations like the Children’s Society and Marys Meals in their endeavours to offer every child the opportunity to be nourished, to be safe and to learn. To bring every child hope that their circumstances can change. That they aren’t forgotten.

Making a new beginning isn’t just about trying harder, or even working harder. God wants us to have fun as well. Yes even at school! God wants to bless us through our friends, to refresh us through Scripture and to renew us as we take time out from studying to enjoy the things that excite us. It’s hard not to get ground down by daily life. It’s hard to keep the sense of anticipation a new school year can bring. Tiredness creeps in. Anxiety hovers over our work and the prospect of exams hangs in the air. For many in our world just finding enough food or enough clean water let alone a clean uniform will be a struggle that takes all their energy and all their strength.

So how can they and we refresh our sense of purpose each day and feel upheld by God?

Jesus knew about busyness. Healing, and teaching about the Kingdom, he got exhausted So early in the mornings he would find a quiet spot and pray. Amidst all the rush he knew he needed to step aside to recharge his batteries, and renew his relationship with his Heavenly Father.

Maybe as a new school year gets under way, we could follow Jesus’ example. Perhaps we could make a moment each day to say our family prayer and ask Jesus to help us through the day We could hold in our hearts all who are suffering, especially children in places of war and poverty. Those who won’t be able to go to school and those who find school frightening and difficult.

As we say the Lord’s Prayer with others or on our own, may we all know God’s refreshing Spirit in our lives and be renewed day by day as we begin again

and again.


Our Father in Heaven

Hallowed be your name.

Your kingdom come.

Your will be done on earth as in Heaven

Give us today our daily bread

And forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.

And lead us not into temptation

But deliver us from evil

For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours now and forever





Brand new notebooks - available on request £5 inc postage

Daily Rhythm


As dawn gently draws back the veil of night’s darkness, and the window of a new morning stands open Be bold. Let in a new experience, A new opportunity A new NOW. Embrace the light that awakens you And let thankfulness shine within as brightly as the first candle that you light. Let it be as the pen that etches the longings of your heart on the crisp new page of a breaking day. Let trust be the silence that sings quietly in your soul as you breath in and out. Leave space between each word, each sigh, each task. Space enough for presence. Enriching, healing, guiding your steps moment by moment, hour by hour towards the closing of the day When dusk gently closes the window and today lays down her tools and slips unafraid, into the welcoming arms of the night stars of tomorrow.

Use each day wisely. Make time Be still Honour all you meet Savour all you eat Befriend yourself Laugh at yourself Sing with the birds Touch the earth And let the sacredness of all that you are Be the pillow on which you rest your head

Until dawn gently draws back the veil of night’s darkness, and the window of a new morning is opened


Moment to be treasured