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Sunday, 23 May 2010

Thirty Five!!

Just a few pictures from our recent Community Reflection Day and our 35th Anniversary Celebrations, which we held at the lovely Rose Hall of Kilravock Castle, near Cawdor. We spent the day thinking about the themes of 'Commitment and Belonging', sharing our experiences with one another in small groups. We also retold the story of L'Arche (above) - in our own inimitable way! And we travelled together through the 35 years of our Community's story, using pictures and models to map out the journey (below). The sun shone, the tea flowed and we all enjoyed being in one another's presence, away from the usual daily routine.

In the evening we welcomed a local band and special guests to join us for a wonderful ceilidh, in true Highland fashion. We danced and sang our way through the evening, stopping only to enjoy some delicious birthday cake. Not only was it 35 years of L'Arche Inverness, but also the tenth anniversary of two of our homes, MacTalla and Grianan, both opening their doors in May 2000.

Marguerite Kramers (of L'Arche Inverness then L'Arche Edinburgh) wrote to us after the evening..
Dear Friends, 
How lovely to be together with you for the evening celebrating 35 years of L'Arche Inverness at Croy. In fact Croy was the very place (well I think at the other, Granary hall) where I first met, 30 years ago now, can you believe this?...Syd, Derek Thain, Floran, Barbara. Those counting the years will know that 30 years ago neither Syd,Derek or Barbara were at L'Arche. You are right, but this weekend and ceilidh had been organized by some others, and L'Arche Inverness came along from Brae, as did others who were living at Craig Phadraig at the time. L'Arche Inverness fitted all together in one small orange minibus in those days! And a few years later, when you came to L'Arche, we sometimes said, oh yes, we first met at Croy, didn't we?
And now, back here again, 30 years have passed, many more minibuses! And how many people have flowed through the community...as we could see from the impressive time line, the photos, scrapbooks, those there, workshop and office folk, past assistants, committee, friends, families.... And dear Ian, James, and Cathol who are no longer with us, and yet so well remembered too. Thanks for bringing all those faces and names together for us on Friday. Floran, we had not seen each other for years and years, and yet we remembered each other!  
It's 2 years since I myself last came to Inverness. Thank you as ever for your welcome, Lill, Barbara and Fi for those big hugs, Susie, Gina, and many others for catching up on news, Derrick, great man with your special smile and big silent bow to honour all in those 35 years....And long may the dancing continue.
With love and thanks,
 To see more pictures of the day, check out the slideshow to the right of the blog. If you left click on the image you can view the pictures in bigger format. Enjoy!

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Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Happy Easter from us all! Here are a few pictures from some of our celebrations. Easter is always a busy but very special time in the Community. On Maundy Thursday we gathered, as usual, at Ness Bank Church Hall, for our Passover Meal followed by a simple, but beautiful time of footwashing, as we followed Jesus' command for us to love and serve one another.

On Good Friday we were very blessed with beautiful weather - it was snowing in Inverness earlier in the week! We walked around the garden of Braerannoch to walk with Jesus on his journey to the cross. Syd took the role of Jesus with great dignity.

On Easter Sunday it was time to celebrate the Resurrection, agian at Braerannoch. There was some great singing followed by a mime telling the story of the road to Emmaus. Then...the games commenced! Chocolate egg hunting, egg and spoon races, throwing the 'egg' (a specially decorated rugby ball!), rolling eggs, rolling wooden 'tombstones' and more...it seemed like no-one wanted to go home! We were kept going on hot cross buns and wonderful home-made simnel cake. The sun shone and it felt like we had been all given new life after such a long, hard winter! It has been especially nice to welcome back previous assistants/friends/members, Sophia, Petyo, Baska and Ien Tchov.

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Sunday, 21 February 2010

Can there be anything more exciting in the life of the community than the arrival of a baby?! With growing excitement we are awaiting Philene and Paul's baby. Philene, from the Netherlands, has been involved with the community for many years, first as a young assistant, then as an often returning friend, and finally as a nearby neighbour, coming regularly for meals at Braerannoch, and deepening her friendships there.

Today, the women of the community got together for a surprise Baby Shower! We lured Philene to the Workshop under false pretences, and then spent a lovely afternoon eating cake, making a book, playing games, giving gifts and praying blessings.

The sun shone, the baby kicked obligingly for us and the baking was wonderful! It was a sweet moment in L'Arche life. If you want to see more pictures of the event, click here. Oh and by the way, the women of the community are sure it will be a boy...so watch this space to see if we are right!

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Thursday, 4 February 2010

Burns Night Supper

Oh dear, better late then never! Burns Night was a wee whiley ago, and this didn't get posted! Life's like that sometimes...Our 'Pal' Angus recently turned 60 and we thought that it would be good to get together and celebrate him, and Burns Night in one big party!

We all gathered at MacTalla, which had been decorated in tartan, and tables laid out with candles, cloths and flowers, for a slap-up meal of haggis, neeps and tatties! Some folks wore their kilts, or a spot of tartan. Others recited Burn's poetry, and we all sang together 'Angus is our Darling' (a lesser known Burns song...ahem!), and of course, Auld Lang Syne.

Rabbie Burns himself came to pay us a visit, complete with his red, red rose. No doubt he wanted to see if the reputation of the lovely lassies of L'Arche is really true. He wasn't disappointed, but he was rather too keen to meet them!

The address to the haggis given in fine dramatic style by (Frenchman) Thomas Lacroix, and the big pudding duly stabbed by Syd Fraser, ably assisted by Mark Mitchell and Graham Gall.

Our resident bard, David, no doubt inspired by the evening...

Naturally, in good Highland style, we all finished off with a bit of dancing, led by the fitness group from the workshop. They eased us in gently but we were soon whirling and birling! Yee hah!

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Monday, 18 January 2010

Happy New Year!

Rather belatedly, but no less warmly, L'Arche Inverness wishes you a wonderful 2010 - we hope your year has been good so far, and we also hope that this year will give you the opportunity to stay in touch and maybe visit us - the door is always open, and someone in the community is usually just about to put the kettle on! As you can see, Braerannoch looked even more beautiful in the snow, and gave some community members the chance to be very creative - a unique L'Arche snowark, built by Brae assistant, Bruno.

However, it has to be said, that much as we enjoyed looking at the snow, we are quite glad to see it going, especially the Garden Workshop who have done a lot of digging recently! Still, at least they are starting the New Year fitter than perhaps some of us...

Everyone enjoyed the Christmas break, and the chance to relax and celebrate together. But, even though Christmas and New Year are past, the celebrations never stop in L'Arche! There are lots of birthdays in the community just now, notably Angus who has just reached the milestone of 60 - we'll be celebrating all together with him in fine Scottish fashion on Burn's Night, so hopefully there will be some pictures to share with you then. There has been a bit of humming of a well-known Beatles song, as Syd (below) celebrated his 64th birthday with a wonderful party in his cosy flat. Lilias helped make the cake, and we all enjoyed helping Syd finish it! Tracey's birthday is also coming up, so any hopes of keeping diet resolutions in the next wee while look rather unlikely!

With much love from us all at L'Arche Inverness
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