Highrock MetroWest News
| August 31, 2023
Picture: Durham Cathedral.
When we named our first-born Brendan, inspired by Celtic saint Brendan the Voyageur, we knew he would visit seven countries in his first nine months in the wake of my husband’s dissertation research. Little did we know this was also our “baby” step into Celtic spirituality, a world we delved deeply into this summer during a Celtic Christian pilgrimage through northern England that has influenced my own spirituality.
We (20 pilgrims) followed in the footsteps of renowned Celtic Christians like Aidan, Cuthbert, Bede, and Hilda. These figures were instrumental in bringing the faith to medieval Northumbria. Through their lives, prayers, writings, and outside readings we learned of their holistic approach to faith. Wrote historian Michael Mitton, “Celts’ love of wholeness..[has taken] many different strands of our faith and woven them together in a most effective cord for ministry and mission…The weakness of the church through the ages is that it has tended to focus on only one or two strands at the cost of losing others.”
The first strand that resonated with me was egalitarianism. Celtic Christians held that all individuals were equally reflections of God’s image; men and women alike led monasteries based on their spiritual insight and administrative skill. I found the co-ed nature of many monastic communities particularly freeing.
– **Missional Mindset:** Extending hospitality to guests and aiding neighbors in all matters.
– **Incarnate Faith:** Anchoring love for humanity and nature in the teachings of the Gospel of John.
– **Creation Stewardship:** Recognizing divine love and wisdom in nature and safeguarding it.
– **Trinitarianism:** Consistently invoking the power of the Trinity—God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit (referred to as the Wild Goose).
– **Charismatic Faith:** Embracing divine communication through dreams, sounds, visions, and signs.
– **Communalism:** Adopting a communal lifestyle, sharing possessions, and mirroring the practices of the Early Church.
The pilgrimage engaged us mind, body and soul. It interspersed lectures and group discussions at St. Chad’s College, Durham University, with visits to sacred sites like Lindisfarne Priory, Whitby Abbey, St. Aidan’s Church in Bamburgh, and the Venerable Bede’s monastery in Jarrow. We traced the footsteps of history, walking a section of Hadrian’s Wall that the Romans, who initially introduced Christianity to the isle, once guarded. And we prayed the prayers of Celtic saints morning, noon and evening, oftimes at Durham Cathedral.
As our pilgrimage unfolded, we gleaned timeless practices, such as Celtic “Compass Prayers.” Turning toward each cardinal direction, monks prayed for regions and people, enveloping the world in their supplications. I’m finding this a wonderful practice for remembering in prayer the needs of our neighbors and the world.
Facing today’s cultural divides, I saw that my witness as a Christian is never more healing than when I can embrace the whole cord of Christian faith. Thankfully, I have the power of the Trinity to help me. As I was contemplating all this, the Wild Goose (Spirit) stirred my pen and brought forth this prayer:
Our Father-Mother, three in one, with Holy Spirit, Daughter/Son,
Protect my faith in unity, from culture’s chasms: immunity.
Breath Spirit, breathe me energy, to embrace life through synergy.
Walk Jesus with me, light my way. Teach me to love, listen and pray.
And God above all-seeing eye, give me your vision, truth to spy,
So I may enter with you three in humbled-heart community.
— Katie Smith Milway.
Note: Katie is having hip surgery on September 11. You can participate in a “meal train” for her here.
The September Men’s Thursday Gathering meetings will include a 20 minute presentation by Pastor George on the topics below:
September 7: The Politics of Jesus. How would Jesus vote? Sept. 7 is one of our Dinner and Gathering days for this Men’s fellowship (which normally meets by zoom). The Sept. 7 dinner/meeting will be held at the home of Raymond Chang starting at 6:30 pm. Dinner will be provided for you; let us know you are coming by registering using this form. After dinner, there will be a 20-minute presentation by Pastor George on the Politics of Jesus followed by discussion and prayer. The meeting will be over by 9 pm.
September 14: Organized Religion: is God in it?
September 21: Just War? A quick view of how Christians understand war.
September 28: Can you be in business and not lose your soul?
Normally this fellowship meets by zoom Thursdays from 8 – 9:15 pm. Get details HERE for zoom link and more.
If you are a mom of a teen, toddler, newborn, young adult, parenting on your own, or working in the home or out in your field, we have a group of moms who would love to hang out with you!
During the first half of the fall session of Momsrock, small groups and teaching will be focused on parenting. We will utilize videos and recorded teachings that focus on parenting younger children and older teens, depending on your group’s focus. In the second half of the fall session, we will be diving into “When You Pray.” Six beloved and respected female Bible teachers will help us study some of the Bible’s recorded prayers. As a group, we will then discuss how to use what we are learning to strengthen our own discipleship and life of prayer as moms.
Theology Lab returns this fall with an exciting year-long (2023-2024) discussion series on the theme of God & Money.
Historically, differences in opinion on money have caused divisions in the church. But at Highrock our mission is to be boundary-crossing communities of people characterized by curiosity and compassion. To that end, this year’s online Theology Lab discussions will address the challenging questions of a faithful relationship to wealth and the use of money, questions like: Are all Christians called to lives of simplicity? How should we go about alleviating poverty? Read more and register for Theology Lab here.
Find Daily Devos, Highrock sermons, Highrock Online, and more on your favorite platform! Search for “Highrock Church.”
Youth Internships Highrock MetroWest volunteer youth internships for 2023-24. The program involves both service to the church and leadership development training resulting in a public ceremony in church and the presentation of a Certificate in Leadership Development for a Non-Profit. For more information on the HRMW program, contact Pastor George .