Blessing of the Farmhouse
Tue 04 August 2015
The Sheldon Community just shared a very special weekend with Friends, staff, volunteers and neighbours. The Right Reverend and Right Honourable Richard Chartres, Bishop of London and a patron of Mary and Martha, came and shared time with the Community. He attended our annual Community Rededication, presided and preached at our Annual Eucharist and blessed the re-ordered and re-thatched Farmhouse.
Bishop Richard was able to sample the comforts of one of our Linhay Lodges which have provided a place of retreat, refuge or recovery for so many clergy from the Diocese of London and across the country since they were built 15 years ago. He told us that he had received much good feedback over the years from people who had benefited from their stay at Sheldon at a difficult time.
During Friday the mini big top (fabulously printed with trees - thanks Roustabout) was set with chairs and decorated with flowers. In the evening, the 5 members of the Community committed ourselves to Stability, Stewardship and Servanthood for the coming year with the support and prayers of Friends. Within the same service we were all delighted to welcome Andrew and Rhian who moved in a few days earlier as Alongsiders to test their vocation to Community over the coming year. Also, existing members of the Community either have changed roles in the past year or are about to do so in the next few months. It's a serious and reflective occasion for the Community with symbolic actions relating to prayer and service. After the service we all enjoyed a delicious hog roast and danced the night away to the infectious music of Spin2.
The following morning the marquee was re-set for the Society's Annual Eucharist and more Friends joined us when Bishop Richard presided and preached at the Eucharist. The text was, of course, one of the Mary, Martha and Lazarus stories (John 12 v 1 - 8). (You can listen to the sermon from the link below). After the service was over we processed noisily with singing and percussion to the courtyard where the story of the house was told in seven light-hearted cameo performances popping out of the first floor windows above us. After a trumpet fanfare Bishop Richard then blessed the Farmhouse and blessed us all using the Trisagion in Greek (short clip below).