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Pinner, London, U.K.: SPEC

About SPEC:

SPEC is a residential Catholic retreat centre for children and young people in the Diocese of Westminster which is based in Pinner, Middlesex (previously located at the All Saints Pastoral Centre near St Albans in Hertfordshire).

As an integral part of Westminster Youth Ministry, they work closely with their colleagues in the Outreach Team.

SPEC is dedicated to providing a space for children and young people to retreat from the busyness of daily life in order reflect on – and hopefully experience – the presence of God in their lives.

They are also dedicated to providing a year of formation for the volunteer missionaries who join them to share in the life and work of the SPEC Community.

The SPEC community live in Waxwell House, historically part of Waxwell Farm. The house consists of 3 wings: the Tudor wing, the Victorian wing, and the Modern wing. The Tudor wing was constructed at the end of the 16th Century. An extension was added in the 1800s and is aptly called the Victorian wing. In 1947, Waxwell Farm was purchased as a gift for the Grail Society. The chapel and accommodation – the Modern wing – were added in 1957. Waxwell Farm was purchased by the Diocese of Westminster in 2010 and became SPEC’s new home in March 2014.

The chapel, with the Blessed Sacrament, is at the heart of the community, strategically located between the community accommodation and the ‘public’ areas. The chapel was built for the Grail Community and officially opened in May 1957 and dedicated on 28 April 1958. The architect, FX Verlade, also designed the local parish church of St. Luke, and there are distinct similarities in the design of both. On the sanctuary there is a beautiful tapestry of the Last Supper by Luc Van Hoeek and at the other end a stunning depiction of the Stations of the Cross. The altar contains a relic of St Thomas Becket who was in nearby Harrow about a fortnight before his martyrdom in Canterbury.

The community at SPEC meets in the chapel at 0800 for Lauds (morning prayer), 1700 for Vespers (evening prayer) and Holy Hour and then again at 2130 for Compline (night prayer). On Mondays, when we have no groups visiting us, we have a community Mass celebrated by Fr Mark, our chaplain.

Traveling to the SPEC community:

Address:  125 Waxwell Lane, Pinner, London, HA5 3EP

Tel:  02037 572516

email:  youth@rcdow.org.uk

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