A Pheasant Experience
Back in April this year, we held a Quiet Day here at the Priory, which was based on the words of a once-popular hymn “Think Of A World Without Any Flowers”. We tried to imagine what the world would look like without all the trees, flowers, animals, etc – not an easy thing to do when you are surrounded by such beautiful countryside!
Not long after that Quiet Day, one of our gardeners startled a female pheasant from inside our cloister garden – we subsequently discovered that she had made a nest in the garden, into which she had laid a clutch of eggs. We were uncertain how many eggs there had been originally, but they were added to over the following few days, until the time came for her to remain, to protect and nurture those eggs.
Having made the cloister garden ‘out of bounds’ to the Priory community and visitors, our pheasant family in the making began to attract a lot of attention, and a look into the garden very soon became the first thing anyone did on arrival!
In due time, our patience was rewarded, and a number of pheasant chicks appeared. (I have since looked up the collective term for pheasants, and one option is a ‘bouquet’, and our pheasant family certainly gave us something sweet to look at!). It was initially difficult to count the exact number – early estimates suggested somewhere between 9 and 11, but as with many occupants of the natural world, it was only the strong that survived, and we were eventually down to 3.
However, the whole time the chicks were small, ‘Mum’ played her part, and if anyone got too close to the windows looking on to the cloister garden, she would round them up and take them back behind the plants in the garden, out of sight.
The chicks grew bigger and stronger, with Mum disappearing from time to time, firstly for short periods, gradually increasing her absences until one day she flew away, seemingly never to return. The chicks, having previously been quite vocal when left alone, soon got quite used to her absences, and just got on with looking for tasty seeds and grubs to eat – one of the gardeners expected many of the flowers she had planted to disappear at this time! Inevitably, the day came when the chicks would have to make their own way in the world and, some three months later, our cloister garden was accessible again to both gardeners and visitors.
So, what did we learn from our pheasants? Firstly, I think, we had been impressed at how the pheasant Mum had found a warm and secure place in which to bring her young into the world – an experience that many of us (though not, perhaps, all) have enjoyed. She had found a place where they would be safe from many predators, and that would be rich in food, a place where they could grow in strength and confidence until the time came for them to leave home and begin their own lives. Many of us will have seen that same attitude in our earthly parents, but how much more can we all feel the love and protection of our perfect Father in Heaven? He provides places for us to live and work, places for us to relax and enjoy, and places we can go to when we need to feel safe, secure and loved.
Perhaps the bigger picture here is that the experience was not unlike our walk with God for some of us. At times, we may feel close to Him, safe secure and loved, but at others we may feel abandoned, and may be quite vocal, demanding to know why God has left us alone, just when we needed Him most. But Matthew 6, verse 26, tells us to “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”. And, unlike our own parents, and our pheasant Mum, our Heavenly Father will never leave us.
Activities @ The Priory
Readers of the Spring/Summer Newsletter will know that with the cessation of the weekly Art Group earlier in the year, other activity groups commenced. Some have occurred on an ad hoc basis, such as the flower arranging group, who enjoyed creating these wonderful arrangements:
The monthly walking group covered some ground during the summer, but will naturally be governed by weather conditions, particular with the colder, wintry days.
Three of the groups, however, have developed a life of their own:
Poetry Past & Present—The Poetry group has been meeting monthly since April, on the second Friday of the month from 10:30- 11:45am. Numbers have averaged between five and eight people. Two or three people write their own poetry, but the majority bring along favourite poems.
We now have a theme most months, and these have included childhood favourites, funny ones, and poems for occasions and seasons. One group on poems associated with places was particularly interesting. I have been leading each month, but in October another member is leading a section when our theme is Harvest/Autumn.
I have enjoyed preparing the groups, sharing my favourites, a few of my own, and discovering new poems. New folk would be very welcome to join us—Anne Linington
Creative Writing—The group was set up to involve anyone who, with or without experience in writing, wanted to share their enthusiasm with others of like-mind, while being encouraged in confidence and ability to achieve their goal of enjoying their writing. Our monthly meetings are a great success, each one starting with an informal introduction and setting out the aim or exercise of the meeting as a guideline. Freedom of expression is encouraged. Our group is then dismissed until about Noon, when we can share our word with each other, if willing, and be further encouraged or accept constructive criticism, purely for our own benefit. We have looked at why and how we want to write, writing uses our senses and emotions, the enjoyment of using our experiences, creating characters, being a people and place watcher and unravelling the mystery of 1st and 3rd person narrating.
We are an informal and relaxed group, to which everyone is welcome, though we do need to keep the group small enough for all to enjoy quality time—Lynn New
Music & Memories—Since the summer break, the music group has met on three occasions, usually the third Monday of each month between 2.30 and 3.30 p.m. We have been learning some songs from Roger Jones’ Musical ‘Barnabas’. The musical itself will be performed next March in churches in Ryde and Newport, led by the composer himself with a team from Christian Music Ministries. We’ve also had fun leaning action songs (to help with memory) and have clapped and danced to ‘John Kanaka’ (based on a sea shanty) and a Maori song. We would value your prayers for the future of the group and newcomers are always welcome—June Cox
For more information regarding any of the above activities, please contact the Priory—full contact details can be found on the back page.
From A Grain Of SandHe did not place the pearl in my hand, rather He opened my hand and placed in it a closed oyster and said to me, ‘This I give you for life on earth, it is of great value for you will learn from this gift and in turn it will be a gift for others.’ It was done.
Now again I stand with the oyster in my hand and this time He stands before me and says, ‘It is time to open the gift I gave you in your childhood. He took it from me and without effort or tools opened the oyster. Within the succulent healthy flesh nestled a pearl; not white, or creamy, but blue-black; highlights of green within its shiny perfect sphere. It was a treasure and I could not believe I had held such a gift in my possession throughout my life. He placed the pearl in my hand and stood back.
This He said to me, ‘To you I gave an oyster, one that I knew held no more than my grain of sand, within its body. At first you ignored it and put it to one side but it was of no matter. The seed, shall we say, had been planted. As you grew, so did the oyster. The grit worried and irritated the mollusc, its living flesh eventually secreting a substance which over the course of time and movement became a pearl. It was the same for you.
Through your experiences of life you too were worried and aggravated but you found joy and love through Me and your spirit was nurtured just as the pearl within the oyster. I now give you the pearl of our making, for you to treasure. I present it to you now for you ask insistently what you can do for Me and this is your answer. To leave such a pearl within the oyster would be worthy enough but to allow this treasure to be seen and valued by others is my reasoning; it is my answer. It is my gift to you to give to others.’
The gifts He gives us through our lives are for good reason and are not innocently given. We rarely have knowledge of such gifts until we reach a time of understanding and then we are encouraged to reveal them. Some keep their gifts unopened. Others, grateful but unaware of its value, await the time of unveiling with certain trepidation, but when that time comes, all questions are answered.
'This pearl is your gift, for there is only one pearl in an oyster and that,’ said the Lord, ‘is mine. Value and use it in my name for it is the greatest gift, rare and unique, to be treasured and used as your gift to others.'
Lynn New ©
A new group consisting of light art and craft based activities for anyone feeling lonely, anxious, suffering some form of depression, paranoia or any other ailment which stops you from getting out of the house. A chance for you to relax and feel safe as well as chat whilst you may feel that you simply wish to just be yourself
Winter dates and times:
Friday December 9th 2016, Friday January 13th and Friday February 10th 2017
12.30 - 2.00 pm
Refreshments are available in the tea room
Events this Autumn/Winter
Do come and join us!
Please come along to celebrate
150 years of worship at Carisbrooke Priory
Advent Carols in the Chapel
Tuesday 13th December, 7pm
(followed by refreshments in the Tea Room)
COFFEE MORNING & CHRISTMAS SALE
Wednesday 23rd November 2016
Tea Room open for Lunches & Cakes, Tea & Coffee
ADVENT QUIET DAY
Monday 5th December 2016
9.30 a.m.—3.00 p.m.
PRIORY CAROL SERVICE
Thursday 22nd December 2016
As many of you will be aware, our dear George went to be with the Lord earlier this year. His wife, Clare, continues at the Priory as a Trustee, alongside Bob, Alistair and Betty, who has taken on the role of Treasurer temporarily, until such time as a permanent Treasurer can be identified.
In the meantime, we are pleased to announce that the Board of Trustees has been brought back up to full strength with the arrival of Lynn New, appointed as a Trustee in September.
Lynn has been associated with Carisbrooke Priory for some years, and has a strong affinity with its Christian spiritual identity as a house of prayer, healing and compassion. Now, as a Trustee, she brings with her the creative gifts of writing, poetry and art coupled with her experience in Anglican lay ministry (licensed as a Reader) and hospital chaplaincy.
Now in her mid-sixties, Lynn will admit that life’s path has been winding and sometimes difficult (as for many of us) but it has been blessed by the Lord. She hopes she can use this for the benefit of others, as God sees fit.