In September 1513, 500 years ago, there occurred the bloodiest battle in the long history of warfare between England and Scotland. It all happened at Flodden, near Coldstream in the Scottish Borders – not very far from Hetton Hall, the Community’s former Mother House.
Despite initially occupying the high ground, the Scottish forces found themselves outflanked by the English and there was the most awful slaughter of the great and good of the Scottish nation, including the loss of their king, James IV.
Today the battlefield site is open farmland and, with a helpful guide, one can walk around it with the sounds of battle almost ringing in one’s ears. To do so is to reflect not only on man’s inhumanity to man, but also on how this was the last great battle between the two nations, which within 100 years had united their crowns (in 1603); and within 200 had united their governments (1707).
The 500th anniversary of the battle is being marked this year in various ways – and the Community has a unique opportunity to be a part of the spiritual process of bringing benediction to a place where malediction ruled on that day of slaughter. This will be a Peace and Reconciliation Pilgrimage over the weekend 7 to 10 September (the battle took place on the 9th). This article is to keep you informed so that you can pray for those taking part and also to let you know how you can be involved yourself if you feel called to it.
The idea is that groups from both sides of the border should journey to the villages of Branxton and Crookham (close to Flodden Field) over that weekend, if possible journeying from places with close associations with the English and Scottish armies as they converged on Flodden: Pontefract, Durham, Alnwick, Edinburgh and Linlithgow. A symbol of reconciliation for the weekend will be a banner of St Cuthbert, who was born north of the border but had such an immense impact on the spiritual life of the nation to the south of it, working for peace, reconciliation and unity. If anybody would like to make a pilgrimage walk along these journeys (joining David Pott who will be walking from Durham starting 1 September), please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
On Saturday 7 September there will be a welcome and a meal; on Sunday 8 September there are opportunities to participate in the worship at a number of local churches where a common Liturgy of Reconciliation will be used. That evening there will be an Agape meal and a Prayer Vigil for Peace.
On Monday 9 September the morning will be taken up with workshops and in the afternoon there will be an assembly on the battlefield so that at 4 pm (the exact time and date of the start of the engagement 500 years previously) there can be a Gathering to Pray. That evening will be spent relaxing with hosts north and south of the border. On the afternoon of Tuesday 10 September there is to be a Solemn Commemoration Service in which the Community will play a significant role.
The keynote for this weekend will be Mother Teresa’s words: “Don’t look for big things, just do small things with great love”. So we are looking for a smallish group of Community folk (others are most welcome to join us, but it is a ’Community-run’ initiative) who feel really committed to ‘reversing the darkness’ in this particular way.
A major issue will be accommodation: local hosts are being sought, but some may wish to make their own arrangements in local B&Bs or guest houses.
A small working group has been formed to plan the programme. It would be most helpful for them if you could register your interest in this straight away so that we can build a database and make more detailed plans depending on who is likely to be there. Use the email address already mentioned above email@example.com
Event type: Community Team