May 2020

Staying at Home Strategies

Thank you to Angela:
With regard to Covid-19, I have been doing gardening, reading, knitting and quite a new interest, which I have found relaxing and calming, is adult colouring books. I sit at our dining room table with colouring pens and it is amazing how quickly the time passes. I have coloured pictures of birds, country cottages and different shapes. It is really soothing to the brain.

From Carol:
It started because I was late ordering packets of salad and vegetable seeds from my usual suppliers. Because many, many other people had been more astute than me, the seeds soon took on a status akin to gold dust.

I sowed last year’s (now out of date) seeds with little hope of any return and started to think about finding some abundant leafy greens to replace lettuce, spinach and broccoli.

“Just tasting” leaves whilst walking around the hedgerows has been a life-long habit. However, it’s one thing to try them casually for me but quite another to convince my other half of the merits of “eating weeds.”

Subterfuge, initially, was useful! By that I mean applying the “need to know” principle of cuisine until trials had proved acceptable.
So far, wild garlic, Jack-by-the-hedge, goosegrass, ground elder, dandelion leaves, nettle tips and ribwort plantain have all been picked and steamed. The results, buttered and peppered, were eaten happily instead of spinach and other greens. Pesto, made with wild garlic leaves, stirred through pasta, was a success and Mike, newly enlightened, is now enjoying foraging trips too.

This free produce couldn’t be fresher; there are no air-miles or distribution-miles to feel guilty about and they are the product of an abundant Nature and a healthy walk around our hedges.

I’m not stopping now! Rhubarb poached with Sweet Cicely will be arriving in a pudding dish soon …..if only I can convince Mike to eat rhubarb…….


These are difficult times we are all living in. Each of us has our part to play. God will see us through.

Your prayers are asked:
for front line workers of all kinds, especially those who work in hospitals and care homes
for the end of the pandemic
for those who determine policy and decisions
Rev’d Hugh Patterson
Thank you to:
all the people who are collecting prescriptions and shopping for others in the community.


This is the time to be slow

This is the time to be slow,
Lie low to the wall
Until the bitter weather passes

Try, as best you can,
Not to let the wire brush of doubt
Scrape from your heart
All sense of yourself
And your hesitant light.

If you remain generous,
Time will come good
And you will find your feet
Again on fresh pastures of promise
Where the air will be kind
And blushed with beginning.

John O’Donohue


Conversation Snippets:

Will we all think much more deeply, after this, about our planet Earth, our place on it, our obligation to it? Will we do better?

I have given myself permission to rest, without feeling any guilt.

Preparing food and cooking have become less rushed, more enjoyable.

I am enjoying the freedom of just walking and enjoying Nature.

We are so lucky, living in the countryside.

I have never before seen so many immaculate gardens!

The BBC World Service has always been a blessing in the wee small hours when we can’t sleep for worrying.

Someone said, I can’t remember who, “We can now just be humans being, instead of humans doing”.

I’m over 70, if I wear a face mask I feel better protected, not invincible nor forgetful of all the rules!

I’m looking at War and Peace on the bookshelf, wondering if I have time…..

Time doesn’t go backwards. Whatever “normal” was, it will be different in the future.

Thank you to Rev’d Sarah Cawdell for the following ideas and also for suggesting the poem by Rev’d Dr Malcolm Guite


Stories and something to do in lock down week five

My Mothering Sunday gift from James was a couple of novels. He knows that I really enjoy a new book because I can get inside a different story for a while and quite often I come out of the story thinking differently.
In oral cultures especially, story telling is important as a way of explaining how the world is.

So just imagine what it might be like to get inside the Jesus story and live that world for a while. Often the gospel readings are very sparse in their detail, which leaves plenty of room for our imagination.

So in lockdown: you’ve read all your books, you know the stories, what to do next. Well over elevenses, or a cup of tea why not climb inside one of the gospel stories and imagine what it would be like to be there, and what people might say, or how they might react. It is a bit more work than reading a novel, but so much more fun.

You could start at the beginning perhaps with the birth in a stable. Pray, and ask God to help you enter the story in a new way; ask yourself a few questions about the story to help you fill it out, and then let your imagination take flight. If Mary and Joseph came from Bethlehem – why weren’t there any relatives to stay with? Did they have a midwife? What did the stable smell like?

If you could start with something different – forget social distancing for half an hour, and imagine yourself present at the feeding of the five thousand – maybe the little boy who had the fish and bread was your son, maybe that was your picnic he gave away. How do you feel.

Don’t forget to pray. And let me know how you get on with the idea.

Love and blessings


Easter 2020

And where is Jesus, this strange Easter day?
Not lost in our locked churches, anymore
Than he was sealed in that dark sepulchre.
The locks are loosed; the stone is rolled away,
And he is up and risen, long before,
Alive, at large, and making his strong way
Into the world he gave his life to save,
No need to seek him in his empty grave.

He might have been a wafer in the hands
Of priests this day, or music from the lips
Of red-robed choristers, instead he slips
Away from church, shakes off our linen bands
To don his apron with a nurse: he grips
And lifts a stretcher, soothes with gentle hands
The frail flesh of the dying, gives them hope,
Breathes with the breathless, lends them strength to cope.

On Thursday we applauded, for he came
And served us in a thousand names and faces
Mopping our sickroom floors and catching traces
Of that virus which was death to him:
Good Friday happened in a thousand places
Where Jesus held the helpless, died with them
That they might share his Easter in their need,
Now they are risen with him, risen indeed.

Malcolm Guite


Bishop’s Letter

A few years ago a major credit card coined the slogan, “Taking the waiting out of wanting.” Since then the ready availability of credit has fostered a society that is more and more impatient. We are all very busy (or certainly were before Coronavirus struck) and the lure of shortcuts in every area of life is very strong.
But Christian discipleship is not like that. Jesus told the disciples that after his ascension they should wait until the Holy Spirit came. Wait; do nothing; simply be; hardly ideas that have a contemporary resonance. Although, again, Coronavirus might have given us some more experience of this. Similarly, St. Paul, when he was looking for metaphors for Christian growth used agricultural ones: fruit slowly maturing, something that comes in its time after a long gestation.

If we are to grow as Christians there is no substitute for the well-travelled paths of prayer, study, worship, silence and self-discipline. The gift of the Holy Spirit, whose coming we celebrate at the end of this month, sometimes brings with him wonderful, vivid spiritual experiences. However, they are only meant to be signposts to deeper engagement. The gentle rhythm of weekly worship is not something God asks us to do because he has self-esteem issues and needs us to say nice things about him.  It is for our benefit.  In a world that screams at us from Monday – Saturday, “the world revolves around you”, worship is a necessary re-calibration.  As we meet the Lord in word, sacrament and community our minds are refocussed.  Our virtual meetings have their strengths, but I am certainly pining for face to face contact, particularly meeting around the Lord’s table.

Just as most of our meals are unremarkable, so these simple acts of worship may not be memorable of themselves. However, you will soon notice if you stop eating!  I hope that our temporary fasting from worship will have created a hunger in us to value it more deeply when we are able to meet again. Christian maturity grows slowly with these disciplines instituted by God in his goodness. It is by being nourished by these things that we show the fruits of the Spirit.