Northumbria Retreat

It is lovely for our church website to have many voices, representing the many people who worship together from Marsden and Slaithwaite with East Scammonden. Today we have some art and a reflection from Ali Baxter. This was written during Lent on a retreat at Nether Springs, the home of the Northumbria Community. Ali has offered her own artwork, and something of the experience of being a channel of God’s love for those around her.

…by Ali Baxter

Dear Friends in Christ, just before our country went into the present lockdown situation, I was fortunate to attend a Retreat at Nether Springs, the Mother Home of The Northumbria Community. The led Retreat theme was ‘Blessing People and Places’ and although I was actually there to do my ‘own thing’, it too became an important aspect for me.

On the first evening of introductions, two individuals and a couple shared some profound information about aspects of their lives currently faced. Later when reading a hymn God showed me verses to share with them. In the morning I shared the individual verses and was used by God to reach out to and bless each of them in their circumstances. In all of my Christian years it is not something I have been used to doing and it took me courage to know I was doing the right thing. Later as I reflected it felt profound that God had used little me for his work!

Ali Baxter in a hammock, on retreat at Nether Springs

God continued to show me how I am a blessing to others through conversations during the week and some of the reflective writings I was doing. I spent time lying in my hammock amongst the woods at Nether Springs enjoying God’s creation. It was peaceful and lovely to hear the birds singing their praises to God. Whilst in my hammock I was reminded of a service / production I once saw involving pieces of wood attached together and used in different ways to reflect the life of Jesus.

Wood and Nails: Original artwork by Ali Baxter

I am not an artist, though enjoy being creative and learning new skills. The painting has many imperfections. It depicts the life of Jesus. I hoped and prayed this Eastertide that through this painting God will speak to you and bless you. A number of the individual pictures in the painting are open to interpretation. There are some common elements within each picture – maybe you can spot them. Nether Springs have a copy to continue blessing those who live, work and visit there.

Northumbria Community closed its doors to the outside world as we left the Retreat to protect their home due to the current Coronavirus Pandemic. They have lots of online resources available on their website (link) if you are interested. God’s blessings to you all, Ali ><>

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