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  • Writer's pictureJenny Dunaway

A Day of Listening and Learning with Celtic Teacher John Philip Newell and Musician Fran McKendree a

Not knowing quite what to expect, my mom and I entered the sanctuary of Grace Episcopal Church yesterday with

positive anticipation. Fran McKendree played his guitar and asked us to join him in some simple songs that sounded like musical prayers. The guitar almost had a voice of its own that filled the church with joyous, resounding praise. It was as if we were all part of one voice blessing and glorifying God. It made me want to dust off my Guild and play again. There is amazing healing power in music and we witnessed a glimpse of that under the leadership of Fran.

Next, John Philip Newell, Celtic teacher and author of fifteen books, began to share. He spoke of creation being the essence of God--not the absence of God. He painted a visual image of John, the Beloved, leaning against Jesus at the last supper. He asked us to imagine

John feeling the heartbeat of our Lord. I had never thought of that before and suddenly a new intimacy in the relationship between John and Jesus was revealed. John actually heard the heartbeat of the Lord God Almighty! I wondered if we believers could also hear the heartbeat of the Lord...

John Phillip mentioned Irenaeus who was a follower of the Disciple John, John Scotus Eriagenia who believed that everything has come out of the sacredness of God, and the flow of all things. He clarified that pantheisim isn't Celtic but panentheism is. It is the looking for the light in all things. John Phillip spoke of not going back to a "small" God. We were invited to meander outside for 15 minutes and spend time with God. I decided to look for light and I took some photographs of the beauty I witnessed.

Images I captured during our 15 minutes of silence outdoors

When the church bell rang, we all returned to the sanctuary and were asked to share our experiences and revelations, first in small groups and then to the entire group. It was a meaningful and powerful activity that brought us together as a community. I learned so much at this workshop that confirmed things I already knew about God and His creation and concepts that inspired me to explore more. It was a day my mom and I will always remember!

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