“God is over all things, under all things; outside all; within, but not enclosed; without, but not excluded; above, but not raised up; below, but not depressed;
wholly above, presiding; wholly without, embracing; wholly within, filling.”                                                                                                                 -Hildebert of Lavardin

Because I cannot separate my faith and my understanding of my God from my passion for living gently on the earth;

Because I cannot separate my lifestyle and a hunger for justice for the poor and maginalized;

Because I cannot separate my life from those around me every day;

Because I am weak and selfish and cannot live out any of these ideals on my own;

I need to fall on the mercy of the Living God, who for some reason has sent me to Dorset, England, from Tennessee, USA. I’m still figuring out why.

          I live at Hilfield Friary ( http://www.hilfieldfriary.org.uk/), an intentional community of Franciscans.  Hilfield focuses on peacemaking, hospitality, and environmental stewardship. The friary is affiliated with the Church of England, Society of St. Francis. There are five brothers here and about twenty community members (women, men, and children) who work alongside them in pastoral care, hospitality, teaching on peacemaking and Christian ethics, and environmental stewardship. I mostly work on the land: in the garden, in our woodland, and with the animals. If you want to read about the pattern of a typical day at the Friary, check out my October 18 post.

        Prayer undergirds life here, which I think is key in keeping this place running and flourishing. Even when I’m a half mile away on a walk, I can hear the bell for prayer, and I am reminded to make time in the day to be with God and appreciate his beautiful creation. It’s inspiring to be around so many other Christians who care about the earth, and I am constantly being challenged to think about my faith in a new way.

       It can seem fairly idyllic here, but community is work. Sometimes people rub you the wrong way, and sometimes you rub them the wrong way. When all your working and cooking and living and worshiping is together, you can’t escape the actual work that is necessary for a successful, flourishing relationship. One of the many great things about community is that there are always others around to mediate and to encourage you to meet people where they are, rather than where you expect them to be.

      Basically I’m living at Redwall Abbey. With more work involved in the growing of food. And less gluttony. And more religion. And God, don’t forget God.

Pax et bonum (Peace and all that is good be with you, Franciscan greeting and farewell)


All writing and photographs on this blog are my property. If you would like to use a photo, please ask.


4 Responses to About

  1. Xinh Xinh says:

    I love your blog, Lydia! I can’t wait to hear more about your adventure! xoxox

  2. Melanie says:

    This is such a great snapshot of Hilfield and your place in the community there!

  3. Sandra Clark says:

    I lived and worked in a Camphill Farm Community (based on Rudolph Steiner philosophy)

    I was a housemother on the farm which had seven large farm houses, each housed between ten to fifteen mentally challenged adults, one housemother, sometimes a house “father” and two support workers, usually young volunteers from Germany.

    What a wonderful experience Camphill was for me! I supposedly went there to “help” haha! Of course I was the one who received help and massive Healing on my own Life Journey!

    Camphill is based on a Christian faith and day to day, weekly and monthly, annual Christian fellowships and festivals are honoured and encouraged, but not essential to be a Christian as a house parent – I grew up in a Christian home but am now very much following a Buddhist path.

    Living in community opened my eyes and HEART to what’s really important in Life and how it is so true that “In serving each other WE become free!”

    I’ve been doing elderly frailcare work now since I left Camphill thirteen years ago, and love my work with the elderly. I miss community life so much though and am always tempted to try to find another Community where I could perhaps live and work as a volunteer for six months or so.

    I’m permanently in the UK now, having had to give up on my South African home. So perhaps later this year I will be looking to do a volunteer stint and immerse myself in Community life again!


    • lmreese says:

      Hi Sandra,
      That sounds like an incredible experience. I’m so glad there are places like that in the world. If you get the chance, you should definitely come to Hilfield for a visit sometime!
      Peace be yours,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s