Still in the Woods

and we like it. But why? It can be lonely, it is far from telephones, internet and television (don”t mind that, really.)

Some of it is in response to a lifelong escape fantasy, probably, that Robinson Crusoe dream of being master of all we survey. It is more than that, though, for it is place where, as T.S. Eliot wrote, “Prayer has been effective.” It is a prayer palace, two tiny rooms as they are! Without distraction, I can focus on my prayer life, on menaingful conversation with God, with the inklings He puts in my heart that I am to ponder and to follow.

The Church is not being what we need, as far as the institution goes. But the Body of Christ! Oh, amazing and glorious! They are praying for us, helping us, supporting us in Christian love! We are uplifted by their outreach for their fallen angels.

I was given a vision lately. I was praying for peaceful sleep, for benign dreams, but the Lord gave me this: The Church is a ruined city, Jerusalem plundered and burned, her people taken away. I was standing in a broken watchtower, the little branch of the Church where I was ordained, and I looked across the once fertile plain to devastation. And yet, we can pray with the psalmist, with Isaiah, and with the whole Diaspora of the faithful, that the new Jerusalem will be realized. Maranatha, and amen!


4 thoughts on “Still in the Woods

  1. The church (little c) is man’s institution. The Church body (big C) is of God and Christ. Any thoughts to starting a small independent church to return to your Biblical traditions and convictions? It is nice to have time and a place to reflect and pray. Solitude is rarely lonely for me either.

    • SAtarting a small church usually means being well-established in a community, and that takes time. I’m in Atlantic Canada, where new independent churches rise and fall like the tide! I am struggling to find a place again in Anlgicanism, where the bishops like to say there’s room enough for all Christians – until you show up and are a bit different…then they have to give it serious thought, because they are always afraid a congregation will reject a priest/pastor who is not what they ordered! Politics and institutions always go together, don’t they?

  2. I have to write in and say hello. I am an Episcopal priest in the U.S. who is feeling / has felt led to a plain life for a long time – and so it is of great interest that I’ve come across your site.

    The trouble of course is that I am a rector of a congregation and have a family to support and so am careful not to appear be too strange as to lose my income. It is just that blunt. I am in a rural location so that gardening and canning and keeping chickens and rabbits is tolerated fine, and dressing modestly is an expectation. My husband and I talk that if we have to leave here and go elsewhere it will be to seek same community.

    I’m not sure where you are, but I am going to north Atlantic Canada to take my daughter to college in Cornerbrook, NL and will be traveling across that island as we fly in and out of St. John’s.

    If you would like to have private conversation, my email is Rev(dot)CGordon(at) (This is spelled out to prevent web crawlers from picking up my email).

    • We’re a bit out of the way, in the mountains of New Brunswick. It would be so good to meet at some point, though! I recently returned to live in my old parish, although not as rector. The people are very accepting of the Quaker Plain dress and the cap, and I used to be quite the clothes horse! I hope you have an understanding bishop. That has been one of our roadblocks, is that bishops look at us and say. “What’s all this?” But our bishop, now that he’s seen us, is very accepting of the change in our life. If only he could give us an approrpiate parish!

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