A Modification and a Next Step

News from Rev. Mugo
Rev. Alicia and I from the very start of the project 15 months ago intended to work side by side collaboratively and indeed that is what we have done up to now. As the project moved towards the next stage I gradually came to see that it would be good for me to step back and Rev. Alicia move into the lead role in taking the project forward and making it manifest. I had always imagined we would eventually be living at the temple and developing it together over the years into our dotage! This no long will happen, which brings a bit of sadness I must say. Life takes many twists and turns and I’d not anticipated a twist in the road of this import. It would be satisfying to be able to give well thought out reasons for coming to this however sometimes, it would seem, what comes up as good resists logical explanation! Even to oneself! At heart I feel this is a good move.

I will continue to support and help the project and I anticipate this being on the level of lifting and carrying rather than having a part in shaping future developments. Rev. Alicia and I continue to be good monastic friends and I bow to her patience and forbearance in the face of my change of mind.  I wish her well with taking the next step which is to rent property in the spring. In the future I’ll no doubt be signing up to spend some retreat time in a hut. Should there be a vacancy!  With bows, Mugo

News from Rev. Alicia: The Next Step – Renting a Property
For a while now I have been thinking that it would make a lot of sense to start this project at rented property. It might be a very long time until there is enough money to buy a place, and renting would enable the project to get started and offer the hermitage-style retreat facilities that are at the heart of this project. It would also provide experience that would be very helpful when choosing more permanent premises.

Over the last few weeks Rev. Mugo and I have consulted with many people, monks and lay supporters, as a result of which I have decided to look for a place to rent that I could move into in the spring, with the intention of being ready to open the doors to retreat guests by the summer.

The plan is to look for a bungalow or small house that stands on its own, not overlooked by neighbours, and with enough land to be able to site a couple of shepherd huts/trailers/yurts or other similar moveable structures to serve as the first guest hermitages. It would probably be somewhere in the Midlands. I don’t have anywhere in particular in mind, it just needs to be rural and reasonably accessible by road and public transport. If you live in the Midlands and would like to do some scouting around do let me know, I’d be very grateful for help in locating a suitable property.

From looking at rental property on the Rightmove website, £650 a month looks like it would get a reasonable property. Add to that Council Tax, gas and electricity, insurance, food, phone, car etc. and I think we are looking at a minimum monthly running cost of around £1,200 i.e. £14,400 a year.

There is currently around £6,000 in the bank, and £80 a month coming in via standing order donations so raising some more money to help get the project up and running would definitely be a good move – if you would like to help please visit the Appeal for Funds page of the website.

In the long term, I expect that donations from retreat guests will provide the major source of income though realistically it may be a year or two before that goal is realised, so I would like to reassure you that the means is in place to cover any deficit during that initial period (though it would be great if it wasn’t needed!)

So, that’s the outline plan, and there will be plenty more details to come as we start putting it into action. Rev. Mugo and I will keep you posted via this newsletter and the blog posts on the website. We’ll also be updating some of the pages on the website to reflect these new steps.

If you have any thoughts, comments, ideas or questions do please get in touch, we’d love to hear from you!