Wednesday, 28 July 2010

The Front entrance to the Abbey

The Starting Post - Summer 2010

I decided to start this photo blog the week that the Church of England finally ditched all pretence of being a church with a catholic heritage by voting for the end of their form of the apostolic ministry and innovating a new ecclesial community. It’s a sad day for those members of the Church of England who tried to stick it out following the first round of dismantlement in 1994 when the Church of England ministry was first opened to women.

Returning briefly to me, I was a member of the Nashdom community from 1966 until 1970 so many of these photographs bring back sad and happy memories Following on from my time as a Benedictine Monk, I went to work at Heathrow Airport, where I subsequently met my wife. We were married at St Alban's Holborn in 1971, and have been blessed with 4 wonderful children and now 2 grandchildren.

I used to represent the Diocese of London on the General Synod from 1973 to 1994. I was also fortunate to be elected a guardian of the Church of England Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, where I remained until it became difficult for the ‘faithful remnant’ to stay in the early years of this century.

But enough of me - the main reason for this picture blog is not me but the Benedictine heritage in the Church of England that Nashdom and Elmore leave as their epitaph. The community moved from Nashdom to Elmore, and now as I write they are moving for the last time to Salisbury. They have closed their novitiate and no longer take guests.

I discovered the Benedictines of Nashdom Abbey in my late teens. The community having stood the test of time as a pocket of Catholicism in the strange world of the Church of England had expanded from its early days in Pershore to the wonderful surroundings of the building that Lutyens built for Fanny Wilson and her Russian Prince and therefore known as Nashdom (Our Home).

A history of the community can be found in the most recent publication by Petà Dunstan called “A Labour of Obedience”.

So, I joined the community as a postulant in October 1966, was clothed as a novice (Brother Peter) on St. George's Day 1967 and professed in simple vows a year later. My vows were terminated in January 1970 when I left the community.
I'll comment on the photos as they call for it, but I hope many will speak for themselves just as the top photo does, showing the high altar and choir as it was when I joined the Community in October 1966.

I am grateful to the Community for allowing me access to their photos, and if you chance upon this page and feel you have a contribution to make please follow the links that enable you to do that.