Okay, we would say “two weeks” in the United States, but since he spent that time in England we’ll use the British term “fortnight.”
Anyway, he spent that amount of time recently in England at four different places.
First, he attended the annual retreat of the Fellowship of Christ the Healer. This is a gathering of leaders of major healing centers in England. The group meets to update each other as to what God is doing in their ministries and to pray in-depth for each other. Canon Mark attends about every two or three years in combination with speaking and ministry in various places in England. Each time he brings back some ideas for our healing center and is encouraged and empowered by the prayers of the others.
Second, he spent two days at Harnhill Centre for Christian Healing in a little village outside Cirencester, near Gloucester, in England’s west country. Classical and church music lovers might find it interesting that Harnhill is just a few miles away from the village of Down Ampney, where composer Ralph Vaughan Williams lived for many years. Over the years the vision of Church of England priest the Rev. Canon Arthur Dodds has unfolded into a center of healing, counseling, and teaching.
Canon Mark presided and preached at the Friday morning healing Eucharist attended by nearly 100 people. On Saturday he led a day-long conference on the subject of using the gifts of the Holy Spirit in ministry. In the photo are him with some of the Harnhill leadership.
Third, he preached on the Sunday morning in the parish church of the Somerset village of Nether Stowey and that evening in the church of the tiny country hamlet of Goathurst. (See photo of Nether Stowey church.)
Years ago on one of his early ministry trips to England, Canon Mark met a solicitor (lawyer, to us) named Stephen Morley. Years later Mr. Morley felt led of God to train for ordination in the Church of England. He did a three week “placement” as a chaplain intern at New Creation Healing Center and was ordained a priest in Wells Cathedral on July 2, 2011. Canon Mark was there as a presenter and in sharing in the laying-on-of-hands of ordination. (See photo of the newly ordained priest with Canon Mark and the Bishop of Taunton who presided.) Steve joined the ministry team of a six church cluster centered around Nether Stowey as one of the priests.
Fourth, Canon Mark went to the far west area of North Devonshire to teach a four day conference at Lee Abbey. (Readers of classical English literature may have read the book Lorna Doone which mentions both Lee Abbey and the area immediately around it.) Lee Abbey is a large manor house and was the site of a school evacuted from London during the Second World War. Since then it has become a very large retreat and conference center. Canon Mark led a conference on Christian Healing ministry for four days.
But he was not yet done! It’s not uncommon for churches in England to take a sizeable number of their parishioners off for a retreat weekend and Canon Mark was asked to lead such a weekend for the Nether Stowey cluster of churches.
Then the fortnight drew to a close. On the way to the airport he wondered if the flight home would be — please Jesus! — uneventful given his recent experiences in trying to leave London. Four years back his was the last flight out of Heathrow before the airport was shut for a rare English snowstorm. The pilots of the airplane, flying for Northwest Airlines and based in Minneapolis, convinced air traffic control that, yes, they could quite handily roar down a runway with snow on it! Then, in April of 2010, the Icelandic volcanic eruption grounded him in London for a week.
Canon tried to elicit sympathy from people back in the U.S. for his being stranded. However, his emails reported he was having fun with friends, taking in lots of London sites, and having fish, chips and a tankard of ale every night in a British pub. His “pity me” please fell on deaf ears.
Once again, it is the financial assistance Institute for Christian Renewal newsletter readers and friends provide that makes his ministry trips possible. Thank you so much.