I am currently in the midst of a week-long Benedictine Experience at Canterbury Cathedral. But before that, I spent two nights and a day at Salisbury and the weekend in Cambridge--both good experiences which gave me some time to prepare for the retreat part of the trip. Now I am staying at the International Study Centre, right in the Cathedral Precincts--a lovely new conference centre.
Our days (we are a group of about 30 people) are a reflection of the Benedictine life: Morning Prayer at 7:30 a.m., followed by breakfast, a little break and then a morning conference given at first by famed author Esther de Wall and then by Fr. Robert Hale. Then Eucharist at noon followed by lunch and another short break. Then we do some work around the Cathedral, followed by Evensong at 5:30, dinner, evening conference and Compline. It is a balanced day of prayer, study, work and rest, just as St. Benedict laid out in his Rule.
We are so fortunate to be able to do this at Canterbury Cathedral, which was for many centuries a Benedictine monastery. To be able to absorb the Cathedral, wandering its sacred spaces, hearing the music of the Choir of men and boys, and having our own services of Eucharist and Compline in the Cathedral is truly a privelege.
This has been a time of deep reflection and prayer, especially for the upcoming Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops from around the world, which will meet here in Canterbury next month.
The week has gone very fast. Tomorrow is our last day and on Tuesday I move on to Norwich and, in a few days' time, Scotland.
If possible I will try to write again on this trip, or will write more reflections when I at home.