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Waterholes 3 2010

Waterholes 3 2010

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Published by Colin Thornby
Newsletter of the Anam Cara Community Gippsland
Newsletter of the Anam Cara Community Gippsland

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Published by: Colin Thornby on Nov 03, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial No-derivs


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The Abbey of StBarnabas at A’BeckettPark - a centre forspirituality and theenvironment
The call and direction of The Abbey of St Barnabas at A’Beckett Park as a centre for spirituality and theenvironment is shaped both by theparticular issues of our contemporarycontext and the wisdom and lessonslearnt from the scriptures and pilgrimswho have gone before.
 We live in a moment of crisisor crossroads.
 The environment is struggling andstraining with the growth of populationworldwide, the increased use of oil andother non renewable energy, principallyby developed nations, and the growth of emissions and toxic waste. The marks of climate change alert us to the severity of the impact of humankind on theenvironment. We face the question ‘How do welive within and care for creation in a waythat will enable creation itself to sustainand nurture us and the life of thisplanet?’ This is an important question forus to explore as we realize that thedecisions we make and the actions wetake in relationship to the environmentcan either further jeopardize thewellbeing and future of all creationincluding humankind, or open the pathfor sustainability and the wellbeing of all.Furthermore, the crisis of theenvironment is part of a wider crisis of faith, meaning and purpose. The voice of God seems to have become muffled.Many people, out of touch with the ‘storyof God in their personal lives, in theirsociety and in the world globally’, havelost their spiritual bearings. Our pastunderstandings of God often fail toengage the deep questions of today.These questions and issues of ourday embrace both the spiritual and thepractical: How do we understand God,ourselves and our world in relation toGod in this new situation? What practicalskills, techniques, understandings andtechnologies do we need to develop to re-fashion our living?
 A’Beckett Park, located onRaymond Island, is a vulnerable,fragile, sacred place that bears therisk of climate change and its owndemise. The vision for The Abbeyof St Barnabas at A’Beckett Park asa centre for spirituality and theenvironment holds before us thedream for the restoration of thedeep balance of all creation.
The Abbey of St Barnabas at A’Beckett Park is envisaged as a place of learning and care for the environment, aplace of welcome and hospitality, of pilgrimage and journey.
Restoring the deep balance
Edie Ashley 
 A Community of Prayer and Supportfor the Inner Journeyinto God
 Waterholes is the newsletter of the AnamCara Community, a ministry of the AnglicanDiocese of Gippsland.
Visit us on the web:
The Abbey of St Barnabas at A’Beckett Park will offer leadership withinthe Diocese on environmental mattersand give practical expression to the 5thmark of mission of the AnglicanCommunion that ‘strives to safeguard theintegrity of creation and to sustain andrenew the life of the earth’. As we take up the journey for The Abbey of St Barnabas at A’Beckett Park we turn back to the old sources of wisdom and being. We look to thescriptures and bring the questions of ourtime to engage with the time-honouredstory of God and God’s creation. Wereflect on the patterns of pilgrimage andmonasticism that emerged during periodsof crisis in past times. As we take up the journey for The Abbey of St Barnabas at A’Beckett Park we are also open anew to God in thismoment in time and place:To hear the Spirit of God and infresh ways to understand ourselves inrelation to our world and to our GodTo work with others who share aconcern for the environment todemonstrate sustainability practicesand to care for the naturalenvironment of The Abbey and itssurroundsTo learn new (or old) practicalskills, techniques and technologies thatwill enable us to re-fashion our living so that we can live within and care forcreation in a way that will enablecreation itself to sustain and nurture usand the life of this planetTo share the journey and what welearn in our care for the environmentwith our community, parishes andchurchThe Vision for The Abbey of StBarnabas at A’Beckett Park as a centre forspirituality and the environment will bereflected in its Buildings, Gardens andInfrastructure, through The AbbeyProgram and through the life of theCommunity of St Barnabas.
 Buildings, Gardens and Infrastructure
 At the Abbey of St Barnabas at A’Beckett Park will be rebuilt to minimizeits environmental footprint and todemonstrate sustainability options:environmentally designed 3.5 star motelstyle accommodation for visitors, reducedemission and use of solar and renewableenergy, waste and water management.Planting and landscaping will giveconsideration to native and indigenousspecies.
 Abbey Program 
The Abbey of St Barnabas will be ameeting-place for pilgrims and travelers,those seeking:rest, refuge or silence, a place tostay, a venue for conferencesa ‘hands on’ opportunity to carefor the natural environmenta chance to learn how to pursuesustainable alternativesthe time to address soul-matterscompany along the wayhope or inspiration to continuethe journey
 Abbey On-site Program
The first Abbey On- site Programwill be developed/trialled for the periodMay – October 2011.This first program of retreats andenvironmental workshops will bedeveloped in line with the following fourstands:Hospitality: allowing theenvironment to nurture you; Journey: allowing theenvironment to nurture you;Sustainability: issues of water,power, waste and fire;Natural Environment: care for theexisting flora and fauna unique to thearea, replanting and regeneration of indigenous plants, care and protectionof rare and threatened species,preservation of lakes and pristineforeshores.This program will be widelyadvertised in February 2011.
 Abbey Extension Program
Through The Abbey ExtensionProgram, The Abbey Program will beshared more widely with communitygroups, churches, and parishesthroughout Gippsland.It is envisaged that The AbbeyExtension Program will develop slowlythrough 2011 and in a more formal sensein 2012.
Community of St Barnabas
The Abbey of St Barnabas will behome to the Community of St Barnabas.It is envisaged that the community of StBarnabas will be a small Christiancommunity, living in the extended EnaSheumack house, committed in prayerand practice to the work of the Abbey. We would hope that the community willbegin to form by the end of 2011/beginning of 2012.The community with its own regularprayer rhythm, will engage in the work of the Abbey. This could include, forinstance, hospitality, the discussion anddevelopment of sound practices intheology, ecology and care for the naturalenvironment of the Abbey, developmentof music and worship resources. Thecommunity could include some gap year,sea-changers, those on a sabbatical yearand other ‘short term members who joinfor 3-12 months, while others might havea longer term commitment. There couldbe musicians, theologians, administrators,gardeners, environmentalists and others– living, working and praying at The Abbey.For the period of the First Abbey Workshop, May 2011 – October 2011,we are looking to have 3 people at alltimes living in the Ena Sheumack House.People are invited to become part of aprayer and support team, to spend 2weeks in Ena Sheumack supporting The Abbey Program and praying in StBarnabas.This invitation will be advertisedwidely in February. Please plan to be partof this prayer and support team at The Abbey.
Edie Ashley 
Soul Carer’s Letter
Anne Turner
Before youLord
Michel Quoist
To be there before you, Lord, that’s all.To shut the eyes of my body,To shut the eyes of my soul,And be still and silent,To expose myself to you who are there,exposed to me.To be there before you, the EternalPresence.I am willing to feel nothing, Lord,
 to see nothing,
 to hear nothing.Empty of all ideas,
of all images,
In the darkness.Here I am, simply,To meet with you without obstacles,In the silence of faith,Before you, Lord.But, Lord, I am not aloneI can no longer be alone.I am a crowd, Lord,For men live within me.I have met them.They have come in,They have settled down,They have worried me,They have tormented me,They have devoured me.And I have allowed it, Lord, that they might be nourished and refreshed.I bring them to you, too, as I come beforeyou.I expose the, to you in exposing myself toyou.Here I am,Here they are,Before you, Lord.
Michel Quoist, born in Le Havre on 18 June1921 and died in Le Havre on December 18,1997, was a priest and a French writer. His father had died early. Therefore Michel began to work at the age of 14. He sought meaning of life. In 1947 he became a priest. Hiswork as a chaplain and a writer was focused on young people. As a post-war chaplain of Catholic Action inconjunction with major religious initiatives he published in 1954 Prayers which brought him ahuge success: 2,500,000 copies have been sold throughout the world. His books are still being published and millionsof copies have been translated into 27 languagesup to now. His literary work is particularly well known in Latin America.Some of other titles of Quoist books: (1954) Prayers Of Life,(1965)The Christian Response,(1971)Christ Is Alive, (1972) I've Met JesusChrist, (1973) Meet Christ And Live.
In a Waterholes edition last year Iwrote of a sense of a call of God to begina soul friendship ministry with thoseliving with disabilities. This had grownout of my admiration for and inspirationfound through the life and work of thepriest and spiritual author, HenriNouwen along with my own experienceof a disabling condition which changedmy life in my 40’s.Even though I was to discover myneuromuscular disease was genetic, it hadlain almost dormant for the first half of my life enabling me to achieve myambition to be a High School PhysicalEducation teacher and play sport at afairly high level. Almost overnight I wentfrom an active, outgoing, always on the“go,” type of person tocompletelybedridden withnothing working as itpreviously had.The journeywith the grief of this, facing the loss of identity andindependenceto name justtwo was myoverriding spiritual discipline and withouthaving already committed myself to the“inner” journey and the sheer grace of God I would not be the person I amtoday.It has always been my experiencethat God wastes nothing in our lives if weare prepared to say “Yes” to God. It takesa long time and much effort to reach theplace of saying “how can this experiencebe an opportunity for new ways of Godin my life?”There have been more opportunitiesthan there is space to write but one of thegreatest and most satisfying has been agrowth in understanding of others withall types of disabilities; chronic and life-threatening illnesses; those born withthem and those where it has been thrustupon them. I have never lacked empathybut there is a great difference in merelybeing empathetic & walking in someoneelse’s shoes. We can never say “I knowhow you feel” because we can neverknow fully another’s experience but thereis an unspoken “knowing” where there isa shared experience whatever it might be. We have a deeper understanding of thelimitations and the attitudes of others.Over the past years I becameincreasingly aware and drawn to those onthe “margins” of the church because of their disability be it physical or mental. Iknew first hand what it felt like to feel”swamped” in a wheelchair, unable tomove out of the way of my space being invaded; how dis-empowering it is to havepeople speak to me from behind or to theside or stand in front of me instead of coming to eye level. I became moreaware of when Idid it to others& have tried toteach how to bewith someonein thissituation. At thebeginning of this year, itseemed the“right” time tobegin a “soul-friendship”group for those with disabilities. Itseemed we needed a safe place to growour faith and express our deepest selveswith a degree of understanding whichcomes from a shared commonexperience. I really felt a completeamateur, never having ventured with sucha group before. Most of the participants Ialready knew from the cathedralcongregation so there was already arelationship established. Most of thegroup have had & go on having experience of other groups catering fortheir needs but not really with regard totheir spiritual needs. I also havewonderful support leaders to help sodon’t feel alone in it all!!The group has formed a life of itsown growing in numbers and depth.Some of the comments from thoseattending, testify to its power. “I feel safehere” “I feel free to be me and say what I
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