A Publication of
Catholic Concern for Animals
Selections From The Ark
Number 204 - Autumn/Winter 2006
ECUMENICAL ANIMAL WELFARE RETREAT 2006
Participants from as far afield as Cumbria, Yorkshire, Somerset and South
Wales gathered again at Boars Hill, near Oxford, for our annual two-day Retreat.
Over the many years that this event has been running, we have retained a core of
faithful friends, as well as welcomed fresh faces.
This year we had a particularly full programme, interspersed with taking part
in the prayer life of the Carmelite Community. Dr Edward Echlin gave a talk
explaining that Godís earth creatures are an earth or soil community and that
they all praise God by being themselves. When we love them, he explained, we
share Godís love and that, with them in our mutual love, we are a worshipping
He also gave a meditation with slides, and brought along Bertha, the family
Pekinese, as a visual aid, a part she played to perfection! Deborah Jones spoke
on the British Christian origins of animal welfare, from early Celtic culture to
the origins of the RSPCA, with many literary examples on the way. Leonie
Caldecott gave an interesting talk on her approach to children and animals
within her own family.
In much of what should have been free time, members chose a Prayer Vigil,
concentrating on praying for the closure or change of use of the Primate
Laboratory currently being built at Oxford. On Saturday evening, John Brayshaw,
from Yorkshire, gave an inspiring audio-visual presentation, with pictures of
scenes from the Oberammergau Passion play.
On leaving the Retreat, several members travelled to Gloucester Cathedral to
hear a lecture by Reverend Andrew Linzey organised by Ark member, Lynne Chitty.
His theme was ĎCan Christianity accommodate the growing awareness to the
sensitivity of animalsí. We judged it had been well worth the effort to attend.
The last two Retreats have taken place in the South of England, and it was
intended to alternate between North and South in fairness to all our members.
However, I have just discovered a little gem on the North Wales Coast (does this
constitute North?) and so this has been booked for next year. This venue came
highly recommended, has been checked out and it is indeed charming. We are
fortunate in securing the dates of 16-18 May 2007 as they are already full on
the other dates we had in mind. The Retreat House is Noddfa, Conwy Old Road,
Penmaenmawr, North Wales. Web site
www.noddfa.org.uk. More details in the next issue of The Ark.
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Number 204 - Autumn/Winter
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