The Biennial Australian CAH retreat was held at the Green House Buderim at the end of
April. Eight people were billeted with the locals and there were about 20 attendees with
varying degrees of association with the community including a companion and a friend of
the Northumbria community. The locals all shared the catering and hospitality.
On Anzac Day Australians remember people who fought in Australia’s overseas wars. The
first session of the retreat also involved members of the wider local community, was a
reflection on the people who died in Australia’s undeclared, and often unacknowledged,
frontier wars of first settlement. Several people told stories of the dispossession of
aboriginals in a place they were associated with. We laid wreaths and placed symbolic
tokens at a plaque at the entrance to the Indigenous Memorial Garden at the Green
Judy Kennedy led a workshop on writing Celtic prayers and everyone tried their hand at it.
Matt Lamont led a reflection on the wisdom of the circle.
Our last session was at Judy and Rod Kennedy’s place where we shared devotions, learnt
the Lindisfarne dance and had an agape meal before delivering the interstate visitors to
the airport.
The other daytime sessions were held outside in the Green House Nature Refuge. We
walked on the Pilgrim Way through the bush and encountered leeches, visited some local
historical sites, installed a new sculpture of Hilda, had a meal and fellowship with some
handicapped men who belong to Green House community. We followed the monastic
rhythm of communal prayer. We celebrated the common ground, discussed the
challenges of being so widely and thinly dispersed, ruminated about the formal structure of
CAH Australia and its relationship with the UK Caim Council. We celebrated our unity and
our diversity, discussed various aspects of the way of life, visited the cave, sat in silence,
told our stories, shared dreams and visions, and enjoyed good food.
The green house people were greatly encouraged by an inspired dream and word from
Joy who we had not met before. We felt affirmed in our healing the land process and
practice and in our belief that considerable healing has already occurred. There was a
sense of unity in the group which gives us hope for a more substantial and coherent
Australian Aidan and Hilda mob.
There was some enthusiasm expressed for working together on developing specifically
Australian prayers, stories of local saints, and liturgies for community use. We will pursue
this by email in the coming months.
Matt has agreed to host the next retreat in 2015 near Newcastle.
Heather Johnston