• A bit from me...
  • Readers letters
  • The birds of holy island - by Ian Kerr
  • Lindisfarne Castle
  • Swallows at home and afar
  • Natural England Lindisfarne NNR
  • News from Ford & Etal
  • From the community of Aidan and Hilda
  • From the Vicarage
  • Parish Diary
  • Pause for thought

The Birds of Holy Island by Ian Kerr

A BIT FROM ME Geoff Porter

Dear 'Friend of Lindisfarne',

Welcome to our October issue of Sitezine .

I was going to begin with saying, 'the first autumn leaves have begun to fall along the avenue leading into the village' but as I write, out of an azure blue sky, a gale has started to blow - so considerably more will be lying by the time it abates!

In addition to our ezine (!) this day will be marked in history as the culmination of the Rosetta suicide mission with a controlled landing on its comet, a distance of some 448 million miles. The surface of the comet is unchanged since the beginning of our solar system and preliminary data is already changing opinion on the origin of life on earth. Well done the 'European Space Agency'.

Many will recognise the picture (right) as the beach adjacent to Lindisfarne Castle's lime kilns. Yes, that smudge on the horizon is Bamburgh Castle!.

Since beginning man has been fascinated by stones: using them for missiles, clubs, carving or in our case building mounds. Sand castles on a sandy beach are easily maintained by the tide. However, whilst conceived in fun, piles of stones, some reaching 2 metres in height, are perceived as a public risk - as well as increasing the difficulty in land maintenance. Clearance is expected to begin shortly.

Ian's article on swallows seems to have struck a chord in all of us. It has been responsible for almost doubling the amount of feedback this month and tempted me into sharing some of these and some general comments in 'Readers Letters'. Additionally, I hope you also enjoy the review I have included on his new book 'The birds of holy island'.

Speaking of reader feedback: where possible we keep in mind those 'interests' you expressed when you registered your free subscription. All authors welcome feedback. Please keep it coming.

In this issue I am delighted to be able to present information from the 'Parish Church', 'The Community of Aidan and Hilda', 'Lindisfarne Castle', 'HI's Bird Expert', 'Natural England' and 'Ford & Etal Estates' before finishing off with a 'Pause for Thought' feature from Kate. Unfortunately, this month David has sent his apologies but expects to have an even more informative report (!) on the 'New Village Hall' next month. Similarly, having only just returned from her sabbatical to her Holy Island Manse, Rachel also sends her apologies.

Wishing you a healthy and happy start to autumn until we get in touch again on 1st November.

God Bless - Geoff Porter


Dear Editor,

Many thanks for the E- magazine. Your time and effort is really appreciated! It's informative and covers a wide spectrum of interests we are looking forward to coming back to Lindisfarne.

Best Regards,
 Jim & Ann H (Basingstoke Hampshire)

Ed: Thank you for writing in from Basingstoke. In a previous life I used to work just up the road from you in Farnborough. Our writers will be pleased to hear your comments. Wishing you a safe and comfortable journey.

Sorry Geoff,

But I find the link to the Facebook comment re service personnel as offensive to our refugee friends and consider its inclusion in the magazine inappropriate.


ED: Hello MLT Many readers are entirely sympathetic to the comparisons drawn between the treatment given to those whom our government put in harm's way on our behalf. I'm sorry that you found this insert inappropriate to your views.

Dear Editor,

HI from South Africa. I have just read your newsletter, and was particularly interested in Ian Kerr's news
About the swallows, or lack of swallows. We have a nest at our front door, and a swallow pair have
used it for the last 6 years - since we have lived here. They have bred their young each year, and we
look forward to hearing and seeing the new birds shortly. We live on the North Coast of KwaZulu
Natal in a place called Salt Rock - we can see and hear the sea from our front veranda - not your
mostly calm sea, but big breakers year round.

Ian might be interested to hear of a place called Mount Moreland, just a few kms away that has a
beautiful viewing area where interested folk gather for Sundowners, and watch the barn swallows
descend en masse to roost for the night. A truly awesome sight - it gives me the shivers when-
ever I see it.

Thank you so much for your Newsletter, we love reading it, and being reminded of 2 wonderful
visits. Once staying on the Island at St Aiden and St Hilda guest house, and a second time we brought a
group from S.A. On a Celtic tour, looking at the roots of our Christian faith - my husband is an Anglican priest
now retired.

Yours appreciatively,
Jane P (South Africa)

Ed: It's lovely to hear from SA and your descriptive text. 'My swallows' excitedly lined up with the local squadron on 16th September on the power lines at the bottom of our garden. Kate reported that there seemed to have been a very late brood still cohabiting in the Church last week. Hopefully, they're migrating safely down through the south of the country, thence mainland Europe and the Sahara..... See you next year.

Dear Editor,

Hello, all at Lindisfarne!  I just had to e-mail you about our swallows over here in California.  All of my 80 years here in my home state I have experience the return of the Swallows (up from Argentina) annually (March) to the Mission in San Juan Capistrano, CA.  They are the "cliff swallows."  Well, they finally packed it up in the Mission area and moved to another location, a country club/golf course in neighboring Chino Hills, Calif.  But this story did not begin or end in the present....I brought up an article written by a Dr. Charles Brown, and he reports that the swallows have been lured by music, fake housing arrangements, etc. over the past 3 decades!!!  Independent rascals aren't they?
The scoop I received was from a Ms. Samantha Gowen, a journalist with the Orange County Register newspaper, Calif.  the Mission San Juan Capistrano is located in Orange County, CA.
We have been well into the 100 degrees for almost all summer up here (northern California) so that could be why we have trouble with lack of the birds, at least this year.  I do have ONE hummingbird left that seem to love my "bottlebrush bush."  Another interesting oddity is the dwindling of the bees and wasps in the past 6 years.  Things are happening!!!!
I gave Samantha Gowen your connection and I hope that we can figure out the whys and so forth of the birds.
God bless you all...
Barbara B-R (Redding, California)

Ed: Good to hear from you again Barbara. It's interesting to hear of a possible musical perception. T here is certainly something about swallows that has international appeal. You mention the dwindling number of bees and wasps. One thing concern in last week's news was the appearance of the 'Asian Hornet'. Apparently it takes only a few to annihilate a whole bee colony by nipping off their heads. Not good news for the bees, the crops that they pollinate or humans that eat the crops...

Dear Mr Kerr

Thank you for your interesting piece about swallows on Holy Island. We have just returned from a holiday to Gatehouse of Fleet and, as well as seeing many red kites, an osprey and mute swans, we have never seen so many swallows. At Threave castle a very low nest on the toilets allowed us the watch the fledglings being fed at close quarters. A local lady told us that they appear each year on the 21st April and then leave on the 13th September. It must seem a bit depressing when that occurs but a great boost in April. We were wondering if the swallows on Holy Island have a similar calendar?

Kind regards

Peter B

Dear Editor,

Great! info and news.

Gary W []

Ed: Hello Steve. Glad you enjoyed the ezine. You have an interesting email address for a Steve....

Dear Editor,

Thank you so much for another excellent edition of the H.I.Times. I thoroughly enjoy reading it each month and it keeps me in touch with what is going on. I can't get to the island very much because of my financial situation so appreciate being able to keep in touch.

May I mention one thing so that you may alter your database. In the Church calendar you have the founder of Church Army as Wilson of Carlisle. The founder is actually Wilson Carlile. His surname is Carlile (spelt differently from the place).
Again, thank you for a great publication each month.

Lesley S (Cumbria)

Ed: Thank you for writing in, Lesley. We're delighted to hear that folk are checking our Church calendar. Whilst Kate supplies the data - it's my fingers that get carried away on the keyboard and make the mistakes....

Dear Editor,

Hi we no longer use this e-mail address - if you want to contact us try or

Thanks Tim and Ailsa

Ed: Hello Tim and Ailsa. If by any chance you are reading this at the address you installed in our database our auto-mailer will be unable to act on your instruction. If our mailer sends to an address that no longer exists it receives a failure message and removes the offending email address from our database. Information on cancelation and changing email addresses is at the bottom of your newsletter.

Dear Editor,

I miss Lindisfarne SO MUCH  And love receiving Lindisfarne Calling.

Thank you!
Valerie S []

Ed: Dear Valerie, if it weren't for readers like you there wouldn't be a newsletter. Thanks for writing.

Hi Editor,

I'm very much enjoying reading your magazine.

My wife & I ( in our mid-sixties ) live in Belfast and we plan to take our car over to Cairnryan may/June of next year for a visit to Northumberland/ Holy island.

We plan to stay for 3/4 nights and would like your recommendation of the best places to visit/stay in the area.

I would appreciate any assistance you can give us.


Charles T (Belfast)

ED: Thank you for writing Charles. The website lists accommodation on the following webpages:

Holy Island (Lindisfarne) :
Berwick-upon-Tweed Region :
Bamburgh Region :

So far as places to visit I suggest that you make a start here:

Of course, you will want to spend much of your time on the island but Northumberland is a huge and largely rural area and a car is certainly an advantage if you want to get around. To make the most of your time here take a moment to check the causeway open times. Many folk choose Holy Island to be their base for exploring Northumberland - with the ability to occasionally strike out to Newcastle or Edinburgh which are barely 60 miles away.

Dear Editor,

When visiting friends on Holy Island a couple of weeks ago, I took this photo at 9 am on the Heugh
and managed to catch one of the many swallows circling and swooping.  Thought you might like
it for the Holy Island Times.

With best wishes

Tom G (Clevedon - North Somerset)

ED: Hello Tom and thank you for your photo which I had edited to suit the newsletter format. I love the silhouette and backdrop and am sure many of our readers will appreciate it too.

The front cover showing the island's most important wintering wildfowl, pale-bellied Brent Geese, caught by Mike Hodgson passing in front of the Castle.

330 Island bird species and we're still counting!

The sheer wealth of our island birdlife and much more besides is revealed in a new lavishly illustrated hardback book on which our regular wildlife contributor, Ian Kerr, has been working for the past two years.

A total of 330 species of birds, some from as far away as Asia, Africa, the Middle East, South Atlantic, America and Canada, have so far been recorded on the island and the surrounding flats and Ian believes still more are to be found.

The the book also contains anecdotes with a wildlife them, new and fascinating details about the island's natural history and the 18th, 19th and 20th century characters who were involved in it.

The book has more than 50 colour pictures, both of birds and landscapes, taken  for the publication by some of the north's finest wildlife photographers. There are also newly commissioned maps which include recent developments such as the Window on Wild Lindisfarne at the Rocket Field, the Heugh watchtower and the new hide at the Lough.

The Birds of Holy Island has been produced by Nature Guides, a natural history publishing company based in London and founded by Max Whitby of Skylark at Chare Ends. The company specialises in creating high quality print and digital field guides for the international market. Among products is a digital version of the famed Collins Bird Guide, the "bible" for birdwatchers throughout Europe, as well as apps covering butterflies, moths, bumblebees and dragonflies.

The new publication is a successor to Ian's very much more modest 2007 soft-back book which is now out of print. Ian says that, surprisingly, a lot of previously unpublished historical information about the island's wildlife has come to light after lying forgotten in various regional archives. It has now been incorporated in the new publication.

This stunning dark wintery morning scene of frozen island fields and the Castle was caught by Fiona Barclay of NatureGuides.

Because of the island strategic location for migrating birds, the book details a staggering 45 species of waders which have occurred and 24 species of migrant warblers, some many thousands of miles from their normal haunts.

In addition, new species to the island are being recorded almost annually. Others not seen locally for a century or more had also been found.  The latter included a spectacular White-tailed Eagle which caused panic among the geese and waders as it soared over the flats in autumn 2014, the first local sighting for over 130 years.

Ian adds: "The need for a completely updated book has been apparent for some time and I'm delighted that Max and his company have taken this on. The book has a real feeling of quality about it and the editors, designer and printer have done a fantastic job."

Max said that the book was aimed at those with a real love of Holy Island and its wildlife.

"For anyone planning a visit the book will be an invaluable guide to appreciating the unique landscape, its special place and the profusion of rare birds that makes the area such a magnet. For anyone who loves Holy Island and its wild birds, this engaging and extremely knowledgeable account offers a lasting memory of Northumberland's greatest natural treasure."

One of our wintering Short-eared Owl helpfully poses on an island wall for Max Whitby of NatureGuides.

The book is now available at the 'Lindisfarne Centre' and the 'Holy Island Post Office', price 14-99, or direct from NatureGuides Ltd., 3 Warple Mews, Warple Way, London, W3 0RF. Full sales details are on the company's website,


Before any of the planned works at the Castle can go ahead, the important job of emptying its contents needs to be completed. We want the contractors to be able to work unimpeded, but also don't want anything in the Castle to be at risk of unnecessary damage. This job falls into two distinct parts; the historic collection and the rest. The historic collection part might sound the most delicate and fraught with risk, but actually this will probably be the easier of the two.

I say 'easier', but that by no means makes it a simple task just to be dealt with on the day. A huge amount of planning is required to get these items away safely and carefully; from making sure we have a record of everything, to making sure we know where everything was so it can be returned to the correct place at the end of the project. Along with this documentation-side of the job, we will also be cleaning every object before it goes into storage, and also carefully packing items - mainly the smaller ones - into crates. Various protective materials will be used in this process; acid-free tissue paper, bubble wrap, and Tyvek - a waterproof fabric-like material but which allows water vapour to escape; making it ideal for historic collections. Each item will be individually labelled and put into a crate which will itself be labelled. Each crate will have a list of its contents and the room they came from. We are using 130 plastic crates to take the small items out of the Castle, and apart from their annual inspection, they shouldn't need to leave their crate until they return to the Castle. The large furniture mostly comes apart just like a modern flatpack unit, but there are some items which will be tricky to remove such as a 3 metre long walnut table and two large rugs; which will need to be rolled onto drainpipes to carry.

Some items in the Castle have never been recorded as historic collection items even though they probably are, so we are taking the chance to add them to our records. These are things like shelving, coat hooks, plate racks, wooden window seats, curtain brackets, and of course, portcullis weights. In the past they wouldn't have come under the description 'portable collections' which got something accessioned, but as a way of keeping track of everything, they will finally be added. On the back of this, we will also be creating records for some historic items which are staying in the Castle, but also have never had individual records such as doors, brick floors, and wooden wall panelling.

The physical part of this job won't get going until we close on the 31 October, but in the meantime we will be training up our volunteers and chipping away at preparatory jobs like photographing all of the rooms (wall by wall) to get a good record of what was where, creating records for those items mentioned above, and checking our current database to make sure we haven't missed anything (or for items we didn't know we had!) This job is going to involve a couple of dozen volunteers and staff along with the specialist handlers who will do most of the heavy lifting down the ramp. Alongside the preparation work, all we can do is hope for kind weather.

If anyone would like any more information on this aspect of the Castle Project or indeed the wider works going on here, then please do get in touch.

Lindisfarne Castle // @NTLindisfarne // 01289 389903


When I wrote a month ago about it being a poor year for Swallows on the island and more generally across Britain, I never dreamt of the international reaction my piece would create.

Swallows really do seem to be the favourite birds of so many people. Regular readers from South Africa and the United States, as well as elsewhere in Britain, have been in touch about their own experiences.

From South Africa, the wintering area of nearly all Swallows from Western Europe, Jane Peattie, wife of a retired Anglican clergyman, tells me that pairs have bred for the last six years above the front door of their home in Salt Rock on the northern coast of KwaZulu Natal. I'm presuming they are members of one of the extensive species of African swallows.

Just as fascinatingly, close by her home, at a spot called Mount Moreland, is a huge roosting area for Swallows wintering in the area. These are European migrants and it's not inconceivable that some of our island birds could be among them.

"It's a beautiful viewing area where interested folk gather for sundowners and watch the Swallows descending en masse to roost for the night. It's a truly awesome sight which gives me the shivers whenever I see it," adds Jane who twice visited to our island.

It sounds like my idea of a great evening, sitting with a drink in hand watching such a spectacular sight. It's something I once managed in northern Mallorca where Hazel and I attended a barbeque close to a spot where there was a huge reedbed roost of literally hundreds of thousands of Swallows pausing to feed up and rest during migration.

Barbara Byington-Rosner from Redding, Northern California, says that she always looks forward to the return each spring of their local Barn Swallows, the North American race of our own very familiar birds.

Like ours, they winter a long way south of their breeding range, in their case down into South America as far as Argentina, making a round trip similar in distance to the 20,000 miles covered annually by the island birds.

She also mentions a problem which is causing increasing concern in Britain and Europe. "One oddity is the dwindling number of bees and wasps in the past six years. Something is happening."

That sharp decline in some of our most familiar insects seems to be a very widespread problem, particularly in the developed world. It has been blamed on the use of some pesticides whose use is currently banned although some in agriculture are fighting against it. Without vital pollinating insects I think we're all going to be in big trouble.

From much nearer home, Peter Boyd has been in contact about a summer holiday around Gatehouse of Fleet in Dumfries and Galloway where he said he had never seen so many Swallows. If that was the case that beautiful corner of south west Scotland seems to be the exception to the rule this year.

He reports that local people told him that their Swallows turned up annually around the 21st of April and departed around September 13th. He wondered if our island Swallows were quite as regular. The answer, I'm afraid, is no. Arrival and departure dates are entirely dependent upon the weather and whether or not birds have had an easy migration. The earliest I've seen a Swallow on the island is the 5th of April. Birds reported during March usually turn out to be Sand Martins which are always much early spring migrants.

During autumn some of our island Swallows are often still feeding broods in the nest into late September but nearly all have departed by mid-October.

Swallows on the Heugh - Tom Gowling

However, there was one very odd instance in 2006 where an adult male Swallow lingered around the village into early December. He presented a strange spectacle as he hawked for insects - or at least attempted to do so - over the Heugh with a wintry background of snow lying on the Cheviots on the western horizon. I think that his built-in navigation system had for some reason failed making him unable to migrate. Sadly, he was eventually found dying, presumably from starvation, on a window ledge in the village.

As I mentioned last time, far fewer than normal Swallows managed to get back to the island in the spring with the resultant decrease in the number of breeding pairs. I also mentioned that those which did breed seemed to have done well.

That was very noticeable around the village into mid-September with large numbers of birds gathering, particularly on their favoured overhead wires. I spent a bit of time scanning through these gatherings and it was gratifying to see that the majority were juveniles, further proof of a successful season. These gathering almost certainly included birds on the move, indicating a good season further north into eastern Scotland.

On sunny but otherwise chilly days I also noticed that many Swallows were gathering out of the wind on east-facing roofs and window ledges in the village. Again, most of them appeared to be youngsters, lounging in the sheltered warmth before continuing their southward journeys.

Here's hoping they have a good migration down to South Africa. It would be nice to think that Jane might even see some of them in that spectacular roost she described!


We mentioned in the last edition our shorebird season had been very productive and the final figures are now in. There were a good number of little terns throughout the Reserve with a total of 37 scrapes and an amazing 42 fledged. Looking back over previous years our fledgling numbers for 2016 were the second highest since 2000. We also kept a close eye on other breeding shorebirds and arctic and common terns had a great year with 150 pairs. Ringed plover and oystercatchers have been struggling recently but we hope to have a closer look at what we can do to help them on the Reserve in the future.

We have been out last month to do our annual count of seals around the sand flats and mudflats of the Reserve. We only do this a couple of times in the year so that we minimise disturbance however we had a count of 2,600 which is a lot lower than the 4,000+ last year. We often have seals hauling out around the Reserve and you may come across seals in groups or individuals near to where you walk. If you do come across them please keep your dog on a lead (their bite can be harmful to dogs and humans) and keep a clear distance -we recommend at least 50m but this might not be always be possible.

There are a couple of harbour seals who enjoy fishing and hauling out near to the causeway. We get quite a few calls about seals in this area as visitors think they are hurt or injured. In fact they are just resting but we do check them regularly. The seals here get quite a lot of attention and we have put out signs asking visitors to keep their distance.

We had our first returning light bellied brent at the beginning of September. They breed in the High Arctic, primarily Svalbard, east Greenland and Franz Josef Land. The Reserve is home to approx. 50% of the world population with Denmark accommodating the remaining birds. During the early 20th century the population numbered around 50,000 birds until a massive loss of the key Zostera beds on the continent and/or human over-exploitation resulted in a massive collapse of the population to 1500-2000 birds in the early 1970s. This year at Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve however Brent numbers are now up to 1200 and can be seen regularly flighting in at the causeway. Pink-footed geese have arrived back last week and we are seeing around 400 at Budle Bay on a high tide roost. Wigeon numbers are increasing and on our last WeBS count we had 1100 along with pintail and teal.

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

ED: Mhairi's blog and facebook page can be found at and .

NEWS FROM FORD & ETAL Elspeth Gilliland

8th & 9th October - 'Looking Back' old skills fayre at Hay Farm Heavy Horse Centre, 10am-4pm each day.  Adults 5.00 children 2.50

16th October  - Farmers Market, Hay Farm Heavy Horse Centre, 10am-4pm.

1st-30th October -  Wildlife Photography Exhibition by Ron McCombe in 'the Poultry Shed' opposite Heatherslaw Cornmill.  Open daily 11am-4pm.  Free admission.

24th-31st October - The Scarycrows will be out and about around Ford, Etal and Heatherslaw.  Follow the trail and help choose the winner! 

26th-30th October - Family fun with hair-raising hallowe'en games, activities, trails and competitions at various venues across Ford & Etal.  At the time of going to print activities are being finalised - visit for full details or contact the Visitor Centre on 01890 820338,

Lady Waterford Hall:

From 18th September until 30th October Jane Jackson of Bright Seed Textiles will have a display of cards and work in the artists' cabinet at Lady Waterford Hall.  Pop along to have a look - you won't be disappointed!

Heatherslaw Mill Site and the Lady Waterford Hall, Ford are open 11am-4pm during October, closing for the winter on Sunday 30th.


Last month I welcomed the new Precentor at Bradford Cathedral and discovered Paula Thompson-Fearnley's Art Exhibition, "The Footsteps of Aidan" next to the Saint Aidan Chapel.

Paula tells me that the exhibition will be at St. Aidan's Parish Church in Bamburgh from the 12th of October until the end of November 2016. There is comprehensive information available on her lovely blogsite -

Dr. Peter Harbison, Ireland's renowned archaeologist, has sent us a signed copy of the new issue of his book Irish High Crosses which is now in our library. This could be the basis for a good tour through Ireland.

A pilgrim from South Africa who has brought a number of groups here has been very ill. He has circulated this prayer:

Circle me, Lord
Breathe wholeness into my shingles-frazzled nerve ends
Breathe healing into every part of my being
That I may be wholly yours and serve you all of my days.

Another regular pilgrim prayed for this suffering man at St Columba's Holy Well high on the mountains at Glen Columcille. The pilgrims prayed for our patient in that place because it was  'an extremely thin space with potency of presence and promise of blessings to come and to follow.'

Our new Open Gate wardens Kevin and Lesley are now here and look forward to meeting you. In October Mark Winter leads a Looking at Birds retreat and David Cole leads a Learning to Grow like Celtic Saints retreat.

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

FROM THE VICARAGE Revd Dr Paul Collins

The Autumn Equinox is now behind us and the days progressively shorten until we arrive at the Winter Solstice. As the seasons change we give thanks for the differences they bring in weather and light and colour; and for the different foods which each season still suggests.

Late Summer and Autumn are in particular times of harvesting - bringing in the fruits and foods which the summer season has produced. These changes of times and seasons and these gifts we receive from the earth of our foods have long given rise to moments of festival and thanksgiving.

The Christian Tradition like many others acknowledges and celebrates these changes and gifts - particularly in a spirit of thanksgiving. Thanksgiving for the harvest, for the bounty which the earth produces to sustain life and enable us to thrive, turn our minds to the Creator of the bounty and the earth which delivers it. The Creator whose bounty and overflowing provision is witnessed in the myriads of stars of the night sky.

The bounty of the Creator sits in sharp contrast to the behaviour of the human creature when we see the footage of Aleppo or 'the Jungle' at Calais on our screens.

Our sense of thanksgiving for the bounty which the creation produces is a very important value for us to embrace and to allow to shape the meaning of our lives. And a very necessary extension of this thanksgiving is for all our human sisters and brothers - an extension of our thanksgiving for food and the bounty of the earth to the whole sentient creation and above all to all human beings.

Only when we can give thanks for all human life and every human being will there truly be a 'harvest thanksgiving' which celebrates the bounty and love of our Creator God.

Paul Collins
The Vicarage, Holy Island
Berwick-upon-Tweed, TD15 2RX
Tel. 01289 389 216

PARISH DIARY Revd Dr Paul Collins
Remembrance Sunday (13th November): Service in St Mary's at 10.45am followed by laying of wreaths at the war memorial on the Heugh.
Sunday 27th November: Advent begins
Sunday 4th December: The Parish Eucharist 10.45am - visit of Bishop Christine of Newcastle
Sunday 11th December: Christingle Service at 4pm
Monday 12th December: School Christmas Performance at 5pm
Saturday 17th December: "Journey of the Magi" - a Christmas Story for all ages at 11.30am in the Village Hall - this is a ticketed performance - details of ticket sales in the next edition
Thursday 22nd December: Service of 9 Lessons and Carols at 5.30pm
Saturday 24th December: Christmas Midnight Eucharist at 11.30pm
Sunday 25th December: 8am Holy Communion (BCP)
10.45am Family Service & Holy Communion
PAUSE FOR THOUGHT Revd Canon Kate Tristram


'All things work together for good', said St.Paul dangerously, and added 'for those who love God'.  Is he then one of those horrible people who, when you are feeling all worried and worked up about something, tell you they know it will be all right.  Of course they don't, and it helps nobody to say it.  The world is not so made that everything always turns out all right.

So two thoughts that may help a bit.  First, it is surprisingly common for people to look back later and say, 'I'm now very glad I didn't get that job... or that exam result... or that particular friendship... because what has happened instead seems to me so much better.' So sometimes things are working for good without our help.

But secondly, sometimes there are things we can do. Many years ago, in the early days of space travel, I heard a speaker give this illustration.  She asked us to imagine a multitude of tiny darts, like needles, orbiting the earth. Each needle represented a tiny bit of evil. She said it was our job to intercept as many as we could.  We say to the needles, 'You stop here.'  If necessary let them stick into us, but don't pass them on. Of course it's painful.  But to accept pain, even this kind of trivial pain, can be part of a human vocation.  So, the next time a needle comes hurtling round, intercept it.  It will hurt, but the whole created world will be a little bit better for having one needle less.