Winding Down Time

Hexham has been invaded by North American monks. Following our family gathering many of our guests descended on our local town to sight see, and shop. Isn’t it just the way it is, one lives in beautiful and historic surroundings but only really take a good look when visitors come?

Several of us visited Hexham Abbey, not my first time inside, and once again I gloried at the Night Stair. I’d always been attracted to these worn stairs telling of their long life and particular story, of ancient and devoted clerics and their vocation to serve the community. The canons used the stair to go from their dormitory to the choir to perform their nightly office, then returning to bed presumably…

The canons, 26 of them when the Priory was at full strength, lived together as a close-knit society but worked among the wider community outside the Priory walls. Much of their time was spent at prayer in the Choir; but as ordained priests they also served in village churches, taught the young and ministered to the needy.

This morning the first batch of monks left for North America at 3.45 am followed by three more groups at 4.30, 6.30 and 9.15. The early morning has a special quality I rarely encounter, unless there is a need to be up early. I’ll make note and perhaps get up when there is no need, other than to breath the early morning air.

We have had wonderful weather for the week of our meeting and it continues on, thankfully. As anybody who has been to a large gathering of people, a conference or a wedding or funeral or just a family get-together there is a necessary winding down time afterwards. That’s what we are doing this week.

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