Among the most devastating moments, I ever experienced was watching Notre Dame in Paris go up in flames. We watched, stunned and helpless, alongside the people of France, the art world and the men and women for whom Notre dame was sacred ground. This truly magnificent building had been a survivor of countless wars and revolutions and stood for centuries, not merely as one of the great Gothic Cathedrals and a towering jewel of western civilisation, but also as a symbol of enduring faith. I recalled the times I myself had spent within her walls and marvelled at her beauty and her blessedness.
I had much the similar feeling on an evening early in Lockdown when a neighbour reported seeing black smoke rising in our garden and I ran to find the Little Way on fire. Even though she cannot be compared to a great cathedral such as Notre Dame, she nonetheless holds for me and some of our friends the same depth of sanctuary and blessedness. I recall fearlessly running under the flames to save the icons and then the dreadful experience of fighting the fire along with kind residents of McGregor and later, the fire brigade. Mercifully that night there was no wind, and after a few hours, the blaze was extinguished. Only the roof of the entrance had been destroyed.
Finally this week, after the building restrictions of lockdown and waiting for the Insurance to pay out, The Little way came back to life once more. The icons are safely back in place and her doors are open again to the garden and those who will come to visit her and find sanctuary within her walls. Our thanks to Martyn Johnson and his team for a well-executed renovation.
Rumours abound that soon we will also be able to reopen Temenos and our restaurant. We are looking so forward to the day when we can welcome you all back. Currently, we can only accommodate guests who are permitted to travel on ‘business’.
Some other good news is that after weeks of an uphill battle with government departments, half of our staff have finally received some financial relief. We have been assured that the others will shortly also be paid. They are all looking forward to returning to full-time employment so let us hope visitors will eventually feel safe and comfortable making the journey to McGregor and to Temenos.
We will always be so deeply grateful to our friends for their loving support on so many different levels during this exceedingly challenging time. I firmly believe that we will indeed move into a new chapter in the Temenos Story. Once Lockdown is over we are intending to proceed with our garden wall of gratitude to express our appreciation for each and every donation, practical proposal, initiative and prayer that saved the life of this sacred space in the heart of McGregor.
The reopening of our Little Way is surely a smile from the Beloved.
Billy, the gardener