At the centre of your being you have the answer, you know who you are and you know what you want ~ Lao Tzu

Saturday, March 2

Focus on Life - Week 9


Oh my, week 9 already in Sally Russick's Focusing on Life photos challenge...

This week's prompt is Knock, Knock... a picture of a door, or a gate...

I knew exactly which door I was going to photograph as soon as I read the prompt...


This is the door to St Wulfram's, Grantham's parish church, which is almost a mini cathedral, and shows what a significant place Grantham was, when the church was first built in the 1300s.

But it has a very personal meaning for me, as I have returned recently to the Anglican Church, with which I have had a very long, often stormy, relationship!

I discovered, by chance, that St Wulfram's offers an Iona community communion service every other Wednesday, and so I have been attending for the last couple of months...


Crossing this threshold (not easy, as they have to open these impressively huge double doors, and put down a ramp, for me to drive my scooter in), marks a deeply significant homecoming for me to the Church of my childhood, and I am deeply grateful to the friendly helpers who have warmly welcomed me.



I was in the choir in my village church growing up - it was a place of safety and refuge.

I was very active in St Aldate's, a vibrant evangelical church, when in college reading Theology.

I went to Kenya for a year to be a missionary at a Bible College in 1987, where I met Nick, my future husband.

I took a Master's Degree at a seminary in California, when we were first married.

I trained to be a lay Reader when we returned to England, and was dedicated in the very impressive Southwell Minster.

But sadly, this is where it all became unstuck...

I thought I was being called to the ministry... but the Bishop of Southwell, at that time, was anti women clergy! The more involved I became in our local church in Newark, the more I felt the higher powers in the diocese against me...

The more I questioned the Anglican Church's (not our local church's per se) official stance on women, gays, and any who didn't conform to nice, middle-class values, the more I felt alienated, and eventually, closed off from the God I had known only as a safe place, a shelter, since childhood.

And, for more than a decade, I have been searching to find a god by whom I could feel comforted, and to whom I could feel connected.

I have been on a long spiritual journey and have finally realized the God I feel closest to, is the intimate Mystery encountered by the medieval mystics; the awesome Creator worshipped by Celtic communities, like the one at Iona. In fact, the God worshipped in the often wacky carvings, and the always lofty gothic structures, of the Church of England.

There is still a lot deeply disturbing about the organized Anglican Church, but there is, as always, pockets of sanctuary... and I am thankful that I have found one in this gloriously impressive church just down the road...



















22 comments:

thewovenspoke said...

Awesome photo and doorway. good choice. I'm glad you found your way back thru.

Cynthia@Ornamental Style said...

Very impressive and beautiful church. I can't imagine what it's like living so close to this historical church. I'm happy that you were able to find your way back to something that meant so much to you.

Beti Horvath said...

Impressive doors and a lovely, soul searching story. May you continue to find peace where you seek it.

Lori @ Studio Waterstone said...

What beautiful images and I'm so glad that you're finding your way again.

Islandgirl said...

The stonework on that doorway is very similar to someone elses photograph.. however the scrollwork on your door is much more ornate! Interesting story.

LoriF said...

Beautiful! And I'm so glad for you that you have found a sanctuary in the storm. Some day, not so many years down the road, some churches will be horrified by what they've done to the people in their care...as we are by the Inquisition.

AntiquityTravelers said...

Gorgeous photography, and beautiful church! But so sorry to hear that sometimes the people who are supposed to be the 'word of God' are not in fact living it. So glad you found a new sanctuary.

Alicia said...

Ah, a beautiful church - on days like this (when I e-travel through the world) I miss Europe the most. There is nothing that compares to the old, medieval or antiquity places. I am glad you found your way back, and I hope it brings you peace.

Shel said...

What an amazing Church and an amazing journey you've been on. The photographs you've taken are spectacular! I'm happy for you that you've walked back through those beautiful doors to a sanctuary where you feel safe and welcome again.

Katherine at Terra Beadworks said...

Your post is very moving and thought provoking on whether it is the church or the people who make up the church that we crave. What a beautiful door leading into a magnificent church! I hope you find the peace you are looking for.

EB Bead and Metal Works, LLC said...

Impressive and gorgeous dooreways! Thanks so much for sharing!

Becky Pancake said...

Awesome pics and a touching story.

Mary K. McGraw said...

The doors to this church have a lot of meaning to you as per your story. Thanks for sharing. I am so glad you have found a community again.

Paula, Chief Bead Officer said...

Magestic! And even more profound given your history which you so generously shared.

Bonnie said...

Thanks for sharing your story and the church door.

Janet Bocciardi said...

I am glad you've found a place to call home. Beautiful church!

Tanya said...

Those are gorgeous photos and your church is beautiful. I'm glad you found it as well.

Annette said...

Your post brought tears to my eyes as I have been on a quest to find the right doors to walk through again. I'm so glad you found it.

Kashmira said...

Thanks so much for sharing so much about your journey to this beautiful door! Am glad you found this place.

poppy m said...

Great photos. Glad you dont have to far to travel in your scooter to the service.You'll hv to move to Herefordshire - the county with the most female vicars in England & bishops who is retiring early as a protest to no women bishops anuytime soon.M

Marlene Cupo said...

Inspiring that you have found your way back through those doors, and knowing He was with you all along your journey back.

Courtney said...

Thank you for sharing your post!Beatiful shots and I am glad you have found your way again. :)