john davies
notes from a small curate

updated regularly
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Healing Places

    A retreat at Bishop's House, Iona
    16-21 April 2005

    Healing places was the theme of a retreat I led at Bishop's House, Iona between 16-21 April 2005. Building on the material I've been developing on an urban theology of land, this is how I presented it to the participants:

    When we consider the many changes affecting our world, and the sense of loss, dispossession and injustice they can bring, we may feel that some places we know and love are in need of healing. We are conscious of many other places where this is equally true.

    On an island where for centuries people have encountered God, this week, with the help of scripture and contemporary voices, we will investigate healing places: How can troubled places be healed? Can our homes, our communities, our churches become places of healing?

    En-route we might ask, how can we get to know our place better? Who are the dispossessed and who are the possessors there? How can places experience healing through prayer ministry, and through justice?

    Through reflection, prayer, conversation and activity together we might come up with some creative answers to some of these questions.


    Read the full texts of the sessions at these pages:

    1. Knowing your place
    What is the place you know, or love, best? A gentle way into the theme after a long journey to a special place.

    2 Frontier places
    Exploring what makes places distinctive; and what is happening at the margins, the edges, the frontiers

    3 The dispossessed at the frontiers
    Scripture has a number of categories for the dispossessed: sojourners, wanderers, exiles. They're still around today. In this session, and afterwards, we will think of them.

    4 The possessors at the frontiers
    Scripture also has many stories about those who 'possess the land' and many warnings about their potential downfall. Possessors can become slaves. Who and where are they today?

    5 Healing at the frontiers
    Is there healing for the hurting places? If so, how might we embrace it? Could our familiar places offer healing to those in need?


    Those taking part were also invited to contribute pictures, poems, prayers, reflections etc from the week, and some are published here:

    Photographs and images - with photos by Andrew Dixon

    Words and lyrics - featuring NOMANSLAND by Peter Charlton