|A BIT FROM ME
WINNERS'photo: Carl Stiansen
Welcome to our October issue and especially if you are
amongst our latest subscribers, we hope we manage to cover at least
one of the interest choices you indicated.
Our sympathies with those areas where the world pandemic
relentlessly challenges health, income and lifestyles. So many must
feel our remote community is safe and comfortable from Covid threat.
But the apparent serenity of a duck quietly gliding over the
pond surface beguiles the furiously paddling feet beneath. Whether
resident or commuter from the mainland to manage our shops we
are all concerned over the unmanageable numbers continuing to visit
the island - despite the latest Northumberland UK lockdown
Regardless, a big thank you to those who visited and supported
our brand-new Scarecrow Festival - and a report on it follows
from our 'brandnew' curate Sam. Of course Sam is only new as a
curate at St.Mary's. Sam and husband Don, helped in
running 'Marygate House' in its distant past and over more
recent years have returned to take over as Marygate's Wardens -
with Sam now well on-course towards
Worthy Scarecrow competition winners, with 'tea for two', were
Tracey and Kevin from 'Bamburgh View' Some of you may be more
familiar with Kevin as the voice behind holyislandradio.uk and his
village tour map !!
As well as Sam's contribution and those from our regular writers
and Shaun, we welcome the article from schoolteacher Heather's
husband, Carl, on his 'WeekEending Show' on www.lionheartradio.com from Alnwick.
And thank you to those readers who took the time to write to us - some of which are included
Enjoy our newsletter - we'll be getting in touch again in
God Bless and Stay Safe,
FROM OUR READERS:
A brief thank you for your ongoing sharing of Island life,
keeping me and so many others mindful of that special place.
I have regularly visited since the early eighties and look
forward to returning once this annoying virus goes away.
Thank you again for your contribution.
Stephen W /Dun Laoghaire/Co Dublin
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
This is a great read - thank you.
Looking forward to visiting again soon.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Hello, to all, and Geoff:
I just received my newsletter from Smithsonian group and read
that birds were dropping dead out of the sky over the Southwest
U.S., New Mexico area first noticed I guess.I will somewhat quote,
or paraphrase what it said:
Migratory birds, skin and bones look, included owls,
warblers, hummingbirds, loons, flycatchers, woodpeckers,
They think it is possibly from our smoke over here on the West
Coast, Calif.!! I'm not surprised at all...it has certainly
done me in this summer.
We had days and days of not seeing the sun, then it turns a
white, yellow glow w/sun trying to break through!! I have not
been able to go out much and when I do it is MASK time again!!!
Even the usual flying insects that we see every summer are not
here this year!! It seems we are going to have a long-lasting
horror story which will come later. I, personally, don't think
we have enough qualified forestry people to know how to take care of
our forests. Well, now they know...a lot of the trees already
had damage from beetles, etc. But it does not take a genius to
see that, so I am surprised this finally comes to light. I'm
just a bystander so maybe I should not speak out yet!
Don't ask me if this is officially "climate change" or not (does
anyone REALLY know??) All I know is that over my lifetime,
some 80 some odd years, it has grown increasingly DRY, and temps
have gone up little by little. So goes trying to figure out
the weather patterns!!
This is about it for now. And, I always put God in the
picture. Does anyone want to try to figure Him out? If
they do, please let me know!!
OK, God bless you all and be safe. Watch and document your
weather...it could be important for you/us...and the birds.
Love, blessings, and onward!!
Please keep your wonderful
Barbara B-R / Redding / California
|HOLY ISLAND SCARECROW FESTIVAL 2020
|HOLY ISLAND C-of-E FIRST SCHOOL
And we are back! Our children have shown such great resilience
and enthusiasm as they have returned to school. Our first few days
were spent welcoming everyone back and reminding the children of the
old and new everyday routines - some children hadn't been in school
since March so for them, it was a big step to take.
Here on the island, Scarlett-Beau and Lily-Ella have enjoyed
setting up our new role play area. We are re-creating 'The Shack'
which is a stall selling burgers, hot dogs and crab sandwiches. I
can tell that the girls have been taking a lot of notice when
watching their mums at work. Lily-Ella has insisted we have a flat
frying plate to flip the burgers and Scarlett-Beau is enjoying
asking us, "Who ordered a burger with cheese?" This is a great
way to encourage the girls to write signs, price lists and menus.
Also, real life maths with counting money and beginning to give
change is always good fun!
We are enjoying our new topic researching animals and finding out
how to take care of our environment. Watch this space for some
interesting articles coming soon!
|THE WEEKENDING SHOW RETURNS!
-photo: Carl Stiansen
There is great news this week for fans of all things Northumbrian
and nature when 'The Weekending Show' returns to the airwaves on
Lionheart Radio 107.3FM on Saturday 26 September at 2pm.
The show, which features Northumbrian chat, gardening tips,
nature notes from the field, local music, and stories about
Northumbrian heritage, is now also available as 'The Nature Garden'
podcast so you can catch up with the shorter version of the show at
Gardening writer, Tom Pattinson; birder, Tom Cadwallender,
British Trust for Ornithology; and Steve Lowe, Northumberland Rivers
Trust; as well as nature organisations including The Northumberland
Wildlife Trust join show host, Carl Stiansen, for the new Autumn
series. Carl is a Holy Island resident and produces the show from
his radio room at The Schoolhouse. He's been making radio programmes
for over 15 years and has worked for the world services including
American Public Radio and Deutsche Welle.
Carl said: "The lockdown forced us to record the show in a
completely different way as we couldn't use the studio to broadcast
live due to the government guidelines. It took a couple of weeks for
us all to adjust but the new format is working really well and we've
had incredibly positive feedback from all over the world.
"We can't wait to be back on the air on Lionheart on Saturday so
if you like a canny bit chat and fancy a cuppa with us when we take
'Tea for Two at 2-ish', please do tune in."
The radio show broadcasts on Saturdays at 2pm on 107.3FM or you
can stream it online at www.lionheartradio.com or
on apps such as TuneIn.
You can join the conversation and send questions or your own
nature notes to the team on Twitter @gardenersradio and on Facebook:
@TheNatureGarden or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
or via the website: www.naturegardennotebook.com
For more information: please contact: Carl
Stiansen: telephone: 07954336033 or email: email@example.com
|THE CROSSMAN HALL
This month saw the hall's first income generation of this year, a
year blighted by Covid 19 and in order to facilitate much needed
revenue, the hall was closed to local use from 1 to 26 September.
This enabled the Archaeologists to operate their Covid 19 protection
policy and continue their work on the Island.
The first days of September hosted a small modern dance troupe in
final rehearsal for a performance at a Festival in Greenwich over
the weekend 12/13 September.
Then our biggest customer of the month, 'DigVentures', moved in:
the Archaeologists who have over recent years opened an exciting
window on the Island's early medieval history, buried in the
Sanctuary Close and on The Heugh.
This year the diggers hope to move down to another layer of
material that may expand our knowledge of the whys and
wherefores of the developing importance of this site so closely
associated with early Christianity.
And within a day or two of reopening the Close, three coins were
recovered, including one bearing Aelthred 11 of Northumbria's name,
from about AD840.
When I passed by the hall to check all was well, you could feel
the buzz of excitement; "what will we discover next"
An interesting footnote; found amongst the bones last year were
the remains of a Killer Whale. Killer Whales are among a number of
Cetaceans that are regularly recorded offshore along the NE Coast.
They are probably attracted by food: i.e. the significant Grey and
Common Seal populations.
If you are interested in learning more about the Island's past
visit DigVentures website. It's a whole new world!
Stay safe and well
|OUR NATURALIST ON LINDISFARNE
STANDBY FOR AN AUTUMN WILDLIFE
During October it's always the eagerly anticipated Siberian and
eastern rarities which claim the attention of bird-watchers on our
wonderful island. But as far as I'm concerned it's two really common
visitors, Redwings and Starlings, which create the real wildlife
Redwings, small and colourful members of the thrush family,and
the humble and very familiar Starlings pour across the North Sea in
huge numbers to take advantage of our normally much more temperate
Redwings create a wonderful sight as wave after wave, often
involving thousands every day, pass low overhead in October and
November. Starlings tend to arrive overnight so are much less
obvious until, of course, they mark their big regular wintering
roost at the Lough with those wonderful and elaborate flying
displays known as murmerations.
To be out on a brilliant red dawn and watch the arrival of
countless numbers of Redwings or to marvel at huge flocks of
Starlings shape-shifting and swirling as dusk falls on the island
are among the real wildlife treats of the year.
Redwings breed in a huge arc stretching eastwards from northern
Scandinavia through the boreal and birch zones of Russia to Siberia.
They are forced to move out in autumn as temperatures drop towards
the sub-zero Arctic winter. Millions then sweep through
Scandinavia and onwards into western and southern Europe for the
They are highly nomadic, lacking any real or lasting attachment
to any particular area. They simple move according to the
availability of food. During autumn, our Redwings will feast
first on the berries of Hawthorn, Rowan, Elder and other fruits of
the lonnens and island gardens. Berries are rich in sugars and
proteins and are needed to help them "refuel" after their North Sea
They'll then spread out across the mainland and as berry crops
are exhausted they'll switch to foraging on the ground among the
leaf litter for fallen fruits and small invertebrates or in open
They just keep moving onwards as we get into winter and weather
worsens. They are rather fragile birds and don't cope well with
frost and snow, another reason why they are genetically programmed
to keep moving.
They're by far the most numerous arrivals in Northumberland and
along the rest of the east coast. They are really beautiful small
birds, if rather misnamed as it's not their wings but their flanks
which are bright orange. They have basic brown plumage with heavy
dark streaking, much the same as our resident Song Thrushes. But
they are distinguished by bold face patterns provide by a
distinctive creamy eye-stripe and, of course, by those bright flank
If they've had an easy North Sea crossing and remain fit many
simply overfly the coast and continued south westwards. Others
spiral down to gorge on those berries and to rest before rising to
move on. Some, more tired than others, may linger for a few
Some will remain on the mainland during winter but most will
press onwards to enjoy the softer conditions of Ireland, Iberia and
the fringes of the Mediterranean.
It's not unusual to see several thousand a day pass overhead at
this stage although some truly staggering movements have been
recorded. For example, one morning back in late October 1991 an
estimated 20,000 were on the island and 15,000 were estimated on the
They'd crossed the North Sea in ideal weather conditions with
clear skies and little breeze. As they approached the coast they hit
a dense wall of fog. On the island, huge parties spiralling down
through the fog, apparently attracted by the lights glowing dimly
through the wet gloom.
When dawn broke every tree, bush, lawn and even the streets were
filled with Redwings. The fog then lifted and the vast
majority departed as suddenly and spectacularly as they'd arrived.
Despite being grounded they were in good condition and able to
resume their journey.
Similarly, in October 2017 a co-ordinated effort by birdwatchers
produced a count during a single day of around 17,200 crossing the
island. But as Redwings migrate on a broad front it's probable that
on those particular occasions hundreds of thousands were on the
move. Little wonder that they're our most common autumn
showing its orange flank patch Photo: Max Whitby
Starlings don't get a particularly good press. With their
reputation for squabbling and bullying other species at our bird
tables and the back lawn, they aren't particular popular with
public. They're often referred to disparagingly as "stinkers" for
very obvious reasons if they happen to take to roosting en masse in
But you've got to admire their tenacity and skill at exploiting
any available food source and, of course, those wonderful
murmerations before dropping to roost, usually in reed beds if they
are available as at our Lough or in plantations and woodland.
Many non-birders might be surprise to hear that Starlings aren't
doing well in Britain. They are on the official Red List of species
of conservation concern, breeding populations having halved over the
past 25 years.
The vast majority we see in autumn and winter are visitors from
Russia, the Baltic States and Scandinavia, driven out, like the
Redwings, by the harsh northern winters. They arrive here and live
in vast flocks and their presence tends to lull us into a false
sense of security about their true numbers.
It used to be thought that murmerations was a way of confusing
aerial predators, not allowing a falcon, hawk or owl to concentrate
on any particular individual. But as they regularly perform when no
threat is evident it could simply be a social thing, perhaps a way
of advertising the roost and gaining safety by numbers.
If this autumn and winter the Starlings form their regular roost
at the Lough I'd recommend that you go along and watch in the dying
light. You can either walk around to the Lough itself or watch from
half way along the Straight Lonnen with a clear view across the
fields. If the Starlings put on one of their performances I'll
guarantee you'll be more than impressed.
Over the last few weeks I've been avidly watching the rescheduled
Tour de France, and while the riders were dragging themselves up
some Alpine Col it occurred to me that this strangest of years has
been a bit like a Category 1 climb on a bike. Hard, very hard in
places with the occasional relief of a high-speed descent or a
sprint for intermediate points, but still the looming challenge
summit in the distance. I always think that once the kids go back to
school that the year has somehow reached the summit, but 2020 isn't
like any year any of us have yet known, and there may well be hidden
gradients to come.
For me it has been especially seminal as my 4-year-old started
school in September (I know, its flown by), and suddenly the audible
sigh I used to let out at the end of the school holidays at the
castle - once the mad summer period was over - isn't there anymore.
Maybe that's just me, but in the context of the present situation
perhaps my September sighs are a thing of the past. I certainly have
never seen the island as busy, even with my relatively small dataset
of 13 years but I remember the post-crash boom of 2008/9 when we had
100,000 visitors through the castle for the first (and so far, only)
time and this feels busier. It is heart-breaking to see all these
people on the island and have the castle remain closed but that is
the reality we are faced with. Despite numerous ideas and plans and
route-designs and so on, opening the building remains incompatible
with a highly infectious respiratory disease such as COVID-19.
Thankfully the shop has been able to open which has been great to
see and I know it has been a busy few weeks for Lorraine and her
Now, you all know I like an anniversary, and so when you stick
the kettle on this coming 10th October you can do so in the
knowledge that its been 305 years since the castle was last
successfully captured; by the Jacobites, and then promptly retaken
by the government. You probably all know the story by now, so I'll
not take up my word count with it again, but I was doing some
digging and joined a few dots about the real hero of this 'Errington
Affair (as I rather pretentiously think of the 1715 capture).
Captain Thomas Philips was the officer in charge of the company of
soldiers who retook the castle the morning after Lancelot and Mark
Errington had taken it. As well as this, out of his own pocket
Philips resupplied the castle with provisions and led parties to
observe the Rebels' motions and encouraging the Country to take up
arms in his Majesty's favour while also capturing the contents of
Errington's ship in the harbour and paying his men (and some
islanders from whom he'd hired horses) with the proceeds. I've
always known about 'Philip's survey of 1742' of the castle which is
in the National Archives (MR1/574) but it was only recently when I
discovered the Captain Philips of 1715 was an engineer, that I
realised it was the same man who produced the survey 27 years later.
He was also involved - under the architect Nicholas Hawksmoor - with
the construction of Ravensdown Barracks in Berwick so he is a pretty
important figure in the military history of this area.
/ 07918 335 471
Instagram @northumberlandcoastnt / Twitter
|NATURAL ENGLAND LINDISFARNE NNR
The Reserve is now well on the way to completing its annual
transition as the summer breeding birds have begun their long
migrations and we welcome the 50,000 waders, geese and ducks that
call the Reserve home during winter.
Last week the last of the shorebird protective fencing has been
removed from the Reserve. Whilst the fences and seasonal
restrictions have been removed it is important to remember that the
restriction regarding dogs on leads is still in place across the
Reserve. This is one of the byelaws and remains in place throughout
the year. Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve is not only an
important breeding ground for several species of vulnerable
shorebirds but is also a vital wintering ground and refuelling stop
for tens of thousands of birds. Waterfowl will travel from the
frigid Arctic Circle every autumn to use the vast rich intertidal
area to feed on worms, molluscs and eel grass that can be found
here. If they remained in their summer breeding areas the ground
would be frozen solid and they would have nothing to eat so the mild
British winters offer ample opportunity to feed throughout the
coldest months of the year. Many of these birds will move in and out
with the tide and as a consequence be in direct conflict with people
and dogs along the coastline. This is why we ask that dogs be kept
on leads at all times on the Reserve even on the beaches. If flocks
of birds are continually disturbed they are unable to lay down the
fat reserves required to either recover from their migration to
Lindisfarne or make the arduous migration back to their breeding or
wintering grounds and many perish as a consequence. So if you see a
flock of birds along the coast please give them space to relax and
Over the last couple of weeks the first Pink-footed Geese have
been returning to the Reserve all the way from Iceland. Numbers of
Wigeon and Light-bellied Brent Geese have also been building and are
currently at several thousand individuals each. As we head into
October these numbers will steadily increase resulting in half the
world's population of East Atlantic Light-bellied Brent Geese using
the Reserve. It is a reminder of the importance of the Reserve not
just on a national scale but on an international one too.
We have recently been able to bring back small volunteering
parties to help us undertake our autumn and winter practical
program, using strict Covid protocols, so in the coming months we
will be busy grass raking, scrub clearing and litter-picking.
We are busy collating the data from the breeding shorebird season
but the initial headline is that it has been a tough season for them
with several high tides accompanied by higher than normal
disturbance. Once the numbers are crunched we will update you with
the final figures.
& Newham NNRs
Last month I promised to explain why it is a good idea when
photographing galaxies, nebulae or star clusters to take multiple
pictures of your target. Combining plenty of individual
exposures (or "sub-frames" in astro-parlance) really helps to
achieve the best possible final image. There are a couple of
reasons for this. One is to help get around the numerous
glitches that inevitably occur when taking astronomical
photographs. Another reason is to improve what it known as an
image's "signal to noise ratio".
First let me tell you about glitches. There are so many
things that can go wrong to choose from! One notorious problem
is cloud. Because the night sky is inherently dim, it is
necessary to use lengthy exposure times to reveal the fainter
details of your target. I typically use exposures from 60
seconds up to 10 minutes. During such extended periods, it is
not uncommon for a cloud to obscure the region of the sky that you
are imaging. Sometimes this results in the frame being
completely ruined. And sometimes the image is mostly OK, but
perhaps a little less bright than it would have been had the sky
sub-frame showing the Leo Trio of galaxies vandalised by light
trails from no fewer than three separate satellites that
intruded into frame during the five-minute exposure.
Airplanes are another source of trouble. Their contrails
can be hard to spot at night. But as they drift slowly across
the sky, they frequently obscure stars just like clouds do.
Also problematic are the bright flashing lights that all aircraft
must display at night. These cause long intermittent streaks
of light in my images if an offending plane travels across one of my
Satellites can similarly cause lines of light to streak through
my images. This tends to happen mostly around dawn and dusk,
when the sky is dark but the satellite overhead may be illuminated
by the Sun. Satellite trails are generally continuous because
they tend not to flash like an aircraft's navigation lights.
The largest and brightest satellite is the International Space
Station (ISS) which is a regular visitor to the skies above Holy
Island. It is generally visible for just a couple of minutes
as it zooms rapidly overhead. You can find out the exact times
and direction to look by entering "Berwick-upon-Tweed" on NASA's
and then clicking on "View sighting opportunities".
Recently Elon Musk's much smaller Starlink communications
satellites are starting to appear in fast-moving gangs of up to
60. They have become notorious for the havoc they are causing
to astronomy, intruding on innumerable photographs. These
satellites are being launched in large batches at a rate of several
hundred per month. Within a few years there will be many
thousands flying in low earth orbit. When a Starlink
constellation passes overhead it is hard to miss. People are
concerned that the tranquil beauty of the clear night sky is going
to be permanently spoiled and become a fading memory.
To his credit, Elon Musk's company SpaceX has been taking
astronomers' complaints seriously. Experiments are being
carried out with sun-shades and with painting the surface of the
satellites black to reduce their reflectivity. Sadly though it
is unlikely that any of these measures can entirely fix the
finished close-up image of the Leo Trio combining data from
many individual subframes with a total exposure time of more
than seven hours. Notice the sharper detail. The satellite
trails have disappeared thanks to "outlier rejection"!
Fortunately other tricks can help. This is precisely where
taking multiple individual exposures can ride to the rescue.
Using appropriate computer software, it is possible to examine a
collection of sub-frames and to discard just those specific parts of
each image that have been ruined by the satellite trail. All
the good data in the rest of each image can still be retained.
This magical trick - known as "outlier rejection" - is a real
life-saver. Take a look at the two pictures accompanying this
article, which show a satellite-blighted image taken from Skylark
Observatory on Holy Island before and after application of this
The second benefit of taking multiple pictures of an astronomical
target is to improve the signal-to-noise (SNR) ratio. The
reasons for this are a little complicated, but essentially light
from an object of interest tends to add together from frame to frame
to build a stronger signal. Whereas the random noise in each
image tends to even-out. I feed all my sub-frames into a
computer program that churns away for an hour or two and then - if
all is well - outputs a finished image showing improved detail.
To see what can be achieved, take a closer look at the second
image accompanying this column. It shows the "Leo Trio" -
three distant and varied galaxies that appear close together in the
sky in the constellation of Leo. In this final image outlier
rejection has eliminated the annoying satellite trails. And by
combining almost a hundred individual sub-frames, the finished
picture reveals intricate details of the galaxies by integrating
data that was collected over seven hours on several different Holy
|PLAGUES AND PESTILENCES
In the year 590 AD a terrible pestilence ravaged Italy. The Pope,
Pelagius II died of it. His elected successor was the Abbot of Saint
Andrew's Monastery in Rome. He is known to later ages as Pope
Gregory the Great. Not the best of times for taking on a new
responsibility, but he was equal to it. What did he do? Well, there
was no churches' lockdown, so he was able to preach to the people a
sermon. It was powerful stuff, the main drift being that the people
were in a heap of trouble because of their past misdeeds and
wickedness ; that they should repent and mend their ways; that they
should supplicate God that he turn away his wrath from them.
As we will see, this approach was replicated, centuries later, in
the liturgical documents of the English church.
Gregory instructed that there be seven processions, from
different starting points, but all to converge on the site on the
Esquiline Hill where now stands the church of Santa Maria Maggiore.
As they processed, all were to chant the 7-fold Kyrie, eleison.
Lord, have mercy.
Legend has it that during the processions Gregory saw a vision of
the Archangel Michael standing atop the Mausoleum of Hadrian. He was
returning his sword to its sheath; this, a sign that the penance was
complete. The Mausoleum was known thereafter as the Castel
To England : over the centuries, England has suffered dreadfully
from plagues. We recall the Black Death of 1348/9, a species of
bubonic plague, originating, as Dr Lingard informs us, in 'Cathay',
that is, China. Now fancy that.
The ravages of the Black Death were, however, largely confined to
the lower orders. As Lingard tells us, the quality folks shut
themselves up in their castles/manor houses and eschewed contact or
communication with the locality.
We have then the plagues and sweating sicknesses of Tudor times;
the Great Plague of 1665; cholera in the C19; the mortality rate of
the Spanish Flu pandemic following on from the First German War. I
could go on.
In this context, I often think of Psalm 91. It is set for the
18th morning. It also forms part of the psalmody for the Office of
Compline. Consider v.3: how God will deliver from "the noisome
pestilence". The message is emphasized (vv.5 and 6) that we shall
not be afraid for 'the pestilence that walketh in darkness : nor for
the sickness that destroyeth in the noon-day'.
The message of the Psalm is that God, if properly approached, can
ward off or provide relief against sickness.
The Litany of the 1549 Prayer Book, conformably to this, contains
a petition to be delivered from (inter alia) 'plage, pestilence and
The Second Prayer Book of Edward Vl -1552- introduced as one of
the Occasional Prayers incorporated into the Litany the prayer
entitled 'In the tyme of any common plague or sickness'. I set it
out in the original spelling:
O Almighty God, which in thy wrath, in the time of King David,
did slea with the plague of pestilence lx and ten thousand, and
yet remembryng thy mercye dyddest save the rest: have pietie upon
us miserable sinners, that nowe are visited with great sickenes
and mortalitie, that like as thou diddest then command thy angel
to cease from punishing : So it may now please thee to withdrawe
from us thys plague and grievous sickenesse, through Jesu Chryste
Please note the general tenor being that the plague was imposed
as divine punishment.
Proctor and Frere observe, laconically, how the prayer had its
motivation in the 'necessities of the time', an obvious reference to
the 'sweating sickness' of 1551.
After the interlude of Philip
and Mary, we come to the reign of Elizabeth 1. This brought us the
Third or Elizabethan Prayer Book of 1559. It re-produces the above
cited prayer from the 1552 Prayer Book. They certainly needed it in
Elizabeth's reign. In 1563, in London alone, over 80.000 died of the
plague. Queen Elizabeth self-isolated in Windsor Castle and ordered
that anyone approaching from London should be hanged.
Further major outbreaks took place in 1578,1582,1592,1603 and
1607. When Shakespeare wrote, 'A plague o' both your houses', he
will surely have known what he was writing about. See Romeo and
Juliet, Act III, Sc.i.
We turn now to the Book of Common Prayer of 1662.The Prayer 'in
the time of any common plague or sickness' is longer than the
earlier versions. It is at least as emphatic in presenting plague
and sickness as some form of castigation for wrongdoing ;also in
presenting the need for an atonement and seeking mercy on that
account. Here it is:
O Almighty God, who in thy wrath did send a plague upon thine
own people in the wilderness for their obstinate rebellion against
Moses and Aaron, and also in the time of king David didst slay
with the plague of pestilence threescore and ten thousand and yet
remembring thy mercy didst save the rest; Have pity upon us
miserable sinners, who now are visited with great sickness and
mortality, that like as thou didst then accept of an atonement,
and didst command the destroying Angel to cease from punishing; so
it may now please thee to withdraw from us this plague and
grievous sickness, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The sources prompting the above prayer, so far as my bible-study
goes, are Numbers 16 vv41-50 ; for David, the Second Samuel 24 vv
I should add that the 1662 Book also included Prayers of
Thanksgiving (just in case) for deliverance from the plague or other
I am informed, reliably as I believe, that Common Worship 2000
does not contain any prayers for use in time of plague, pestilence,
Hong Kong flu etc . Since I have not scoured the volumes of Common
Worship to check the matter, I cannot vouch for the existence of the
omission; or what reasons there might be for it.
References: Proctor and Frere refers to the 1941 Revised
Edition of the History of the Book of Common Prayer.
Lingard is a
reference to the 1844 Edition of Dr John Lingard's History of
England in 13 volumes.
|FROM THE COMMUNITY OF AIDAN AND HILDA
Last month our Anglican Episcopal Visitor, Bishop Christopher
Cocksworth, made a visitation of the Community. He spent two
nights on Holy Island, interviewing the Open Gate staff, our
visiting Deputy Guardian and myself, on the island, and ten others
on the Caim Council of the community by zoom from High
Rigg. He is a good listener and drew out questions we hardly
knew we wanted to ask!
He interviewed me at the time of Harem's funeral. How moving to
walk past Harem's house and stand as his coffin was carried to the
The Open Gate - completely re-organised to meet Covid
guidelines - has now run retreats for just six people, e.g. on
cross-stitching and earthy mysticism and mindfulness. In
November I lead a retreat on Dying Well.
A number of residents have commented on the good work Faith and
Scott Brennan have done on both the house and garden of
Whitehouse. From March they will live there. They will focus
on mentoring small groups, as well as offering on-line training.
Five Urban Change-makers walked Cuthbert Way and were
accommodated in the Whitehouse garden for a rounding off session.
They work in deprived areas by listening to the residents,
identifying their assets, and enabling action. This was the
last day before such gatherings were banned in Northumberland.
In far away Queensland, a frequent Holy Island pilgrim, Heather
Johnston, who has placed a trail post signed 'Lindisfarne' on her
bush land dedicated to returning Aboriginals, is preparing to
become a CAH Monk. Although she cannot travel, she wants her
zoom ceremony to focus on social inclusion. She points out
that Aidan and Hilda provide excellent models: royalty and
no-income monk, male and female. free-er of slaves, recogniser of
gifts in unexpected places (Caedmon), foreigner and local Anglo
|FROM OUR CHURCHES
||Rev Canon Dr Sarah
Hills & Rev Rachel Poolman |
Just in the last few days there has been a nip in the air.
Autumn is on the way. New school term has started, college and
university students are setting off, and for the rest of us, a time
to take stock after the summer. It has been quite a few months here
on the island. At the beginning of the summer we were still in full
lockdown, followed by many thousands of visitors to the island when
it was lifted.
It has been wonderful to be able to reopen St Mary's for
services, albeit on a restricted basis. Thank you to all who have
helped make this possible. We have also just started a Sunday
evening zoom service online for those unable to join us but who can
access the internet. It is on the first Sunday of each month at
530pm. If you would like a zoom invitation, please do let me
know. And for those who are unable to come into church or to
join with zoom, we are trying to keep in contact in other ways -
please do let me know if you would like a phone call, or
anything/anybody you would like us to pray for.
We had a lovely Harvest with a scarecrow festival - Sam has
written about this later in the magazine.
And some very sad news over the last weeks of the deaths of Harm
Jan Vreiling, Peggy Teago and Rita Douglas.
Our thoughts and prayers are with their families, friends and all
who knew them.
Our Curate Sam Quilty will be ordained deacon this Saturday in St
Mary's. Many congratulations to her, and I'm sure you will join me
in praying for her on this special day at the start of her ordained
ministry among us.
As I write, we have again had covid restrictions tightened. This
is an anxious time for many, and please don't hesitate to be in
contact if you would like to talk, or ask for prayers. But I know
that Holy Island will pull together as it has done before with a
great sense of community spirit and help and support for each other.
Thank you for all the ways that you all 'love your neighbour as