We spent most of last week on 'Study Holiday' at Hare Street in Hertfordshire. This is the Country house of the Archbishop of Westminster and also was once the home of Mgr Robert Hugh Benson who was a famous convert to the Catholic faith from Anglicanism, preacher and author of books such as 'Lord of the World'.
The picture on the left was taken in the chapel in which Mgr Benson is buried which is also within the grounds.
We're most grateful to the Cardinal for letting us use his house - what a marvelous place to be staying! You can read a bit more about it here.
The focus of the week was to grow as a community by learning about communication and what sorts of things can go wrong... for this we were led through varied and entertaining activities by Vron, a friend and colleague of Fr Alex from his previous parish.
There were many highlights, but some of the communication games we played were particularly enlightening (and amusing!) In one such game, we were split into pairs sitting with our backs to each other. One of us had the outline of a map, while the other had the full version. We had about ten minutes to try and communicate with each other to complete all the roads and landmarks on the incomplete map. One of the difficulties was competing with the rival descriptions of the other groups in order to make yourself heard! Our neck-straining attempts to hear and listen to the words of our partner really brought home our usual reliance on non-verbal communication. With this taken away, the results were quite entertaining!
In another favourite we were split into two groups, given a huge sheet of paper and a pen each and told to draw a house - with absolutely no communication allowed. Again the results were amusing - and we had to deal with the frustration of someone else doodling all over your bit of the picture - or even someone changing the whole theme half-way through by introducing some Christmas decorations (oops!)
The evenings were a chance to chill out, chat, and play whatever games came to mind - such as Catholic Charades. On Thursday evening Fr Alex joined us again and we squashed into the pub across the road for a drink: