Seventeen pilgrims including Bishop Alan travelled to North Wales for the annual Connor clergy retreat from June 14-16.
The group set out by boat from Dublin to Holyhead followed by a short drive to Bethesda, which is about six miles from Bangor, Gwynedd.
They were based at Snowdonia Mountain Lodge which sits at the bottom end of the Nant Ffrancon Valley with spectacular views towards Snowdon. This was very peaceful place and the rooms were very comfortable and helped the clergy enjoy their periods of relaxation.
Input was taken by Professor Canon Leslie Francis and he reflected on the theme of leadership and prayer. He used the tool of psychological type in a theological context as the instrument to help the Connor clergy see how different each is and how everyone needs to appreciate the difference of others.
Diocesan training co-ordinator Peter Hamill said: “Leslie was very challenging and thought provoking. In addition he gave us the adventures of Teddy Horsley (a character Leslie developed in his books to help children understand church). Teddy’s adventures took us to Bangor Cathedral and gave us a special view of Holy Communion.”
Following Teddy’s recommendation the group visited Bangor Cathedral and Bishop Alan celebrated Eucharist. As they left North Wales they attended a communion service at Plas Newydd Church, conducted in candlelight as the church has no electricity.
Bishop Alan gave an address on journeys and the church warden (who has recently celebrated 65 years in this post) gave the reading. The Connor clergy were joined by theological college students in training.
Peter added: “We returned to Belfast tired but refreshed. We had journeyed across the water and had time for reflection and time to relax. We were made most welcome by our hosts – the only exception being the local pub as once again we won the pub quiz, prize going to the Dean’s sit out at Christmas.”
Many thanks to Professor Canon Leslie Francis and Rev Dr Sue Jones (dean elect Bangor Cathedral) for their time and input during the retreat.