Teams Re-Gathering Day 3

Our Last Day

It hardly seems that we have been here for any time at all, and this was our last day together. 

Bishop Patrick McKinney, 10th Bishop of Nottingham spoke to us his own Episcopal Motto – a challenge he set himself as a priest – Seek The Face of Christ. This he declared required “a trustful abandonment to God.”

He also said that in going out to others, “I am going as Christ’s co-worker”.  When he feels as though the spirit has spoken, he talks it through with others, and only after having given it further thought and prayed about it can he  truly discern what the Spirit is asking.

Christ walks with us, so although evangelisation can be scary we need to be courageous in our witness to Him in our daily lives.  Before approaching others it is essential to have a heart to heart with Christ.  Bring all your thoughts and feelings and experiences to Christ at each encounter.

This gave us all much to consider when we discussed the many thoughts that had been stirred up in us since Friday.  Still concentrating on “Serving in Imitation of Mary, how had our views changed over the weekend?  Where had our inspiration come from and where do we think it will lead us?

He shared with us his view of the Mass as a challenge of encouragement and inspiration – the active school of love for neighbour, working with Christ for the transformation of the world. Always aware of the dignity of the each person in the eyes of God.  “We believe that the risen Christ is really here in the Eucharist and is alive in every person”.

Unless the Lord builds, in vain do its builders labour.  Mary said “Do whatever he tells you, so we must ask “Lord, what do you want to see happen?”

When asked how we should support our Priests and Religious, he said, “Pray, communicate and listen to them. Let them feel ‘held’.”  Everything else will follow.

Bishop McKinney was keen on small cell groups, to encourage others and to pray locally.  He values highly the process of listening, discernment and accompaniment. He answered many questions and responded with great consideration and wisdom.  His session was recorded, and hopefully extracts will be made available for our website.

We were also blessed with the closing mass, celebrated by The Right Reverend Paul Mason, 8th Bishop of the Forces who was joined by Father Paul from Togo who had spent the weekend with us all.

(When we saw Bishop Mason earlier in the day, it was in happy remembrance of him smiling gleefully yesterday when his parents got up to dance together as the longest serving Teams couple at the event.  We also noticed him filming them to share in a family chat group.)

His mass, which was supported by the children who performed the Road to Ammaus for us all,  reflected on Genesis “The Fall” and Luke’s “Road to Ammaus”.  In both stories, God went in search of two people.

Adam and Eve, the two, grasped for the fruit of knowledge – to be god-like, but as soon as their eyes were opened they realised that they had done something wrong and hid from Him. He sought them out – we should know that God will always find us. Having done what the did they were banished and driven out of the Garden of Eden.

On the road to Ammaus, the ‘two’ walking away from Jerusalem were found by God in the form of Christ, who they did not recognise.  The stranger who was then walking with them was listening to them and only when He had heard their story, did He talk with them about the scriptures.  They wanted to learn more and invited the stranger to stay with them, and at table he broke the bread and gave it to them.  Their eyes were opened, but in this case instead of walking away from Jerusalem, they returned to where Christ’s story played out and where they could learn more.  They had listened and come to an understanding of what He wanted them to do.

In both stories God has an encounter with people.  He talks with them.  It is this encountering of God, God in the form of Spirit that we can be open to.  Instead of (as in Adam and Eve’s case) acting impetuously and for the wrong reasons, we should (like the two on the road to Ammaus) listen, discuss, discern and come to an understanding of what He is telling us to do.  In this way we can truly do as Our Lady asks us – “Do what he tells you”.

After mass, David and Joanne Harris accepted the Teams GB Aprons of service and the Teams Northern Regional Candle, as they will be taking up the position of Regional Couple for the Northern Region from September as Sue and Paul Rowney step down.

Several of the couples attending had their children with them and Pat and Tony Banks organised their children’s liturgies and activities through the weekend.

It was wonderful to see so many young ones and there were several new teams members who had been in their teams for only a short while.  Their contributions were fresh and inspiring and they brought a new energy to Teams GB.

The list of thanks went on for quite a while because so many people had a hand in helping with the organisation, greeting, leading the music, preparing masses, printing books, and the list goes on.  It was a whole team effort and we look forward to the next time we can all be together.

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