Seasonal letter from the Chair of the Friends of Julian, Shirley Buxton, CJN
"Dear Friends & Companions,
"This year we may not be carried towards Christmas on the usual wave of tradition but we can surely embark on a journey filled with hope and expectation. Just as we are challenged to find new ways of approaching everyday life due to the challenges of COVID, so we can embrace the opportunity to look afresh at what is at the heart of our celebrations. Julian writes for us, her ‘even Christians’, that ‘LOVE WAS HIS MEANING.’ The birth of Jesus, his life, suffering, death and resurrection displays the immensity of GOD’S LOVE. Let us not be dragged down into regret for what we can’t do over the Christmas season but rejoice in the truth of the Nativity and celebrate God here among us.
"We face a time of expectancy and hope here in Norwich as the newly formed Julian Partnership prepares to take on its new responsibilities. Fr Richard has officially been appointed as Priest Director of the Julian Campus. Representatives from the Trustees of the FJN; the Diocese of Norwich; the PCC of St John’s with St Julian’s; Norwich Cathedral and some other interested parties, form the Julian Partnership Board. As I write this, the grounds around All Hallows House are being given a necessary ‘tidy’ so the work needed to maintain the building and upgrade the interior can begin. There have been many delays, not least because of various COCID restrictions. All Hallows House and the Julian Centre will officially pass into the hands of the Julian Partnership as the New Year begins. The Sisters of the Community of All Hallows are not only passing over these buildings but also gifting a considerable amount of money to renovate the buildings and support the project in its early stages. We are most grateful for their generosity and give them our thanks. The Trustees of the Friends of Julian have also set aside money to support the project.
"These are exciting times. St Julian’s Church, the Julian Cell and the churchyard garden will remain part of the parish but will be integral to the development of the Julian Campus as a whole. We look forward to All Hallows House being ready to open its doors once more. We eagerly await a meeting between the Friends and the Partnership to discuss our contribution to these developments which, not so long ago, seemed just a wistful dream. I am sure we will be supporting the running of the Julian Centre and involved in extending hospitality to visitors and pilgrims for many years to come. We will send out further news once we have more to share in the New Year.
"Meanwhile the Trustees are planning for 2021. We look forward to having live events but we are also aware of the advantages of holding some events online. It was a joy to welcome so many participants to the online retreat led by Mirabai Starr. It accommodated many people who wouldn’t have been able to travel to Norwich. A huge thank you to Mirabai and all those who facilitated this online event. Our immense thanks to our secretary Howard Green for the hours of work put into arranging it. We must also thank Peter Colback, another of our Trustees, who set up the online Friends AGM and Trustees Meetings. Information technology has enabled us to broaden the membership of the Trustees to include Robert Fruehwirth in the USA and Gill Dascombe in Bolton, Greater Manchester. Peter has also created the new Julian website so members can receive up-to-date news and people from all over the world can find out more about Julian.
Wishing you all Peace, Hope and Joy of Christmas."
I read Shirley Buxton’s letter and felt very excited for you all as all the planning for the new development is coming to fruition. I was also sad not to have been able to join the online meetings for the AGM and Mirabai Starr’s event. It came in the middle of moving with all its almost overwhelming challenges which I had not expected.
We shall keep you all, expecially during this new Covid lockdown, in our prayers as you move forward with the partnership.
Blessed Feast of the Nativity: Happy Christmas! I’m very glad to see these steps taken. May God grant the fulfillment of all the dreams at the Julian campus!