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Sunday, 26 April 2009

Remembering Cathol

Today we are remembering a dear friend, Cathol Sutherland, one of the founding fathers of L'Arche Inverness, who died one year ago, on the 33rd anniversary of his coming to L'Arche. Cathol was the Highland heart of our community, often to be found in full kilted garb, walking the grounds of Braerannoch, bagpipes in hand. He was also a beautiful model of what it means to follow Jesus, and he strongly identified himself as a disciple. A welcoming friend to many of us and a much loved member of his family, we still miss his presence among us. Although we feel sad he is not physically with us, we know that this is not the end of the story for Cathol, and it is indeed also in stories that he lives on.

Below is a picture from the 30th Anniversary celebrations of our community. Roddy Ross came to play the pipes for us, and a huge ice-cream cake had just been served. Cathol was able to indulge his twin passions! As Roddy marched up and down the hall, he was followed by Cathol, marching and eating his ice cream. When I think of Cathol, I always have this picture in my mind!

Cathol's gift to us during his last months was one of gentleness and peace. Everyone slowed down around him, and it was a great privilidge to have him live his last few days in Braerannoch, where he died in his own bed, with his family around him, with other members of the house close at hand. Today in remembering Cathol, we remember someone who was really fundamental in making L'Arche Inverness the community that it is. May we be re-inspired to create and share community anew, in the Highland welcome of The Disciple.

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Saturday, 25 April 2009

Friendship Retreat

A group of us from L'Arche Inverness have just come back from a Friendship Retreat held jointly with L'Arche Edinburgh. Five pairs of friends, (core member with assistant) had been preparing for some time beforehand, meeting to share about some important aspects of their freindship, looking for photos, music, everyday objects and anything else that would help them communicate their life journey and special friendship. The retreat was facilitated by members of both communities. We all travelled to The Bield in Perthshire, which is a small but very beautiful place to meet. Each day we started in prayer, then in energetic and enthusiastic ball throwing and stretching outdoors in the spring sun! We told the story of the Road to Emmaus, from the Gospel of Luke, using wooden figures. Two pairs shared their stories each day and although all were different, all were very rich and proundly beautiful. We also had celebrations, times of creativity in the art room, time to talk and reflect, breadmaking, music and song. Some went swimming, others preferred walking in the beautiful gardens. We enjoyed lovely food and plenty of tea breaks! It was really good to make new friendships and deepen existing ones between our two communities. The size of the group meant that the retreat was tailor-made and personalised to the needs and interests of those attending, and it was a joy to see everyone's gifts being utilised and celebrated. It was a very full four days, but a great reminder of what our life in L'Arche is all about: Transforming Relationships.

Check out the slideshow of pictures from the retreat on the top right hand side of the blog. Click on the picture if you want to see it a little larger.

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Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Looking For...A Houses Co-ordinator

L'Arche Inverness is looking for a new Houses Co-ordinator. This is a leadership role in the community, overseeing the wellbeing of each of the people with learning disabilities who live in the community. The role involves supervision and support of House Leaders, and ensuring that each home lives in a way that satisfies statutory requirements and in the spirit of L'Arche. This is a live out role, but we would be looking for someone who has lived in a L'Arche home or who has a real understanding of L'Arche. The new Houses Co-ordinator will be chosen by a process of discernment, rather than appointment.
Do you feel this could be a role for you or someone you know? We would love to hear from you, and happy to answer any questions you may have. Please contact the L'Arche Inverness Office 01463 239615 for more details or an application form.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Jean Vanier, the founder of L'Arche, has been interviewed by Mark Tully as part of a radio programme being broadcast this Sunday, April 5th April. Apparantly it was a good recording and it is always inspiring to hear Jean, so do tune in! Here are the details:

Palm Sunday, Radio 4, "Something Understood" programme, which goes out twice that day, at 06.05-06.35 GMT and 23.30-24.00 GMT.

BBC World Service will repeat their version of the programme, 3 times, on:
25 April, 18.32 and 23.32
26 April, 13.32 GMT

Listen online by clicking on this link:

"Something Understood" is a BBC radio series which "examines some of the larger questions of life, taking a spiritual theme and exploring it, normally through music, prose and poetry".

The theme is the deeper spiritual meaning of hospitality.