The last two weeks, I have spent time in two deeply spiritual locations: Land’s End in Cornwall, and Avebury – at one of the famous stone henges. These locations have afforded opportunities to develop relationships with people from other faiths and to engage in spiritual discussion and gatherings with them.
In Saint Buryan at Land’s End, I stayed with Vanda the Vicar and her husband Bob. On Monday evening they invited the local wise women and Witches who lived in the village to dinner. We spent the evening right up until midnight talking and making friends with Cassandra and Laetitia, whom Vanda knows well. The next morning Cassandra attended the Celtic service, which I was asked to lead, and came forward for a blessing during the communion time.
I arrived in Avebury this week, and have been staying with Maria (the Vicar) and her husband Phil in the tiny village. I spent an afternoon with Gordon, a Wiccan Priest, who lives in a house in the center of the stone circle. He showed me around the henge and a few other special sites like springs and copses. This morning, there was a Celtic prayer service in the Avebury church, and it was attended by a group of people who were staying here at Avebury this last week. There were Buddhists, and Quakers, and Methodists, and a variety of faiths from Bali, and China, the UK and Ireland. The respectful gathering of many traditions coming together for this morning of prayers for peace in the Celtic Christian tradition was beautiful. Maria the Vicar at Avebury has done a wonderful job of positively engaging with people of other faiths.
This kind of work is necessary in an age when the Church of Christ has received such a bad reputation for being prejudiced and out of touch with society. Whether those accusations are true or not, many people believe them to be true, and our work to accept and respect other people – no matter how different they are from ourselves – is critical to changing that attitude in our skeptical world.