Website designed and maintained by Laurie Main of Aquila
Material Copyright © 1999-2017 St Peter's Chapel and Aquila
Chaplain, Revd Brigid Main
1300 years ago there were people working in Ireland and Scotland to spread the Christian faith. In Ireland, Patrick had established many monasteries and from there Columba had come to Iona, a tiny island off the west coast of Scotland, to establish a monastery and many other Christian centres.
From Columba's monastery, a man called Aidan was sent from Iona at the invitation of King Oswald of Northumbria to set up a monastery at Lindisfarne on the north-east coast. It was also to be a school where Anglo-Saxon boys could be trained to become priests and missionaries. It was in this school that Cedd and his brothers Caelin, Cynebil and Chad learnt to read and write in Latin, and learnt to teach the Christian faith. The four brothers were all ordained as priests and two of them, Cedd and Chad, later became bishops. Cedd's first mission was to go to the midlands, then called Mercia, at the request of its ruler, King Paeda, who wanted his people to become Christians. Cedd was so successful that when King Sigbert of the East Saxons (Essex) asked for a similar mission, it was Cedd who was sent.
So in 653 Cedd sailed down the east coast of England from Lindisfarne and landed at Bradwell. Here he found the ruins of an old deserted Roman fort. He probably first built a small wooden church but as there was so much stone from the fort he soon realised that would provide a much more permanent building, so he replaced it the next year with the chapel we see today!
The story continues on the History page.
The Bradwell village community plays an active part in the life of the the Chapel. They visit daily to restock the bookstall, arrange the flowers, clean and generally look after St Peter's.
They also play an active part in the Summer season of services by providing music, hymn sheets, help for the disabled, and anything else that becomes necessary to ensure that visitors to the Chapel have a rewarding experience.
The Othona Community is an ecumenical Christian community which was founded in 1946 by an Anglican clergyman, the Revd Canon Norman Motley.
They welcome people of all faiths (and none) to come and learn how to live in community, for a few days, a few weeks or for an unforgettable break.
Click here to visit Othona's Website.
Here is Trevor with his wife Pam at the door of the Chapel following the Iona Creation Service featuring Trevor’s poetry in August 2014.
Trevor is a Lay Minister in the Church of England and he and Pam both serve in two villages just a few miles North of Cambridge, England. For most of his professional life he has been a fundraiser but has been fascinated by the glory of the night sky which appeared even more glorious when they moved from a commuter town in Essex to the wide open spaces of Fenland. As a Christian throughout his life, this glory seemed an open invitation to celebrate God's glory in word and art.
The following are two of Trevor’s poems about Bradwell. Other poems, meditations and artwork can be found on Trevor’s blog site. Click here.
Othona: Chapel by Night
Darkness had laid its hand on the Saxon Shore
as nine of us gathered in those four bare walls,
sole remnants of a larger enterprise of Cedd.
Small pools of candlelight gave a shadowy glimpse
of his seventh century community at worship;
while outside in the inky night, the same stars glistened overhead
as would have guided him fourteen centuries ago.
The Great Bear pointing to Arcturus and The Pole,
The Milky Way in its sweeping, dazzling bow.
The light of a billion, billion suns,
having travelled further
than most human minds can conceive:
yet they, the stars and we share
a place in the creation
of a God whom the Chapel’s pilgrims and tourists may perceive
shows his love throughout this startling universe
and invites us, with Cedd and his flock, to belief.
A million, or is it a billion
sea shells crackle beneath our boots
as we walk one bare kilometre of Saxon shore.
Each step we take,
every shell we break
once housed a life on the ocean floor.
The shapes are exquisite,
the colours astound;
deep blue, graded russets,
orange, ochre and brown
are just part of a palette
mixed in the sea,
then discarded as jetsam;
which invites you and me
to pause in our striding,
and wonder just why
these small lives were adorned
to delight human eyes.
Mark and his wife Ruth are frequent visitors to St Peter’s-on-the-Wall and the Bradwell coast whether the day is grey and windy or blue and sunny and have been coming for many years for their ‘breath of peace!’ For them it is a really great place to find stillness for prayer both in the chapel and outside and they just enjoy receiving the inner calm you can get there amongst the elements and openness of our Lord’s creation.
They live further south of the county in Canvey Island and enjoy the drive over the beautiful Essex countryside and the Dengie peninsula as part of their time visiting Bradwell.
The following poem is called Holding Place as Mark has often felt an un-worded answer ‘to wait’ or a strong sense of ‘in the Lord’s time you will understand’ when at the Chapel. Mark also sketched the picture, left, of the approach to the Chapel.
This lane we walked through each season
Under Corn Bunting’s view so shy,
Past stone Chapel at the meeting
Of land, of sea, of changing skies;
To then head by green salt-marsh edge
Where Blackwater and her cause both merge,
To open bend as tree and hedge
Root by grass wall from gentle surge …
… As breezes purge, is tide inbound?
Or drawn half out ~ no note to show,
Chilled air inhaled, far geese flock sounds
… I am to wait, if I am to know.
Disguised horizon looking east
How misted rains erase from sight
Aerobic slender giants ceased
From hypnotic, slow turnings white;
These shallow waves, dissolving greys
Take my focus till losing grasp ~
There, lost awhile, amidst my gaze
That only one within could ask …
… In cold wind blast, are they inbound?
Or drawn half out ~ those answers so,
Something whispers beyond my doubt
… I am to wait, if I am to know.
Harrier today for marsh has flown
To fields behind or fleets inland,
Here Barnacle with the Greylag roam
On patterned flats of silt and sand;
Out there, the barges sunken low
To stall the flow in pools recessed,
Where Turnstones sift then come and go
I watch half gone from human stress …
… I cannot guess if hope’s inbound
Or drawn half out where questions go,
That love with me walks close this ground
The rest can wait if I am to know.
For slow we walk within his grace
In the stillness of
this holding place.