A few weeks ago, Mark Townsend was ordained as a minister in the Open Episcopal Church. Mark is an extraordinary man: Christian, Druid and Magician, who has written inspiring books, including The Gospel of Falling Down: The Beauty of Failure in an Age of Success.
Some people find it hard to understand how Mark (or indeed anyone) can connect with both a Nature-based path such as Druidry and a religion such as Christianity, but others find creativity and new horizons at the edges, at the boundaries where traditions meet and merge and sometimes clash.
Mark asked me and Revd.Peter Owen-Jones (well-known in the UK for his series Extreme Pilgrim and Around the World in 80 Faiths) if we could come to his ordination. Neither of us could make it, so he asked for a video message, which we were able to film in a beautiful spot in Ashdown Forest thanks to the kindness of director Sara Proudfoot-Clinch, who was filming us that day for a short film for the Woodland Trust that will highlight the continuing necessity for us to fight to save England’s forests.
Mark’s ordination was unusual in that he was blessed both by Christian bishops, and by a Druid and a priestess of the Goddess, author Sorita d’Este, who writes in her blog:
‘Over the years in my role as Priestess I have witnessed, participated and facilitated hundreds of ceremonies. Whilst each and every single one of them have been special and different in their own right, and whilst many of them will be with me throughout my life as harbingers of change and illuminating lights along the pathways I walk, wander and dance through the Mysteries; none have been quite so extraodinary as the ceremony I attended and played a small role in this past weekend in the borders town of Leominster. Just like Leominster is one of those towns here on the borders between England and Wales which is eternally liminal, where the edges between two nations are blurred at times as you examine its history and people; this was a ceremony in which the edges were blurred between traditions, people and beliefs.’ Read more and see photos on Sorita’s blog
Here is the film we made for Mark:
Mark has now taken advantage of the voucher Peter presented in this film. He has visited Gervaise of Brighton and has now returned to his ministry amongst his flock on the Edge, complete with his new hairstyle. His websites can be found here.