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400th Anniversary Celebration with Local and Ecumenical Friends, 21 June 2024

400th Anniversary Celebration with Local and Ecumenical Friends, 21 June 2024

The Summer Solstice, the day with the longest daylight hours, traditionally kept on 21 June in the Northern Hemisphere, was doubly welcome at Stanbrook this year as it was the day we had chosen for our third gathering to celebrate our 400th anniversary. This time we invited local and ecumenical friends.
Incredibly, given the indifferent summer we have experienced so far this year, the day dawned a perfect midsummer morn, the luminous blue of the eastern sky broken only by a high cloud shaped like an eagle with outspread wings.

By 3.45pm our guests began to arrive, incredulous as we were, at the meteorological miracle we were enjoying! For many, including some of the stalwart volunteers who guide people around the far more ancient abbey of Byland at the foot of the hill in Wass, it was a first visit to ‘the modern abbey on the hill’.
It was a delight for us to share the building and vistas with our neighbours and to relax and chat with them over home-made scones in the monastery’s courtyard or garth.

Another reason for our choice of this day to celebrate was that it was the eve of the Feast of Saints John Fisher and Thomas More. St John Fisher’s connections with Beverley make him a local friend while St Thomas More is the great-great-grandfather of our principal foundress, Dame Gertrude More. The prayer for the feast of these great men and martyrs exhorts us to work to make visible the unity which Christ has won for us. Today’s celebration which concluded with Vespers all together in the abbey church was one way of showing this unity which we pray will deepen.

The third antiphon of the feast proclaims the Christian faith that the youth of those who have died in and for Christ ‘will be renewed like the eagle’s’ – an echo of that portent in the morning sky over Stanbrook on 21 June 2024, a day of grace.

From the House Chronicle