Norfolk retreat, Sight Loss Sunday, Divine Renovation

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Norfolk retreat, Sight Loss Sunday, Divine Renovation

Latest news from the Diocese of East Anglia includes a retreat on the Synodal Pathway at Hunstanton, Sight Loss Sunday, and ideas of what to do after Alpha.

Our Lady and St Edmund in Hunstanton have held a day retreat, the first such event for a number of years. It was inspired by Pope Francis’ call to “look others in the eye and listen to what they have to say” through the Synodal Pathway.

During the weekly meetings in the parish in response to that call, there were floods of ideas for the ways in which people could embrace the message. The idea of a day’s retreat in Hunstanton Parish arose from these weekly discussions.

The retreat took place on July 16. The group of 21 participants began with Mass, in which the facilitator, Fr Bob Eccles OP, set the scene for the day with a sermon on priesthood, reminding his listeners that we are ‘a priestly people’, that ‘Christ himself is [the Church’s] one and only priest, and the community as a whole shares in his priesthood’.

Fr Bob, of the Dominicans of Blackfriars in Cambridge, then focused on a poem called The Flower by the great seventeenth-century poet George Herbert, as a springboard to a reflection on The Great Commandment. He challenged people to have a new perspective on the love that we should have not just for God and for our neighbour but for ourselves.

A period of reflection with Benediction brought the day to a close and people left with a sense of confidence that the strength in the parish – remarked upon by Fr Bob – offers much hope for individuals, community and friends in Christ. The Synodal Pathway and the day retreat have inspired members of the Parish to a renewed hope of a shared mission and the desire for continued refreshment through the Holy Spirit.

Following the success of the first ever Sight Loss Sunday last year, there is a repeat this year with the theme ‘Made in God’s image’. Sight Loss Sunday is an opportunity for churches to put sight loss into focus whether they have someone in their congregation experiencing sight loss or not.

Churches with visually impaired congregation members may want to encourage them to be involved in the service. This can be anything from a Bible reading or testimony to spending some time with the Sunday school, leading the worship, or doing a sermon.

Churches with no known members with sight loss may want to use our prayer points, prayers of intercession or interactive prayers.

Sight Loss Sunday is taking place on 16 October, three days after World Sight Day. A short promo video can be found here

Alpha and Divine Renovation are inviting you to What’s next after Alpha?, an event where you will learn how to walk with people beyond Alpha, hear about the models that others have developed in their parishes, and be inspired with new ideas to keep moving your parish’s mission forward.

It will take place at 7pm on Thursday September 22. Priests and parish leaders want their Alpha participants to become and grow as disciples. The problem is that, building the next step of discipleship in your parish can be complex: do we have sufficient leaders? what model works best? when do we start? 

You can register using this link: 

Pictured above is the retreat at Hunstanton