Its a shed, Jim, but not as we know it. *

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.

*A Star Trek joke.


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.

So, if you have been calling and wondering why we never answered that is the reason.  You can either try calling us again or leave us a message via the Contact Us page.

Notes from the Discernment Meeting Wed 6th June

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.

This material will be used as input to the second stage of the discernment.  See our earlier news item “Discernment Day” posted 7th June.

Key questions for the groups:

  • What is our vision for this place?
  • How do we build community?
  • What can I offer?
  • How can we create a welcoming environment where everyone feels God’s love?
  • How can we make it sustainable?

Group Responses.

Group 1

  • Welcome – most important (Reception)
  • Marketing needed (Laura) social media
  • Away days – schools, NHS etc. (Form a group/committee)
  • Spiritual and Social (Burns night etc)
  • Link with voluntary organisations CBS, Age UK etc.
  • Garden – meeting with Gary
  • Structure (loose) needed (Brenda)

Group 2

Vision – Outreach & Oasis


  • Unchurched (not just church goers)
  • Agree seekers not dwellers
  • Youth/families
  • Elderly 7 cares
  • On margins
  • Prisons
  • Materially and spiritually poor
  • Servant leadership
  • Community – work in progress
  • Diversity is a strength
  • Inclusive
  • Who? WE need it. Humanity/World
  • How – Love to others. Help people learn to trust inner creativity.

Oasis – place

  • Place of welcome – cultivate this
  • Share
  • Drinking water of life – energises
  • Sustainability
  • Social activities
  • Family orientated
  • Bring in Business
  • What can I offer?
  • The best of what I can – discerning
  • My time and my commitment Gifts/Talents

Group 3

Should we advertise?
What are we offering?

  • Spiritual nourishment
  • Friendship
  • Safe haven
  • Inclusive
  • Welcoming
  • Oasis
  • Receive & give
  • Potential to move beyond the boundaries
  • Freedom to explore
  • Attract different people
  • Different activities
  • Different backgrounds
  • Diverse communities

Not just bringing people in but empowering people to go out to their own communities.
Sustainability versus Inclusivity.

  • Concessions?
  • Low income/unwaged
  • Philanthropy/Funding/access for outside groups
  • Trust in God

Group 4

  • Primarily a Catholic retreat … but much more inclusive
    Maintaining identity – spirituality but reaching out to the greater community
  • Maintain an open door policy – open to all. People on the edge – who aren’t helped. Lonely (dementia). Prisoners, LGBT etc.
  • What can I offer? Own individual initiatives and ministry. Practical help….
  • Reception, garden, cleaning etc. Greeting , Hospitality, Refreshments
    See 1 above
  • Oasis + spiritual home. Friendship
  • Friends of ….. £12 a year. Individual and Collective & Universal participation. Donation box for ‘off the street’. Annual fundraiser. Afternoon tea. Sponsored links to websites. Within and without.

(Editor’s note.  I have had to reformat this for the website.  If I have inadvertently misrepresented the sense then please let me know via the Contact Us page.)

Garden Days: Next session Monday 18th June

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.

The patio is starting to look a little tidier which should be appreciated by Centre users.
Clearing the beds.
Clearing ivy from the gutters and roof.
We completely filled the trailer by the end of the day.
The front garden has been neglected and needs a lot of TLC. This bed is filled with fruit bushes and all the promise of a good harvest if the birds don’t eat everything first!



Discernment Day

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.

Thanks to all and watch this space.

Calling all Reception Volunteers.

We have dates for two Reception Volunteer meetings.

  • Wednesday 13th June at 10.00am
  • Friday 22nd June at 10am

The plan is to get the Reception Volunteers together to discuss the issues and have a question and answer/familiarisation session.  We can go through some of the common issues like

  • So, how do I use this fancy phone system?
  • What do I do if someone wants to make a booking or pay for something?
  • How do I print?

We are all finding our feet.  We need to share experiences, gather the questions and work together on the solutions.  We need to improve.

Reception is not an easy role but it is vital.  We all want the Mission to succeed, with a vibrant feel and a full calendar of appropriate events.

We need Reception working to enable the calendar to be built.

If you can come then please help us provide this fundamental service.

Garden Day: Monday 11th June

We are having a garden day from 09:30 to 14:00 on Monday.  If you are free and would like to come and keep us company for a while during that time then please come.

If you have tools then bring them but we will have a selection if you do not.

Bring sandwiches and we will provide tea and coffee.  The forecast is for another glorious day.  There will be plenty of time to make friends and chat.

We will be working with Gary who has kindly volunteered to help direct the work.  Gary hopes to be with us once a week or so.  The plan is to take the garden room by room as it were, starting with the front garden to the house.

Gardens have always been places of contemplation.  There is value to be gained by creating and tending them.


Updates to the Calendar

We are working on building the programme of events.  It is a changing scene so keep your eyes on the calendar or better still subscribe and get the events fed directly to your own electronic calendar.

In the meantime you might like to know about these events.

16-June-2018 A Women’s Day : Touching the Hem of His Garment
Led by Rose McCrave and Florence Begley

6-July-2018 Summer in the Forest : A screening of a new documentary film about L’Arche and the work of Jean Vanier

7-July-2018 An Invitation To The Table Of The Trinity| We explore this profound invitation through Rublev’s exquisite 15thC Holy Trinity Icon.
Led by Donna Worthington & Fr Cosmito Bideri (s.x.)

29-Sept-2018  ‘’Zacchaeus – Come down from the tree!’ (Luke 19:1-10)| Christ’s call – an invitation, a revolution of the heart and a changed society…
Led by Donna Worthington

27-Oct-2018  The healing of Legion (Mark 5:1-20) | In our chaos, the calm and healing Christ sits down beside us.
Led by Donna Worthington

24-Nov-2018  Do not be afraid: Prayer and Facing Fears | As we face our fears, we follow Jesus’ call to be as ‘shrewd as serpents and gentle as doves’.
Led by Donna Worthington

15-Dec-2018  Advent Mystery | A Journey with Mary who gives birth to the Word.
Led by Donna Worthington

Group 49 comes to Preston

The May Bank Holiday found members of HCPT Group 49 in Preston at the new premises of the Xaverian Missionaries (Tabor).  We found ourselves in a beautiful centre – very peaceful and spiritual.  Let me explain our connection of HCPT 49 and Xaverian Missionaries.  Jim Clarke, Provincial of the Order, is also our Group Chaplin and so we were asked to come and see the new centre for a spiritual weekend.  How could we refuse??  The word Spirit had been mentioned.

Usually most people preparing for a weekend retreat bring prayer books, rosaries and such like.  In true 49 fashion we came armed with provisions for our retreat: Cocktail Shaker; mixers; and ice.  The place was about to be christened.  All joking aside on entering the little chapel, we were so overcome we had night prayer there and then which set the tone for our weekend.

Group 49 had a ball and met up with some well kent faces (Michael, Pauline and Tina) for some lunch and refreshments.  Always good to see you.

On Sunday morning the house burglar alarm raised the dead (us), poor John Rogerson had to be resuscitated having us confront him in our PJs and bad hairdos.  I think he can be found in a therapy house in Blackpool.  Angela – watch this space.

But seriously, what a lovely place.  Delighted to be part of it.  We look forward to many more good times in Preston and we wish all good things for the future of the centre and the Xaverians family and friends.  Looking forward to returning to Preston.  Honestly we will behave.

Group 49

Come and help us shape our future: Wed 6th June 10:00

The Xaverians are in a process of redefining our presences, programmes and services offered at both the Conforti Centre/Coatbridge and the Mission Spirituality Centre in Preston in line with our charism and the directives of our recent Regional Chapter.

We are inviting people who wish to be part of what we are hoping to shape to come to a meeting on Wednesday 6th June at 10am where we in Preston can perhaps articulate some of what we feel able to offer here.

There will also be a follow up discernment with the confreres from Coatbridge on 20th June in Preston.

Come and let’s see where the Spirit is leading us.