A Christmas Poem

A New Day
Lynda Watson

It is dark outside
No light
No moon
No stars
It is dark outside

In the East the sun is rising
A line on the horizon
The line is racing Westward
Fast approaching

It is dark inside
No light
No mercy
No love
It is dark inside

From on high the light has come
A babe born of Mary
A babe bringing salvation
Mercy and love

A new day has come
Be glad!
Give thanks!
The Light inside

Thoughts on our Craft Days 2021

Two participants write about our recent Meekness and Majesty craft days held in the Craft Studio at HOD in November 2021, preparing for Advent.  The days were led by Janey Petterson, exploring the theme of “Meekness and Majesty”.

From Rosie Emerson:
A wonderfully blessed time of being in the presence of God and hearing him through quiet and through prayer. It was lovely to have some time to be creative and share with others in a safe space
Janey is truly being used by God to bring out deeper thoughts and feelings in order to allow Him to nurture us and assure us of his faithfulness and constant presence and attention to us.  Thank you!
From Sian Robinson:
Working creatively on this retreat was very powerful. I felt there was a parallel process going on between a word that God had given me during the week and the moulding of my crown out of clay. The exercise enabled me to bypass my overthinking mind & it touched my spirit in an experiential way and the word he had given me ‘evolve’ suddenly made sense. The take home message was let go & be expectant & allow things to evolve as we trust God in the now & the future!   Ephesians 3:20  “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…”
For more craft days coming up in 2022 see Seasons Creative Arts Retreat Days  or the Calendar of Events

Volunteer weekend

Some of our friends and supporters come when they can to help as Volunteers on work weekends and volunteer days which we have occasionally.  Mick Mulvaney came recently and sent us this brief update about the time he had with us….   Sharing this with a few photos.  Thanks Mick!

My wife Marcia and I have always returned home blessed by our visits to the ‘House of the Open Door’, even from a ‘work weekend’!

It is a place that has been soaked in prayer and worship by a community seeking to serve God in whatever ways He reveals. As a result we have found that the Holy Spirit is present in a very tangible way.

Our recent Work-Weekend was made up of a mix of people from around the country engaged in building a bee-house, apple coring and washing, clearing leaves and repainting garden benches.

What a meaningful way of giving back to God? But in return we received new friends, fellowship with the community, good food, ministry, worship, and a space where one can simply listen to God.

Perhaps a ‘Giving and Receiving Weekend’ would be a better name?

Mick and Marcia

Online Donation

To support our Charity , this website now has an online donation form on our Donate page.

Every contribution from our supporters, large or small, will help our work.  The form can accept regular or one-off donations, and enables Gift Aid and consent for us to stay in touch.

The form is managed by  the Charities Aid foundation through their BACS-compliant CAF donate online giving platform, so donations will be managed securely.  

We continue to be grateful for the prayers, help and contributions we receive from the Charity’s many supporters.

Quiet Painting Days

Creative retreat days using art have provided quiet spaces to reflect on Scripture, be still before the Lord, walk in the lovely grounds and gardens, and paint or use pottery as forms of expression.  The days are not for artists only, but for anyone wishing to invite God to show them their creative side. We are, after all, made in God’s image, and He is our Creator! 

Janey Patterson writes about her recent day on a Quiet Painting Day at HOD…

We were invited to bring our paints and canvases, but as I work with clay, I asked if I could bring some instead of the paints. Margaret, our leader for the day was very gracious and agreed!

There were three of us attending  and it was held in the pottery studio, a wonderful, light and airy space.

When we were given our program, the first line on the paper read,

‘You are seated at the Lord’s table”

Wow! I thought, and I am ashamed to say I don’t think I heard anything after that!

What an amazing concept and my head and heart were busy digesting this and wanting to produce something for His table. I began by rolling out some clay and chose a stamp with branches and indeterminable fruits growing from them. I stamped at pretty random intervals on the clay and as I was smoothing out the clay from underneath to distort the pattern, the Lord said,

“I am the template.”

Wow! again…

My aim was then to make this piece of clay into a huge pitcher or jug representing Jesus, from which the life giving water of the Spirit would flow, keeping the spout purposely split to recall the brokenness of Jesus for us and also knowing that this would make the water splash very freely over everyone/thing onto whom it was poured! I would then make a beaker for each disciple. The beakers would have the same stamp/template on each one (being made in God’s image) but the template would be distorted or slashed, nearly rubbed out or overprinted with some other texture showing the markings of each life. Each beaker would have a specific colour and these would match a coloured template on the ‘Jesus jug’. Both beakers and jug would be glazed and then set on a table as an exhibition piece.

No matter what our experience, the opportunity for the Lord’s saving grace is always present.

Margaret was a wonderful quiet presence and guide during the day.

I would encourage anyone to attend this type of day, even if you have no artistic leanings. The Lord’s presence is your inspiration and He will surely bless you as you listen and experiment with your chosen medium.

Janey Petterson

ENC and ENC Youth

For the last few years, HOD has been part of the ENC (European Network of Communities), and Gaetana is a member of the ENC council.

We have been been able to contribute to the ENC Youth Group, ‘NextGen’ – a movement for youth who love to seek Christ together.

In NextGen, the young are connected together and equipped with skills, passion, faith and love in a multicultural and ecumenical atmosphere.

Because of the pandemic, NextGen have had to have online meetings.  A series of gatherings has been taking place during 2021, with young people meeting from several countries across Europe for worship, teaching and encouragement.

In July 2021, as community, we had the privilege to lead the worship and give a talk on the theme of prayer for one of these gatherings online.

YouTube recordings 2021

In 2021 we started our new YouTube Channel and began to upload content from our community and fellowship meetings.

We thought we would post links to some of the recordings published there so far.

YouTube Recordings of Online Speakers 2021




Life in the Spirit Seminars 2021

Music for the Life in the Spirit Seminars run by the Diocese of Southwark

The Worship group helped prepare music for online Life in the Spirit seminars which were organised by the Diocese of Southwark over May and June 2020. 

The group prepared recorded music for most of the sessions, but joined the team for a preparation weekend, and for the prayer in week 4 for Baptism in the Spirit, led by Fr Pat Collins.  The seminars were attended by 150+ people in the diocese.

Autumn 2021 Life in the Spirit Seminars run by the Archdiocese of Birmingham

From September to November 2021 some of the Community is involved in helping to organise the Life in the Spirit Seminars being run in the Archdiocese of Birmingham as part of the Diocesan renewal program, in the core team, helping with worship and small groups  

For more on the worship ministry please see Young People / Schools

CHARIS National Services of Communion Hour of Praise

The Catholic Charismatic renewal in England ran a weekly online hour of praise on Wednesday evenings since early 2020. The praise was led by a different group across the UK every week, and was broadcast live on its Facebook page.

The HOD worship team were invited to lead the praise twice, including the last hour of praise to be held, before Pentecost 2021.

Outreach with Blessed to be a Blessing (BTBAB)

For many years we have had contact with BTBAB as they held their training sessions for overseas missions in the Retreat Centre.  Due to Covid restrictions this year, they were unable to travel abroad, and so had their first UK outreach this summer. 

Silvie from community joined the group, training with them and then spending the week working with refugees in Coventry and homeless people in Birmingham.  This was very valuable experience for Silvie, and gave us a greater opportunity to engage in this type of mission. 

BTBAB will continue to hold their training events and retreats in the HOD Retreat Centre, and we may have opportunities to join them on future missions.

Photos courtesy of Blessed to be a Blessing