The Community has members and local groups in Mali, The Congo, Zimbabwe and South Africa
You can find contacts and the latest news about the Community of Aidan and Hilda in Africa here
Carmel Christian Retreat Centre is situated just outside the small town of George in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. This is one of those ‘thin places’ where God’s Presence is evident and felt by all who visit here Annually, some forty people gather to learn more about the early Celtic Christians and their lives which epitomize the life and teachings of Christ.
Under the leadership of retired Bishop Eric Pike of Cape Town, pilgrims journey along the Way, learning and experiencing to some degree, most aspects of the Celtic Christian life, with craftwork, encouraged by Joyce Pike, an integral part of that life. Times of worship, using as far as possible, the Celtic style, are followed by times of reflection and rambles.
The residential retreat usually draws people from Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, and Durban, but sometimes from further afield. Each year Bishop Eric introduces a new aspect of the expression of the faith of the Celtic Christians, whether Aidan or Cuthbert or Columba, or any of the other saints, and relates that to life in current times. In keeping with the life of the Celtic Christians, much is focused on: increasing an awareness of God as He reveals Himself in and through creation; the acknowledgement that the core of our being is in the image of God albeit marred by sin; and the value and centrality of Holy Scripture – the Word of Truth – in our faith.
The boldness needed by the early Christian Celts, in standing for Christ in a largely pagan world, is brought into focus in our present society with its increasing paganism, but contrasted with that, was their compassion for the poor, and our need likewise to have Christ’s sacrificial love and compassion in the hurt and broken world around us. The periods for quiet contemplation and meditation, give opportunity to become aware of God through Scripture and creation. Retreats may end with a sunrise Eucharist in the circular chapel, its windows looking out over the sea.
Above and below: Wendy Ryan receives a banner. Wendy leads Evangeline Ministries in Fish Hoek (near Cape Town) whose work is 'Helping women who live with HIV & Aids find new hope in Jesus Christ.'