SITEZINE: HOLY ISLAND'S E-MAIL MAGAZINE 1st March 2017
  • A bit from me...
  • Crossman Hall
  • Lindisfarne Castle
  • Long-distance Barn Owl amazes the experts
  • Natural England Lindisfarne NNR
  • 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

'Crooked Lonnen'

A BIT FROM ME Geoff Porter

Dear Friend,

May I welcome you to our March issue of 'Sitezine' - our stay in touch newsletter.
Firstly, a huge thank you to Scottish Power for providing generators whilst the island power cable was repaired - seemingly accidental damage during ongoing causeway improvements.

Secondly, this recent picture shows that our county council still have a long way to go before the road to the island reaches an acceptable standard for residents - and the 600,000 visitors that will be crossing during 2017.

On this fine February day with the tide fully out, you can 'imagine' where the road markings might be - you are aware of recent flotsam. But whether the tide is coming in or going out - in neither case would you be able to detect underlying potholes in time to avoid them?

This is the time of year when our schools have half-term holidays. The weather was much as you see in the photo although, regardless of the weather, the island was well-filled with holiday traffic. Certainly for a few days we did experience strong winds from 'Storm Doris'. Fortunately, the cyclone passed well to the south.

Last month I passed on a movie clip produced by professional drone operators 'SkyImage'. This month, I met Bruce Ferguson of 'Wild North Discovery' who has a host of instructor skills including foraging which he demonstrated, across the water on Bamburgh beach, in a TV snippet taken from the Robson Green programme, 'Further Tales from Northumberland'. I hope you find it as fascinating as I did www.natureholiday.co.uk.

Paradoxically, whilst we have seen the largest number of new subscribers in over a year, this month has seen hardly any reader-feedback. In 'staying in touch' with the community new subscribers are given the opportunity to list specific interests. To the best of our ability and resources we try to keep these in mind. Our readers come from a vast range of backgrounds and it will never be possible to please everybody. But without your feedback we have no way of measuring how well (or not so well!) we are doing.... But as subscriber  numbers continue to increase - we are probably doing something right!

Finally, thank you to all our writers who have given their time to help you stay in touch with us on Holy Island. We hope that you enjoy the fruit of our work and look forward to getting in touch in April.

In the meantime, may our best wishes go with you.


!! STOP PRESS - Northumberland Business Awards!!

Emma has just written to let us know that after being short-listed, she was delighted to receive the prestigeous 'Creative Industries Award' at the Northumberland Business awards which were held at Linden Hall earlier this month.

Very well done Emma!

Emma's work can be seen at 'Emma Rothera Photography': www.yourbeautifulphotography.com

CROSSMAN HALL David O'Connor

Although this review of February's events is short, rather a lot has happened.

First the good news; we now have authorisation to use some of our under-spend from the BLF Grant to acquire and install the kitchen. So when this work is completed, at last the heart of our new hall will start to beat.

Following a series of meetings to review and discuss costs, requirements and suppliers with our Contractor the layout has been agreed and tender accepted, the kitchen will be installed and in working order before Easter.

The Bar/Serving area, all part of the contract has to be minimalist because of limited funding, but it will be functional and we are all looking forward to the conclusion of the whole contract.

I have recently nagged our Solicitor to seek an early conclusion to acquisition of the Easement across neighbouring land to install the new rainwater drain from the Hall to the main sewer.

Additionally, there are also one or two snagging jobs and these should be completed when the Contractor is back on site.

We have had positive and very helpful feedback from a group of locals who wish to develop the fitness space. The proposal will cater for all; from tots to the not so young. I have drafted a funding bid that when successful will build on our acquired equipment and provide a range of exercise and games. Fingers crossed and thanks to Kirsty J who reviewed the equipment and games requirements.

As we approach Spring Cleaning time or is that a thing of the past...?

If you are clearing out or want to empty a box or two of old photographs. We would love to have any pictures of the old hall and the events that were held there. Or, if your photographs are special to you, let us have the option to borrow them and have them copied. Please contact any of the Trustees to arrange collection or leave them at the Oasis with your name. Thank you.

HELP, VACANCY: We urgently need a Booking Secretary. I took on the role as we brought the hall up to speed, as well as running with the technical management issues. I can no longer do both jobs. The Booking Secretary should have access to a PC and a spare hour or two a week and there will of course be support from the Trustees. Please let Sue know if you can help.

Thank you all

David
doconna@hotmail.com

LINDISFARNE CASTLE Nick Lewis

As the scaffold creeps ever higher up the north side of the Castle, work is progressing on schedule inside.

Protection works to the castle fabric are completed and approved so now we are happy that no historic features can get damaged in the work. St Astier - the stone masons - have been working on the mainly on the lower floor recently and have completed stripping out and raking joints in the walls. They have also prepared samples of the finish in the Ship Room passage along with packing and pinning voids in the wall and sneck-pointing the surface (thick mortar joins with only the tips of stones showing through). The painters have been in although in this case they have been removing old imporous paints from walls rather than putting new paint on (that comes much later!). In some areas they have been able to uncover stones covered over under layers of paint which really were meant to be seen; such as large lintels above fireplaces, window margins, and quoin stones around doorways. The glaziers have also been to the Castle to remove windows for the first phase of refurbishment (i.e. those accessible from the batteries or the scaffold). As part of this refurbishment there will also be installation of new opening windows which should help with ventilation in the future - although you could argue that opening a door at each end of the Castle usually results in a fair bit of ventilation!

While all this work is going on indoors the electricians are laying cables to replace older fittings as well as chases to new sockets, spurs and light fittings. In the past we have had surface mounted cable on the floors which have been pointed in to the skirting (Ship Room and Dining Room especially); this pointing is regularly damaged by visitors feet so bright orange cabling often greeted visitors below the windows. These cables are now under the floor, with the stone flags and bricks having been carefully lifted and replaced, revealing some nice Lutyens-period numbering in the process. This also revealed an old Victorian drain - complete with bird bones - under the Dining Room floor; which we knew was there from plans but no-one would have seen it for well over a century.

The scaffolding on the south and east sides of the Castle are now signed off and so are usable by the contractors, although until the weather improves the main use will be removing materials down the south side in the hoist, which can manage 300kg at a time. External work to the walls will start soon though, as soon as the internals are completed fully. The north side scaffold is something else entirely; the gentler north slope requires a far bigger construction than that which towers over the steeper south slope. Judging by what has gone up already it is easy to see just how massive it will be when complete. Even with such a huge system, what always baffles me is just how accurate the design is; the north scaffold clicked perfectly into the eastern construction (built back in December) almost without a fuss, this being made possible by the millimetre-accurate measurements made of the site by laser back in the summer 2016. A date for the diary for those of you nearby would be the week of the 20th March; that is when it is planned to put the temporary roof on the scaffold, allowing repairs to the castle roof itself.

Best wishes

Nick
Lindisfarne Castle
nick.lewis@nationaltrust.org.uk
@NTLindisfarne
 01289 389244 (press 1, then 1903)

LONG-DISTANCE BARN OWL AMAZES THE EXPERTS Ian Kerr

Barn Owls are the most wonderful birds to watch as they silently glide with heads down scanning the grass for voles and mice, often well lit by low sun towards dusk.

We are very lucky on the island to be able to see them regularly and there can be few folk who walk out in late afternoons who haven't come across them. People like me who've studied and ringed owls for many years think we know them well. But they can come up with some very big surprises as I've just discovered.

Any bird book will tell you that Barn Owls are the most sedentary of creatures, seldom moving very far from their birthplaces. For example, only two of more than 1,399 owls marked by the Northumbria Ringing Group, of which I'm a member, have been found over 100 km from their birthplaces. Most recoveries involve birds which have travelled no more 20km.

This unwillingness to move, even when food is scarce, can often be fatal. Barn Owls will try to sit out any shortages and often starve as a consequence. Owls across a wide area of upland Northumberland were wiped out during the harsh winters of 2011 and 2012 when weeks of snow cover sealed off their food supplies. Those populations have still to recover.

Coastal birds like ours are luckier. Even in the worst of conditions, snow doesn't last long and they still seem able to find food in the slightly milder conditions we enjoy compared with inland districts.

Because of their essentially stay-at-home lifestyles, I didn't get too excited when a couple of birding friends, Alan Hall and Steve Rippon, regular Sunday visitors to the island, rang me to say they'd found a ringed Barn Owl lying dead against the side of the Lough hide.

Knowing that I've been ringing Barn Owls on the island since 2008 when breeding resumed after a gap of half a century, they assumed it was one of mine.

Later that day they delivered the pathetic corpse. From severe injuries to one of its wings and flanks, the poor thing appeared to have been hurled by the wind against the side of the hide, presumably while try to hunt. This was the day after that memorable northerly gale and tide surge which sheared through the concrete posts at the Causeway bridge.

On checking the ring number I realised that it wasn't one of mine. I e-mailed three other groups of ringer who mark large numbers of Barn Owls on the mainland and drew a blank from them. My next thought was that perhaps it was a bird from the Scottish side of the Tweed which had wandered a short distance to the island. So I still wasn't too concerned.

I submitted the details to the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) which organises ringing nationally so the number could be checked through its computerised system. I received an instant query asking whether there was a main road running past the Lough. Obviously no-one at the BTO had bothered to look at a map!

The reason for the question was understandable. A few long-distance recoveries have been attributed to owls being hit by vehicles and their bodies carried for many miles wedged in radiator grills and other crevices before falling off and being found at roadsides.

When I submitted further details of the location of the Lough and the previous night's storm, the BTO immediately accepted the record. I was amazed to be told that the Lough owl had ringed last August from a nest 401km southwards at Landbeach in Cambridgeshire and was among the top ten longest movements ever recorded for the species.

Since then the ringer, also amazed and more than a little excited, has been in touch. He's a member of a big group in southern England ringing over 1,000 owls annually most of which don't go far. A Barn Owl which travelled so far was totally exceptional for him.

In local terms it's also a record breaker. The previous longest distance to or from Northumberland was a Barn Owl ringed near Morpeth and recovered at Sleaford in Lincolnshire, a distance of 255km.

Since then I've spent a bit of time and accessed the BTO's details of Barn Owl movements. Most of them involve the expected very short distances but there are some notable exceptions. One bird moved the Highlands to Pembrokeshire, a distance of 624km, and several have crossed into Europe.

However, all pale into insignificance with a Barn Owl ringed in Oxfordshire in 2005 which was found freshly dead in Afghanistan a year later, having travelled a staggering 5834km. That's what I call a record-breaker.

Until now whenever I've watched Barn Owls on the island I have always assumed they were our regular breeding birds or perhaps just visitors from breeding sites on the near mainland. Perhaps it's time for a rethink!

NATURAL ENGLAND LINDISFARNE NNR Mhairi Maclauchlan

I mentioned Alex leaving the Reserve last month and we had one last volunteer day as a farewell for her. We had been busy finishing managing vegetation in the Snook and volunteers helped with raking and removal cut grass and reed. This was followed by a guided walk by staff to show the areas of grazing and what effect our cloven hooved friends had over the winter. There were biscuits and a flask involved as well!

As nights start to get lighter we've seen a marked change in the Reserve. Smaller birds such as reed bunting and skylark are becoming more vocal in the dunes particularly during nice weather. Other birds such as eider are sprucing up and their breeding colours are coming through in anticipation of the next few months.

It's been a bit quiet for geese and wader numbers of late as they start to think about return migrations. Pink-footed geese on the other hand have been seen en-mass coming out of roost at Goswick and the surrounding areas. They may be birds using the Reserve as a stop of point before their migration North. Lapwing and golden plover have seen in large flocks at Budle and Shelduck have been one of the most numerous birds on the Reserve - one you may have seen as you drive across the causeway.

Finally we've put together our events program for the year and it's available to be viewed on the blog and facebook. We've got quite a few different events coming up for a variety of ages so it's worth a look if you are in the area. A couple that may be of interest in are guided history walks led by volunteer and local historian John Woodhurst. In his first walk, on the 9th April, he'll look at the 'lost buildings of Lindifarne' and his second on the 16th April will be about St Cuthbert - Lindisfarne's 1st nature warden. Booking is essential for both and for more details have a look online.

Mhairi Maclauchlan
Reserve Warden, Beal Station
Mhairi.Maclauchlan@naturalengland
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 LINDISFARNE LANDSCAPE PARTNERSHIP David Suggett

Kippy Heugh gorse goes up in smoke!

Did you see the smoke from our gorse bonfires? As part of our Whin Sill Geology and Grasslands Project, 11 Peregrini volunteers armed with loppers and bow saws have cleared a large swathe of gorse from Kippy Heugh. Gorse was initially introduced as an ornamental plant or hedge and has become an invasive species due to its aggressive seed dispersal. It has proved very difficult to eradicate and is detrimental in native habitats.

Kippy Heugh is one of a dozen outcrops and dykes of whin in the Peregrini area. Most notably is the Lindisfarne Heugh on Holy Island. In fact, Lindisfarne Heugh is one of the best examples in Northumberland of a whin grassland that has formed as a result of the poor soils overlying the geology, and the only example in the Peregrini area not to be under threat from encroachment by gorse.

We'll be calling for volunteers to take part in plant and wildlife surveys of the Heughs in the spring and early summer.

Stop Press ... Lindisfarne invaded by Vikings... again!

Belford First School sent 23 of their year 3 and 4 pupils to invade the island last Wednesday as part of their Viking project.

Resourceful Peregrini staff created a 4.5 metre long Viking ship (from old cardboard boxes) and helped the children to make their own shields, all of which awaited them in the Old Lifeboat House.

The fun and games were helped along by Ragnar Hairy Breeks, a Viking King, and by Elizabeth Baker, storyteller.

The ship is being stored until the Peregrini volunteer conference on 4th March after which it will be recycled - unless anyone has further use for it!?

Community Archaeology project launches series of coastal walks

It'll be a busy month of the Community Archaeology project as they launch a series of 5 coastal walks cover the stretch of the Peregrini coastline.

The purpose of the walks is to examine the current status of known archaeological sites and hopefully find some new areas for investigation later in the year. Training will be given in searching for and basic recording of archaeological sites in the landscape. The walks will be of 2-5 miles in length and will require warm clothes, good boots and a packed lunch.

A match made in heaven!

Peregrini Lindisfarne and Natural England have joined forces to deliver further sessions to our practical conservation programme.

Natural England is responsible for managing the Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve with Budle Bay sitting at the most southern point of the reserve. The first session on March 16th will involve litter picking at Budle Bay to help conserve this beautiful place and protect wildlife from the vast amount of debris either washed up or thrown away.

To book your place contact Mhairi on 01289 381470

March events and activities

We have a total of 13 events happening in March! For further information and booking requirements, as well as our full list of events, please go to our website www.peregrinilindisfarne.org.uk/events/

Coastal Archaeology walks
Taking place on 3rd, 11th, 17th, 24th and 31st March
Various starts times and meeting points

Peregrini Annual Volunteer Conference
Saturday 4th March: 10.00am until 4.00pm
Holy Island Crossman Village Hall

Military Defence clean up sessions
Tuesday 14th, 21st and 28th March
10am starts at various sites

FROM THE OPEN GATE Kevin Downham

Pray Sirs if I have found favour with you, do not pass by your servant; since you have come to your humble servant, have a little water brought to wash your feet; then lie down under the tree till I find you a bite of food.          < Genesis 18 >

We have already enjoyed hosting our first group of the year and the passage from Genesis is a real reminder of the ethos of the Open Gate and the dispersed Community of Aidan and Hilda. One of the significant activities they undertook was to walk the posts and it proved a real opportunity to serve and to provide warm water, towels and hot drinks for them on their return.

Our next group are people who have volunteered at the Open Gate over the past twelve months. Our volunteers are drawn from members of our community who generously give up their time to come and support the team on Holy Island and help provide a warm welcome and hospitality to our guests. Volunteering has been an important aspect of life at the Open Gate and this is now our turn to say a thank you to them and let them experience life as a guest rather than cook and bottle washer.

The above passage from Genesis is often depicted in the Icon of Hospitality by Anton Rubilev which shows three figures seated around Abraham's table with a space at the front. There are many interpretations of this icon; some see it as the depiction of the passage from Genesis, others relate it to the Holy Trinity representing God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

For me it becomes a representation of hospitality and a constant reminder about what lies in the heart of the Open Gate ethos. Hospitality is at the heart and must come from the heart. At the heart of the picture is a table and this table is the place of Abraham's hospitality and all are invited to sit and eat. Many of us open our tables to those who visit this island and welcome them to sit and eat.

One of the joys of the Open Gate is you often never know who you are inviting to sit at your table; many come as strangers but leave as friends. We seem to live in a society today that marginalises, a society that wants to build barriers rather than break them down. True hospitality is about not just giving food and drink but also about giving time and encouragement.

In the seventh century, Caedmon who was a herdsman on a farm somewhere near Whitby, felt himself to be an outsider. But a fellow worker took the trouble to listen to his dreams and helped him realise his potential. The Abbess Hilda gave him a home, a place where he could be affirmed and cherished. This was the same Hilda that offered hospitality of a different sort; offering leaders of opposing factions a place of friendship and nourishment to try and reconcile their differences - this is a sign of true hospitality.

We are called too to offer hospitality not only to humans but to all God's creatures. There is the delightful story of Kevin of Glendalough who was lying with outstretched arms during a Lent vigil. A blackbird built a nest in his hand and maintained this position until the eggs were hatched.

Hospitality is the creation of space in which the other person may feel secure, at ease with himself or herself. This island, whilst small in size, opens itself up to make space for all those who want to visit - hospitality in action.

Kevin Downham
(Warden at the Open Gate)
Community of Aidan and Hilda

NEWS FROM FORD & ETAL Elspeth Gilliland

Attractions open for the season in late March, dates as follows:

steam engine "Bunty"

25th March:  Heatherslaw Cornmill & Lady Waterford Hall
26th March:  Heatherslaw Light Railway
1st April:  Etal Castle

Hay Farm Heavy Horse Centre is already open daily (except Mondays) and holds a monthly farmers' market on the 3rd Sunday of every month.

New for 2017 -  HANDMADE AT HEATHERSLAW

This spring, Lorna & John Speight are moving their "Spirit of Colour" jewellery and Paper Cut business to Heatherslaw, to the old Drying Kiln opposite Heatherslaw Cornmill.

Starting out in North Northumberland 20 years ago, the business move to Kirkarle in 2006 and has gone from strength to strength.  John and Lorna took the decision to move back to this area last year and have spent the winter getting their new premises ready to open in March. 

Lorna and John, who is a third generation paper cut artist, will make all of their jewellery and papercut designs on site.  Visitors will be able to see John at work, making his beautiful and delicate designs in the shop.  Lorna will also hold occasional jewellery making demonstrations.

The range of items they offer is constantly growing and they welcome you to come along and have a browse and a chat.


Elspeth
tourism@ford-and-etal.co.uk
www.ford-and-etal.co.uk/

FROM OUR UNITED REFORMED CHURCH MINISTER Revd Rachel Poolman

As in all the churches on Holy Island prayer is at the heart of all that we do at St Cuthbert's. Alongside our daily prayer services, individuals come into our space to reflect quietly, and many also find their way around the side of the building to the small chapel in what was originally the church's boiler house.  Many people describle St Cuthbert's as feeling like a 'prayed in building'  and I am certainly aware of our Presbyterian forbears who prayed there week in and week out.

March sees the start of Lent, a season of preparation for Easter, which for many Christians involves a renewed focus on prayer.

In the Bible the disciples are recorded as asking Jesus "Lord teach us how to pray" - he responds by sharing the Lord's Prayer with them.  The 'Our Father' is a prayer that has been handed on from Christian to Christian and country to country ever since  - it is beyond my maths to work out how many times it has been prayed, over the centuries, even on this Island, but I'm sure the answer to that particular equation is mindboggling.

Elsewhere in the gospels Jesus teaches "whenever you pray do not be like the hypocrites... for they love to stand and pray...that they may be seen by others.  Whenever you pray , go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father"

There is no set form for praying, it can be done anywhere at any time,  you can be alone, or in company, using set words, your own words or no words at all.  Jesus is forceful in telling us not to be hypocritical or sanctimonious, reacting particularly to some of the religious individuals of his day.  First and foremost he seems to be calling us to a right attitude of mind and heart.

For me, prayer is an act of communion with God and with other people; when our breath is taken away by great joy or great beauty, we recognise that we are part of an ongoing process of creation; when we pray for people we are concerned about we are creating a circle of community in which God is a part, and sometimes we also need to be held by that community as we pour out our own heartache in prayer.

Prayer isn't some sort of magic wand, a simplistic panacea for all ills, but it is part of an eternal conversation with God - who works in mysterious ways.  This centuries old English prayer is a good summation of that:

God be in my head
And in my understanding. 
God be in my mine eyes
And in my looking. 
God be in my mouth
And in my speaking. 
God be in my heart 
And in my thinking,
God be at mine end
And at my departing.

Rev Rachel Poolman
St Cuthbert's Centre
www.holyisland-stcuthbert.org

FROM THE VICARAGE Revd Dr Paul Collins

On the Sunday before Lent the Gospel reading each year is the account of Jesus' transfiguration. We read it as Lent begins because it is the story of our vocation and destiny as well as a story about who Jesus is. The Transfiguration is story of our invitation to share in the life of God. But what does it mean to claim that as Christian believers we are to participate in the divine nature (2 Peter 1.4) in today's world? My context is the contemporary 'West', by which I mean a pluralist, 'secularised', consumerist context typified by the United Kingdom where I live and work, and exercise ordained ministry in the Church of England. The context of late or post modernity and of 'late capitalism' has been described and analysed by many writers, and I do not intend to replicate such analysis here. So I am trying to speak of the doctrine of deification in a context where to acknowledge God explicitly is in itself to speak of something of which many people have little or no vocabulary by which to express their spiritual or 'God' experiences. So to speak of sharing in the nature or life of God, or even of becoming 'god' is perhaps doubly difficult. But to speak of deification is as much to ask about human nature and potential and experience as it is to ask about the transcendent. The doctrine of deification not only proclaims the transcendent and the divine purposes in creating and redeeming the cosmos, it also proclaims the absolute worth and wonder of that cosmos in general and of the human person in particular. The worth and wonder of the human person as construed in a doctrine of deification questions many of the values of the present-day context, and offers a different set of values and a challenging vision of the human person as a creature created in the 'image and likeness of God'. This is not to forget about or to ignore the fall and its consequences for the human person. The doctrine of deification is not a denial of or escape from human sin and guilt but it is an affirmation of what God's initiative and grace calls the human person to, through the forgiveness of sin and the healing of guilt. The doctrine of deification proclaims a transformation of the person (and the cosmos) and does so in the context of community and through an appeal to God's Triune life of communion. It is this vocation that we are called to reflect upon and seek to renew in the season of Lent. And it is this vocation and its outcome that we celebrate in the Passion and Resurrection at Easter.

Have a happy and holy Lent.

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

PARISH CHURCH DIARY [2017]
Sunday 26th March: Mothering Sunday
Sunday 9th April: Palm Sunday
Sunday 16th April: Easter Day
St MARY'S CHURCH HOLY ISLAND

Sunday 19th March
at 5.30pm
The Witnesses
a dramatic presentation of the life of
St .Cuthbert
by
Canon Kate Tristram


HOLY WEEK AND EASTER 2017
St MARY'S CHURCH HOLY ISLAND

Sunday 9th April
Palm Sunday
10.30 Palm Procession from Market Place
10.45 Parish Communion
5.30pm Evening Worship for Holy Week
 
Preacher for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Day:
Rev'd Dr Neil Messer,
Professor of Christian Ethics in the University of Winchester

 
Maundy Thursday
8pm Eucharist of the Last Supper and Watch until Midnight
 
Good Friday
12 noon Meditation on the Passion of Christ
1pm Stations of the Cross
2pm The Liturgy of Good Friday
 
Holy Saturday
9.45pm Easter Vigil with Northern Cross Pilgrims
 
Easter Day
Prayers at Sunrise (6.43am) - meet on Heugh for 6.40am
8am Holy Communion
10.45am Parish Eucharist
5.30pm Evening Worship


HOLY ISLAND FESTIVAL 2017
[ headline performances ]
 
Friday 30th June
Garth Newel Piano Quartet
 
Saturday 1st July
November Club - followed by a Ceilidh
 
Sunday 2nd July
LoGuidice Dance
 
Saturday 8th
July Ryton Choral Society
 
Sunday 9th July
Tom Mitchell
 
Saturday 15th July
Christian Forshaw and Sanctuary
 
Sunday 16th July
Katherine Tickell: Superfolkus and Friends
 

PAUSE FOR THOUGHT Revd Canon Kate Tristram

CONTENTMENT

Since Lent begins on March 1st I was looking through a book of poems for Lent and Easter, and came across one which appealed to me very much. It was by the poet E.E.Cummings and the first line was:

' I am a little church (no great cathedral).' As one who normally worships in a little church (though one with a great history) I was intrigued to read what this little church had to say. It describes itself as 'far from the splendour and squalor of hurrying cities'. It is happy to live in one small place and be wholly absorbed in the life of that place. It experiences all the changes of the seasons with equanimity, being 'at peace with nature'. It joins in all the grief and gladness of its local people, knowing itself to be the centre of all the birth and death that takes place around it. It lifts its 'diminutive spire' to God 'whose only now is forever'. Janet Morley, who made this collection of poems, calls this one 'an extraordinary ... hymn to contentment with being oneself '.

It made me think how rarely (in my experience) the word 'contentment' is used.

Why not look out for it when you are in conversation with others? In what seems our passionate and angry world it seems unusual to meet a contented person. But how refreshing if we do.

My plan now is to wait until I am sure our church is empty so that no one thinks me mad, and then go down and read this poem aloud to it.

I think our church's guardian angel will be pleased.