|SITEZINE: HOLY ISLAND'S E-MAIL MAGAZINE
||1st February 2017|
- A bit from me...
- From the team at SkyImage
- Crossman Hall
- Lindisfarne Castle
- Island memories revived of visits long ago
- Natural England Lindisfarne NNR
- Northumberland Business Awards
- Peregrini Lindisfarne landscape partnership
- From the Open Gate
- News from Ford & Etal
- From our United Reformed Church minister
- From the Vicarage
- Parish Diary
- St Cuthbert's Centre Diary
- Pause for thought
Lindisfarne Castle -
|A BIT FROM ME
A belated Happy New Year and welcome to our first newsletter of 2017!
The steady, low-frequency throb of diesel engines continues to
pervade the village for those visiting the island providing emergency power whilst the
island's power cable is repaired.
At the moment visitors are being greeted by clear skies and mild
temperatures - quite a contrast with the south of the country....
And having made the journey to get here, the state of the causeway
will have come as quite a shock. I crossed to the mainland the other
day only to discover that the only visible sign of the road were the
edge markers. Surface, centre line and other road markings were
completely obscured by the sand deposited by the sluggishly ebbing
tide. Do be wary of vehicle safety and suspension when travelling
over the hard-packed pocketed sand. And, of course, beneath the
salt water puddles can be those ever-present British phenomena,
Last October contractors arrived with a
digger to begin causeway improvements. An island
power cable failure ensued. They have now resumed work. But I have
yet to meet a resident who has been consulted on or seen a
work schedule. So no one knows when they plan to finish or
how 'finishing' will be recognised!
Following their Christmas break our writers have quite an
assortment of topics for you this month. In particular, we
very much welcome Rachel back into the fold and thank Kate for her topical 'pause
Popular in many parts of the world, several of us here
have developed an interest in unmanned aerial vehicles (drones). I am delighted to
report that a professional operator at 'SkyImage' has been
in touch and been persuaded to write briefly
about his work. He includes a couple of fabulous, high-definition,
aerial photographs. And as a bonus there is a link to his Holy Island archive
On 'Ash Wednesday' we will be greeting you with our March issue.
By then 'Scottish Power' should have Holy Island running on mains electricity
again and 'Northumberland County Council' will have restored the causeway. But in the meantime do
God Bless - Geoff Porter
THE LOSS OF A FRIEND
It is with a heavy heart that I annnouce the
death of a dear friend, Arthur Shell. The funeral will be held at
the Parish Church at 12pm on Saturday 4th February. Arthur leaves
wife Joyce and two wonderful sons.
If you are visiting the island at this time
you will understand that local traffic disruption is likely and
whilst the service is in progress the church and churchyard will be closed to visitors.
|FROM THE TEAM AT SKYIMAGE
|| Ross Breen|
are a local based company and we specialise in photography &
cinematography services. We operate UAS (unmanned aerial systems) or
more commonly referred to as 'drones'. We are professionally
qualified, fully licensed and insured to operate commercially and
adhere to the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) regulations. We have
been operating for over 3 years now and have a vast amount of skill
and experience within our team.
'Holy Island Village'
We were asked to shoot Holy Island,
Lindisfarne as part of our clients brief to help market and attract
more potential visitors to the area and we loved every single minute
of it. It is such a beautiful place whilst visiting by foot on the
ground but seeing it from an aerial perspective just intensifies its
beauty. We are so lucky to have such wonderful places like this on
our doorstep and I know a lot of us (myself included) at times have
taken it for granted. It is times like this that we truly step back
and just admire and appreciate the breathtaking scenery that
surrounds us. Please take a look at our sneak preview of the
production by using www.vimeo.com/196465320.
Island of Lindisfarne
' Causeway-Closed! '
If a picture is worth a thousand words (and I agree) then a video
must be worth a million!
From the team at Skyimage
I hope you all had a memorable Christmas and
New Year. I did, and my celebration began a day before Christmas
when I received word from our major grant provider, the Big Lottery
Fund that we could use part of our grant underspend to pay for the
heart and soul of the new hall, the kitchen.
The good news quickly spread around
town. People were delighted. A wonderful community Christmas surprise.
We have contacted the Food Standards Agency
and NCC's Public Protection Commercial Team and received advice and
guidance on standards set by the relevant Code(s) of Practice. Their
help will ensure that our kitchen will comply with current
Regulation and we expect the
will, after approval, be installed and operational by March.
Over the Holiday period children and adults
were entertained in the Hall; First by a brilliant performance of
The Journey of the Magi by the Springs Dance Company. Then later in
December Pipes & Fiddles, principles Andy & Margaret
Watchorn, created an evening of great harmony playing several sets
from rich heritage of Northumberland and Borders
music playing to a very receptive audience of 40+.
As yet there is no news reference granting
the Legal Easement to cross the Winery car
with the new rainwater connection to the main drain.
Early in January our IT Consultant Michael
Vrieling van Tuijl, (Mikey) successfully completed installing
Broadband and Wi-Fi in the Hall. Well done Michael, it works
perfectly. The Wi-Fi, I'm told, is a bonus for those who use the
they can walk and jog in time to music.
If you want to use the equipment collect
hall keys from Anna or Sue at the Oasis.
As I write several of the younger members of
the community are drawing up plans to set up a small user
Finally, as we drift into the New Year, we must
thank Simon Bevan for guiding the finances through
very busy period and welcome Chris Douglas as Treasurer/Trustee.
Please don't forget; if you are clearing out
old books and games etcetera. The Oasis Café Hall sales table always
welcomes fund raising sales donations. The money
by these sales contribute to Our annual running costs.
Things have progressed quickly up at the
Castle since we last spoke, as those of you on the Island will no doubt have seen. Both inside and out work
has been hastened by the reasonable weather - apart from the recent storms and
a blustery week before Christmas - which in particular has meant that the bulk
of the Phase 1 scaffolding has been erected without too much delay.
Given our location the weather has an
indirect impact even on the internal works. The contractors have
just completed the protection works inside the Castle which has seen
the historic floors, doorways, fireplaces, stone work and the half a
dozen remain bits of furniture clad in thick layers of carpet
underlay and plywood. The plywood particularly comes in large sheets and is tricky to get up to the Castle in
strong winds! Bespoke designs to protect the Castle's uneven and in some cases curved
staircases are a work of art in themselves and have been documented and photographed
by conservators as good examples of best practice to be adopted elsewhere.
Work to remove cementitious mortar has been
carried out in the Ship Room and Dining Room and has moved on to the
Long Gallery, while impervious paints have been being stripped from
the Entrance Hall and Kitchen. On the Upper Battery, archaeological
works have been undertaken ahead of a new drain being installed
below the surface. In the course of this work what looked like an
old fire step was uncovered at the base of the parapet wall, along with the natural rock of Beblowe Crag only centimetres below the flagstones. We also found remains of
a keel boat which had been used in the masonry fill below the Battery's
viewing plinth (now removed) along with a George VI coin from 1937 - confusing
me as I reckon that plinth was built between 1920 - 1932.
' The Holy
Island of Lindisfarne [ Causeway-Closed!!] '
Outside the scaffolders have constructed a
tower on the eastern elevation which will soon become the only means
of access to the building, allowing the main door to be locked up
and the historic fabric in the staircase safe from accidental
knocks. This also has an electronic hoist which will allow for
easier movement of materials in and out of the building. Another
more powerful hoist will be part of the massive southern buttress
which is gradually climbing the southern elevation as I type and in
the next couple of weeks, a similar buttress will appear on the
northern side of the Castle. This buttress will eventually span the
road to the north of the Castle so the right of way has had to be
temporarily diverted around the line of Harris fencing - we and the contractors apologise for any inconvenience caused by this. I am getting some
new signage up both at the Rocket Field and at the Castle gate which
will get across to visitors what is going on and hopefully as the season
progresses we can do something a little more creative with our interpretation.
The shop is closed at the moment for
stock-taking but will reopen on Saturday 11th February in time for half term the following weekend. Mel is now running
both the Seahouses and Holy Island shops so you may not see as much
of her, but do pop in to see Biddy and the girls once they
are back open, I'm sure they'll have some enticing deals on offer.
// @NTLindisfarne // 01289 389903
|ISLAND MEMORIES REVIVED OF VISITS LONG AGO
A wave of fond memories seems to have been
readers of my
new book, The Birds of Holy Island,
detailing the wildlife of the island and the surrounding national nature reserve.
The book has sold well locally and
nationally and copies have even been bought by birders in the United
States, Denmark and Australia. Now some have
written to say
how the book has revived some very
happy memories of visits to the island and north Northumberland in general.
One recalls the island having a significant
impact on his teenage years with holiday weeks in winter and autumn
staying with Mrs Drysdale in
Fenkle Street. He
also tells of long walking visits to
the reserve while he was working at farms at Bamburgh and Spindlestone.
"High tide and my first under-age drink in a
pub epitomised my
first experience of life independent of parental
restriction and the backdrop of the island was so splendid," he writes.
"I also worked on the farms over two
harvests and one lambing. I was in the habit of walking
from Bamburgh on
my day off, northwards across Budle Bay
on the low tide to gain Ross Back Sands and Skate Road.
"When time permitted I could continue on to
the slakes and then back over the fields to Warren Mill to Bamburgh,
always well after dark. Such long and glorious days. That part of
the scene for
my aspirations in field ornithology. Your text
brought it back into sharp focus and I thank you for it."
His aspirations were certainly fulfilled
and, picking up a doctorate along the way, he has gone on to a long
and outstanding career in conservation
in Scotland and
has become one of Britain's most knowledgeable
experts on iconic species such as Osprey, Golden Eagle and White-tailed Eagle.
Another reader gained his first experience
as a teenager of catching and ringing waders on the North Shore in
the 1950s when he
stayed at the
bird observatory set up by Dr Eric
Ennion at Monks House, midway along the road between Bamburgh and Seahouses.
Siberian Accentor: the
first found in Northumberland and only the fifth sighting for
Britain, photographed in bushes at the Greenshiel excavations by regular island birder Andy Mould.
beginnings he went on to pioneer
the use of canon nets on The Wash
to catch huge numbers of waders for ringing
and other studies. He eventually emigrated to Australia in 1978 to
pursue his career as a metallurgist, rising to head a national company.
Australia is the wintering ground for
millions of waders from eastern Siberia, northern Asia, Alaska and
other parts of the North Pacific. Using his expertise which began in
those sessions on the North Shore, he helped set up a national study
group and was instrumental in persuading the
Australia government to
take measures to protect these birds and
their habitats. He has since been showered with honours for his work.
"It all seems a long time ago and a long way
of as I've now lived in Australia for the last 38 years. But my days
in Northumberland in the early and mid 1950s were certainly some of
the most memorable in my life. That's where I really came to
know waders and
develop techniques for catching them to ring
which has been the main component of my ornithological life ever since."
Yet another reader has written to tell of
memorable occasions when he deliberately marooned himself on St
Cuthbert's Island over high tide - hopefully after warning the
Coastguards - to
get close views of grebes, divers and
various sea duck taking advantage of the flows and currents to feed.
wrote that to
say that if there was a finer
and more atmospheric place to go birdwatching he'd yet to find it.
While we are around the island on a daily
basis I think we tend to forget the profound effect it has on many
visitors, such as those who have been in contact with me about
the book. It
certainly seems to have rekindled many memories
for them of their younger days, something they have clearly never forgotten.
The book is continuing to sell well on the
island, thanks to the Post Office and the Lindisfarne Centre. Just
after its publication, in the usual way of things, there was a
sudden run of new and extremely rare birds on the island. One of
them, a Siberian Accentor, a close relative of our humble
and everyday Dunnock,
had not been previously found in Northumberland.
In fact, until last October it had never been recorded in Britain.
As a result and to enable everyone who has
bought the book and wants to keep it up to date ,
I've compiled a
supplement detailing the four new species which
have occurred and a few others who have made very rare appearances.
This supplement is now available as a free
download from the website of the publishers, www.natureguides.com
Alternatively, I can supply copies for anyone who contacts me at email@example.com
|NATURAL ENGLAND LINDISFARNE NNR
||Mhairi Maclauchlan |
It's been a while since our last update and
there has been plenty happening on the Reserve. The cattle
went back to their home near Lowick before Christmas. Volunteer,
staff and the farmers all helped to round them up. By the time you
read this the sheep will also have finished their island castaway.
They've done a great job and we've managed to graze even more areas
than last year. What has been amazing to see is the amount of scrub
and non-native species the sheep have tackled. Coupled with
volunteer assisted scrub management we can't wait
to see what the summer holds for
wildflowers and invertebrates.
On the subject of volunteers we have some
amazing people that help us out regularly. They showed how dedicated
they were at the beginning of January when they turned out following
some of the worst weather we've had all winter. We did a thorough
litter pick of Goswick and are looking to organising more volunteer
picks every month to compliment the litter picks the Reserve staff
already do. We welcome anyone who may want to help out - it's a
to get out into some beautiful surroundings
and keep fit.
Our seasonal warden Alex will also have
finished her contract. She's done a great job over the last few
months checking stock, undergoing surveys and helping with events.
We wish her all the best in
her future career.
Over Christmas we ran an advent calendar on
the blog and Facebook and chose different aspects of Reserve to
celebrate each day. One of our volunteers John Dunn takes amazing
pictures around Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve and kindly
allows us to
use them - have a look if
you have time.
In December, our geese and duck numbers
reduced and we had a peak count of around 1200 pink footed-goose,
1094 light-bellied brent, 1750 wigeon, 320 intail. You may have
noticed a few duck around the causeway bridge and we've regularly
been seeing 6 scaup around this area. These diving duck have a
slight resemblance to tufted duck but a distinct feature is the
white at the base of the bill. We have also had a small flock of up
to 16 white-fronted geese through
the end of December and into January
throughout the Reserve.
Reserve Warden, Beal
01289 381 470
ED: Mhairi's blog and facebook page can be found at
| NORTHUMBERLAND BUSINESS AWARDS
Fingers-crossed for Emma Rothera who has been short listed in the Creative Industry Award Category of the Northumberland Business Awards.
Emma will be attending a Black Tie Awards Dinner on 2nd February at Linden Hall where she will be finding out if she has won.
Visit Emma Rothera Photography: www.yourbeautifulphotography.com
|PEREGRINI LINDISFARNE LANDSCAPE
coastal path being developed
Work has begun on surveying and researching
the first section of a planned coastal walk between Cocklawburn and
the causeway at Beal. Volunteers are helping the Peregrini team to
explore and survey the northern stretch of the coastline between
Cocklawburn and Goswick, the former being the northern gateway of
Peregrini area and remarkable for its geology and industrial heritage.
2 further recce walks are planned in
and May with a launch walk planned on 1st July.
Willow Sculptures to be included on
the Lindisfarne Nature Trail
Up to twelve sculptures, inspired by the
fauna and flora of Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve will be
Anna Turnbull, local artist and willow sculptor and Peregrini volunteers.
As part of Peregrini's Creative Arts and
Landscape Appreciation Project, people will have the opportunity to
get involved in assisting Anna weave
the willow sculptures at six workshops between now and June.
Larger-than-life, the willow sculptures will
be positioned on the Lindisfarne Nature Trail that loops to the
north of Holy Island village and includes a range of habitats from
meadows, wetlands, rugged coast and dunes. A leaflet of
the work will also be produced to showcase the work.
Subjects for the willow sculptures include
Lapwing, Arctic Tern, Brent Geese, Cormorant, Swift, the Short Eared
Owl and the Fritillary Butterfly. Locations for the sculptures
include Window on the Wild, the Lough Hide, the
Old Waggon Way, the Links dunes and the Straight Lonnen.
Up and coming events and
For further information and booking
requirements, as well as our full list of events, please go to our
KIPPY LAW HEUGH - CONSERVATION WORKS
14th, 21st and 28th of February, 10am to 3pm
Gorse Bashing and a Bonfire! Come Help!
Whin sill outcrops create unique grasslands in the Peregrini
Lindisfarne landscape. Unfortunately these wonderful grasslands are
under threat from invasive species of plants, in particular
Come along for gorse bashing and a bonfire, safe in the knowledge
that cutting back this prickly plant will benefit the future
conservation of this unique habitat!
Join the team between 10am - 3pm (or for as long as you can
spare!) Tools and training will be provided.
Meet at the public layby between Easington and Chesterhill farms,
approx. 2km north east of Belford.
BOOKING ESSENTIAL. To find out more / to book your
please email Sarah.Winlow@northumberland.gov.uk
or call 07557 326797
Sculptures and Baskets #2
Saturday 25th February - 10.30 - 4.30pm
Meet at Hunting Hall, Beal, TD15 2TP
Learn how to willow weave and help create
baskets or larger than life willow sculptures for the Lindisfarne
Nature Trail. Tuition from Anna Turnbull and the Northumbria
Basketry Group. Book onto
a morning or afternoon session, or attend the whole day!
Saturday 4th March - 10.30am -
Holy Island Village Hall, Holy Island, TD15 2ST
Peregrini's second annual conference will
update you on work completed across the landscape partnership area
you the opportunity to find out what's happening in 2017.
Guest speakers will include our community
project leads and volunteers associated with the programme. They
will give you a first-hand account of what they've got out of being
involved and how the projects have helped develop skills and created
learning opportunities. Also
present will be our partners who help deliver the scheme.
Visit our project information stands to see
how things have developed and sign up for new activities and events
happening throughout 2017. We'll also be offering a
guided walk around some of the completed and ongoing projects.
Lunch and refreshments will be provided.
| FROM THE OPEN GATE
As the clock struck midnight on the eve of
this new year it heralded for some a time of uncertainty, for others
a sense of fear but whatever your outlook, whatever your views on
Brexit or Donald Trump it was going to be a time of new beginnings.
New beginnings bring a new regime and a new way of thinking; the
old, whilst not forgotten, can be
assigned to the history books to remind us that we
don't always get things right but more importantly could prevent us making the same mistakes again.
It's new beginnings too for the Community of
Aidan and Hilda and the Open Gate; Lesley and I enter our first full
year as Wardens of the Open Gate and leaders of the Community's Holy
Island Team. The re-structure that took place during the last
quarter of 2016 saw Ray move off the island and settle into his
permanent new home in Berwick. Some internal re-apportioning of
working hours gives a more even spread across the team's working
Ellie took a well-earned break in Zealand to go and
spend some time with her daughter and we look forward to welcoming her back in February.
The closed season has been a busy time for
us; we have had a new roof which should prevent last year's internal
water feature flooding the foyer every time it rained. We have
painted throughout and have upgraded many of the soft furnishings.
grateful to the team of local craftsmen including Colin Dougal,
Craig Wells, Stewart Bryson, Kenny Lowe and Eddie the painters for all their skill and patience.
Our focus, as always, is on hospitality and
we are looking forward to opening our doors once again to those who
come this island, and the Open Gate, for so many different reasons.
We will continue to try and use local produce where possible and are
excited that we may be using vegetables grown within shouting
distance of our kitchen. For those guests who visit us on
a bed and breakfast basis we will continue to encourage
them to avail themselves of the wide range of food and hospitality that the island offers.
The programme for this year has had a refresh
too; whilst we are keeping some of our most popular retreats we are
looking to increase the range and variety we offer. We are
introducing several creative style retreats and in December a
retreat which looks at traditional
village carols. Next year we are hoping to introduce further
creative retreats to include the fauna and flora of the island, icon writing and island archaeology.
'Why do you come to Holy Island?' we asked
our guests last year and the answers were as varied and diverse as
the guests themselves. For many it was the wider 'spiritual'
experience of the island, for others
it was the opportunity to meet up with friends; others
wanted to experience the beauty of the place, others to experience the silence and the solitude.
What became obvious is that each person who
visits is touched by the island and by its people;
in return they support the local economy whilst taking away lasting memories and life changing opportunities.
Sitting here in the late winter sun with the
sound of birds enjoying the warmth of the late afternoon sun there
are many reasons to be optimistic. There are many reasons too to be
grateful - and sharing this island, its beauty and its history with
those who've lived here
for generations may only be one of them - but
it is a huge privilege and not one for a minute that we take for granted.
|NEWS FROM FORD & ETAL
Attractions at Ford & Etal (excluding
Etal Castle) are open for short hours during February half
term. A poster is attached and below are the words from our
website. After that the opening
dates for the season as are follows:
Hay Farm Heavy Horse Centre
is open daily except Mondays from 7th February - with rare breed
lambs to see. Also they will have the first of their monthly farmers
markets on 19th February, 10am-4pm,
thereafter every 3rd Sunday of the month.
Heatherslaw Cornmill & Lady
open daily from Saturday 25th March
Heatherslaw Light Railway
open daily from Sunday 26th March
Etal Castle (English Heritage site)
open daily from Saturday 1st April
"Searching for Spring!" 20th-24th
Take a diesel train ride with Heatherslaw
Light Railway with trains running at 11am, 12 noon, 1 and 2
pm. Stop off at Etal and visit Lavender Tearooms or ride
straight there and back,
a round trip of approximately 50 minutes.
Monday- Wednesday are bread-making days at
Heatherslaw Mill so as well as taking a tour of the building kids
can make, bake and take home their own bread - if it lasts that
long! Thursday and Friday will be tours only
with plenty of hands-on activities to enjoy.
Lady Waterford Hall, the
old school, is offering Victorian school activities every day - a
great way for 21st century children to find out how their 19th
ancestors would spend a day in school!
Kids go free at Lady Waterford Hall and
At Hay Farm Heavy Horse Centre
meet the Clydesdales and other rare breeds and
learn about farming in years gone by.
Refreshments available at tearooms across the estates.
|FROM OUR UNITED REFORMED CHURCH
I am writing
this at the end of the Week of Prayer for Christian
Unity - a global event where Christians from different backgrounds come together
to pray for an end to unhealthy division in the church.
On Holy Island our 3 church buildings - St Mary's Church of
England, St Aidan's Roman Catholic and St Cuthbert's United Reformed
Church (formerly Presbyterian) each have their own beauty, and each give
visitors and worshippers different ways of spending time with God. However, the
fact that we have distinct identities does not
mean that we are in competition, or divided when it comes to the
bedrock of our faith and our willingness to serve others. We
do cooperate in lots of different ways - often practical ways that
aren't very high profile, and it is always a pleasure when
opportunity arises to share in acts of worship together. In all
three Island churches, the concerns of our Island community, of our visitors
and of our world are held daily before God in prayer.
Early in March, we will be sharing in another
global Christian event on the Island - a service for the Women's
World Day of Prayer will be held in St Cuthbert's and led by women from
the different churches in Belford and on the Island. (See
information elsewhere in this publication) The Women's World Day of Prayer
started in the late 1800s, and each year a different country is
responsible for producing a service that is shared
around the world. The focus on women is particularly important in countries where
women do not have much of a voice - this year
we are led by the women of the Philippines , asking the
question 'Am I being unfair to you ?' It is remarkable
to think that on March 3rd they will be being prayed
for for 36 hours in 170 different countries around the globe. This
is another opportunity to celebrate oneness in the midst of difference.
And so together, we continue the centuries
old tradition of Christian worship on the Island, acknowledging the gifts of
the past, living in the present, and trusting in the future.
St Cuthbert's building
The St Cuthbert's Centre was closed
in December and January to allow for redecoration and some annual refurbishment.
In the course of the work, we found
extensive woodworm in the beautiful roof beams and rafters. The woodworm is treatable,
and not a structural issue, but the wood needs sanding before
treatment can take place. Accumulated layers of varnish and woodstain since the
building was erected in 1891 mean that this is a massive
job, and I still haven't found a way of resolving the
problem ! So we will reopen in February, but at some point
we may have to close again - watch this space !
Berwick Food Bank collection
With our reopening we will resume acting as a
collection point for the Berwick food bank. For all of us this
is an expensive time of year, and the pressure of finding money to
keep warm when you are struggling financially is very real for many
in our communities. Your donations of non-perishable goods are
always welcomed, as are toiletries, and baby
|FROM THE VICARAGE
||Revd Dr Paul Collins|
During what must have been a very tense and difficult exchange
between Jesus and Pontius Pilate, as events move towards Jesus being
sentenced to death: Pilate asks Jesus: What is truth? (John 18.38)
The Gospel Writer (St John) records no immediate attempt to make a
response to that question. And Jesus is quickly handed over to be
We live in times when the same question: What is truth? is being
asked. Some commentators have suggested that we are living in a
Post-Truth age. We seem to be approaching a moment when whatever
someone asserts, is taken to be 'true'. Internet bloggers and
website holders can, more or less, publish and assert anything they
want. We the readers, the 'consumers' of their communications have
somehow to distinguish between mere assertion and something which
might be 'true'.
Historically three touchstones of what has been deemed to be
important or of value are: Beauty, Truth and Goodness. But how do we
know what is beautiful, true or good? These days beauty is often
thought of as a matter of taste or fashion. Are truth and goodness
similarly to be thought of in terms of current trends and taste? Is
today's truth tomorrow's falsehood? The question: What is truth? is
a challenging one in these days of global social media.
Perhaps part of the problem is that we have allowed ourselves to
operate with a sense of the truth which was more firm or objective
than is really the case. Things look different from different
vantage points or perspectives. This makes life more complicated,
because no one can simply claim that their perspective is true:
someone may assert that their view is true and others are false ...
but that does not make it so. Too often we have allowed the powerful
to tell us what is true.
This brings us back to that tense conversation between Pilate
with absolute power of life and death and Jesus who stood before him
in sheer vulnerability. Pilate had asked Jesus about 'power' - he
had asked him 'Are you a king?' Jesus replies that his kingdom is
not like worldly kingdoms (not powerful in ordinary human terms). So
Pilate says to him, 'So you are a king?' and Jesus answers, 'You say
that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the
world, to testify to the truth. ...' and Pilate asks him, 'What is
Jesus' perspective on truth is not about 'power' in terms of
usual human politics. His take on truth is a reversal of the
powerful telling us what is true. The answer to Pilate's question
'What is truth?' in St John's Gospel - is the story which unfolds of
Jesus' Passion, his death and resurrection. The story of Jesus'
utter vulnerability in the face of Roman Imperial power and the
politics of Jewish religious leaders. This sits with Jesus' claim: I
am the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14. 6). Jesus' take on
truth is that it happens between 'the way' and 'the life'. Truth is
not some absolute taught to us by the powerful: it is to be
discerned and learned by following in the vulnerable way of Jesus
and living life according to those values and insights.
So the truths of the powerful: bloggers, politicians, media
moguls need always to be weighed up in terms of the values which
those 'truths' are rooted in and embody. Are they values of the
likes of Pilate or of the likes of Jesus? Are they values of a
kingdom of justice and peace for all?
|PARISH CHURCH DIARY |
|Wednesday 1st March:
|Sunday 26th March:
|Sunday 9th April:
|Saunday 16th April:
|St CUTHBERT CENTRE DIARY |
'Am I being unfair to you ?'
Friday March 3rd at 10.30am
A SERVICE FOR
THE WOMEN'S WORLD DAY
prepared by women from the Phillipines
Everybody welcome - not just women
|PAUSE FOR THOUGHT
||Revd Canon Kate Tristram|
Is it now time to mourn for our New Year Resolutions? Or
are they already both gone and happily forgotten? Or are you
that strange person who has managed still to keep them, or perhaps
that even stranger person who never made any?
For many of us there is a kind of magic in the idea of a new
beginning. Somehow things might be, or could be
different. Some of you will remember the great hopes at the
beginning of the new millennium. Surely something would change. Yet
January lst 2000 proved to be just a day like any other, and here we
are, in the same old muddles or possibly worse. And yet we
have a feeling that won't go away, that we have a measure of freedom
and that things could change.
The world is not short of advice about resolutions. At this
time of the year the women's magazines are full of it. Mostly, of
course, about losing weight. All this advice seems to me to
boil down to two major points.
First, make just one resolution. Be realistic: let it be
something that you both can do and want to do. Be as specific
as possible about it.
Secondly, remember that resolutions are not like your best
china. They are not destroyed by being broken; they are still
there. Do you remember the joke about the little girl who was
asked at Sunday School how many Commandments there are, and relied
correctly 'Ten'. Then the teacher said, a little severely,
'Supposing you were to break one of them?' 'Then,' the child
replied, 'There would be nine.' No, it isn't like that.
I think the best advice about resolutions that I have read came
from the Oxford theologian Austin Farrer who, speaking to young men
about their spiritual lives, said, 'Resolutions are no use unless
you are prepared to find them broken and renew them every
day.' It was in that simple persistence, and only in
that, that success was to be found.