U.K. 2011

“There is a township in Northumberland, England, near Alnwick and Warkworth Castle, now called Hazon (or Hazen). In early records it was written Heisende and philologists believe it was derived from Hegges ende (sofetened to Heies ende), meaning end of the hedge. To this day there are miles of hedge by the roadside in the township.”

The Hazen Family in America by Tracy Elliot Hazen, 1947

Hazon Sign
Hazon Sign

In April of 2007 during a Google search for “daily prayer book”, I found the Celtic Daily Prayer book published by the Northumbria Community. I bought a copy, and it quickly began to transform my devotional life. It wasn’t until a full year later that I realized the “NC” was headquartered in the same county that my ancestors hail from.

Interesting.

Cool.

I made contact with the NC through their online forum, and became a Friend of the community in 2008.

In April 2010 the NC was forced to find a new location for the “mother house” when the lease expired at Hetton Hall, their location for  many years prior. Literally thousands of people around the world were praying and many were working hard in various capacities to seek a new home for “Nether Springs” (the name of the mother house). “Interesting” and “cool” quickly turned to “awe-inspiring”, “humbling” and “transcendent”on April  6th, 2010 when I received the following message from Ian Corsie of the “NC” who actually lives in Northumberland:

“I’ve been dying to pass this bit of news on to you for months, Dan – the new Nether Springs will be located at Acton House – which is only about one mile away (to the south towards Felton) from Hazon! How about that!

I hope this information will give you great joy and make you feel even more connected with the Community. We look forward to being able to introduce you and your family to the new mother house and see you walk off across the fields to Hazon. – Ian

Seriously?!

149,000,000 square kilometers of land on the planet, and the place where my ancestor, Hugo de Heisende happened to lease 100 acres of forest in 1202, also happens to fall in the same ONE square kilometer as  the home of the life-changing community which “fell into my lap” through a Google search in 2007? I didn’t even connect the two for over a year! And the community didn’t even move until a year after THAT.

Seriously?!

149,000,000 to 1 odds.

After much planning, prayer and the end of a 2 1/2 year long journey of selling my late father’s house; my wife, daughters and I will indeed have the chance to “walk across the fields of Hazon” in just over a month from now.  We will also be visiting my mother’s family’s ancestral home (which is less than 100 miles from Hazon, by the way) and many other sights in the U.K.

August 15, 2011

The goodbyes at Nether Springs were hard. It really felt like I needed another week. In fact, Pete suggested as much. I was feeling like I was just finding my feet and then it was time to go.

Oh well, everything belongs.

The connections that were made in Northumbria, with the people,...Read More »


August 11-13, 2011

 . . .that was Thursday last week. It’s 7 days later. . . Sitting in the train station in Oxford, having just received a nearly personalized tour of C.S. Lewis’ home, “The Kilns” conducted by Dr. Debbie Higgins, the Resident Director of the Lewis Foundation.

. . . . Yeah. it’s...Read More »


August 10, 2011

Andy finished his errand, and came straight back to the Crown and Anchor. He grabbed a Guinness, and in not just a few minutes, Jo and Emma arrived. They knew Andy already so it was an unexpected reunion for them. The next 90 minutes was a whirl of multiple conversations,...Read More »


August 9, 2011

Lindisfarne, or Holy Island has been a place of Christian worship since the 6th century. It is the taproot which anchors the massive tree of Celtic Spirituality into the soil of Northumberland.

In the NC ethos, Lindisfarne is the Upper Spring, and the Mother House (located inland from Lindisfarne near the...Read More »


August 7, 2011

The tone of this silly little blog might be a bit different for a few installments because I’ve got behind, and am now writing when events are not so fresh in my mind.

For example, I’m sitting alone in the Refactory of Nether Springs Monestary early Sunday morning, having just cleared...Read More »


August 6, 2011

Hazon Part 3

My mouth went dry (partially because it was hanging wide open) and my heart skipped a couple of beats.

” . . .right then . . . Whatdya’ ya want from me?” he asked, the distant shadow of a smile emerging on his face.

Quick thinking, articulate and socially apt...Read More »


August 3, 2011

Hazon Part 2

. . . His name was Bruce, his wife was called Helen and they had lived next to Hazon Mill for about 12 years. Their neighbor, who lives in the old mill, was on holiday but they gave us a quick tour of the place now called “Hazon...Read More »


August 2, 2011

It’s hard to know where to begin . . .

We walked the lanes of Hazon today, and there was more to it than I had thought.

I had looked at Hazon on Google Street View a couple of weeks before the trip and saw that it consisted of exactly two houses,...Read More »


August 1, 2011

I squealed like a schoolgirl when we passed the sign on the A1 yesterday. It read “The Holy Island of Lindisfarne”.

The sign just popped  out of nowhere . . . like all other signs along all other motorways; the same size, color, font, etc. it could have read, “Garbage Dump”...Read More »


July 30, 2011

Continued random observations, this time from Scotland:

£. Neutral Observation
+ Positive Observation
–  Negative Observation
!  Uncategorized

£ Edinburgh is a city in transition. We are seeing it in mid-stream somewhere between a relatively isolated, old-school, regional, working capital, and an international destination for art, culture and history. There’s a sense...Read More »


July 28, 2011

Thursday morning, sitting in a coffee shop looking at Edinburgh Castle, watching the workaday Edinburghian make his/ her way to the kilt factory or the golf course or the haggis plant.

Let me get the date metaphor out of the way:

Edinburgh might be my favorite city so far. She reminds me...Read More »


July 27, 2011

We spent most of our day at Cawdor Castle, home of one of the major branches of Clan Campbell.

It was a good day, lots of laughs, beautiful gardens.

Dropped off the rental car. They charged us for £50 of damage . . . A ding that I couldn’t argue with. Oh...Read More »


July 26, 2011

Yesterday was a real mixed bag. . . .mostly cool stuff.

It was a travel day.  road trip through the heart of the highlands. We left Inverary on the West Coast, and by the end of the day we were in Inverness, the capital city of the East Coast Highlands. About...Read More »


July 24, 2011

Inevitable, I suppose. Darkness.

It’s stalking me. Well, it always stalks me. It seems there are times when I am able to stay several steps ahead of it . . . It doesn’t know exactly where I am and so it’s simply a matter of listening for it as it rumbles...Read More »


July 22, 2011

Today marked a significant event in this trip: Driving on the left side of the road.

Yes, way back when this trip was first being planned, renting (hiring) a car for at least part of then trip was a must. How could an American with the opportunity to do so, resist...Read More »


July 21, 2011

I haven’t cried over my mother for some time now. But as we crossed into Scotland yesterday, that changed. Seeing the countryside she had longed to see but never had, opened me up to her absence again.  It makes sense. My dad’s death has occupied all that bandwidth for the...Read More »


July 19, 2011

A few more random thoughts swirling around after a fitful night’s sleep:

The English get technology in a way we do not. Perhaps it is how they apply it.

– A washer dryer in one unit the size of a small filing cabinet.
– Every outlet has a switch on it.tics
–...Read More »


July 18, 2011

Seems like train rides are the time for blogging. I splurged and got us 1st class tickets for all our train travel in the UK. It’s splendid 🙂

On our way to Liverpool now, all four of us seated around our own table, with coffee, a light lunch about to be...Read More »


July 17, 2011

Wonderful, and well paced day. I need to share the iPad with the ladies, however, so I will only post briefly right now:

Experienced three kinds of worship today, all unique:

1. 11:00 AM worship at St. Matthews, Notting Hill. My first Anglican service. So much to share about this, currently bursting.

2....Read More »


July 16, 2011

In C.S. Lewis’ Science Fiction trilogy, each planet in our solar system is ruled by a spirit, (a reference to the biblical idea that Satan is ruler of Earth). “Out of the Silent Planet” is the title of the first book, “silence” referring to the fact that Satan has become...Read More »


July 15, 2011

Sitting on the steps of St. Matthews Anglican Church, Notting Hill. I had the chance to say morning office for the first time in a couple of days. I have come to depend upon that practice like no other, it seems. A great sense of relief fell on me as...Read More »


July 10, 2011

I’ve been anticipating the 10th.

It’s my favorite meditation in the CDP:

“. . . Land of my fathers, how I long to return, to touch the earth, and find again thy sacred paths. . .”

I get shivers typing it out. We leave on that very pilgrimage in just two days.

Pilgrimage.

It was...Read More »


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