Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
It is time to expand on that picture a bit. We will have been here two weeks tomorrow. This week we are fairly busy, involved in the resident students’ orientation week. We started with tea at the Director’s house, which was not the chatty tea party I had been expecting, but was an occasion to share in a deep way, what had been our journey here. Several of the team are fairly new, as well as us and the resident students, so it was helpful to us all to have that sharing time. Today’s activities have varied: building a village of clay in the Art Studio, which was both reflective and enjoyable and resulted in a model village where we could all see spaces we might use and live in; taking a tour of exploration, collecting stars on our chart as we found the right place or notice of hazards or instructions, including two basement spaces in different buildings, and finding places where we are not normally allowed (like the walk in cold store); and one of those group encounter things that I find difficult, and which worked for about half the time for me. We start holding epilogue this evening, to properly bracket the day in worship. We are responsible for making sure it is held, along with Diana the year-long FiR, and will try to engage the students in taking their turn over the next week or so.
One thing that may be different than has been the pattern for previous UK FiRs: we are not to be involved in ‘hosting’ meals, so will not need to know how to use the internal computer systems. We will be involved in normal daily jobs, though, as is everyone in the community.
Outside of Pendle Hill, we have begun to explore a little. Our first Sunday, we walked to the Meeting in Swarthmore College grounds. It is in a huge building, a T- shape able to seat 300, with around 40 there. Friendly meeting, and good cakes afterwards, to sustain us on the walk back.
We borrowed a car for one day, and went out to Longwood Gardens, about 45 minutes’ drive west of here. It is an estate of 400 acres, bought as an arboretum about to be felled and then developed into a garden ranked as one of the outstanding gardens of the world. The plot was transferred to a man named Pierce by William Penn – we saw the actual document on the wall- and bought from the Pierce family and developed into a garden by one of the Du Pont family. We spent most of our time in the conservatory and water lily gardens, with a walk to see the huge fountain display which shows 3 times daily.
We saw Ben Pink Dandelion and Deborah Shaw here, leading a course during last week, and today met Graham Garner, known to UK Friends as the Quaker book shop manager some years ago. We hope to visit him in about a month, in Upper Darby not too far away.
I have started on the first of my patchwork projects for the term, and found a very friendly yarn store where I bought some yarn for making a ‘baby surprise jacket’ for William’s new great nephew.