This week’s trip to Lindisfarne (Holy Island) turned into a battle against the elements! It was arranged by one of the tutors, David Goodhew, whose otherwise excellent organisational skills somehow omitted the weather… A small group of us decided to endure the squalls to make the short trek across shingle and a cockle bed to the small, windswept tidal island of St. Cuthbert’s. It was a great day – although mainly for the opportunity to drink tea and hang out with some wonderful people than because of the scenery!
Tuesday morning, we were settling down for a lecture on “Mission”. Michael Volland, our lecturer, was about to start, when suddenly he said “Come with me”, and took off through the back of the class, out of the door, across the yard, through a back gate, down a steep path and onto the river bank. Having got us thoroughly intrigued as to what he was up to this time, Michael said, “This river and path is a metaphor for the world you’re going into after training. Although college is really important, let’s not forget what this is really about”. (He admitted to me afterwards that although he’d thought about this stunt for a while, he only decided on it a fraction of a second before doing it!)
The Pope’s announcement this week of plans to allow Anglican parishes to defect to Rome has provoked discussions here – although in an oddly muted way. It seems unlikely to affect more than a small minority of parishes. The only thing that will be damaged will be the ongoing, and rather shaky, negotiations between the Anglicans and Catholics over future reconciliation – and that has probably been dealt a mortal blow, not just because of the breach of trust involved, but because the most pro-Catholic Anglicans will have been siphoned off to leave a more Protestant deomination behind.