Eileen Dutt, International Oblate Coordinator, explains:

Last year, and quite unexpectedly, David McKenna, UK National Oblate Coordinator (NOC) stepped aside, for health and personal reasons.
We had a problem! We knew we needed to fill the role – it was pivotal – yet without a successor in sight, it was not going to be easy. Then I thought about how, Ch. 3 of the Rule of St Benedict teaches, ‘Whenever any important business has to be discussed…….call together the whole community and state the matter to be acted on.’ Clearly, as oblates of a Monastery Without Walls, calling the ‘whole community together’ was not a possibility, but there had to be a way that would work, for us.

Forming the UK Oblate Council was our answer: Angela Gregson was already serving the community by organising the UK Annual day at the Monastery of Christ our Saviour, Turvey and oversaw distribution of the oblate newsletter Via Vitae; for several years now Gilly Withers has organised quarterly Cell meetings at St. Marks and when David took on the role of NOC she took on the role of Communications and Julia Williamson was looking after Online Groups. With these three roles covered - and in safe hands - I turned my attention to Formation. I was delighted when Janet Robbins agreed to take this under her wing.

I don’t intend going into the details here about how the Council will work because I think this is best coming from the UKOC themselves as I am sure it will by way of regular updates in subsequent issues of Meditation News newsletters.
The accompanying organisational chart serves to clarify the role distribution between the four above mentioned people and Gilly now continues by outlining the new developments planned. (Ed)

A Second Monthly Online Cell Meeting

At present we have an online oblate cell meeting once a month on a Sunday. This is proving to be a boon to those who have joined it, but the timing is not convenient for many of us because of church and family commitments. We are therefore trialling the introduction of a second monthly online meeting on a Wednesday evening from 7.30-9.00pm. There is one planned for 18 March. Angela Gregson will continue to organise oblate cell meetings with the assistance of Julia Williamson. Please would you let Angela know whether you would be interested in this so she can send the programme and joining details. Her email address is: rydal2814@yahoo.co.uk

Seekers, Postulants and Mentors

In 2020, we are offering a number of sharing opportunities for those who may feel called to explore the oblate path and those who have taken the first steps as postulants. We will be establishing an online gathering for seekers and mentors. The gathering will provide an opportunity for sharing and exploring the oblate path. We also plan to offer a residential weekend where seekers and oblates can develop and grow in their practice. We recognise that mentors are also important and their role is valued. So we will be looking at ways in which we can bring existing mentors together with those who may be interested in becoming mentors.

Janet Robbins will be taking these developments forward and will be in touch during the year..
Please keep us in your prayers as we explore a new way of doing things.

Gilly Withers.