Christmas Newsletter 2016 from the Benedictines of Holy Trinity Monastery, Howton Grove Priory, Hereford
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The full sun shining on the earth (NASA photo)
The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1.5)

With prayers and best wishes
for a very happy Christmas
and every blessing in the New Year


2016 in Review


This may not have been the easiest of years for us, either individually or as a community, but we would still wish to count our blessings rather than dwell on the negative.
      We have welcomed a new Associate (novice oblate), always a joy, and have seen a steady increase in our online community — despite the hiccups caused by a major cyber attack on our web sites in June. We were surprised by the virulence and sophistication of the attack which was of a kind more usually seen on corporate sites. As a result, we are having our sites monitored 24/7 by a specialist company to ensure that you can visit them safely.
      We have also welcomed a new dog to the community following the death of our beloved Bro Duncan PBGV in July. Touri, (online name/Twitter account @BroDyfrigBFdeB) is a Basset Fauve de Bretagne. He has a lovely, lively personality and is occasionally referred to as The Ginger Fiend. Meanwhile Bro Duncan continues to tweet from Beyond and has entrusted to D. Catherine the work of completing his book from the papers he left behind.
Bro Duncan PBGV above; Bro Dyfrig BFdeB below

Buildings and Finances

As regards bricks and mortar, we can record that we finally got the courtyard drainage sorted out so that our fellow barn-dwellers can now walk dry-shod to their houses. We ourselves did some restoration work on the gazebo, turning it into a quiet place of prayer in the garden while someone (no names!) decided that some old tyres, suitably repainted, would make an 'interesting' addition to the end of the garden. Our greatest extravagance was probably the purchase of some Wegner chairs for the oratory. We can now sit in style even if we don’t exactly sing in style!
      The repair work to the front entrance has turned out to be more extensive than we had hoped as rot was discovered in some of the woodwork. The whole of the haywain entrance glass and much of the woodwork is now being replaced, so there will have to be a little belt-tightening in 2017!
      Having said that, we are pleased to report that we have now repaid nearly all the Charitable Bond we issued to help finance the purchase of this house. Like everyone else, though, we are hoping there won’t be a surge in interest rates before we have paid off the bank loan.
The oratory showing one of our new chairs;
the gazebo; some recycled tyres used as planters;
the haywain entrance under repair.


D. Catherine’s illness has inevitably had an impact on community life. Many invitations to give talks, contribute articles or take part in radio or T.V. programmes have had to be turned down, but we were able to participate in the Pentecost edition of BBC One’s Songs of Praise and make a short retreat in Norfolk, which was a great restorer of spirits.
      Friends always play an important part in our community life and, along with our Trustees, have helped us cope with numerous difficulties. D. Catherine has had three unscheduled hospital admissions since mid-September and, as D. Lucy cannot drive, we would have been at a loss had they not generously driven us hither and thither.

Our Christmas Hope and Prayer

If we look beyond our own community, there is great sadness and pain in the world. The sufferings of Syria and Yemen have occupied our minds and hearts, as well as tragedies nearer home and the general sense of insecurity and hopelessness that affects so many. It is good to remember that darkness is not the whole story. The Light that came into the world at Christmas still shines brightly. We rejoice and give thanks. May that Light illumine the way ahead for you, both now and throughout the coming year.

Copyright © 2016 Trustees of Holy Trinity Monastery
a charitable company limited by guarantee and registered in England and Wales, Company No. 7487215
Registered Charity No. 1144001. All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Holy Trinity Monastery
Howton Grove Priory, 1-2 Howton Grove Barns, Wormbridge, Herefordshire, HR2 9DY

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