|A BIT FROM ME
Holy Island Times (May)
Welcome to our June newsletter - again coming to you as the entire nation attempts to lessen 'lock-down'
News media reports lock-down
measures vary from country-to-country. Hopefully, under the auspices
of the World Health Organisation, all
nations will come to terms with this latest CoVid virus strain. It is in every respect, crippling to well-being and economy
vary between the three nations of the UK. How all nations will 'come to terms' is going to be unbelievably
'Holy Islanders' are extremely concerned over any reduction in
lock-down measures. A large proportion of our community is
identified as vulnerable to CoVid19. 'Social-distancing' is not
possible on our streets and pathways. Signage extending from the A1
trunk road advises that all our public car parks and toilets are closed. Lindisfarne Castle and Priory are closed. All our businesses are
We worry that any reduction in any consideration
over lock-down measures the authorities will prioritise the well-being of our minuscule population over the hundreds of thousands waiting to visit our
Amongst those who wrote to us last month was
previous resident Derek who after remarking 'the news of lockdown
dominated last month's issue' went on to say 'the indomitable spirit
of the islanders is definitely apparent .... the best of luck
to everyone .... " Thank you Derek and Chris - we remember your part
in the 'Holy Island
Jazz & Blues Festivals' - you are
Another previous resident we have heard from
who left the island nearly 20 years ago is artist Wendy Harmon.
Wendy used to display her paintings at the doorway (and up the
staircase!) of 'Cuddy House'. Thank you for sending a copy of
your lovely oil painting,
'THINKING OF HOLY ISLAND'
from Wendy Harmon
We also heard from Ian and Joy who
worked so hard for St.Mary's and the PCC making many friends on the
island. They have moved further afield from Lowick to the
Wirral to be nearer to their daughter. Do keep in
We hope you will enjoy this
month's articles from our hard-working Island-authors -
although Ian has had to distance himself from us for the time
being until a relaxation in lock-down criteria. And as a special
local bonus for you, Canon Rev Kate Tristram has compiled an article
on 'Noddies' under the direction of Island-born Sarah
As we asked last month, may we offer to our many friends and would-be visitors,
a huge thank you for NOT visiting us.
We hope that you enjoy our June newsletter
and look forward (Deo volente) to getting in touch
God Bless and Stay Safe,
PS: The two pictures below and in header are a reminder that
we have vibrant community in touch with the proud heritage of our
nation and our gratitude to those whose work is at the coal face as
the rest of us play our part in overcoming the
|HOLY ISLAND CofE FIRST SCHOOL
In these unusual times, a little bit of
routine gives us a feeling of normality and Brian has helped us with
that as he has continued to keep our school field looking very
smart. Thank you Brian. And after the last bit of rain, the field
is just about 'sports day ready'. But as we all know, this year, the
likelihood of that great, exciting and fun event taking place is
very slim. Our school remains closed until the Government lets us know that it is safe for our children to
We have continued to help our children at
home through online links to learning platforms that support our
curriculum and have also offered the children project based tasks. Here on the island, Scarlett-Beau and
Lily-Ella have enjoyed shape hunts and have a wild flower checklist to use over
the weeks as they are out and about. They have both
been busy with extra tasks and activities which they collect from our drop off box on the yard. Well done
There has been a lot going on for the girls
while they have been at home. The tooth fairy has visited the island
twice recently as Scarlett-Beau has lost her first two teeth. I hear
that the fairy was very generous! Lily-Ella has learned to ride her
bike without stabilisers - I'm sure you'll have seen her riding
proudly around the village. The weather has been lovely
and they have had beach days, garden days and lots of good walks. I'm
really missing the girls and I'm looking forward to getting back
to the normality and routine of our school days - we all hope that it won't be too long to
The little meadow area on the field has been
looking beautiful and is filled with willowy purple blooms. I think
they may be wild Cranesbill. In the garden we have eventually
cleared most of the remaining sprouts out to make more room for new
crops. The sprouts had gone to seed but were too striking to move!
The frothy clouds of the palest yellow were a magnet for the bees -
we've left a couple in just for them! We have planted our brassicas and we have
broad, runner and French beans ready to go in the raised beds. And thank
you to Sheila and David Lishman for their kind donation of
leeks - I remember the girls planting them last year. I hope we'll be able to re-start our gardening club
The greenhouse has been put to great use and
is full to the brim! A friend of ours, Tom Pattinson, has very
kindly donated some plants to the garden. Tom writes a gardening column in the Northumberland Gazette. We
now have sweetcorn, tomatoes, onions, courgettes and lettuce! Thank you Tom. In the school
house garden, we are very excited that our blue Himalayan poppies
seem to be thriving. There are buds coming up and this has never happened before! I'll let you know what
On the island there continues to be a
wonderful supportive atmosphere for us all. At school we are taking
guidance and information about the national and regional situation
and will respond to any update. We are keeping parents informed through telephone calls,
our website, email and Facebook page. Please take care and stay
safe and well. I'm still looking forward to that coffee morning - I wonder what kind of cake we should
|IN MEMORY OF THE 'NODDIES'
||compiled by Kate Tristram|
Apparently, before the road was constructed in 1954,the pairs of horse and cart
were called 'Noddies'. I got this information from Mr. John Davis, who has
an interest in the history of the Postal Service, and who wrote
to Sarah (Nesbit) after she spoke on our recent television programme about the
Island. He had done some research in the National Postal Museum in London, and
he sent copies of an article written in 1938. I thought
it would be of great interest on the Island, so I have copied the first part, describing one of these
"At Beal railway station we had watched the mail being loaded into a
high-wheeled trap drawn by a powerful horse. The reason for the
high wheels was soon apparent for the driver turned the horse's head towards Holy Island and drove out into the
"It is quite all right" he called as we
gazed at the horse trotting deeper and deeper into the sea.
"Follow me in your car. There is a sandy causeway across to the Island and the route is marked by
We took the plunge gingerly... The sea was calm,
but we learned later that it can be very rough, and mail cart and horse have many times been completely
Halfway across we drove on to some wet sand from which the tide had
receded and had a look at the Crow's Nest. This was
a wooden box erected on poles and used as a refuge for travellers caught by the tide while making the
On to the Island and
to the Post Office. There we met Mr. Robert Bell the Sub-Postmaster,
who has held office since 1905. His father was post-master before him, his
grandfather and his great grandfather before that. "Ever since there was a post office
here," he said, "the appointment has been held by a Bell.
And ever since this old house was built - and that's hundreds of years ago - the Bells have lived in
The mail was unloaded and
the horse rubbed down and stabled. We sat in the sun
outside the Post Office and looked up at the great ruins of the Priory on the side of he village
So it was natural for Mr. John Davis to ask Sarah if she was related to the
indeed. She is one of three granddaughters of the last Robert Bell. They are
Mrs. Eleanor Garven (now living in Newcastle), Mrs. Sarah Nesbit and
Mrs. Eleanor Glover, both now living on the Island. Of these the first two are sisters and the third a
If anyone has a longer memory,
or perhaps a family tradition which could add to what is written here I'm sure we would all love to
|THE CROSSMAN HALL
We remain in
the grip of CORVID 19 and much of the month was involved in cancelling off-Island
bookings and evaluating how many bookings we have for August & September
and if the 'lock-down' continues will need to be cancelled.
Because of COVID 19, the
hall is experiencing significance financial losses. It's grand to
enjoy a quiet stroll around the village without being harried by
visitors. But we must also remember the hundreds of thousands of
pounds of revenue lost to this small Island economy. The closure of hotels, B&B's, cottages, pubs, shops & cafes that have a continuing
need to be maintained and insured, as well as loans and mortgages
to be serviced. The restriction on all businesses will
impact heavily on the Island
economy and not forgetting the people who make the business happen, the Staff. However, if
this devastating virus, that has so many people frightened, is unleashed on
the Island, the impact on the population would be devastating.
Even empty buildings need TLC. Insurance companies set standards of security
and maintenance for properties they protect. For example, our
insurance provider requires a weekly
inspection by a competent person, who, if necessary is able to identify and fix a
problem. They also authorised the Trustees to permit Mikey and Jack to
use the Hall for their project helping out the NHS.
Supplying PPE to the NHS Mikey,
aided by Jack & Magda continue to produce Full Face Visors in
the Mel Walker Memorial Room for the NHS. By
mid-May 700+ had been manufactured
and passed to the NHS. BUT PRODUCTION WAS HALTED FOLLOWING A DEMAND FROM A GOVERNMENT
DEPARTMENT FOR SAFETY TESTING - COST OF TEST £3,000. The same Government
that appealed for VOLUNTEERS to do this and other work.
is available for local use. Tables and chairs are
set out in the main
room that meet the required social distance 2m spacing for urgent meetings with a maximum
of 10 to 14 attendees and of course the building is available
for any emergency. Cleansers for hands and surfaces are available.
The Heating Engineer arrived on site, serviced and repaired the equipment and
he'll return next week to fit a pipework knuckle next.
St Cuthbert's Way Ultra
International 100km Run - from Melrose to the Island with Prize giving in the
Hall on 11 July has been postponed until 2021. Well it will
give's a little more training time for this non-stop run!!!!
Finally CONGRATULATIONS to Andrew & Kirsty on the birth of
their son, Nathan Mathew - Andrew is a hall Trustee.
Stay safe & well out there.
|OUR NATURALIST ON LINDISFARNE
FULMARS: THE LONG-DISTANCE TRAVELLERS OF COVES
On a warm summer's day when I'm feeling a bit idle I like to
sit above the cliffs at Coves Haven and enjoy one of our most
striking breeding seabirds, the Fulmars.
Riding up-draughts from the rocks and water
below, they too seem to be enjoying themselves as they effortlessly
sail back and forth on stiff grey wings just a few feet away. They
are as curious as I am, heads turning at
each pass to take me in with large dark eyes. I sometimes wonder
who is really watching who.
When they've satisfied their curiosity or
simply become tired of my company they land out of sight on the
ledges below with harsh cackling greetings from mates either incubating their single egg
or brooding a downy youngster.
The Coves have a special place in the Fulmar
world. It was their first Northumbrian nesting site in 1928 when, on
the back of a booming fishing industry, their population rapidly expanded and they
began to spread right around Britain from their previous stronghold on the remote
Scottish island of St Kilda.
They are members of a very large oceanic
family known as "tubenoses." They range from the tiny Storm Petrel,
the smallest of all seabirds and not
much bigger than sparrows, right up to the largest albatrosses cruising the Southern
oceans on massive ten-foot wings.
Greeting ceremony: Fulmars at a nesting site.|
Photos: Mike S Hodgson
They get their
name from the rather odd-looking arrangement of exterior nostrils above or
alongside their bills which give them a large-headed appearance. Entirely dependent on
plankton, squid and fish, the structure is believed to be an adaptation
to getting rid of salt from their systems.
Unlike gulls which are really coastal
inhabitants, "tubenoses" are birds of the vast open oceans,
revelling in riding the winds, and only need to come to land is to
breed. The rest of their lives are usually spent far from the sight
of land although occasionally, in fine spells
in winter, Fulmars will return as if to check on their nesting sites
at places like the Coves.
The name Fulmar may be an adaption of their
old Viking name which roughly translates as "foul gull." The
Norsemen obviously knew their Fulmars and, in particular, their
methods of defence. When threatened they squirt out a jet of the
most horribly smelly fish oil which, take my word for it, no detergent
can ever remove from clothing.
On St Kilda, right into the 20th Century,
the islanders' economy was based on Fulmars and Gannets. Using basic
ropes they would swing down terrifying precipitous cliffs to collect eggs, fat young and to
net adults. They must have had a knack of grabbing the birds to
prevent them squirting their oil.
From this rather grisly harvest, the bodies
were drained of their oil for cooking and lighting and it was also
claimed to have medicinal properties. The flesh was salted and
stored for winter use. The feathers and down were a cash crop,
exported to mainland buyers. Anything left over
was dug as a rich natural fertiliser into the vegetable patches of the
island crofts. Nothing was wasted.
When I'm at the Coves I often wonder how far
our local Fulmars wander to feed during the breeding season. Not so long ago
when a bird flew out of sight no-one knew where it was going
or what it was doing.
|The strange "tubenose" arrangement shows well in this study of a Northumbrian Fulmar.
Photos: Mike S Hodgson
Technology has changed all that. Now
satellite tags and other miniaturised gadgetry have been fitted to
many seabirds and some of the results have been absolutely staggering.
One pair of Fulmars studied for 11 successive breeding seasons on a Scottish
breeding site proved that point.
Their breeding season is long, usually
lasting until August, and birds have been known to be absent from
their mates for considerable periods. Just how long was demonstrated
by this pair. The male, fitted with a tracker, ended his incubation
shift when his mate took over. He spent the next two days sitting on
a calm sea patiently waiting for the right winds. He then flew
to a rich feeding area between the Shetlands and the Faroe Islands
where he remained for a day. He then set off suddenly, swiftly and
purposefully flying for almost three days eastwards, two thirds of
the way to Canada. Arriving in an area where
warm Atlantic water and cold Arctic currents meet, creating an explosion of plankton,
he feasted for three days.
He then returned across the ocean via the
west coast of Ireland and the Hebrides to rejoin his mate at their
Scottish site. He'd covered an incredible 3,900 miles in his feeding trip. Back at the nest, the
pair briefly greeted each-other with courtship calling before he took over and the
female went off to feed.
Scientists believe that his fast and
straight flight across the Atlantic to the spot frequented by many
thousands of seabirds from Scandinavia, Iceland, Greenland, Canada
and America proved that he knew exactly where he was going. He'd
probably been making the same trip for many years. Fulmars can live
for over 50 years and obviously learn a lot
in that time. To visit an area so rich in food obviously made
such a long journey worthwhile.
Probably many thousands of other
British birds, including perhaps our own Fulmars at the Coves, are making similar
long-distance journeys to favoured spots.
Now I'm sure you'll understand why I find it so fascinating to
watch these Fulmars and, of course, wonder what they've really been up to
when they're out of sight!
Next time you find yourself walking through
the churchyard, past the Crossman plot round to the front door of St
Mary's Church; cast your eyes to the gravestones on your left. Among the weathering
sandstone slabs stands a rather grand-looking Victorian memorial to a man
called Charles Whyte. Although the inscription is badly weathered,
it is possible to make out the important details about the man
but for a fuller story to emerge, it took a health crisis, me working from
home, and the free access to online genealogy websites now available in these
Charles Whyte was born on the banks of Loch
Tay in the Scottish Highlands in 1775. Quite how he ended up on the
Island is unknown, but we first hear of him on 28 October 1813 when
he married Jane Davison in the church. The vicar Lancelot Wilson
wrote down Whyte's profession in the register as 'Master Gunner' and
his residence as Holy Island Castle. In 1819 he bought a piece of
land north of the castle from Lord of the Manor Henry Collingwood
Selby in order to plant a garden. I had known for a while that Whyte
was Master Gunner here in 1824, which always confused me as the guns
had been removed five years earlier. However, his job was really to
keep an eye on the place and make sure it was in condition to be
used by the army should the need arise. Unlike most similar forts in
the country, Whyte wasn't assisted by a group of invalids; he worked
alone. The Crossman Papers at Berwick Archive record Whyte as having
bought land on Marygate and Green Lane in 1828 and 1837
respectively, and in 1836 he wrote to Earl Grey to tender his
resignation as Master Gunner. Whyte then appears on the 1841 and
1851 census returns as living as a Chelsea Pensioner on the Island -
in 1851 he lived on Quarry Road (I wonder if that's now Sandham
Lane?) with his second wife Isabella. Whyte died on 20 January 1855
and was buried in the churchyard; and whoever chose his burial spot
did so with real fondness for the man. Standing behind the stone and
looking eastwards, framed by the Priory church on the left and the
fortified eastern extension of the monastic site to the right, lies
the castle Whyte looked after for quarter of a century. Of the
gunners buried in the churchyard, I think his is the only grave with a view of the castle. And
what of the garden he laid out north of the castle?
Well of course, fifty-one years after his death, Gertrude
Jekyll and Edwin Lutyens drew up plans for a garden on the
site of Whyte's old plot, and five years after that, a garden was planted. Perhaps
then Master Gunner Charles Whyte is due a more prominent place in our
I feel quite a connection to Charles Whyte,
mainly in that I share many of his tasks in terms of looking after
the castle and of course neither of us have/had any cannon to play
with. Whyte was no stranger to situations like the present health
crisis having lived through the Cholera epidemic of 1834, although
I'm not sure he'd have been worried about opening the castle up to
visitors. Some National Trust coastal and countryside places are now
back open, and while the phased reopening of other places is
gathering momentum, the nature of Lindisfarne as a site and as a
building mean it will be a little longer before we can open our
doors again. Daniel and I continue to do our checks (again, thanks
to Danny's webcam at Belvue!) and catch up on as much as we can while we are in this situation. We
are mainly working from home so that makes our visits to
the castle all the more special; it was nice
to see the fulmars soaring around the Upper Battery the other day
totally oblivious to humanity's struggles. For more regular updates from us please keep an eye
on our Twitter and Instagram accounts, including my not-at-all cringeworthy videos behind the
Nick Lewis, Lindisfarne Castle
firstname.lastname@example.org @NTNorthd_Coast 01289
|NATURAL ENGLAND LINDISFARNE NNR
With lock-down restrictions easing slightly
over the past week it feels a bit like we have skipped spring and
emerged straight into summer. Swifts and Swallows are now a regular
feature in the skies and Shorebirds have arrived back from their
wintering grounds and have been busy setting up breeding
territories. For us at Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve it is our
cue to dust down the protective fencing and signs and install them
at several key sites around the Reserve. From now on, until the
birds fledge, we will be monitoring the breeding success at these
sites. An important job as many shorebirds are considered
Three species of tern breed on the Reserve;
Arctic, Common and the rarest breeding tern - the Little Tern. These
tiny birds, weighing about the same as a tennis ball, have returned
to Lindisfarne over the last few weeks from their wintering grounds
in West Africa. The high pitched calls have joined the summer chorus
of breeding birds on the Reserve. Lindisfarne National Nature
Reserve is a haven for these birds due to the long stretches of soft
sandy beaches, perfect for nesting, and the adjacent rich shallow
waters of the North Sea. However, Little Terns have declined across
the UK due to three main threats; climate change, predation and
human and dog disturbance.
Ringed Plovers have also declined by 40%
across the UK in just the last 10 years, a figure that is mirrored
by several other species of wader. This puts them on the red list,
highlighting them amongst the most threatened species in the UK. At
Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve we have the most important
breeding site for Ringed Plover in the North East but this has
declined significantly within the last 40 years. The main reason for
this is human and dog disturbance along our increasingly busy
Ringed Plovers are not colony nesters, with
nests (a simple cup in the sand) dotted along the coastline. This
makes them even more prone to disturbance as people don't realise
the birds are there. They are much more aware of people than people
are of them and will retreat long before they reached.
There are a number of things that you can do
to help protect our breeding shorebirds when visiting the Reserve.
Keep dogs on a short lead at all times
on the Reserve. This includes all beaches from Cheswick to the
southern end of Budle Bay.
Adhere to seasonal restrictions that are
Don't approach any protective fencing
that has been installed - give it a wide berth
Walk along the wet sand on beaches -
many of the Shorebirds will be nesting in the soft sand above the
high tide line
Read all signs when entering the
Reserve. This will give you specific information about the area of
the site you are accessing and any additional restrictions that
are in place.
We will keep you updated as the season
Lindisfarne & Newham NNRs
These are dog days for an astronomer on Holy Island.
As I write in mid-May, the Sun rises before five in the morning and does not set until well past nine
in the evening. In fact the opportunity for astronomy in the
summertime here is considerably shorter than that. We have no real night
at all. Only twilight.
Officially there are three kind of twilight.
Civil Twilight starts the moment the Sun sets and lasts until
the Sun is 6 degrees below the horizon. Then
with a similar definition it recommences before sunrise, finishing as the Sun breaks the horizon. As there are 360 degrees in
a full circle, that means Civil Twilight lasts for 6/360ths of
24 hours or 24 minutes in the evening and 24 minutes again
in the early morning.
This was the view looking up from Skylark Observatory on 13th May 2020 showing Max's telescope and the un-dark midnight sky.
Of course, when the Sun is only a little
below the horizon the sky is still quite bright. So much light is reflected in the dusk and dawn sky during
Civil Twilight that only a handful of the very brightest stars
and planets, plus of course the Moon, are visible. Civil Twilight is
essentially useless for astrophotography.
Next comes Nautical Twilight.
This lasts in the evening from the end of Civil Twilight until the Sun is 12 degrees below the horizon, i.e.
from 24 until 48 minutes after sunset. At dawn Nautical Twilight
commences 48 minutes before sunrise and finishes with the advent of Civil
Twilight 24 minutes later.
During Nautical Twilight the sky is still not fully dark. If there are not too many pesky
clouds, you may be fortunate to witness the magical beautiful deep
dark velvety blue of late post-sunset or early pre-dawn sky. Considerably more
stars then become visible.
Although this is still a poor time for astrophotography, it
is usually dark enough at least to undertake
some vital technical preparations. It is possible to find focus for
your telescope. It is possible to calibrate your guiding
camera, that keeps the system accurately pointed at a target as I explained in a previous column. And it should be
sufficiently dark to attempt the dreaded but essential business of Polar
Alignment, which involves pointing the axis of your telescope's mount towards true
north with jaw-dropping precision.
For capturing high quality images of deep sky objects, such as galaxies and nebulae, Nautical Twilight is simply not
dark enough. The faint background light still in the sky overwhelms
the faint signals from these distant targets. The inevitable result is a
worthless, muddy, washed-out image.
IC1805 the Heart Nebula lies 7,500 light years away from Holy Island.|
It is the remnant of an exploded star.
This image was photographed using special narrowband filters
that reveal the chemical structure of the nebula.
Better astrophotography opportunities arrive with the third and darkest
period of twilight: Astronomical Twilight. In the evening this lasts
from 48 until 72 minutes after sunset. At dawn Astronomical Twilight
commences 72 minutes before sunrise and finishes with the advent of Nautical
Twilight 24 minutes later.
Astronomical Twilight is not
perfect for astrophotography, but it is at least possible to acquire
the odd image... particularly using specialist narrowband filters that
can reveal the chemistry of some deep space objects. Take a look at the picture accompanying this article showing the Heart
Nebula as an example of what can be photographed, even though
the sky may not be fully dark. Sadly though the number of
such targets is limited.
Here on Holy Island even
the meagre pickings possible during Astronomical Twilight vanish from
3rd June. Then the best on offer - until the summer solstice is well past by 9th July - is useless
Nautical Twilight. During the five weeks of high summer there simply
is no true night nor even Astronomical Twilight on Holy Island at
our far northern latitude.
As I mentioned at the end of
last month's column, it is for precisely this reason that I have located one of my telescopes in Chile. There it
is winter when here it is summer. So the astronomical dog
days of summer on Holy Island are the very time to make
hay in South America.
With that unfortunate mixed metaphor I will sign-off this month. When this column returns, I
will explain how I remotely control my telescope up the Andes
in Chile from Chare Ends on Holy Island. It is a miracle
of our modern age.
|FROM THE COMMUNITY OF AIDAN AND HILDA
we respond to overseas pilgrims who had booked to visit the island, or
to Northumbrians who value visits to one of our churches and
now they can't?
People read more during the lock-down.
Although Open Gate is closed to visitors Kayleah still sends out
More people experience stress or mental
health challenges. So we have put some of our mindfulness
retreats on-line. And I have sent this information out:
'Aidan and Hilda Week Retreat August 31 - September 4 - zoom into
new ways'. There will be two sessions per day including talks on
Aidan, Bega, Oswald, Ebbe, Cedd & Chad, Hilda, Cuthbert,
Enfleda, Ethilwald and the Lindisfarne Gospels followed by retreat
exercises for people to do at home. These exercises will be
shared for 45 minutes at the start of the next zoom session. For
those in incompatible time zones I send the text of any talk
they have missed. If you wish to book email me at email@example.com
Our island churches suffer more than most because they
depend on visitors for income. So I am encouraging one off
An archbishop in USA asked if we had fresh thinking about the post-covid
society and how Celtic spirituality can contribute to that. We are circulating
Keep safe and see you soon.
|FROM OUR CHURCHES
||Rev Canon Dr Sarah
Hills & Rev Rachel Poolman |
As lockdown/Holy Island shutdown continues we
are, on the one hand, caught up in a global
event, and, on the other, turned inward as a community. The usual
ebb and flow of visitors by which we mark the
year is absent, and, if we have been able to get
out for a walk, we have only seen handfuls of people.
There is definitely a quieter rhythm to our lives, and
for some of us this is deeply challenging, both personally and financially.
There are as many different ways of experiencing this time
as there are people on the planet, and perhaps our own
reactions are varying from week to week and day to day.
As human beings we crave certainty; in our 21st
century European context we expect someone, somewhere to have answers
and to solve problems, but there is no 100% foolproof roadmap
for the way ahead for any of us at the moment.
Where does faith come into this
? As churches, the anchor of public worship has been taken away for the
foreseeable future, locked church buildings proclaim the direct opposite of
the message of a welcome for everyone that we want to reflect.
Online gatherings and services have sprung up, we are learning
new ways of doing what we do, but we too have
no answers about how things will look in the coming months.
is integrity in admitting that there are no simple answers and that we all
feel a bit lost just now. Yes, we can point
each other to the gifts of this time, and living here some
blessings are very real. However, there is a balance to
be struck so that positivity isn't expressed in a way that
somehow devalues the worry and heartache that so many are experiencing.
Christian faith is rooted
in the belief that in Jesus Christ, God is with us. God is with
us, not bypassing human emotion or minimising the realities of
human experience, but offering a presence beyond words. The long dark night
of the soul has as much a place in Christian
life as the peace that passes all understanding - most of
us spend a lot of time hovering somewhere between the two.
On the Island our day to day rhythms have all changed, but the tide
still comes in and still goes out, the sun rises
and the sun sets, the swallows are swooping and the seals are
singing. As we navigate this time day by day, let's
recognise the anchor points around us in which we can find
some security, and from which we can offer support to others.
A Blessing- for
this time and every time
Lift your hearts to heaven
and receive the eternal gift of
Keep your feet on the ground
and walk with those who need God's
you are loved by God
You are held by
You are blessed by
Now and for