March sees the launch of a new initiative at St Paul’s called Explorations. The aim is to create a regular space in our life here for connection, conversation and growth in faith. We will be taking advantage of the remarkable cultural opportunities and the richness of our city’s history viewed through the eyes of Christian faith.
Each month – most commonly on the first Saturday – we will meet at a particular location for refreshments before embarking on our chosen activity finishing with a view to finishing at lunchtime. Explorations will be family-friendly and so we hope will a meeting place for both the Family Mass and Solemn Eucharist congregations.
Our first gathering will be on Saturday, 4th March at the V&A. We will meet inside the main entrance of the museum at 10am.
Saturday 8th April – The Gospel according to Shakespeare – a guided tour of the Globe Theatre.
Saturday 13th May –An opportunity to learn about the Tyburn martyrs, to pray and reflect on religious tolerance. We will be meeting at the Marble Arch itself at 10:00 to recall the site of the the ‘Tyburn Tree’ – the King’s Gallows from 1196 to 1783. Close to this site is the Tyburn Convent where the Blessed Sacrament is made available for perpetual prayer. Following our visit to the convent we will meet for coffee and consider what we can learn about contemporary questions we face as a society. We will be finished by 12:00. For more details and to let us know you’re coming email or ring Fr Louis (07779 103 826).
Saturday 10th June – The next Explorations trip will be to the Jewish Museum in Camden on Saturday 10th June from 10.00am to noon exploring the question of how we live with difference. The Jewish Museum describes itself in the following way: Our Mission is to surprise, delight and engage all people, irrespective of background or faith, in the history, identity and culture of Jews in Britain: by inspiring discovery, provoking questions and encouraging understanding. Our Vision is of a world where cultural diversity and the contribution of minority communities are explored, valued and celebrated, for the enrichment of society as a whole. For more information please speak to Fr Louis and check out the museum website. For more details and to let us know you’re coming email or ring Fr Louis (07779 103 826).
Saturday 8th July – The next Explorations gathering this Saturday will be an opportunity to walk the labyrinth. The labyrinth is an ancient symbol that has enjoyed a resurgence of interest in recent times. Archaeological evidence suggests the labyrinth has existed in various forms for over four thousand years and is something which speaks across all cultures, traditions and religions. You may be familiar with the famous labyrinth in Chartres Cathedrals, but now this symbol is appearing in all kinds of public spaces including in parks, hospitals and schools.
These words from the book of the prophet Jeremiah are a beautiful description of how the labyrinth can be used in Christian prayer, ‘This is what the LORD says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls’.
Image result for labyrinth
Barbara Wallace, an experienced practitioner who has been advising me, offers the following advice:
A time of prayer using the labyrinth can be as open or as focused as you would like it to be. You might want to simply enter the labyrinth and be with God or, before you enter the labyrinth, you might like to take time to:
o Read and reflect on a line or two from Scripture and ponder those words whilst walking.
o Hold a memory or photo of a loved one you wish to remember or pray for while you are in the labyrinth.
o Consider an experience in your life where you are seeking healing or forgiveness and talk to God in the labyrinth.
o Think about a key celebration in your life and walk a prayer of thanksgiving in the labyrinth.
If you would like to join us, please meet at the boat house on the north side of the Serpentine at 10:00am when we will walk together to the labyrinth. It would be helpful if you could let me know in advance if you can come to ensure we have enough refreshments – and please – if you can – bring a blanket to sit on. Please note we will be there until noon – so if you wish to come after 10:00am please call me on 07779 103826 and I will tell you how to find us.
I look forward to seeing some of you on Saturday!