Report on Launde Abbey Holiday (Nov 2013)
Our Autumn Holiday at Launde Abbey, Leicestershire Fri 1st – Sun 3rd Nov 2013
I imagine for most of us, apart from the pleasure of human company, the real purpose of attending the excellent holidays arranged for us is to find and experience complete tranquillity – to stop and think and to find plenty of time for communion with God. This indeed is what I found on my visit to Launde Abbey. Situated in a charming part of the country, and approached by a ‘road’ the Abbey makes an imposing sight. Surrounded by grazing sheep, who stare suspiciously when approached the only other life appears to be pheasants……As the Abbey is sited in a gentle valley mobile telephone reception is not obtainable and without television or radio the sense of isolation is complete. Although an ardent Arsenal supporter I had to wait until Monday’s newspapers to find out how they had fared against Liverpool on Saturday – strangely enough I wasn’t too concerned – although when I heard they had won I was very pleased !
I understand we were a small party this time, numbering around 14, and our accommodation was in the Abbey itself – not the Stables as last year. Consequently we were beautifully warm and, as usual, the food was absolutely superb. We were received in such a friendly fashion by Brenda – who works so tirelessly and conscientiously to make our time together so successful. She found herself on her own as Howard had experienced car problems and wasn’t now expected until Saturday. As a real trouper though she guided us through the welcome and introductions and induced a feeling of spirituality that would remain with us throughout. Most of us were present last year and it was case of greeting old friends, just three newcomers I believe in the form of Margaret Heather and Janet. Bed for most of us was extremely welcome.
Saturday dawned and I learned a lesson – don’t eat too much of the very appetising breakfast because lunch is only a few hours away…….The spiritual sessions I personally found extremely helpful. Various members of our party took part – Margaret with a prayer, a most delightful prayer by Heather – complete with actions, a reading from Janet and a number of contributions from Linda.For those interested the official afternoon outing was to Burghley House, but in effect we really ‘did our own thing’. Some of us did local visitation – Margaret for instance visited the nearby village of Melton where she believed one of her ancestors lived and, in fact, founded the pub in the village. I don’t know if she got a free drink there………… Others of us travelled to Burghley – a most magnificent estate but spoiled rather by a cloud burst that drenched us as we arrived. Some went in the house and others went into the tea shop – but I didn’t hear of anyone walking the grounds !!! The evening was spent in riotous living – so to speak. Brenda and Sarah between them had introduced the ‘noughts and crosses ‘ game. This involves a certain amount of movement between chairs accompanied by shouts and laughter. A musical item and a reading finalised our evening and we departed for bed very tired but happy.
The in-house service Sunday morning was very much appreciated. Organised and planned by Brenda at short notice the message was given by the husband of the Warden, also a vicar. He was very entertaining with his delivery and spoke of his personal experiences in Syria (?) besides working through the Lord’s Prayer – complete with props of a crook and staff. A gargantuan meal again – roast beef and ham this time and then it was departure time.Many friendships were cemented and forged anew in just barely three days. That is the wonderful thing about the Christian faith – we are joined together in our love for God – and it’s put together, planned and implemented by our leaders Brenda and Howard, to whom our grateful and sincere thanks I gladly record here. Here’s to the next time.Eric Rapp
Many thanks to Eric for his excellent report! SF