John Peet, former General Secretary of L'Arche UK, is hoping to raise £30,000 by cycling 1500 miles around the UK and visiting every L'Arche Community and Project on the way. The money will go to L'Arche in Zimbabwe, where funds are so desperately needed just to keep the Community going, and to the Projects in Glasgow and Manchester that, with your help, will soon become L'Arche Communities.

Wednesday 11th June 2008

Rest Day in the L'Arche Inverness Community

I had arranged to go to Braerannoch to get a lift from Linda to the Corbett Centre, but slept in longer than expected so abandoned that idea. I made my way directly to the Bike Shop over the bridge. Thanks to Damian at Highland Bikes for tweaking the gears at short notice. Greatly appreciated.

It was then on to see a long-standing friend, Chris Sadler for lunch. Chris is the founder of L'Arche Kerala Community in India and latterly worked in L'Arche Lambeth before moving north. She now practices as a reflexologist and Tai Chi coach. I was interested to hear about a non-violent communication course she is doing.

The rest of the afternoon was spent in the new L'Arche workshop which is now fully operational. In addition to all the resident core members on the Community, it now welcomes a number of local people with learning disabilities. It was one of these, Winston, who was celebrating his birthday today, so a cake was produced and everyone gathered in the back patio area to wish him well. It was so good to see familiar faces of core members from Braerannoch and Soarsa, the other Community houses.

MacTalla was hosting the monthly Community Gathering this evening so by the time I got back, the meeting room had been transformed and guests from other houses were arriving. Members of the Regional Council,- that is all Community Leaders and Regional Co-ordinators, arrived from their meeting at Drumnadrochit on Loch Ness, and after introductions there was a slide show of the Community's pilgrimage to Iona, then a light supper. It was good to see former colleagues, and particularly good not to get involved in any work based discussions! But it was useful to liaise with Community leaders to confirm my arrival date at the yet to be visited Communities.

After all guests had departed, I joined the house for evening prayer at around 9.15. This is normally a daily routine for a L'Arche house, though people are able to join in or not. This started with some music from a CD, which members were encouraged to accompany on a variety of percussion instruments with various degrees of gusto. Jackie really entered the rhythm. Pavel then read from Jean Vanier's book I walk with Jesus, a simplified version of the gospels beautifully illustrated in a simple line drawing, so people can get a sense of the theme of the readings. Then there was a time of prayer when people could express themselves verbally or silently, followed by everyone reciting The Lord's Prayer.

Not only is MacTalla is a very well run house, the neat order and cleanliness of everything is a real credit to Pawel and his team. It's got to be in the running for the best house I've visited. Thanks everyone for making me really welcome, and for going out of your way to making me feel very much at home.

Repeated attempts at uploading photos to the blog before a late bed.

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