Pause/Move on.

Breathe in.

Breathe Out.

“We do not think ourselves into new ways of living, we live ourselves into new ways of thinking.”

Richard Rohr

The End of the Story: Goodbye from St Peter’s House

The doors will soon close for a final time here at St Peter’s House, and a peace is falling on the building. The furniture, plants and lights that enlivened this strange old space have largely been rehomed in other charities, and Milk & Honey café, once full of life, is stilled. The team is dispersing, and our friends and tenants are largely on the move too. We have ‘finished the chapter together’, and are coming to the end of the story.

And so this is goodbye. It is also thank you. Thank you for journeying with St Peter’s House, some of you for nearly 50 years (!) and some for a far shorter but no less insignificant time.

Thank you for taking this building, full of idiosyncrasies and – let’s face it – a bit of a hard sell on the face of things, and seeing that it was the community within that made it beautiful. We hope that along the way, in whatever words and language speak to your heart, you felt the love of God here.

Thank you for taking the team who have served here over the years, fallible and human – flawed and imperfect as each one of us are – and trusting us to provide a safe space for you. It has been an honour and a privilege.

In the next days we will pass Halloween and All Saints Day, a threshold marking the beginning of Winter. There is a sense of liminality, an inbetween-ness. The belief, in both historical and contemporary cultures, that these days create a ‘thin time’ between those who have died and us still living.

These days feel particularly resonant for us this year, as we gently close the door for a final time at St Peter’s House. The palpable sense of both life and death feels close by. It’s as though a sheer veil separates these quiet rooms from the life and work of the years previous, and yet – as we slip into Winter and feel her tangled roots push deeper into the soil, we know that a new time has come.

Our ‘Goodbye Gathering’ two weeks ago encapsulated this viscerally. Around seventy of us joined to dance, tell stories, eat and remember. Alongside the wine and laughing and poems, there were tears and the deep sadness of final goodbyes. The ‘both/and’ of celebration and loss hung thick in the air, and we remembered that it was Love that time-and-again brings us together.

Our wonderful ceilidh band - the Superceilidhfringelastic Band - and ceilidh caller, Lisa Heywood in action at our 'Goodbye Gathering'

Winter can feel bleak, and the stripped-out, naked façade of this building likewise. But the work of winter is deep and hidden. In the dragons-breath days and frozen nights, Winter nudges us to rest, press pause and hunker down. This is the time to Be Still[1]. In Winter’s deep rest lies the life-giving power that births the creation of new years. Under the soil, hidden from view, unseen things are being brought to being. The trees and the moss, the little animals that sleep, the waters that travel and spring join together to create new rivers and new ways through places that seemed unpassable[2].

This is our hope, for you and for us. As the work of St Peter’s House draws to a close, we look to a future as yet unknown. And that is, and was, ever the case as we live this mysterious, at-times terrible and often so-very-beautiful life.

May you find wise and loving companions for your journey. And thank you, for writing us into your story until now.

With love,

St Peter’s House

‘A Blessing for Presence’,

John O’Donoghue

May you awaken to the mystery of being here
And enter the quiet immensity of your own presence.
May you have joy and peace in the temple of your senses.
May you receive great encouragement when new frontiers beckon.
May you respond to the call of your gift
And find the courage to follow its path.
May the flame of anger free you from falsity.
May warmth of heart keep your presence aflame and anxiety never linger about you. May your outer dignity mirror an inner dignity of soul.
May you take time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek no attention.
May you be consoled in the secret symmetry of your soul.
May you experience each day as a sacred gift, Woven around the heart of wonder. [3]

[1] Psalm 46.1

[2] Isiah 43.19

[3] O’Donohue, J., (1998). Eternal Echoes

One Response

  1. Praying that the doors will remain open and Ramp Church Manchester will carry on with loving the people of your great city.

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