morning bell: 3000 series

Earlier this year we realised that sometime around now we must be posting the 3000th Morning Bell! We began sending it out as a text message in 2008, converting it in 2012 into a visual image. In the next few months we’ll be returning to some of our earlier visual series, and sharing some vintage Morning Bells. Thank you for traveling with us, whatever the point at which you joined us.

 

 

 

Our aim remains as it was at the beginning, in the spirit of the praying monastics to enter stillness on even the busiest of days, seeking that still point of our belovedness from which everything tough may be faced, and from which everything good can emerge.

This start to the 3000 series features a series of images and text originally  posted in September 2012. The photos for the series are a mix from Andrea Harding and Ian Adams, and feature the holy islands of  Lindisfarne and Iona. The text invites us to follow Jesus the Christ in the spirit and footsteps of saints of those islands such as Aidan and Cuthbert. The bell on the 3000 Morning Bells image is at Westcott House Cambridge.

Grace and peace to you for the ongoing journey…
Ian & Gail

There are various other ways to access Morning Bell each day:

Tumblr / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

 

If you find Morning Bell helpful please considering making a donation towards our work. Friends and supporters we are very grateful for all your help and encouragement!

 

Unfurling cover final - Version 3

Ian’s latest collection of poems Unfurling is out now in paperback and e-format on Canterbury Press, also via your local bookshop, via Kindle and all usual online sources including Book Depository with free delivery world-wide.

 

Read More

Morning Bell: Thy Kingdom Come

Our series for the period from Ascension day until Pentecost is taking the theme Thy Kingdom Come, joining in with a global prayer movement which has grown out of an invitation of the Archbishops’ of Canterbury and York in 2016 to the Church of England to engage in prayer. Thy Kingdom Come is now an international and ecumenical call to prayer. In praying ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ says Archbishop Justin, we all commit to playing our part in the renewal of the nations and the transformation of communities.

 

 

The images for the series are all from a visit Ian made in 2016 to Norwich and Norfolk. Ian has written a blog post for Thy Kingdom Come, asking What happens when we pray Thy Kingdom Come?

May this Ascensiontide be a season in which our love for Jesus the Christ is deepened, and our prayer renewed…
Grace and peace to you
Ian & Gail

There are various other ways to access Morning Bell each day:

Tumblr / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

 

If you find Morning Bell helpful please considering making a donation towards our work. Friends and supporters we are very grateful for all your help and encouragement!

 

Unfurling cover final - Version 3

Ian’s latest collection of poems Unfurling is out now in paperback and e-format on Canterbury Press, also via your local bookshop, via Kindle and all usual online sources including Book Depository with free delivery world-wide.

 

Read More

Morning Bell: You Are The Light

Welcome to a new series of Morning Bell – a chance each day to experience stillness, to explore contemplation and to enter prayer. In the northern hemisphere we are now deep into Autumn, the hours of darkness lengthening each day. In this series You Are The Light we are returning (as we will continue to do) to the Beatitudes, perhaps the core wisdom teachings of Jesus.

 

you-are-the-light-flyer

 

Our experience is that the Beatitudes don’t get the attention they deserve. Perhaps because they are so demanding. You may know the famous quotation by GK Chesterton: the Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried. We sense that the Beatitudes may be a good place to begin or to renew our trying.

The photographs in You Are The Light were all made by Ian around the waterfront in Plymouth. They have just been shown at the North Cornwall Book Festival. Together they form a meditation on the Beatitudes and related sayings of Jesus in chapters 5 & 6 of Matthew’s Gospel, including sayings in which light is the main theme. We think that they are really important in this context. We may be familiar with Jesus’s claim to be the light of the world. Perhaps less familiar with his saying you are the light of the world.

The Beatitudes are demanding but potentially transformative. How might they reshape us for good? And what kind of world might they be calling into being? The light the world needs is yours. You are the light of the world. Let your light shine. And your whole body will be full of light…

Thank you for sharing the spiritual path with us. May grace, peace and light find you…

Ian & Gail

 

There are various other ways to access Morning Bell each day:

Tumblr / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

If you find Morning Bell helpful please considering making a donation towards our work. Friends and supporters we are very grateful for all your help and encouragement!

 

Unfurling cover final - Version 3

Ian’s latest collection of poems Unfurling is out now in paperback and e-format on Canterbury Press, also via your local bookshop, via Kindle and all usual online sources including Book Depository with free delivery world-wide.

Read More

Morning Bell: Song of the Wilderness – a series for Advent

Our series for Advent is working with phrases from some canticles (songs) of the Church for the season. The canticles themselves draw on scripture, with the opening canticle in this series ‘A Song of the Wilderness’ borrowing lines and ideas from the book of Isaiah (chapter 35.) The images for the series were all made in November on a stretch of the Cornwall coast. Most of the time the weather was coming in at the horizontal – giving a little hint of wilderness!

 

Advent flyer

 

Advent is a time for waiting and for preparation, for self-awareness and for action. We encourage you to allow the words and images to shape your stillness and prayer. And so may you be blessed this Advent…

Grace and peace to you
Ian & Gail

 

There are various other ways to access Morning Bell each day:

Tumblr / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Flickr / Eyeem

 

Unfurling cover final - Version 3Flyer for Autumn 2015 gigs v2

Ian’s latest collection of poems Unfurling is out now in paperback and e-format on Canterbury Press, also via your local bookshop, via Kindle and all usual online sources including Book Depository with free delivery world-wide.

Read More

Morning Bell: Ecclesiastes series (for everything a season)

This series of Morning Bell is working with a well-known passage from Ecclesiastes, one of the wisdom books of the Hebrew scriptures and the Christian Old Testament. The writer of Ecclesiastes (‘the Teacher’ – probably writing in the 3rd century BC) ponders the absurdity and the goodness of life. Ecclesiastes can seem care-worn, even cynical: ‘All is vanity’. ‘All things are wearisome’ and ‘there is nothing new under the sun’. But it is full also of possibility: ‘Light is sweet’. ‘Banish anxiety from your mind’ and ‘remember your creator.’ It is a book, we sense, for our demanding times, and one to which Morning bell will return.

 

 

 

 

For us, each line is as much a question as it is a proclamation. And the book is both deeply personal and absolutely communal. For you and for me. And for the world. It asks us – how do you want things to be? And how will you play your part in the shaping of a better world now?

The images for the series were all taken on Iona by Ian, most of them this past summer on the Beloved Life ‘Unfurling’ week with the Iona Community. We invite you to join us in spending time each day in the company of Ecclesiastes, and in the setting of Iona, a place that invites both big questions and deep faith. In stillness and prayer may we discover a renewed sense of hope for ourselves and for the world.

Grace and peace to you
Ian & Gail

 

There are various other ways to access Morning Bell each day:

Tumblr / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Flickr / Eyeem

 

Unfurling cover final - Version 3

Ian’s latest collection of poems Unfurling is out now in paperback and e-format on Canterbury Press, also via your local bookshop, via Kindle and all usual online sources including Book Depository with free delivery world-wide.

Read More

Cave Refectory Road 6: rhythm of life

 

Rhythm of Life continues our second year of spiritual practice in Beloved Life. Working with ideas from Ian’s book Cave Refectory Road: monastic rhythms for contemporary living we are exploring how ancient practices from the Jesus tradition might be a gift in our own times and in our own places, helping to bring about the kind of better world that Jesus described as the ‘kingdom of heaven’ coming near.

‘The traditional monastic rule of life helps the monk to enter into the flows of minute and hour, of day and night, of dawn and dusk, of day and week, of season and feast day and, ultimately, of life and death. This is life lived to a different measure, with different priorities. We want to suggest that the monastic rule of life can be reinterpreted and embraced as a rhythm of life that will enable us to give attention to what truly matters, and to re-imagine human being…’

 

Cave Refectory Road - rhythm of life
Cave Refectory Road – rhythm of life

‘The monastic rhythm of life cultivates a different approach to time. It redefines the task as not just a means to an end, but as something to do because it is in itself both necessary and good. Its particular and brilliant gift is to carve out space for what is truly important…’

©Ian Adams ‘Cave Refectory Road: monastic rhythms for contemporary living’ (Canterbury Press and Liturgical Press USA)

Look out for short daily posts around this latest theme on Facebook and Twitter. We’ll be doing the practices wherever we are, and we’ll look forward to hearing how you get on – do let us know!

Unfurling: poems
Unfurling: poems

Ian’s latest collection of poems Unfurling is out now in paperback and e-format on Canterbury Press, also via your local bookshop, and all usual online sources including  Book Depository  with free delivery world-wide.

Read More

Beloved Life retreats: Scargill, Oxford and Iona

 

We’re halfway through our retreat/event programme for 2015 – and it’s been a great experience. Thank you so much to everyone who has joined us at Scargill, Oxford and on Iona and for your thoughtful and passionate engagement with us. It’s wonderful  to explore the spiritual path together. Here’s a few photos – you can see more on our Facebook page.

a Scargill Unfurling session
a Scargill Unfurling session
the chapel at Scargill
the chapel at Scargill
Oxford walk together
Oxford walk 
Oxford body prayer
Oxford body prayer
cloister conversation Iona
cloister conversation Iona
St Columba's Bay Iona
St Columba’s Bay Iona

We are looking forward to more retreats coming up at Ammerdown, Sheldon and Glastonbury. Hope to see you in the still space somewhere soon!

Ian & Gail

 

 

Read More

morning bell: wall

 

A new Morning Bell series begins tomorrow – ‘wall’. Ian has always been drawn to take photographs of surfaces, This series features a favourite old wall in the South West of England. We are always amazed at how the act of paying attention to something apparently mundane as a wall can be full of wisdom for life.

 

Morning bell: Wall series
Morning bell: Wall series

 

As always our intention with Morning Bell is for the image and short text to complement each other. We hope that this new series will enable you to step with us into stillness and prayer each day, and open up new possibilities for bringing good to the world in the way and spirit of Jesus the Christ.

Grace and peace to you this Trinity season…
Ian & Gail

There are various other ways to access Morning Bell each day:

Tumblr / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Flickr / Eyeem

Unfurling: poems
Unfurling: poems

Ian’s latest collection of poems Unfurling is out now in paperback and e-format on Canterbury Press, also via your local bookshop, via Kindle and all usual online sources including Book Depository with free delivery world-wide.

Read More

Icons of the Beloved Life: Jesus with St Menas

 

‘I strike a match, bring the flame to the candle, watch it take. I kiss the icon. A kiss of greeting, recognition, humility, affection and yes, of love. And then a pause. How natural, how earthy, how good this seems. This practice of the Orthodox church has become part of my life. I’m an iconophile, I’m an iconodule, I love icons. I believe that they are a great gift of the ancient and unfolding Jesus tradition, simultaneously suggesting an alternative way to see the world for what it truly is – an earthly-heavenly paradise – and opening ways for us live that paradise to the full wherever we are…’*

 

icon of Jesus & St Menas
icon of Jesus & St Menas

We’ve been asked frequently about the icon on our website that we use as our social media avatar. It’s  a reproduction of a sixth-century Egyptian icon of Jesus with Saint Menas commonly known as the icon of “Jesus and his friend.” The original is at the Louvre museum in Paris, and a copy is used in prayer at the Church of Reconciliation, the home of the Taizé Community. We love it very much…

*This reflection by Ian Adams is from ‘Running Over Rocks: spiritual practices to transform tough times’ (Canterbury Press) in which the gift of icons – and other ancient spiritual practices of the Jesus tradition – are explored further.

Read More

Cave Refectory Road 3: to the cave

 

We continue our second year of spiritual practice in Beloved Life. Working with ideas from Ian’s book Cave Refectory Road: monastic rhythms for contemporary living we are exploring how ancient practices from the Jesus tradition might be a gift in our own times and in our own places, helping to bring about the kind of better world that he described as the ‘kingdom of heaven’ coming near. Whether entered into in the company of others or in solitude, the practice of stillness, study and prayer – what we are referring to as the cave – became firmly established as a central feature of religious life from the very beginning, shaping every monastic movement since. So what might cave-dwelling look like for us now?

 

Cave Refectory Road: to the cave
Cave Refectory Road: to the cave

We cannot summon up the spirit of God. We cannot create a holy moment. We cannot manipulate the divine. What we can do is enter a cave, and help to clear a space for the possibility of encounter. In the Jesus tradition every place is a potential encounter place, every space a sacred space. The journey to the cave is a tough one, but it must not be avoided. And in time, with openness and dedication, we may discover that the dark cave is actually filled with light…

©Ian Adams ‘Cave Refectory Road: monastic rhythms for contemporary living’ (Canterbury Press and Liturgical Press USA)

Look out for short daily posts around the week’s theme on Facebook and Twitter. We’ll be doing the practices wherever we are, and we’ll look forward to hearing how you get on – do let us know!

Unfurling: poems
Unfurling: poems

Ian’s new collection of poems Unfurling is out now in paperback and e-format on Canterbury Press, also via your local bookshop, and all usual online sources including  Book Depository  with free delivery world-wide.

 

Read More