Our minister is Reverend Deborah Kirk.
Deborah's contact details are:
Office Tel.: (01823) 275765,
Home Tel.: (01823) 334854
How does your garden grow?
I think I have probably told you before that success with plants is a bit ‘hit and miss’ in the manse garden. I do like gardening, but limited time to spend in it, and very dry soil (due to the very big Cypress fir) means that we can only ever say it looks respectable, rather than spectacular.
Some things do very well – the wild garlic for example positively thrives, and we have to wage a persistent war against its determined takeover bids. Violets I love, but they seed themselves everywhere, and their roots are surprisingly tenacious when they tuck themselves down between the paving slabs. The ‘Hestercombe Daisies’ love the dry sunny aspect at the front, clambering over everything and anything, but they are so exuberant and joyful, I never have the heart to tame them.
Some plants faithfully repay our investment in them – like the apple blossom geraniums, acquired after the passing of a dearly loved friend, and reliably returning year after year, in spite of harsh winters, and harsher pruning. I end up with more and more of them, because cuttings always ‘take’ and quickly become strong and sturdy plants.
But others, we plant carefully one year and never see again – like the amazing ‘purple shield’ which wowed us for just a few weeks last summer and then vanished into thin air. We should have known better, but it was so striking it seemed to be worth the risk.
Is this really all about gardening? No, not really. It’s just an illustration for what we do in the church, as well as what we do in life, tending the tried and tested, being prepared to attempt new things even if they fail, and above all, persevering in hope.
We shall need to do all of those things in the next months as we try to discern what the mission of our churches is going to look like into the future: which things we prune back, and where we encourage and plant more cuttings. Some of the things we will try in good faith may feel risky, and unfamiliar, and some of them may not work out, but that shouldn’t stop us trying.
Just as preparing the soil is vital before planting, so we will need to carefully and prayerfully prepare ourselves for this new season, so that we are ready for opportunities and possibilities.
Some of the gardener’s work is about knowledge, some of it is about sheer graft, and much of it is about hope.
Especially it is about hope. Hope and trust in One who is able to work his miracle of life and love and growth to turn our ‘respectable’ into his ‘spectacular’.
A PERSONAL THANK YOU
To all those of our congregation who have been taking on the role of 'telephone contacts' and 'pastoral links' during recent weeks. I know that many of you have been phoning the people on your lists, (and your friends too, of course) regularly checking on them, and this has been so much appreciated, and vitally important for those who are isolated or living on their own.
But, this is a plea too, not to forget those who may seem to be stronger, younger, more independent, more capable - they too may be lonely, or stressed by their circumstances, or finding it a challenge juggling work and children, or supporting elderly parents, and they may really be in need of a chat, or an invitation to a socially distanced walk, or to sit in a friend's garden...
Some may have a little more time than others during these days, and I wonder if this might be something you could continue to remember as we go forward.
In the words of Benjamin Zephaniah - 'People will always need people'