What a lovely, joyful and prayerful weekend this was!
Twenty of us went to Parcevall this year, both from St. Margaret’s and St. George’s plus my twin sister, Suzanne, (for the first time) from St. John’s, Wingates, which is situated in Westhoughton. Other first timers were Janet and Pat W. and Hilda who had not visited for some 10 years.
Friday began with our usual jaunt and lunch at Boundary Mill where some of us spent more than we ought, but after all it’s not what you spend, think of what you have saved!! We arrived at Parcevall around 4.00pm, had afternoon tea then retired to our rooms until dinner. We gathered in the lounge area prior to dinner when my sister did her get to know you act. Whilst reaching for two glasses to share a can of coke she caught the red wine bottles stored on top of the fridge – yes, they went down one after the other, like skittles in a bowling alley. Six fell on the stone floor, but as “luck” had it, only one full bottle smashed and a glass. You can imagine the pandemonium this caused and the laughter which followed, what a way to break the ice, figuratively speaking! This laughter continued through the weekend of course. After things calmed down, we had our evening meal followed by our first prayer session centred round The Lord’s Prayer. then Holy Communion in the Chapel before retiring for the evening. Believe me Suzanne and I were still chuckling as we went to sleep.
Saturday woke up to Peregrini Prayer, breakfast then our second prayer session – Ignatian Prayer. This was a peaceful reflective way into prayer using your imagination within a set passage of scripture. Then coffee followed by our third session – Prayer with St. Theresa. After lunch, we had free time to spend how we wished, some went walking, some enjoyed the gardens and some, a group of about eight, took chairs outside and knitted, nattered and laughed through 5” squares for our blankets. These squares were filled not only with prayers but with love and joy and maybe a few dropped stitches. But what a pleasing, enjoyable afternoon it was.
All too soon it was dinner and then our final session with Rev. Deborah before she returned to Prestwich to begin her holiday. Our last session was a Question and Answer session and Rev. Deborah had made each one of us a bracelet – Pearls of Prayer – a beautiful keepsake of our weekend. This was followed by Taizé Prayer in the Chapel after which we had Compline before we help Rev. Deborah pack her car and say goodbye.
Sunday dawned bright and beautiful and it was my turn to lead the group. We began the day with Peregrini Prayer and then Communion in the Chapel with bread and wine previously consecrated by Rev. Deborah. We sang hymns and shared the Peace; a wonderful way to start the day. After coffee, we had a Wholeness & Wellbeing Service with a section celebrating the Community both at Parcevall and at Home. The theme being we are all individual yet together make up God’s Body – The Church. Each one of us took home a heart, to remember God loves us all and a crayon from a full box to remember that together we make up the whole.
Then we shared our last meal together followed by Praying the 23rd Psalm. In this we remembered all people who have yet not found God as their Shepherd and prayed that they would do some time in the future. We also sang the version by Graham Kendrick’s Psalm 23, and, I must say, that this was one of my highlights from the weekend. All singing together as one, praising God’s name with a single sheep in the midst of us, and the hills just a glance away through the window. To hear everyone singing the words of the 23rd Psalm and the chorus………..
And I will trust in You alone,
And I will trust in You alone,
For Your endless mercy follows me,
Your goodness will lead me home.
at the tops of their voices, I believe the Shepherd and his Sheep must have heard us, and, I do not mind admitting, it brought tears to my eyes.
I will not forget the deep feeling it gave me that Sunday afternoon, of “a job well done”. With the sun in the sky, the hills in the background, a beautiful garden, beautiful people – memories, fellowship and friendships were certainly made at Parcevall 2017. Thank you everyone.