SITEZINE: HOLY ISLAND'S E-MAIL MAGAZINE 1st May 2017
  • A bit from me...
  • Council listens to residents over Holy Island plans
  • Crossman Hall
  • Lindisfarne Castle
  • Early migrants add to the island's Spring scene
  • HM Coastguard Holy Island
  • AONB Partnership
  • From the Open Gate
  • From the Vicarage
  • Parish Diary - programme
  • Holy Island Festival - programme
  • Pause for thought

Easter Pilgrims 2017
Photo: Christine Sherman

A BIT FROM ME Geoff Porter

Dear *|MMERGE3|* ,

It's May Day, known since the 13th century as a time for springtime - so welcome to our latest issue of 'SitEzine'.

Firstly, thank you to regular visitors Christine Sherman and David & Angela Pescod for sending in their photos for this month's issue. The pictures remind us that Lindisfarne is also a place of uniqueness: a focus for christianity and pilgrimage; a focus for natural history; a seemingly tranquil, spiritual 'thin place'.

Thank you for visiting if you were amongst the tens of thousands who came to the island over the Easter holiday period. I only recently heard that the County Council had neglected to ensure that the main toilet block was properly open. Fortunately, they had not yet closed their subordinate Crossgate toilets located and next to our new village hall (Crossman Hall) holding coffee mornings - and with yet more toilet facilities. And isn't our new hall a building to be proud of. Very well done David, the late Clive and the whole of our hall committee!!

As well as 'May Day' there is also 'Mayday' - an internationally recognised distress call for help.

Last month readers were left in no doubt that our community was calling 'MAYDAY' for them to join with us in adding their voices in opposing the 'jackboot' of Northumberland County Council (NCC) in its proposal to sell off land to the highest bidder - land previously taken from us to enhance visitor parking and the main public toilet block within the village confines. Interestingly, it is this same toilet block that  NCC had left partially closed at Easter....

Our Parish Council called a residents meeting on 10th April to assess the extent of dissent to the NCC sale proposal and put forward a "Special Planning Document" to limit how the land might be used following its sale. Residents voted unanimously in favour of the measure and went on to authorise the Chairman to call for a formal Referendum.

Yesterday, out-of-the-blue, there was a local radio broadcast.

We will probably never know what caused NCC's change of heart. With your help, Lesley's petition had amassed close on 4,000 signatures; privately written letters of protest direct to council members; 'behind the scenes support' from all levels of society, media and government; our Parish Council expending effort in coordinating and highlighting local opinion; perhaps the proponents of the sale had simply come to their senses; perhaps there was no single thing that clinched it but a combination of everything. Regardless, thank you to everybody who got involved. It seems that the land is not for sale!

Now, with this picture of deer that have wandered onto the island and strayed onto one of Robert's fields, on with the normal business of the newsletter: helping you to stay in touch with the island through our Stay-In-Touch-Ezine (SITEZINE)).

There really are Deer on Lindisfarne
Photo: David & Angela Pescod

At Easter, there is no one who works harder than our Vicar and we are thankful that he has made time to keep in touch along with Kate whose 'pause for thought' completes our island newsletter. And with me and them as endstops we present reports from David O, Nick, Ian, Ryan, Iain and Kevin. Thank you also to Julie Frost who contacted the newsletter and ends our newsletter with a link inviting you to meet our local hospice group.

We look forward to staying in touch again in June..

Geoff Porter
Editor (SitEzine)
editor@lindisfarne.org.uk

COUNCIL LISTENS TO RESIDENTS OVER HOLY ISLAND PLANS Editor

Northumberland County Council plans to work alongside the local community in Holy Island on the future of a car park after listening to feedback from residents.

As part of a programme of land and property sales in the county the council had put on the market a section of the Green Lane car park on Holy Island - comprising around half the existing gravel car park and part of the little used grassed overflow area.

The market testing did prompt concerns from the local community and the council is now proposing to withdraw the site from sale and if they wish, work with the local parish council to develop an affordable housing scheme using government funds.

Council Chief Executive Steven Mason said: "The council was well aware of the sensitivities of this site which sits within the Holy Island Conservation Area.

"We also acknowledged the importance of this facility to the local tourism economy and the concerns raised by local residents. We've listened carefully to their feedback and are happy to consider either leaving the carpark or working with the parish council to consider an affordable housing scheme."

Across Northumberland, a range of buildings and land plots have been put on the market over the past year as part of the council's plans to use capital receipts to help drive economic growth, regeneration and new employment opportunities, whilst also making annual savings in property running costs of £2million to help safeguard cuts to vital public services.

ED: Thank you NCC - I'm sure we are all delighted to here that we have a listening Council.

CROSSMAN HALL David O'Connor

On Easter Sunday the many Ladies of the Island gathered in the Hall to set up for the Coffee Morning; filling the Lucky Dip bin; sticking labels on Tombola Prizes, remember to win you need a last digit number of 0 or 5 on a ticket. Then setting up the Raffle and finally pricing the bric-a-brac. All time consuming!

On Easter Monday Morning the clatter of feet could be heard as they dashed along the streets in the sunshine carrying plates full of scones, sticky buns, cupcakes, chocolate cakes, homemade red fruit jams etcetera. Doors opened at 10:00 and in they came, locals and visitors. The hall was packed and alive, the morning was a great success and £719.00 pounds was raised.

Thanks to all the workers, providers and spenders. You all helped make the day.

As the Hall doors closed a swift tidy-up and transfer from Coffee Morning venue to Concert Hall took place. A bit of a dash but all was ready for 'Pipes & Fiddles'. Andy and Margret entertained an audience of 60+ with a range of music from the Borders and further afield, inter spaced by chat about the routes of the music and the instruments they use. It was great entertainment much appreciated by the audience.

Well I'm sure you remember the saga of the Legal Easement we require to take a rainwater drain across neighbouring land. The draft documents arrived when I was away, progress. Yes but some changes are required and those are now underway. Progress!

Our Contractor true to his word to have the kitchen installed before Easter succeeded, it was set-up, and operational the day before Good Friday. Apart from one or two adjustments all goes well.

During Easter Week, Artist in residence, John Tierney presented the Hall with a large painting of the 'old hall'. This is now exhibited in a prominent location near the main entrance. It looks good and catches the heart strings as many of us remember the 'good old days'. Thank you John.

To continue the 'good old days' theme. I have displayed a selection of Pantomime photographs taken in the old hall many years ago. We need more pictures to keep happy memories alive.

The fitness area is being well used so much so that a combination operated key box has been installed so regular users can access the area without searching out the key holder.

All in all it's been a good month!

David - doconna@hotmail.com

LINDISFARNE CASTLE Nick Lewis

With improvements in the weather come changes to the work programme at Lindisfarne, with our stone masons finishing off most of their major works inside and so being able to move to the external walls.

Those members of public walking the path below have been able occasionally to see hi-visibility jackets on the scaffold and hear the satisfying chiming of chisels on pointing. The work outdoors is similar to that conducted inside; removal of cementitious or failed pointing, packing and pinning of any voids uncovered, and repointing of the external surfaces.

Alongside this work there have been repairs carried out to window mullions (along with some replacement of badly damaged stones) ahead of the return of some of the refurbished windows. This work is being carried out in two phases during April and early May and sees the return of around 20 panels from their time at the Scottish Glass Studio in Glasgow. I have previously outlined the procedure they go through but basically they have all been taken apart piece by piece, then the glass has any UV film removed before being returned to the lead work and sealed into the metal with waterproof cement. Almost always the lead surrounds need to be replaced so the new surrounds are soldered to the old leadwork before the panel is returned to the window at the Castle. Once in place the panel is then secured with four brass strips; one for each side. This is the clever solution to the major design problem with the windows and as proved with last year's trials, should mean the windows don't fail in the future as they have in the past. The brass strips are then covered with sand mastic pointing (sand and linseed oil).

A small bit of archaeology has been carried out on the Upper Battery as part of relaying some of the flagstones. Reassuringly, the excavation uncovered more of the fire step found in a dig earlier this year which we believe could be Elizabethan. Among the few interesting small finds was a tobacco pipe probably dating to the 17th century.

The next major task facing the scaffolders is the construction of the temporary roof over the eastern building which as I type is just about complete, however the next step is to attach a canvas cover to enclose the space and that requires so favourable weather. Looking at the forecast it doesn't look promising for this week commencing the 24th April, but by the time you read this you may know if they were successful or not! Once the temporary roof is completed then works to the Castle roof can commence. This will involve changing much of the roof layout and introducing new falls into new drains and downpipes, many of which will be routed out through new drains under the two batteries.

Away from the Castle, it is worth noting that the NT shop in the village has its garden open and there are even a few of last year's plants from the Jekyll Garden - removed by the gardeners ahead of this year's planting - so call in and grab a perennial cornflower if you're passing. There is also a mid-season sale on so you may pick up a bargain or two.

Best wishes

Nick
Lindisfarne Castle
nick.lewis@nationaltrust.org.uk
@NTLindisfarne // 01289 389903 (press 1, then 1903)

SWALLOWS RETURN AND A STOAT GOES SUNBATHING Ian Kerr

ISN'T it wonderful to see Swallows once again around the village after their epic return migration from wintering in South Africa?

The first to return were around the fishing sheds at the beach on April 10, a fairly average date for arrival, and since then numbers have increased daily until they have become plentiful.

The sight of Swallows skimming over the rooftops and fields in pursuit of flying insects makes everyone feel that spring has really arrived. Paul Douglas tells me that the first to arrive was a single bird which rested most of the day around the sheds. A day or so later when he arrived at the shed and switched on the lights several more fluttered around in panic, disturbed from their roosts.

Swallows tend to be a bit nervous when they first arrive but quickly become accustomed to human presence. By the time they are breeding they tend to ignore folk and will happily fly within a couple of feet as they fly back and forth to their nests.

As usual, all the early birds I noticed on the island over the Easter weekend were males, easily identifiable by their long tail streamers. The first individual I saw was already singing in flight. It gave that lovely long series of twittering calls as it patrolled back and forth behind the big Sycamores just up the bank from the sheds.

Males tend to return annually to the places they were born and are usually present a few days before females appear. Females don't usually return to their birthplaces and that appears to be nature's way of avoiding in-breeding.

Regular readers will recall that last year was a very poor season for Swallows. Fewer than normal arrived back on the island after what appears to have been a difficult return journey, probably because of bad weather conditions on the 10,000-mile haul from the wintering grounds. Then, when they did arrive, we had a cold spring with a resulting food shortage which took a further toll.

Far fewer than normal managed to breed and it was the worst season I could remember for the numbers of pairs fledging young. Across the island, I could only account for around 30 broods totalling about 130 young, the poorest result in monitoring and ringing Swallows for 15 years. That contrasted with at least 77 broods and a minimum of 260 fledglings in 2014, by far the best year on record.

Easter Pilgrimage 2017
Photo: Christine Sherman

At the time of writing, the weather has certainly been a little kinder than in the spring of 2016 and hopefully our Swallows will have had a more promising start to the breeding season. But only time will tell. I'll certainly be busy checking nesting success and ringing youngsters and will report back at the end of the summer.

When you've been birdwatching as long as I have, frighteningly, now more than 60 years, you tend to get a bit blasť about things. There's certainly a tendency to think you've seen it all and nothing much can come as a surprise.

But time and again I find that's wrong and I come across things I've never experienced previously. I had such an incident a couple of weeks ago in the Straight Lonnen, just as the bushes were coming into fresh new leaf.

I'd glanced up at one of last year's Woodpigeon nests and realised that something didn't look quite right. Something was obviously on the nest and it wasn't a pigeon. I moved closer where I could get a better view between the branches and focussed my binoculars. It was a Stoat lying stretched out on its back, its tail curled over the edge of the nest. The day was fine and sunny and it was obviously lying enjoying the sun, using the nest as a comfortable and safe hammock.

My new binoculars have a very close focus and I could see its eyes were shut and it was very relaxed as it enjoyed the warmth. At that stage, I tried to move even closer and that broke the spell. Instantly it awoke, if it had ever really been asleep, rather than just snoozing. It scrambled upright, looked down at me for an instant and was away in a flash down through the branches and out of sight.

I've watched Stoats on many occasions, particularly back in the days when the island had a Rabbit population almost in plague proportions, but I must admit that until now I've never seen one sunbathing and in such an odd fashion. Obviously, there's always something new to see around the island!

HM COASTGUARD HOLY ISLAND Ryan Douglas

Response trained coastguards save lives

Hours after a team of coastguard co-responders finished their first day of training from North East Ambulance Service (NEAS), they came across their first patient.

Artist and owner of Impressions Art Gallery, 62 year old John Tierney from Holy Island, was at work his art gallery when he started to experience tightness across his chest.

Nine hours prior, six coastguard staff on the island began intense training with NEAS on how to manage life threatening emergencies, such as chest pain, breathing difficulties, cardiac arrest, strokes and unconsciousness.

HM coastguards Emma Rothera and Andy Cowan were returning from their first day of co-responder training when they came across fellow islander John Tierney, who it was later confirmed was suffering from a heart attack.

Co-responders exist in cities, towns and villages where it may be a challenge for the emergency ambulance to arrive within the crucial first few minutes. Their aim is to provide immediate care to a patient where every second counts; a patient who suffers a cardiac arrest stands a much better chance of survival if someone with a defibrillator can attend the patient in the first minutes of collapse.

John says, "I started to feel really strong pains and tightness in my chest. As I haven't had a heart attack before, I thought I might have acid reflux or indigestion so I went for a walk to try and ease the pain. I came back in to the gallery and waited for pain to pass as I didn't want to bother anybody.

"At the exact moment I opened the door to leave the gallery to get some help the HM Coastguard vehicle pulled up across the road. I went over to Emma and Andy and told them I really didn't feel well and I had a lot of tightness across my chest."

Once inside the gallery co-responder Emma began checking John's vital signs and called for support.

Based in Berwick, paramedic Janey Dixon, who has been with the Trust for 11 years, attended the scene, accompanied by emergency care assistant Iain Scott to take John to Cramlington hospital.

Janey Dixon explains, "We had just left Berwick when we received the call to Holy Island. When we reached John he was in the gallery supported by the co-responders who were keeping him calm and managing his pain. I think that the situation could have been very different had John not had their support as he became quite anxious once he entered the ambulance.

"It has been great to meet back up with John in his normal surroundings and see him doing so well because we don't often get the opportunity to follow up with patients once we have taken them to hospital."

Emma Rothera, HM coastguard and co-responder added, "With living and working on the island and being in such close proximity to residents, the training we received to become co-responders really can't be measured. It made a difference to John and hopefully many more like him in the future."

Alex Mason, NEAS community development officer and Bob Mason, a paramedic and clinical education and development officer who volunteered to help deliver training, were on the island when they were called to help John. Alex says, "Holy Island is an island cut off from the main land twice a day by the tide, with a population of around 160 permanent residents with hundreds of thousands of visitors and having responders on the island provides even more support to patients and our crews.

"A responder's role may be to simply provide vital reassurance to patients and their families but in extreme cases such as a cardiac arrest, they may be able to perform CPR and use a defibrillator to deliver a shock to the person's heart that will make an enormous difference their patient's chance of survival and the quality of their life in recovery.

"This is the first time I have seen co-responders use their new skills within the first 24 hours of training. It was great to see the co-responders have confidence in their ability to deal with this kind of incident as they used the training we had given them and it struck both us how professional and calm they were. It was a privilege to be part of the team that night.

John later had an operation to have a stent inserted into the artery in his heart at the Freeman Hospital. After resting for a few days he returned home and now says he is in better health than before the heart attack.

He ends, "The crew were very reassuring on the way to hospital and did all they could to get me there as quick as possible. I can go walking a lot more than I could six months ago, I used to get out of breath so easily but now I can do the things I love like walking and running."

Ryan Douglas
NORTHUMBERLAND COAST AREA OF OUTSTANDING NATURAL BEAUTY Iain Robson

Volunteers needed to help rare seabirds in Northumberland

The Northumberland Little Tern Project is looking for enthusiastic volunteers to protect vulnerable birds nesting along the coast this summer.  These include the endangered little terns, ringed plovers and oystercatchers, which are collectively known as shorebirds. 

Little terns spend their winter on the west coast of Africa and return to our coastline at the end of April. These rare birds lays eggs on the beach and are very susceptible to human disturbance, as well as predation and high tides, which can wash away their nests.

In Northumberland, little terns are mainly nest on the National Trust Long Nanny site in Beadnell Bay and Natural England's Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve (NNR), which stretches from Budle Bay to Berwick.

Iain Robson from the Northumberland Little Tern project, said: "Volunteers are essential for the protection of our breeding shorebirds. Together with the team of wardens, we need them to talk to beach users about the birds and prevent them from accidently disturbing them.  This makes a huge difference to the breeding success of these small visitors."

"We are looking for passionate nature enthusiasts who enjoy talking to people and spending time along the beautiful Northumberland coast."

The Northumberland Little Tern Project is a partnership between the National Trust, Natural England, RSPB and the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership, which provides additional funding to the sites that Natural England and the National Trust have been protecting for many years.  With this support, extra seasonal staff help protect the sites, provide new information signs and additional fencing to enclose nesting areas.

For further information about volunteering, contact Iain Robson on 01670 622660 or at iain.robson@northumberland.gov.uk.

Walk the Northumberland Coast Path this summer
Northumberland Coast Path Guided Walks 2017

The Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership is once more offering the chance to walk the Northumberland Coast Path this summer.

The walks will be led by Iain Robson from the Northumberland Coast AONB Partnership who originally developed the route with colleagues from Northumberland County Council.
 
Each Wednesday between 28th June and 2nd August, Iain will lead a walk along a section of the path in the company of a coastal expert, maybe a botanist, geologist, ranger or birdwatcher. You can choose to do one section or them all - it's up to you.

The start time for each section coincides with the arrival of a bus and we will return to our starting point by bus. With fantastic ticket deals available, why not leave the car at home and use the bus to join us?
 
Details of each of the stages can be found below, the walks are all free, but you will need your bus fare. We have given brief public transport information, but you can plan your journey at www.travelinenortheast.info
 
Booking is essential, contact Catherine Gray on 01670 622660 or at coastaonb@northumberland.gov.uk

Stage 1 28th June - Cresswell to Warkworth - 10.5 miles (5 hours)
Start: 09:20 Cresswell Ices to coincide with the arrival of the Arriva No.1 from Ashington (change here from Newcastle)
Return on the 14:46 Arriva x20 to Ellington, which continues on to Ashington and Newcastle

Stage 2 5th July - Warkworth to Craster - 13 miles (7 hours)
Start 09:30 Warkworth Market Cross to coincide with the arrival of the X18 from Alnwick and Newcastle
Return on the 16:26 Travelsure 418 to Alnwick. Change here for services to Warkworth and Newcastle

Stage 3 12th July - Craster to Seahouses - 9.5 miles (5 hours)
Start 09.30 Craster TIC to coincide with the arrival of the 418 from Alnwick and X18 from Belford/Seahouses
Return on the 14:51 Travelsure 418 to Alnwick via Craster. Change at Alnwick for Arriva services to Newcastle

Stage 4 19th July - Seahouses to Belford - 10.5 miles (5 1/2 hours)
Start 10:05 Seahouses TIC to coincide with the arrival of the Travelsure 418 from Alnwick and Belford
Return to Seahouses on 16:26 418 or 15.43 X15 to Alnwick/Newcastle

Stage 5 26th July - Belford to Fenwick - 7 miles (4 hours)
Start 10:30 Belford Market Cross to coincide with the arrival of the X15 from Alnwick/Newcastle or the Travelsure 418 from the Coast
Return to Alnwick/Newcastle via Belford on 15.33 X15 service

Stage 6 2nd August - Fenwick to Berwick-upon-Tweed - 12 miles (6 hours)
Start 10:35 Fenwick A1 Bus Stop to coincide with the arrival of the X15 from Alnwick/Newcastle
Return to Alnwick/Newcastle via Belford on 15.25 X15 service

For further information or to book your place call 01670 622660 or email coastaonb@northumberland.gov.uk or visit the website www.northumberlandcoastaonb.org

FROM THE OPEN GATE Kevin Downham

Living on an island we soon become very aware of the daily rhythm of life and of the tides and the seasons. As the sun warms the earth we see the land around us changing as it responding to natures call. Experiencing our first springtime here on the island has been a joy as the garden yields its winter secrets each day bringing yet more flowers.

With beginnings come endings and already we are seeing the daffodils dying and making room for something new to take their place reminding us that as we read in Ecclesiastes,' For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under the sun.' The Open Gate is no stranger to change and this month we are going to be saying goodbye to Ellie our House Manager who, after five years, is moving on the new pastures joining the team at Waverley Abbey in Surrey. We will miss Ellie's creativity but confident that she will be able to put it to good use in her new environment.

Ellie leaving has given us the opportunity to review the roles of the members of the Aidan and Hilda Holy Island team to ensure that the roles fully meet the needs of the diverse range of guests who come to visit us each year. We hope to be able to bring you more news about this next month.

Having only just begun this year's retreats we are already looking forward and planning our retreat programme for 2018. We are delighted to have International Author and General Editor of the 'Celtic Bible Commentary' series Kenneth McIntosh visiting us to lead a retreat based on his bestselling book, Water from an Ancient Well. The retreat entitled, 'Deeper Water from an Ancient Well' will look at how ancient ways can help us meet the many challenges of our world today. We will also be having a couple of retreats led by villagers of Holy Island giving us the benefit of their local knowledge of this unique island community.

Each day brings us a new beginning, another opportunity to serve those who cross the threshold of the Open Gate. Each new day gives us the opportunity for new beginnings in our own lives too. As this year's daffodils die down to make room for something new in their place sometimes we too must shed something of the old to make room for the new.

It is often hard to give things up that are familiar, things have become part of our way of life; but in doing so it is acknowledging and respecting the past but allowing it to become a springboard for the future.

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

FROM THE VICARAGE Revd Dr Paul Collins

My mother Marian died on Easter Day last year. She was 99 years old and had been unable to walk, eat or speak for over ten years following a severe stroke in 2005. We had thought that she would die from that stroke but she rallied. Unfortunately she was unable to swallow and so could neither speak nor eat. I hope that she was never quite aware of her circumstances.

So I suppose I felt that I lost my mother with that stroke, however her death on Easter Day 2016 brought a very sharp sense of separation and loss for me. As an only child there was no one else whose sense of loss was quite the same at her death. But my cousins were very supportive and of course Pauline, Helena and Sophie.

We were able to arrange a Funeral Eucharist in All Saints Church Streetly. My mother had worked in Streetly during the war and it seemed a fitting place to hold her funeral. Mandy Walker who has a house on the island and is a very regular visitor, is the Vicar of All Saints and so she celebrated the Eucharist for us.

A Funeral Eucharist is quite rare as a form of saying goodbye to a loved one: but for me as someone for whom the Eucharist is almost a daily event, to celebrate the Eucharist as the form of a funeral is both natural and hugely re-assuring. A funeral is an occasion when both the one who has died and those who mourn their passing can be re-assured of being held in God's enduring and eternal love. The Eucharist which is above all the celebration of God's love shown to us in the mystery of Christ's dying and rising gives to us in God's grace that re-assurance of being held in the communion of God's love.

As Easter Day approached this year I found myself back in those feelings of separation and loss. And although the actual anniversary of my mom's death is in March - I think Easter Day will also always carry with it for me the news of her death.

Easter is a sign of change in the world. In the Northern hemisphere it coincides with the re-awaking of nature. The change which Easter heralds is captured in the words of St Paul:

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. (Romans 6.3)

In Baptism we symbolically die and rise with Christ; and participation in this mystery is renewed each time we celebrate the Eucharist. Baptism and Eucharist are the sacraments of Easter - they are the signs of the Christian Passover. They are pledges of God's purposes for us: both for now and in the unending moment of his love.

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


St MARY'S CHURCH HOLY ISLAND
Special Events

11th JuneTrinity Sunday - preacher at 10.45am Eucharist - Canon Professor Simon Oliver, Van Mildert Professor in Durham University
18th JuneChoral Evensong at 3pm - sung by the Choir of Hexham Abbey
16th JulyFestival Eucharist 10.45am - with music by Christian Forshaw and Sanctuary
6th AugustFeast of the Transfiguration of Christ - 10.45am Sung Eucharist with the Marygate Singers

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

ALL GIFT:  NO THREAT

Sometime ago I turned on the radio and heard somebody talking about somebody.  Yes, it's as vague as that!  The somebody who was being talked about had died, and the somebody who was talking was paying him a tribute.  But I'm not vague about one phrase in this talk, which leaped into my memory and stay there.  He said that the dead man's life had been "all gift; no threat".

Is this possible?  How can a person not be a threat to others?  Leave aside those who live by threatening:  terrorists who set out to kill, or highwaymen who set out to steal. Even if we never meet anyone who wants to hurt us, still people can be a threat without meaning to. There are those who are so good-looking, so rich, so successful, so confident that the rest of us creep away into our burrows.  Or you may know someone who seems to you to be without visible claws or fangs, yet another person wilts completely in his presence.

I find it hard to believe that the gentlest man on earth could really live a life which was "all gift: no threat".  Even if he never intended it , for some people thee would be threat in what this man was, in his actual goodness.  Those who live by different standards from the society round them always cause unease.  We cannot be responsible for other people's attitudes; we can't decide, and we ought not to decide, never to be a threat.

And yet there was something very attractive in the description of the unknown man: "all gift; no threat".  People choose to give; they can choose to give themselves; they can aim at total self-giving in love.  So among the multitudes who gave generously we must count this unknown man.  So perhaps you know others you would like to add to the list.



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