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Sunday
Feb062011

Our Celtic Roots

Why we are Urban SKYE.

When Urban Skye was just a twinkle in our eyes, we found ourselves reading about Saint Patrick and the Celts.  It’s quite a story: the rebellious teenage Englishman of a Roman Catholic family captured by Irish pirates. While enslaved, he had a vision from God that he should escape.  He did so only to one day return responding to another vision of Irish children asking him to “come, walk among us.” 

Patrick returned a Catholic priest but resisted the “Roman Way” of encouraging faith.  The Roman Way aimed at turning the “barbarian” Celts into good Romans for only then could they become good Catholics.  Not for Patrick!  As he walked among them, he saw an indigenous beauty woven into the lives of these barbarians. The path of faith he was charged to bring would begin with what they already loved. To be sure, this approach got him in trouble with Rome, but his “Celtic Way” was a blessing to the people.

Our team of misplaced Celts knew two things from this story.  First of all, we felt a kinship with their passions. We, too, had a love for nature and of poetry, a deep appreciation for hospitality, and a spirituality of place and of journey. Secondly, we wanted to follow the Celtic Way of Patrick summed up nicely in this ancient poem from our reading:

 

Go to the people.

Live among them.

Learn from them.

Love them.

Start with what they know.

Build on what they have.

 

When it came time to put a name to our vision, we knew it was focused in the city – the “urban” part was easy – yet we wrestled on how to bring in our Celtic roots.  Over dinner on a beautiful Colorado summer’s eve in 2003 we discovered the Isle of Skye a rugged, mountainous island off the west coast of Scotland. It was mysterious, beautiful and part of Patrick’s legacy thanks to Columba, a 6th century saint who exiled himself to the Scottish Island in penance for a war he helped start.  

We loved the story and the imagery. Urban SKYE was born.  

 

We’ll be confined and free. Roads end fast

and water leads slow ways to open water.

The harsh names on this map are Nordic,

the soft words Gaelic. We can love there well…

 

- Richard Wilbur, The Right Kind of Madness on Skye

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