As I am writing these words, the year is slowly coming to an end. For the wider Minsteracres family 2019 has been a year with many changes. We mourned the loss of Brian, Sr. Cecilia, Teresa, Monty and other dear friends. We also saw the departure of Margaret, Tony and Fr. Aloyce.

On the other hand we welcomed new members into the family. Tina, Pavan and Fr. Jenish joined the resident community. They will hopefully be with us for a couple of years. During the summer Nancy spent some time with us and she hopes to return next year. In the staff team we welcomed Paul, Broaghan, John and Margaret.

In the midst of the changes, the life and ministry of the retreat centre continued. We welcomed many individuals and groups who took part in programmed events, came for an individual retreat or stayed with us as members of groups who used our venue.

With some groups we reflected on discipleship and how we live as followers of Christ. We explored ways in which we can grow in discipleship and discovered that it can be a daring business!

Meanwhile the Bishops of England and Wales have offered us a new theme with their designation of 2020 as the ‘Year of the Word’ and their invitation to focus on the bible and ‘The God who Speaks’.

God speaks to us in many ways; in the experience of everyday life, in the beauty of creation, in the silence of our hearts, through our conscience. As Christians we believe that God speaks to us in a special way through the Scriptures, the Word of God, alive and active. During the coming year we will explore new ways of responding to ‘The God who Speaks’.

In the Letter to the Hebrews we hear that God spoke in various ways to our ancestors but that, as time is coming to an end, he spoke through his Son. ‘The Word became flesh’. That is what we celebrate at Christmas. God came among us in a human being. When we see Jesus we see God. Jesus is the human face of God, speaking words of love and peace.

I hope and pray that the time of Advent and Christmas will give you some space to listen to that voice of peace and that the ‘Year of the Word’ will help to deepen your appreciation of Scripture.

I end by thanking you for your prayers and other ways in which you supported the life and ministry of Minsteracres and hope you will continue to remember us in 2020. On behalf of all at Minsteracres I wish you a peaceful Christmas and many blessings for the New Year.

by Fr. Jeroen Hoogland CP, Rector