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Farewell to Community Life

Some bittersweet news today: I am leaving St. Peter’s Community. I’m gearing up to recommence my MA studies at Plymouth Marjon University in a few months’ time, so I need to get back to project planning and research; all through the summer it will be lotion, the ocean and a stack of books. Life in the Community is a constant process of discernment and, although I have been thinking very much about entering into God’s ministry, my MA supervisor has offered his support should I wish to apply for my PhD in a few years’ time, which is also incredibly exciting. Alongside my work at the Community, I’ve been doing a bit of housekeeping at South Sands hotel which I’ve really enjoyed, so I will apply for some similar work in Plymouth to fund my MA and to keep me out of mischief. Being at St. Peter’s has helped me to rediscover my love of art and poetry as forms of expression so I will most likely continue with those too, and possibly start my own blog. Although I am sad that I am leaving, I’ve managed to fill three pages of A4 paper with the accomplishments I have made and what I have learned during my time with the Community, which is pretty impressive for the five months that I have been there.

I shall miss the breath-taking views of the countryside, especially in the glazing glow of sunset. The opportunities to walk out in the countryside and the quiet times during prayer and church services have provided lots of time for reflection, time to talk with the Lord, and most importantly, time to listen to what he has to say (although I’m much better at the talking than the listening!). Most of all, he has been saying, “Open your hands.”

Perhaps the most obvious interpretation of the instruction to open my hands is so that I might receive all the blessings that God has to give, but as it is with the Lord, there is always more to learn and discover. “Open your hands,” he says. “Receive my blessings, of course, but let them flow through you so that in turn, you can be a blessing to those you meet. Open your hands, and lay them on others in prayer. Open your hands, show me the fears and concerns that you have and let’s talk about them. Let me see the deepest desires and the darkest thoughts of your mind and heart: there’s nothing there that could ever make me abandon you. Open your hands, and show me what the problems are, not because I need to see them but because you do. Open your hands: let’s also look at and celebrate the achievements, even the little tiny things like getting out of bed when you don’t feel like it. Open your hands and show others what you are capable of and what you can offer, and be proud of it, just as I am proud of you. Above all, open your hands: life might be scary but it’s not supposed to be a white-knuckle ride – relax and enjoy it.” Turns out that God’s pretty good at talking too – that’s if he can get a word in edgeways!

All that remains for me to say is a big thank you to the founders and trustees of St. Peter’s Foundation for all the opportunities that this marvellous project has given me; thank you to the members of the Community itself for all the kindness you have shown; love and best wishes to the new friends I have made who I will miss very much, and of course, all glory to God for his work in my life. Amen.

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