We made a list of all the activities going on at present to get an idea of how the building was being used and see how these fitted with the core ministry of the Xaverians, which is to make the world one family and equip those who use Tabor (it’s official title is now “Xaverian Mission Spirituality Centre”) to experience and live that out.
It was recognised that the two aspects of Spirituality and Mission are both important for the Xaverians and so the centre will need to be more than just a Retreat/Spirituality centre as it was before. In any case it was made clear by Hugh, a lay associate and employee at Coatbridge, and Frs John and Paddy who all have a lot of experience with obtaining funds for projects and therefore with what does and doesn’t work, that in order to be sustainable there needed to be a different approach to funding.
The old “plan A” – relying on money coming in from retreat days, groups, donations, room hire, accommodation etc would not work even if collaborators worked even harder to raise money and continued to give their services free. And importantly we collaborators should not feel burdened or feel responsible for working out strategies to bring in funding since this was the job of the team at Coatbridge who would be working on a business plan.
This doesn’t mean that there won’t be a programme of events, retreats and groups as before or that we sit back and do nothing – our continuing efforts are still needed and much appreciated! – and the events and room hire will still happen.
It was noted that making Tabor a welcoming place for all through both social events and affordable and enjoyable fund raising events is part of Xaverian outreach.
We were assured that there would be transparency about the finances so that we would always have a realistic understanding of them.
The meeting ended with prayer followed by a shared lunch.
Once again, thanks to everyone who came and supported us on the Garden Day this week. Another trailer load of weeds, ivy and brash plus a vast collection of broken pots taken for recycling. Some of the better pots will be saved. Thanks also to Rosy who took some of the surplus plant pots last week, cleaned them up and donated them to the Integrate Sow n’ Grow shop adjacent to Haslem Park.
Gary and Sue are moving forward with the front garden where there is so much to be done. Others have worked closer to the double doors from the refreshment area and conference room.
There are various ideas in play for development. We would like to recreate the bench under the arbour and train the roses to grow over it. Most of the ingredients are there but we do need a few flags to place the bench on and to keep sitters’ shoes clean.
It wasn’t all work. We paused from time to time and had cups of tea and ate all Angela’s delicious scones which arrived just in time for elevenses.
Next week we are going to meet on Tuesday 26th June. Please come and have a play. No effort is too small – everyone is welcome and Angela promises there will be more scones to eat.
From time to time we hope to do a bit of gentle work in the garden. You may have seen there is a gardening day this coming Monday 18th June.
A garden needs a shed and ours was cluttered, half the roof was without felt and leaking, the door hinges seized and the door itself secured with a large rock. A sorry sight and of little practical use.
Then came a series of inspirations followed by modifications which resulted in a transformation worthy of Cinderella.
So the next time you are enjoying the garden take time to step into the shed. It is a different space now. Perhaps in its turn it will inspire you too.
Take something, seek inspiration, work on it and good will come.
We would like to apologise to anyone who has tried to call us recently. For some reason our overly fancy phone system has been behaving badly.
This was first noticed by our reception volunteers who found it hard/impossible to get an outside line to make a call and also wondered why the telephone never rang.
During a meeting of reception volunteers we experimented and discovered that all calls the were being directed to the Carmelite Convent on St Vincents Road (sorry Sisters!) and that our reception phone never rang.
Lots more experimentation has resulted in us getting the system half working again although we are still without a voicemail system. This too will be fixed.
During the meeting on the 6th June we split into four groups to answer some key questions posed by Jim. What follows is a transcript of the flip charts used to record the individual group discussions. After the group discussions everyone came back to listen to the thoughts of the other groups.
We had our first Garden Day on Monday 11th June. Thanks to all who took part. It was a great success.
Nine people, led by Gary, came and did ‘good gardening’ on a glorious sunny day. Tea, cake and scones arrived and there was time to chat in the rest periods. Some people popped in for an hour and some stayed for longer. It all helped.
Beyond the fact that the garden is starting to look better there is simple pleasure in being outside and sharing in a community effort.
The next day is Monday 18th June. We will begin at 09:30 and finish early afternoon. Bring tools and sandwiches, bring friends but above all, bring yourself. No contribution is too small.
On Wednesday June 6th, 25 willing collaborators gathered to begin a process of discerning how best we can develop the Xaverian Mission Spirituality Centre (formerly Tabor). This is really the beginning of a process which will include also discerning with the Xaverians in Scotland on June 20th.
The time together saw us working in groups and asking some fundamental questions:
What is our vision for this place?
How do we build a community?
What can I offer?
How can we create a welcome environment where everyone feels God’s love?
How can we make it sustainable?
The discussions in the groups were very positive and the plenary session brought together many common themes but also many creative and new ideas. The findings will then feed into step two of our discernment with the Coatbridge community who are also undergoing restructuring and redefining.
We started our meeting by singing so beautifully “Spirit of the Living God fall afresh on me/us/all” and personally, I really felt the Spirit at work.