Hilda of Whitby: A spirituality for now

Hilda of Whitby: A spirituality for now

Author : Ray Simpson
£7.99

Hilda was born into a pagan, Anglo-Saxon family in the province of Deira (land to the north of the Humber) in 614, and her early life was to witness much of the brutality and darkness for which that period has become most famous. Her own father was poisoned in the continuing battle for power between ruling claimants.


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Title Hilda of Whitby: A spirituality for now
Author Ray Simpson
Description

Hilda was born into a pagan, Anglo-Saxon family in the province of Deira (land to the north of the Humber) in 614, and her early life was to witness much of the brutality and darkness for which that period has become most famous. Her own father was poisoned in the continuing battle for power between ruling claimants.

Her first encounter with Christianity happens after her uncle Edwin wins power, encountering a vision of Christ which leads to the family's baptism. But victory is short term and Hilda is forced into exile in the Christian kingdom of the East Angles, holding on to her newfound faith while others cast it aside.

Hilda returns north after power passes to the Christian ruler Oswald, who now sets out to reconvert the people of the area, inviting Aidan of Ireland to lead the work.

Hilda had only known Christianity with Roman roots. She now comes into direct contact with Celtic Christianity for the first time and discovers a stark difference in terms of lifestyle, approaches to mission, models of church and the requirements of soul friends to assist personal faith development.

She was planning to become a nun and depart overseas but Aidan convinces Hilda to stay and sets her on the path of her life's work of pioneering monasteries and establishing learning for men and women. The Celtic church has no qualms over women leadership, unlike the Roman church.

Having set the scene, Ray goes on to unfold the story of Hilda's work at Hartlepool and Whitby, drawing out key lessons for our own age from her life, work and legacy, and through questions for reflection, encourages personal application.

Just before Hilda's birth, Hilda's mother had a vision of light cast across Britain from a necklace - a vision that St Bede, writing in his Ecclesiastical History of the English People (completed 731AD), regarded as being fulfilled through Hilda. This light Ray Simpson now projects into our own age.

Published to coincide with the 1400th anniversary of the birth of Hilda.

Foreword by the Archbishop of York

We have much to be thankful for in God's own county, but of all the bright stars of Yorkshire's rich heritage of Christian witness, for me St Hilda of Whitby shines out as one of the brightest. I am thankful to Ray Simpson for retelling her story in a way that connects so directly with our contemporary world, inspiring prayer and reflection which I trust will bear fruit as it did so abundantly, graciously, and quietly in her own life.

I enjoy my visits to Whitby, not just for the fantastic kippers I often come away with, but also because Hilda's memory lives on in the faith, hope, and love of today's Christian community in that town. I thank God also that the Sisters of the Order of the Holy Paraclete continue the monastic tradition in that town, with their Mother House, St Hilda's Priory, Sneaton Castle, looking across the bay to the ruins of the Abbey where Hilda's church once stood.

Hilda's example of self-sacrificial leadership, and of courageous acceptance of what the gathered church discerned as the will of God, is a particular challenge to us today. At the Synod of Whitby over which she presided, although she was a firm believer in the Celtic way, she accepted fundamental changes to the time-honoured ecclesiastical polity of the Celtic Church. She was willing to embrace the new ways of the Roman mission for the sake of the unity of the Church's witness in this land.

Hilda was baptised on Easter Day, April 12th 627 on the site where York Minster stands today, along with King Edwin, by Paulinus, first Bishop of York. In recent years I have baptised new believers on the same spot outside the Minster, along with other local church leaders. I visited Hinderwell a few months after becoming Archbishop of York. I baptised a baby at Hilda's well and drank water from the well too!

My prayer is that those baptised today, and all of us who seek to follow Jesus in the North of England, will follow Hilda's example. With her I hope we shall live wholeheartedly for Jesus, carrying the light of God into the communities to which we belong, and seeing the love of God transform both church and nation.

This book will help us along the way.

+Sentamu Eboracencis

Introduction

Born into a pagan, Anglo Saxon family in the province of Deira (land to the north of the Humber) in 614, Hilda's early life was to witness much of the brutality and darkness for which that period has become most famous. Her own father was poisoned in the continuing battle for power between ruling claimants.

Her first encounter with Christianity happened after her uncle Edwin won power, encountering a vision of Christ which led to the family's baptism. But victory was short term and Hilda was forced into exile in the Christian kingdom of the East Angles, holding on to her newfound faith while others cast it aside.

Hilda returned north after power passed to the Christian ruler Oswald who set out to reconvert the people of the area, inviting Aidan of Ireland to lead the work. Hilda had only known Christianity with Roman roots. She now came into direct contact with Celtic Christianity for the first time and discovered a stark difference in terms of lifestyle, approaches to mission, models of church and the requirements of soul friends to assist personal faith development.

Hilda planned to become a nun and depart overseas, but Aidan convinced Hilda to stay and set her on the path of her life's work of pioneering monasteries and establishing learning for men and women. The Celtic church had no qualms over women leadership, unlike the Roman church.

Having set the scene, Ray Simpson goes on to unfold the story of Hilda's work at Hartlepool and Whitby, drawing out key lessons for our own age from her life, work and legacy and through questions for reflection, encourages personal application.

Just before her birth, Hilda's mother had a vision of light cast across Britain from a necklace - a vision that St Bede, writing in his Ecclesiastical History of the English People (completed 731AD), regarded as being fulfilled through Hilda, and a light Ray Simpson now projects into our own age. Published to coincide with the 1400th anniversary of the birth of Hilda.

Details
  • Product code: 9781841017280
  • Published: 21 March 2014
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 144
  • Dimensions: 130mm wide and 198mm high

Hilda was born into a pagan, Anglo-Saxon family in the province of Deira (land to the north of the Humber) in 614, and her early life was to witness much of the brutality and darkness for which that period has become most famous. Her own father was poisoned in the continuing battle for power between ruling claimants.

Her first encounter with Christianity happens after her uncle Edwin wins power, encountering a vision of Christ which leads to the family's baptism. But victory is short term and Hilda is forced into exile in the Christian kingdom of the East Angles, holding on to her newfound faith while others cast it aside.

Hilda returns north after power passes to the Christian ruler Oswald, who now sets out to reconvert the people of the area, inviting Aidan of Ireland to lead the work.

Hilda had only known Christianity with Roman roots. She now comes into direct contact with Celtic Christianity for the first time and discovers a stark difference in terms of lifestyle, approaches to mission, models of church and the requirements of soul friends to assist personal faith development.

She was planning to become a nun and depart overseas but Aidan convinces Hilda to stay and sets her on the path of her life's work of pioneering monasteries and establishing learning for men and women. The Celtic church has no qualms over women leadership, unlike the Roman church.

Having set the scene, Ray goes on to unfold the story of Hilda's work at Hartlepool and Whitby, drawing out key lessons for our own age from her life, work and legacy, and through questions for reflection, encourages personal application.

Just before Hilda's birth, Hilda's mother had a vision of light cast across Britain from a necklace - a vision that St Bede, writing in his Ecclesiastical History of the English People (completed 731AD), regarded as being fulfilled through Hilda. This light Ray Simpson now projects into our own age.

Published to coincide with the 1400th anniversary of the birth of Hilda.

Foreword by the Archbishop of York

We have much to be thankful for in God's own county, but of all the bright stars of Yorkshire's rich heritage of Christian witness, for me St Hilda of Whitby shines out as one of the brightest. I am thankful to Ray Simpson for retelling her story in a way that connects so directly with our contemporary world, inspiring prayer and reflection which I trust will bear fruit as it did so abundantly, graciously, and quietly in her own life.

I enjoy my visits to Whitby, not just for the fantastic kippers I often come away with, but also because Hilda's memory lives on in the faith, hope, and love of today's Christian community in that town. I thank God also that the Sisters of the Order of the Holy Paraclete continue the monastic tradition in that town, with their Mother House, St Hilda's Priory, Sneaton Castle, looking across the bay to the ruins of the Abbey where Hilda's church once stood.

Hilda's example of self-sacrificial leadership, and of courageous acceptance of what the gathered church discerned as the will of God, is a particular challenge to us today. At the Synod of Whitby over which she presided, although she was a firm believer in the Celtic way, she accepted fundamental changes to the time-honoured ecclesiastical polity of the Celtic Church. She was willing to embrace the new ways of the Roman mission for the sake of the unity of the Church's witness in this land.

Hilda was baptised on Easter Day, April 12th 627 on the site where York Minster stands today, along with King Edwin, by Paulinus, first Bishop of York. In recent years I have baptised new believers on the same spot outside the Minster, along with other local church leaders. I visited Hinderwell a few months after becoming Archbishop of York. I baptised a baby at Hilda's well and drank water from the well too!

My prayer is that those baptised today, and all of us who seek to follow Jesus in the North of England, will follow Hilda's example. With her I hope we shall live wholeheartedly for Jesus, carrying the light of God into the communities to which we belong, and seeing the love of God transform both church and nation.

This book will help us along the way.

+Sentamu Eboracencis

Introduction

Born into a pagan, Anglo Saxon family in the province of Deira (land to the north of the Humber) in 614, Hilda's early life was to witness much of the brutality and darkness for which that period has become most famous. Her own father was poisoned in the continuing battle for power between ruling claimants.

Her first encounter with Christianity happened after her uncle Edwin won power, encountering a vision of Christ which led to the family's baptism. But victory was short term and Hilda was forced into exile in the Christian kingdom of the East Angles, holding on to her newfound faith while others cast it aside.

Hilda returned north after power passed to the Christian ruler Oswald who set out to reconvert the people of the area, inviting Aidan of Ireland to lead the work. Hilda had only known Christianity with Roman roots. She now came into direct contact with Celtic Christianity for the first time and discovered a stark difference in terms of lifestyle, approaches to mission, models of church and the requirements of soul friends to assist personal faith development.

Hilda planned to become a nun and depart overseas, but Aidan convinced Hilda to stay and set her on the path of her life's work of pioneering monasteries and establishing learning for men and women. The Celtic church had no qualms over women leadership, unlike the Roman church.

Having set the scene, Ray Simpson goes on to unfold the story of Hilda's work at Hartlepool and Whitby, drawing out key lessons for our own age from her life, work and legacy and through questions for reflection, encourages personal application.

Just before her birth, Hilda's mother had a vision of light cast across Britain from a necklace - a vision that St Bede, writing in his Ecclesiastical History of the English People (completed 731AD), regarded as being fulfilled through Hilda, and a light Ray Simpson now projects into our own age. Published to coincide with the 1400th anniversary of the birth of Hilda.

There have been times and places where the wise woman or wise man was central to the community. These people were not pandered celebrities, but those open to the depths of God, and a way of love. Hilda was such a woman. 'Hilda of Whitby' reveals Hilda's secret as well as her history and perhaps may challenge us to seek new styles of leadership for today. Penny Warren, Members' Guardian, Community of Aidan and Hilda
Ray Simpson is a founder of the international new monastic movement known as The Community of Aidan and Hilda and is principal tutor of its Celtic Christian Studies programmes. He has written some thirty books on spirituality and lives on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, where many Christian leaders come to the Community's Retreat House and Library and for consultation. He tweets a daily prayer @whitehouseviews and writes a weekly blog on www.raysimpson.org

This enthusiastic and well-informed book is the work of an author who knows his topic well from within, and is delighted by it.

He first tells the story of Christianity in Britain - especially northern Britain - in the days when the Romans had just left and the early Anglo-Saxon Christians were beginning to form a new kind of society. So the word 'spirituality' heads the first three chapters and deals in turn with factors that did, over those early centuries, form just that. We read that it was uphill work, but work that paid off - and out of which we are still, today, reaping benefit.

Of the people who played an important part in establishing Christianity in north Britain, some names live on. In this book, Simpson is most interested in St Hilda, who, as he makes clear, was responsible for much of the dedicated and enthusiastic work that rooted Christianity. For her, the gospel was the beginning, middle, and end of things.

(There were, of course, many other saints. Aidan's is the other name that crops up frequently, and he, Simpson says, profoundly impressed Hilda. Those two names are today linked in the name of the Community of Aidan and Hilda, a community that Simpson founded, and which is centred on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne.)

'Wholeness is the realisation of our humanity,' Simpson writes as he describes spiritual formation at Whitby 14 centuries ago. In his recounting of his own experience, one senses that the claim may well be authenticated.

The story told in this book is, indeed, a powerful one. Reading it may well bring to the attention of more people the value (to both Church and society) of religious communities. Currently, many of these are getting smaller and smaller. I sense, however, that here is an authentic reaching out of the past to find a way of living the Christian life, both in everyday society and in a dedicated community. Such a relationship is one that may well 'bear fruit, fruit that shall last'.

John Armson

Canon Armson is a former Precentor of Rochester Cathedral