Welcome to Two Valleys
St Mary's Wylye decorated Lychgate May 2020
Berwick St James supports the N.H.S.
CONNECTING DURING SELF-ISOLATION: THE WYLYE AND TILL VALLEY BENEFICE SHARES A ‘QUIET DAY AT HOME’
The measures we are having to take in order to help slow down the spread of Covid 19 mean we need to start looking at doing things differently, more creatively. These difficult times provide both challenges and opportunities - the one ultimately making us stronger and more resilient; the other opening fresh approaches to both routine and special activities. When our Quiet Day at the Langford Lakes had to be cancelled, we were invited by our priest-in charge Jonathan Plows to set up our own Quiet Day at home on 31 March, using material he provided. We were 21 altogether, using a mix of media, from print-outs to pdf, you-tube to crayons.
The theme was ‘Thin Places’, drawing on Celtic Christianity’s tradition of seeking to experience God more directly, usually in a physical place where the boundary between heaven and earth is especially thin and the divine can be sensed more readily. Throughout life, we are drawn to places that bring calm or inspiration, sanctuary or distraction. Wherever those places are, they effect some kind of positive change in us - they transform us, so that when we leave them, we feel all the better for having been there.
"Jesus took with him Peter and James and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun......" (Matthew 17: 1-2)
After Morning Prayer, the day followed a repeated pattern of reflection, Bible readings, prayer and activity, ending in a (socially-distanced) walk. We explored Biblical stories of locations where heaven and earth met, Eden and Sinai for example, Celtic thin places, such as Iona and Lindisfarne, and those with which we are more regularly familiar - churches and cathedrals. As the day progressed, it felt like we were creating our own thin places, our own intimacy with God, connected both with the divine and those travelling with us, "content with living the questions, without having to know all the answers" (to quote Buechner).
Perhaps our current greatly restricted circumstances might be seen as a chance to discover our own thin places, to be transformed and inspired by them. For although we do not know what lies ahead, we are fairly sure that life will not be the same. A poem by Jenny Bridgman called 'Thin Places' ends in a verse that sums up both life in general and the unprecedented times we are experiencing:
"We do not leave unchanged
If change is to become ourselves.
Ahead: a thousand moments of transfiguration,
Each one a death - and resurrection - in itself,
As we are both transformed and transform,
Sacred moment by sacred moment."
May the world come through all this lastingly transformed for the better.
Here are some images and comments from the day
“I found the resources really helpful to dip in and out of. I did a colouring-in of one of the Celtic crosses - such a joyous experience as I had just found my old school Caran D'Ache crayons and it was so wonderful to sharpen them and enjoy being simply in the moment listening to some of the Celtic music you suggested at the same time.”
“I had a wonderful walk seeing new buds of growth and spectacular blossom and spring flowers. The Celtic traditions work for me in so many ways - the poetry of the language used in so much material. God in Nature speaks in glimpses when you least expect.”
“The best bit for me was the Richard Rohr piece. I then found the next youtube clip was a video from a talk to the National Shrine in the US (Be still and know that I am God) and then onto a lecture at the CAC talking about contemplation - which to me sounded like carrying your own Thin Place with you so that you could 'reset' yourself in the Thinness. It was this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPb3Z51gLcY”
New on the Website:
21.05.20 St Mary's Wylye decorated Lychgate May 2020
06.05.20 Berwick St James supports the NHS
02.05.20 Bonfires whilst Coronavirus controls are in place
24.04.20 Easter at Stapleford, below
24.04.20 Easter at Steeple Langford, below
22.04.20 In Praise of Spring . . .
13.04.20 Quiet Day this page
13.04.20 Easter at St Giles, below
17.03.20 Coronavirus Info
Easter at Stapleford
Easter at Steeple Langford
Easter at St Giles, Great Wishford
SAFEGUARDING IN THE WYLYE AND TILL VALLEY BENEFICE
The Wylye and Till Valley Benefice takes its responsibilities surrounding the safeguarding of children, young people and adults who may be at risk very seriously and works in partnership with the Diocese of Salisbury to ensure that we work in accordance with best practice at all times.
Who to contact if you have a Safeguarding concern:
- Rev'd Jonathan Plows: Priest-in-Charge of the nine churches of the Benefice - email@example.com or 01722 331647
- Mrs Heather Bland*: Salisbury Diocese Safeguarding Adviser (Wiltshire & Dorset) - firstname.lastname@example.org 01722 411922 or 07500 411922
- Gill Brasher: Contact for Berwick St James - email@example.com
- Daphne Smith: Contact for Great Wishford, Stapleford, South Newton and Winterbourne Stoke - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Richard Hewitt: Contact for Stockton and Wylye - email@example.com
- Neal Fox, Gill Leake: Contacts for Steeple Langford, Hanging Langford and Little Langford - firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
*Heather works at Church House, Salisbury 9am to 5pm Mondays to Wednesdays and 9am to 1pm on Thursdays. Heather is available Monday to Thursday 8am to 9pm for urgent safeguarding discussions via 07500 664800.