SITEZINE: HOLY ISLAND'S E-MAIL MAGAZINE 1st April 2016
"Welcome to Holy Island"
Northern Cross 2016
Picture: Michael Sherman
  • A bit from me...
  • Holy Island Causeway: user safety
  • Holy Island village hall rebuilding appeal
  • Lindisfarne Castle
  • Curlews join Britain's threatened birds list
  • Natural England Lindisfarne NNR
  • Peregrini
  • News from Ford & Etal
  • From the Community of Aidan and Hilda
  • From our United Reformed Church minister
  • From the Vicarage
A BIT FROM ME Geoff Porter

Dear !*NAME*!,

Northern Cross 2016
Pictures: Michael Sherman

 

Welcome to Sitezine this Eastertide and a special HELLO to all who celebrated Easter week with us on Lindisfarne and filled St.Mary's to bursting point on Sunday.

Two of those amongst you, Michael and Christine, forwarded photos of the arrival of Northern Cross over the ancient 'Pilgrims Way' on 'Good Friday'. The cross was presented with three others during the Easter Eucharist service. You might well imagine the throughout the coming year the church will ring to the sound of that valiant Harrison, single-manual organ bursting to the strains of 'Thine be the Glory'. Thank you Northern Cross, thank you visiting pilgrims and, of course, Rev Paul Collins and his team whose hard work made the perpetuation of Lindisfarne's customary Easter celebrations possible.

And amidst all was the shock and horror of the Easter tragedy that unfolded in Pakistan and the IS bombing in Belgium. Through our several local subscribers in those countries may we send our deepest sympathy and hope for a peaceful future.

Shetlands' Gain: Sadly missing from the island are Rev Graham and Dr Ruth who have been inspired to 'up-sticks' from the 'Open Gate' and continue their calling in the furthermost reaches of Britain - The Shetlands. Thank you for all you have brought to our tiny community during the short time you have been with us. You will be missed and our loss will definitely be Shetland's gain!

Cuthbert's Day: It was pleasing to see so many attending "The Witnesses", a dramatic presentation of the life of St Cuthbert, played out in St Mary's. Very well done to all concerned and particularly to author and narrator, Canon Kate Tristram. Appropriately its first performance was on 'St Cuthbert's Day' 20th March.

Holy Island Causeway:  In this issue I include my message of the deteriorating state of the causeway to our county councillor, Cllr Dougie Watkins.

Lindisfarne Castle: Regular NT visitors will be aware of the diligent work of the local team not least of whom is the regular writer Nick Lewis. Having just returned following paternity leave and with attention so focussed on getting his report out on time that Nick 'forgot' to mention that his son, Rory Peter Lewis, was born at Cramlington on 6 March, weighing in at a whopping 9lbs. He reports 'Mother and baby are fine and enjoying getting to know each other while Daddy is back at work.' Wonderful news Nick. Please pass on our congratulations to your missus! And perhaps you might care to share a picture with us in the next issue...?

In addition to Nick, this month we present articles from writers: Ian, David O, David S, Elspeth, Mhairi, Paul, Rachel and Ray. Rachel, who is going off on a sabbatical shortly, does not expect to be able to write for us again until after August.

We hope you enjoy our newsletter and look forward to getting in touch again in May.

God Bless - Geoff Porter

HOLY ISLAND CAUSEWAY: USER SAFETY Editor

Dear Dougie Watkin,

Following a number of 'red herrings' that have filtered down to residents over the past 2 years via HIP, PC and Trust attendees, you will be aware that I highlighted the deteriorating state of the causeway in Holy Island Website's international newsletter only to discover that both AONB and Natural England absolve themselves in the deterioration of Holy Island causeway.

There can be few who would disagree that the causeway is becoming unfit not only for residents but also the additional half-a-million visitors who will be drawn to our shores across this often-perilous highway during coming months:

  • Standing seawater never drains away and accelerates road erosion
  • Saltmarsh prevents drainage and accelerates road erosion
  • Sand-obscured road markings are dangerous
  • Potholes are hazards
  • Bollards missing at the South-West corner of the bridge
  • Signage is needed warning of possible single-lane operation

At the PC's recent (March) meeting, as you might imagine, representatives of Northumbria Police were most supportive in obtaining a speedy resolution of these safety matters. Unfortunately, the PC were able only to state that NCC would sweep the causeway - no assurance was given on when this would be carried out and if it would continue as a regular (daily) service.

I have been a resident and member of the Development Trust for 20 years and clearly recall the last time NCC met in our previous village hall - specifically to discuss HI causeway. NCC were intent on carrying out a feasibility study to renew the road. Comments 'invited from the floor' observing that unless drainage into the river was improved the sand would continue to build up, seem to have been completely disregarded.

NCC subsequently went on to construct, what has been, an excellent road. It was built  6 inches higher than the previous surface. Unfortunately, with no drainage measures taken, as was predicted, the sand has again built up above the height of this new road surface..

As our elected representative: Would you please explain what you are doing to improve matters both now and for the coming weeks?

Geoff Porter
(9th March 2016)

Dougie sent an immediate, brief  response: "Geoff: I am going to have to start the whole process again -- I share your frustration but will plough on -- I will try to avoid other people getting involved and muddying the waters. Doug"

I have no doubt that our Councillor will do his utmost to highlight causeway safety and bring about a speedy resolution.

HOLY ISLAND VILLAGE HALL REBUILDING APPEAL David O'Connor

Some of you may have noticed that the number of men working on the new hall has dwindled, building work is drawing to a close and we will soon begin to furnish and equip the hall and before long, the hall will be yours to use.

To have got this far is in by small means thanks to you and many generous benefactors from far and wide, be it a day visitor dropping a handful of change into one of our collection boxes, a local or a friend of the Island making a more substantial donation or a significant grant from a body that supports small community charities such as ours.

Thank you all for your support, encouragement and generosity, apart from a few small tasks and any jobs identified by our professional snagging team, later this month. The job is done.

But there are Big Lottery Fund (BLF) Terms & Conditions that apply to our grant and most important involves monitoring activities based in the hall during the first 12 months or so.

When bidding for the lottery award, a survey was undertaken identifying how residents would like make use of the new building. Some activities can begin immediately and of the other 40 or so suggestions identified in that survey they will happen in the fullness of time as the community grows to remember old and develop new ways of using the hall. But we do need 4 or 5 activities that we will monitor for the BLF.

Essentially, use of the new hall is down to you.  Remember the hall is primarily for use by Islanders, but we need to make the building available for use by off-Islanders whose fees will help pay annual running costs.

As the visitor season builds, please don't forget the stall in the Oasis where donated books, games, puzzles etcetera, as well as Lady Rose's Marmalade are sold in aid of the hall. We always need donations of saleable items and the revenue from the stall will greatly help towards the annual running costs.

Again, on behalf of the Trustees, than you all for your help.

David (March 2016)
Contact: doconna@hotmail.com

LINDISFARNE CASTLE Nick Lewis

April 2016

The project work at the Castle is less intensive now as we get into the main visitor season but that doesn't mean this article won't be talking about the latest discoveries and planned works, oh no. In fact, the work going on here has merely changed in character. The winter saw stone replacement, pointing being hacked out and replaced, scaffold towers going up and down, and major structural repairs being carried out. Now the public are in the building, the work simply cannot be that disruptive; it would be unsafe and prove detrimental to the visit - regardless of how much we like to engage visitors with our work. Instead works consist more of surveying, recording, and monitoring. This naturally is less visually exciting that someone bashing away at a new piece of stone but is no less important.

I am presently taking timber dowel samples from multiple locations around the Castle. This involves having drilling a core in a wall, remove the powdery mortar, weigh it, put it in the oven to remove any moisture, then weigh it again. This gives us an idea of the moisture content in the wall. The core is then filled with a length of timber dowel, which acts as a temporary 'mortar' for a month or so, when I come along and remove it. I then chop the timber into short sections, remembering to mark which end was the inside and which was furthest into the wall. This is important as the outer section will show moisture originating externally (i.e. rain) and the inner piece shows presence of moisture originating internally, like people's breath, condensation, or even rain brought in on wet clothes. These dowels are then sent off to our environmental specialists for analysis; the idea being we can get a fairly comprehensive 'map' of the moisture in the Castle.

I mentioned last month that a drainage survey had been carried out and that we had intentions to lift flagstones on the Upper Battery to improve our understanding of where water goes once it soaks through the surface. Well in the last couple of weeks we did just that, with three test 'pits' being opened up in selected areas of the battery; one by the building, another near the parapet and a third in between. The pit by the building showed the wall foundations sitting directly on the natural whinstone, effectively the summit of Beblowe Crag. That by the parapet showed a pinkish stone surface while the third showed two stone structures, possibly drain covers, running at orientations different to the surrounding walls. Our archaeologists will be providing us with slightly more detailed analysis than that I have just given (I hope!) but the excavations will certainly help us understand the Upper Battery a lot better, and inform whether we need to open up any more pits.

Easter has of course been early this year which means as I write (Tuesday 29th, sorry Geoff!) we still have the bulk of the holidays to go on the Island. I hope the next fortnight is good to you and that it bodes well for the rest of the year.

All the best

Nick
Lindisfarne Castle
nick.lewis@nationaltrust.org.uk
@NTLindisfarne
01289 389903

DAMIAN'S  PROBLEMS WITH A HORSE AND SWALLOWS Ian Kerr

During the very touching memorial service for Brother Damian there was a pause for quiet reflection so those present in our parish church could ponder on their personal memories of that lovely man who always seemed to be smiling.

With rather ghostly images of him in his brown Franciscan robe and white rope tie being projected on the old stonework above the main arch, no doubt everyone in the congregation had very different memories. Mine both concerned him laughing at himself for a couple of the quandaries he found himself in during his all-too-brief period as vicar before the Franciscans decided he was needed elsewhere.

I'm sure everyone who ever attended Sunday school, and many might be surprised that I did as a small child, will remember little brightly coloured stickers of the various saints that were present for regular attendance.

They usually portrayed the affinity of St Francis of Assisi for animals and birds. I seem to remember pictures of him with birds perching on his hands and shoulders and animals gathered around him, looking up in suitable adoration.

Therefore on an island full of birds and animals you might have thought Damian would be in his element. The reality was a bit different and Damian himself used to laugh when I unmercifully teased him about.

My two favourite memories of him concerned very different creatures  - the friendly retired racehorse which used to be stabled in the field next to the Vicarage and the Swallows which nest annually in the church porch.

Firstly, the horse. To me it always seemed a very gentle creature, popular particularly with children, visitors and locals alike, coming to the gate to be stroked and, I suspect, on many occasions to be given a little treat.

Now every Franciscan can recognise a horse and you'd think, in the great scheme of things, that a horse would recognise a Franciscan. It certainly did and it used to shy away from the gate and run off down the field every time poor Damian appeared. It wouldn't even come to him when he brought a freshly-washed carrot.

Perhaps it was his flowing robes which made it so skittish. Poor Damian told me: "It looks really bad when people see an animal run away from a Franciscan!" Whatever the cause, the horse never became friends.

Swallows, favourite summer birds of so many, have nested in the porch as long as I can remember. The sudden hunger calls of young seeing a parent approaching have enlivened many a service.

During Damian's first summer as our vicar a pair set up home in the corner of the porch. They built their cupped nest of mud and grasses and lined it with feathers. It was away from the direct walk into the church so there was no danger of anyone being, shall we say, "bombed" as they entered. All went well and after a month or so the young successfully fledged. The nest was empty and the white stuff Swallows leave behind was safely on the paving flags in the corner.

Damian was a tidy sort, very accomplished at cooking and domestic chores and, incidentally, the only man I've ever heard of who could neatly fold a fitted bed-sheet. This was something he demonstrated to the very impressed ladies of the island on one memorable January 2nd when they visited the Vicarage during the traditional New Year round.  Anyway back to our tale: he decided to clean the porch.

He swept up the droppings and eased the mud nest off the wall. He cleaned the stonework where the nest had been stuck and, no doubt, generally congratulated himself on a job well done.

What Damian didn't realise was that many of our island Swallows raise two families in a season. So it came to pass that a few days later, the Swallow parents, having seen their first youngsters achieve independence, flew back to lay another clutch.

You can imagine their consternation when they discovered that their nest had vanished. Nothing daunted, they set about building a new one. But this time decided on a change of location. Instead of harmlessly again using the corner, they built in the centre of the porch ceiling right above where hundreds of visitors passed each day.

What followed was pure comedy. People coming in had to duck and dodge as the young Swallows kept their nest clean by squirting over the rim. Eventually an old lampshade was suspended under the nest to catch the worst of it.

When Damian, rather embarrassed by the whole episode, admitted that he was to blame I gave him a little lecture on Swallow ecology and remember saying: "That's literally a message from Above for a Franciscan messing with Swallows!"

Damian loved re-telling the tale, He even encouraged me to include it when I gave a short talk about the island's birds as part of the annual St Aidan's week celebrations in the church. Needless to say, it got the biggest laugh of the afternoon.

I'm sure if Damian has some means to keeping an eye on what's happening down here on the island he'll still be laughing about it.

NATURAL ENGLAND LINDISFARNE NNR Mhairi Maclauchlan

March 2016

Staff and volunteers ventured out in some pretty cold weather at the beginning of March to do a litter pick of Budle Bay. With some of the high tides recently there had been a fair amount of rubbish washed up on the shore and the team managed to collect 18 bags from a relatively small area. Thanks to everyone who turned out and helped. We have another litter pick organised for 8th April, 9.30 at the Snook carpark which is open to anyone who wants to help. Please contact the Reserve office for more information or have a look on our blog and Facebook.


It's that time of year where we see our winter residents leaving the Reserve to return to their breeding grounds. As numbers drop, geese flock together there have been several species in one area at a time. Particularly at Budle Bay during the first part of March there have been small flocks of light-bellied brent, pink-footed geese, greylag geese and barnacles. At this time there were up to 400 light-bellied brent, 250 pink-footed goose, 300 greylag and 70 barnacle geese using the Bay. As the days lengthen and temperatures rise we will see more leaving us in the coming weeks and our summer residents returning. Skylarks are already in fine voice throughout the Reserve.

On that note we are busy with preparations for the ongoing protection of breeding shorebirds including ringed plovers and oystercatchers. We have full time dedicated shorebird wardens and our volunteers starting with us next month as we prepare for the breeding season. Fences will be out from the beginning of May - there will be some at Goswick and also the usual places elsewhere on the Reserve.

We have several students from Newcastle University working on the Reserve over the summer including two undergrad placements that spent a week with us. They carried out important litter collections and surveys on the North shore and at Goswick, did their own mini project looking at benthic fauna and shadowed staff for part of the week. The litter pick fed into a wider study being carried out on micro plastics in the marine environment.

Mhairi Maclauchlan
Reserve Warden, Beal Station,
Tel: 01289 381 470

ED: Mhairi's blog and facebook page can be found at http://lindisfarnennr.blogspot.co.uk/ and www.facebook.com/lindisfarnennr .

PEREGRINI David Suggett

Peregrini Volunteer Conference a success

The first ever Peregrini Conference took place on Saturday 12th March and was a great success. Over 30 people registered their interest in a range of projects but Community Archaeology, Archive and Geology proved most popular. The day featured an introduction into each of the projects by our community leads and showed people how they can get involved. Natural England also attended and highlighted our Shorebird Nesting project.

The Peregrini Lindisfarne short film was also previewed and can now be seen on our website: www.peregrinilindisfarne.org.uk

Peregrini Landscape Photography

As we told you in our February newsletter, we have joined forces with Emma Rothera from yourbeautifulphotography.com to deliver our first creative arts project. Helping people develop existing skills on using their Digital SLR camera, the project culminates in a photographic exhibition on Holy Island as part of the annual festival. A public vote will see who wins Best Picture. Photos taken by participants will also be used to help develop a visual archive of the area and potentially be used on interpretation for other Peregrini projects. Look out for workshops updates on our website and facebook page.

Our first workshop took place on Wednesday 23rd March. All other workshops are full, however a reserve list is available should people drop out. Please contact david.suggett@northumberland.gov.uk if you're interested in being added.

Community Archaeology Project launch event

The HLF-funded Peregrini Lindisfarne Project includes a programme of community archaeology, led by The Archaeological Practice Ltd. Participation in this programme is open to all - no previous experience is required as full training will be given. So, if you fancy having a go at being an archaeologist, please come and join in!

Sunday 17th APRIL 2016, 11am - 3pm
Belford Community Club, West Street, Belford, NE70 7QE

The event features presentations on various aspects of archaeology in the Peregrini area, from prehistory to present, by Rob Young, David Petts, Linda Bankier, Peter Ryder, Ian Kille, Richard Carlton and Paul Frodsham. It will include plenty of opportunity to discuss the proposed fieldwork programme and suggest any work you would like to see included.

Tea, coffee and biscuits provided, but please bring your own lunch

Entry is FREE but places are limited - do not delay or you may be disappointed! To reserve a place, please email your name, address and phone number to: lindisfarne@archaeologicalpractice.co.uk

GEORDIE SONGBIRDS TOP HOLY ISLAND FESTIVAL Michael Hamilton

Award-winning Tyneside folk band The Unthanks will headline this year's Holy Island festival, which celebrates North East talent.

The internationally-acclaimed group - comprising sisters Rachel and Becky Unthank, Adrian McNally and Chris Price - will perform at St. Mary's Church on Sunday 26 June.

Becky said: "Growing up on Tyneside we often visited the Northumberland coast and feel a connection to the area. That connection has been renewed more recently, because for six years now we have run singing weekends on the Northumberland coast. The songs, the food, the (sometimes wild) winter walks to the pub are special memories we share. 

"I think part of what draws people to come on our singing weekends is the relationship our music has with the area's countryside, coast and history. We are really looking forward to being a part of the festival and I'm excited to explore Holy Island as a grown-up!"

Sister Rachel, who is married to Adrian - also the group's manager, musical arranger and producer - added: "Being on this piece of the Northumberland coast inspires and grounds us, so playing on Holy Island will be a real treat.  It is a magical place. What a grand setting for a festival and a dramatic platform to sing and play music.

"We run singing weekends near Seahouses and the people who come and have never experienced the raw and wild beauty of the area are blown away with its majestic sense of horizon and space. People come from all over the UK and Europe to our weekends and, as well as singing the songs of our region with them, it's a joy to show them the beauty of our coast, and to create the economic contribution our weekenders make to a rural coastal area in the depths of winter."

More than 4,000 visitors flocked to Lindisfarne to enjoy the first-ever Holy Island festival last year. And a sell-out crowd of 250 people - including tourists and island residents - packed into St. Mary's Church to see The Lindisfarne Story performed by Ray Laidlaw and Billy Mitchell.

This year the Holy Island Festival is partnering with the Peregrini Lindisfarne Landscape Partnership. As part of the festival, the partnership will deliver a range of cultural and natural heritage activities which link to some of the projects being completed as part of the scheme. The activities aim to help people understand and enjoy the amazing landscape of Holy Island and the adjacent mainland.

For more information on the partnership and HLF funded landscape partnerships: www.peregrinilindisfarne.org.uk // www.hlf.org

Rhythm and brews

Island businesses actively support the event - a bespoke Festival ale is being created especially for the occasion - and local venues will host musicians from the region too.

There will be ticketed performances at St. Mary's Church from the Royal Northern Sinfonia, of Sage Gateshead, the UK's only full-time chamber orchestra and the leading professional orchestra in North East England and Ex-Cathedra.

Ex-Cathedra - a leading choir and early music ensemble founded in 1969 by Jeffrey Skidmore, OBE - will be performing summer-themed a cappella vocal music by Joubert, Britten, Vaughan Williams, Elgar, Gershwin, Parry, Delius and MacMillan.

Concerts manager Ksynia Loeffler, a graduate of St Aidan's College, Durham University said: "I visited Holy Island 15 years ago when I was studying at Durham and was deeply struck by its rugged beauty and spirituality. I'm really looking forward to returning and this time performing in St. Mary's Church."

Historic Lindisfarne Priory will also play a starring role as a venue for festival arts events and workshops featuring pipers, young musicians from the region playing jazz, folk and popular music.

Newcastle-based Let's Circus - the resident professional circus of the North East - will spend two days performing their family show throughout the day and amateur youth partner Circus Central will provide workshops for the young and young-at-heart to try their skills such as trapeze, juggling, unicycling, stilt-walking and acrobatics in the black and white big top The Magpie.

Chair of the Holy Island Festival group Reverend Paul Collins said: "Celebrations in 2013 for the Lindisfarne Gospels identified an interest in more events for visitors, islanders and residents across Northumberland and the Borders.

"Last year's inaugural summer festival celebrated four days of performing arts including music, singing, dancing, circus and theatre, offering something for everyone. We are really excited at this year's great line-up and we hope it will become an annual event."

There are only 250 tickets available to see The Unthanks at St. Mary's Church on Sunday June 26, at 7.30pm priced 20.

The Unthanks, who will play at the Radio 2 Folk Awards on April 28, released their fourth album Mount the Air, in February 2015. Their debut album Cruel Sister was MOJO magazine Folk Album of the Year in 2005. Their follow-up The Bairns was nominated for Best Album at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards in 2008. In 2009 their third album - Here's the Tender Coming - was The Guardian's folk album of the year.
www.the-unthanks.com

Tickets for all the St. Mary's Church shows are only available at:
http://www.holyislandfestival.org

Press contacts:
Michael Hamilton:  07976 365776
Anne Graham:  07790 675849
press@holyislandfestival.org.

NEWS FROM FORD & ETAL Elspeth Gilliland

Reston Concert Band - Popular Music Standards

Saturday 23rd April, from 2pm at Lady Waterford Hall

Reston Concert Band has acquired an increasing reputation for excellence, extending beyond its local origins.  The band formed 12 years ago and performs regularly in the Borders and beyond.  The repertoire includes sophisticated arrangements of well-known themes representing a wide cross-section of moods and tastes.

Despite, or because of, its community roots, the band displays exceptional skills, with instrumentalists ranging from the youthful to the experienced, all of whom rehearse every Thursday evening at Reston School (new members are always welcome).

The musical director, Dave Jones, is a well-known local figure and he has created an exciting playlist to capture everyone's interest.

The Reston Concert Band is always very pleased to talk to audience members after a performance, especially to instrumentalists of all ages.

Lady Waterford Hall is delighted and honoured to welcome the band.

Admission by donation/retiring collection.

Hay Farm Heavy Horse Centre

Sunday 17th April  10am-4pm

Farmers Market - lots of stalls selling local food and crafts.  Also an opportunity to meet the magnificent Clydesdale Horses.  Farmers Markets will be held every 3rd Sunday in the month throughout the year.  During bad weather stalls will be under cover.

Thursday 21st April

Watchlaw - From 6.45pm

In honour of Her Majesty's 90th Birthday there will be a national chain of beacons, and we are delighted to be joining in at Ford & Etal, with a beacon at Watchlaw, one mile east of Ford and signed off the B6353. We would be pleased to welcome as many people as possible, if they are not attending a beacon closer to home, and in particular we welcome any holidaymakers in the area who want to come and join the celebrations. 

Soup, rolls and hot drinks will be offered, in exchange for a donation into the collecting tins of RABI (Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution) of which Her Majesty is patron. Lighting time is at 7.30pm sharp, and soup etc. will be available from 6.45pm. There's ample parking on the site.

Please wear appropriate clothing and footwear as the site is on an exposed hilltop!

Dogs are welcome but must be on a lead at all times in view of the fact that there will be livestock in the surrounding fields.

FROM THE COMMUNITY OF AIDAN AND HILDA Revd Ray Simpson

I write from North Cyprus. This is administered by Turkey. My host in Kyrenia today returned from Bethlehem Bible College's conflict resolution conference. Tomorrow I visit the tomb of Saint Barnabus, the Encourager, in Salamis. Next week I lead a retreat for chaplains on the British military bases before returning to Holy Island.

I met an Asian leader who searched the web to find a retreat house in Cyprus. This made me realise that in our part of the world we are blessed to have so many retreat houses.

In April the theme of Open Gate Retreats is spiritual renewal from ancient sources. David Cole, who guides by Facebook and email those who explore our Way of Life, will reflect on the German mystic Meister Eckhardt. Later Daniel Wolpert -Teacher, Psychologist, and Spiritual Director will lead a retreat on 'Learning from the ancient traditions that helped people grow closer to God'.

Ray Simpson
Founding Guardian,
The International Community of Aidan and Hilda
aidanandhilda.org

FROM OUR UNITED REFORMED CHURCH MINISTER Revd Rachel Poolman

One of my favourite stories in the Bible about Jesus, after his resurrection, tells of him meeting his friends on the seashore.  They were fishermen and had been hard at work all night with little success.  Jesus calls out to them to try throwing their nets on the other side of the boat, and suddenly they had such a huge catch that they could hardly haul it to shore.  When they returned to dry land they had breakfast together.

I love the image of Jesus meeting us in the ordinary - when we are working - and the domestic image of a group of friends having a picnic breakfast together.  There is something in that story about touching the divine at any time or in any company.

John's gospel records that after breakfast Jesus took Peter aside for a personal chat about the work that lay ahead of him.  He told Peter three times 'Feed my sheep'.  Peter and the other disciples went on to become founder members of the Christian Church and throughout its history taking care of others has been an important strand of its mission.  Of course, there have been inspirational figures like Mother Theresa who embody this, but there are many millions more people who quietly try to follow Jesus' command to love our neighbours as ourselves.

It is a sad feature of our society today that so many people are in need of the services of food banks.  The one based in Berwick does sterling work, and tries to provide food parcels that will keep a household going for three days.  St Cuthbert's is a collection point for our local food bank.  Donations of dried or tinned goods are welcome, as are toiletries and other small items.  There will be a box in our porch, so it is easy to drop gifts off any time that the church is open - usually every day but Monday.  This is one small way in which we can love our neighbours as ourselves.

Rachel, The Manse
01239 389254 /  centre@holyisland-stcuthbert.org

On a personal note:  The United Reformed Church grants its ministers a 3 month sabbatical every 10 years.  Having reached the grand total of 30 years of ministry I am taking sabbatical leave from April to the end of June.  Various locums will be looking after the St Cuthbert's Centre in my absence - in the mean time this column will go quiet for a while.

FROM THE VICARAGE Revd Dr Paul Collins

The Annual Parochial Church Meeting and Annual Vestry Meeting will be held this year on Tuesday 19th April from 7pm in the Reading Room.

At the meetings the churchwardens and members of the Parochial Church Council are elected for the year.

Our electoral roll has 73 members and they are the electorate for the PCC. Application to be added to the electoral roll should be made to Geoff Porter.

The churchwardens are elected by an electorate which consists of all Holy Island residents. In this particular regard a parish church  of the Church of England is accountable to the local community. And the local governance of a parish church emerges from within the compass of the local residents it seeks to serve.

The annual report and accounts of the PCC are available to inspect on the notice board in the church porch.

St Mary's is of course an integral part of what makes Holy Island a 'national treasure' and as the building containing the oldest human structure on the island - the Saxon chancel wall - it is a piece of heritage which remains in the care of the island community.

This is a great privilege and responsibility. I know this presently in respect of the need to restore the west front and porch. I encourage you to support the annual meeting, keeping alive this piece of local accountability and democracy.

Wishing you a very happy Eastertide.

Paul (April 2016)
The Vicarage, Holy Island
Berwick-upon-Tweed, TD15 2RX
Tel. 01289 389 216
incumbentholyisland@gmail.com
www.stmarysholyisland.org.uk/


Holy Island Festival 2016

Friday 24th June
Royal Northern Sinfonia
 
Saturday 25th June
Ex Cathedra
 
Sunday 26th June
Festival Eucharist 10.45am
with the Scholars of St Martin in the Fields
preacher: Very Revd Christopher Dalliston
[Dean of Newcastle Cathedral]
 
Sunday Evening
Headline Concert: The Unthanks
 
also performing during the weekend
 
Pons Aelius
Anna & Martha Raine
The Five Ring Circus
 
www.holyislandfestival.org