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.
Tabor is no longer a Carmelite Retreat House. The signs outside say it is but it isn’t. So, a couple of months ago I offered to make some temporary signs. I spend a little time doing ceramics at Preston College and am often looking for a project.
The immediate issue was to change Carmelite to Xaverians so I decided to make some ceramic tiles to the following design.
Clay shrinks alarmingly when it dries and again when it is fired. The first problem was to work out exactly how much bigger the tiles had to be when wet so that at the end they would shrink to the right size.
Clay can be fired to earthenware or stoneware. Earthenware is prone to frost damage but the range of colours for decorating stoneware is dull and restricted. I had to accept that the colourful logo would be less bright on the tiles.
Here are the undecorated tiles in preparation. They are made in a white stoneware clay with a grey slip applied. If I ever do this again I will be sure to do at least two coats of slip instead of one.
The next step was carving out the letter and shapes in the half dried (leather hard) clay after which they were fired to ‘biscuit’.
The tiles tend to curl because of stresses left in the clay from the rolling and drying. Please believe me when I tell you that your bathroom tiles are a miracle of modern technology.
The underglazes then need to be applied. This is a painstaking process of mixing and careful painting – a stray blob is almost impossible to redeem. Once the underglaze is on a clear glaze can be applied over all the tiles. This is best done with a spray gun.
Then the tiles are fired for the second time. Firing takes at least two days. Accidents can happen in firing. Your pieces can literally explode or the glaze can run and weld your piece to the shelf only to be separated with hammer and chisel. The shelf normally survives.
There is excitement and dismay waiting when the kiln is opened but these tiles survived if not quite in the intended colours and with a few unexplained mottled patches.
Finally they were stuck on. In a day or so once the adhesive has cured I will grout them in a grey tile cement.
The signs are temporary until the Xaverians decide on permanent signage.
We have updated the website page on the history of the Xaverians in Preston. Rather than history in the form of dates and events we have two personal accounts from the past that say something to us today.
Joseph Cooper is running three creative workshops based on his course at Schumacher.
Each session is self-contained. No skills or previous experiences are required – just a willingness to take part.
This is about people (re)discovering and expressing the creativity that resides within them, making connections, finding what is most important to them and learning how to become more resilient through the creative arts.
The details of the sessions, including the booking form, are on the calendar but save these dates if you are interested 8th, 15th and 22nd of June. Each session lasts 2 hours starting at 7pm.
These sunny days have brought out the best. Today Donna Worthington led a well attended Saturday retreat on the theme “Water into Wine” and Jim has been leading a weekend retreat for members of Group 49.
Group 49 is part of the Hosana House Children’s Pilgrimage Trust (HCPT). This weekend some of the group came down from Coatbridge for an evaluation weekend .
The Xaverians have been involved, not just with HCPT but also working as Chaplains to a Special Needs school. The partnership promotes building community and reminding us that we are all sons and daughters of the same Father. The New Xaverian presence in Preston was a welcome space for reflection and prayer.
The sunshine may go but the warmth of our love for one another will stay.
Amongst the resources to be found at the Xaverian Mission Spirituality Centre is a small library. The majority of the books are on the theme of Christian spirituality. Those of you who are old Tabor hands may know them well.
The collection belonged to Betty Lynch who died in August 2014. Betty was a regular, often daily, attender at Tabor and she is greatly missed. The library was set up in honour of her memory.
The library is currently housed in the corridor adjacent to the conservatory. It may move in the coming months so do ask at reception if you are unsure.
Please feel free to browse and if you would like to borrow a book then make a record in the notebook provided and sign them back in again on return.
We hope you enjoy sharing in Betty’s legacy to Tabor.
We are sorry about the repetition in the News Digest and will spend a little time trying to fix the problem before the next Digest goes out. The system is supposed only to send out news items posted since the last Digest but in fact it seems to be posting both new and old.
If anyone wants to write something for the News that would be good. It could be anything, a prayer, a hope, an intention or an experience. You can be anonymous or not as you chose . Let us know.
In addition to the events advertised on the website there have been a few private events this week including a well attended event for a group of refugees and a large party from a local sixth form college who came for a day of reflection.
The week ended with the second of Fr Bideri’s retreats in the series on the theme of Unconditional Love which was nicely echoed by the sermon at a certain wedding today.
The sermon, given by Bishop Michael Curry of the American Episcopal Church, included this sentence which he delivered with the power of a trumpet blast… “We must discover the power of love, the power, the redemptive power of love, and when we discover that we will be able to make of this old world a new world.” Just think about that for a moment. It’s true isn’t it – he said it right.
We wish them well.
It has been a quiet week and yet there are things going on behind the scenes.
Those who kindly offered to help out on the reception desk enabled this important service to start operating this week. We expect to continue with a regular reception service over this coming week and over the next few weeks hope to build up the number of volunteers. If you can offer a little time then please let us know.
In the background there is work going on to establish the processes and policies to support reception.
The week ended with the first retreat in the series on ‘The Spirituality of Unconditional Love’, held on Saturday 12th May. If anyone was unable to attend this first session but wants to join the course then please contact Fr Bideri.