Been a while…

Sorry everyone, it’s been manic. Our summer festival is just winding to a close, and next week we’re full of single-parent families and all the energy and emotion that brings.
Preparations for Greenbelt are underway, not without concern for the good folk of Cheltenham in their current difficulties, and wonderings about whether this event will indeed go ahead amidst the sub-continent style monsoons we’re having!

Anyone really good at planning camping cooking for several people (including vegans)?

And it was (interesting, that is)

Gordon Lynch is a sweetie – and reminds me of my friend Liam. His work is obviously soundly researched, and he’s a pretty good public speaker (aside from an annoying tendency to cover his mouth with his hand at times – frustrating if you lipread for any significant part of your understanding, as I do).

But what was BEST about the weekend were the huge swathes of conversation outside of the sessions – people were, from meeting together on the Friday, communicating with each other NON-STOP all weekend. It was lovely (and I got to have some good long-winded debates, which is always nice). If the whole progressive wing of the church could communicate that easily (I’m not saying everyone always agreed, but they KEPT TALKING, which is the important bit, in my view) life on the margins of mainstream spirtituality would suddenly look a lot more hopeful….
I hope the current trends in online social networking, blogging and message boards can sustain this sort of thing over wider communities – although I don’t believe they’ll ever replace meeting up at least from time to time. We are after all still physical beings, and face-to-face communication has irreplacable nuances *

Keep communicating, people!

* about to devolve into further consideration of one of the themes brought up by the weekend about embodying spirituality, but decided I’d better do some work instead…

Should be interesting…

we’ve got Gordon Lynch coming this weekend to lead a course as part of our "C21 Spirituality" theme.
Now, I’ve never met the guy before, and not having come from an evangelical background myself, haven’t yet found much resonance in his work; but considering the sheer enthusiasm that lights up the faces of so many people I like and respect when I’ve mentioned his name suggests that I’d better take some time this weekend auditing the course…. I’ll keep you all informed.

Busy weekend…

So yesterday I was a:

cleaner, ad designer, negotiator, saleswoman and kitchen skivvy (In that order, from about 9:30 until about 9:00). And today I did breakfast duty for 84 people, and then a leaflet drop in the nearby village of Grassington, which is in the midst of its annual festival.

I’m knackered (but the church group that’s in seem to be having a whale of a time!). And I have to re-write our Greenbelt guide ad, having done it once, and left my diary, where the work was, in Lancaster last week.

In positive news, our summer helpers start arriving from various far-flung parts of the world next week (starting with a young chap from "fair Verona, where we lay our scene…"; no, he’s not called Romeo, alas); and I met the deadline for getting adverts in for the SCM wall planner, so no chaplaincy with links to them can escape us this year!

Interestingly, I have also had unsolicited calls from several "green" publications since we advertised in "The Ecologist" – I don’t know how many readers have seen the ads, but they’re catching someone’s attention. Now I just hope that we actually get some summer weather for our festival and summer programme.

Scargill festival news…


At any rate, our advert went live on Ship of Fools ( today, and the link-through works, and I’m a very happy bunny!

It looks like we’re sharing the month with Scripture Union, which amuses me, as their main website is written by the company who wrote our formal website, and one of their sub-project websites ( is written by my husband who (coincidentally) wrote our festival website

It’s a small world we inhabit here sometimes!

Another day, another headache…

(with a prize* for anyone who can spot the pop culture reference)

We’ve got Roy Searle coming to Scargill 2-5 July to do a course on Celtic spirituality. Only problem is, so far we’ve only got 5 people booked on it, so we’re in real danger of having to cancel. This we do not want – we’ve already had a bad month due to being let down by Jonathan Bartley, and having to cancel that course.

It should be a really nice experience, but of course the people who are into Celtic spirituality are often also "solo practitioners" – ie hard to communicate with, and to let know what’s going on…I really don’t know what else to do at this stage, having pushed it in several places (including Coracle)…

(* my utmost respect)

eta – it’s been cancelled anyway, due to family matters on Roy’s side…sigh!

Been a while…

longer than I really meant to leave between entries.

Ah well. Currently, we are mostly handling school parties and staff changes – some going, some coming, always an interesting time for any organization, and particularly when there are community issues involved.

Planning continues apace for the Summer Festival with Satish Kumar – we’re still looking for more vibe and support acts if you know of anyone in the North of England with some talent and a few free hours in the week 23-28 July. We can do food, and potentially accomodation for any contributors, as well as mentions in the programme and links for future events….anyone tempted?? I’ll stick the website URL up here when it goes live for this event – hopefully later this week.

Grassington, one of our local villages, is having its festival from this weekend – including things like Jo Brand and opera (not necessarily at the same time), so I think I’ll take my kids along to some of the free events on Saturday…maybe distribute some of Scargill’s leaflets at the same time… 🙂


So, Muriel here, with my foot up on a chair, in an ice pack and bandage kind of way. And no, it was not riotous living that caused it (although we did manage quite a nice impromptu party last night when friends from SCM came up to talk links, and stayed over…lots of community together, and good fun).

No, I twisted my ankle by standing up.

I don’t know how, but I’m kind of embarrased about it. Neverthelesss, all tea and sympathy gratefully received…

More grey than gap year

Hi, I’m new to Scargill community and have just joined the housekeeping team – very practical and physical and a bit different from my last desk bound job, and lots to learn. I’m older than the average volunteer being a lot nearer a pension than a student loan, but you never know, I might be the start of a new trend – there must be a lot of people thinking as I was, ‘I’ve done this for 25 years and all I’ve achieved is high blood pressure, and do I really want to be doing it for another 10?’ I’ve only been here a few weeks but already several visitors around my age have talked to me about maybe joining community for a while. I just love it here & it’s amazing how many of my rag bag of skills & experiences are proving to be relevant. I’m planning to be here for a year but already I don’t want to leave! I’ve started a weblog about life here, and if you want to read more, you can find it at (how do I make that a hyperlink? My last job gave me IT skills to write a mean memo & do a presentation in 35 powerpoint slides with five bullet points to a slide, but nothing as useful as how to write a wiblog…)