We were only discussing carpet bombing yesterday, since Joe is resident in Hamburg – and I in Canterbury.
Then today Joe had a message from a friend to remind him that on this day and those following, the RAF and USAAF flattened Hamburg and 40,000 people lost their lives in the firestorm.
Thank God for the years of peaceful co-existence between our countries since then, and the structures that have helped to ensure that it has been more than the absence of war.
PLaque on a house, destroyed 1943, restored 1957
Please excuse my interrupting Austin’s flow of thought with this appreciation of some of the joys of summer. A version of this post has appeared in the Will Turnstone blog.
As I walked along Canterbury’s Saint Peter’s Street on Saturday I saw a sure sign of Summer. Not the gaggles of French and Dutch teenagers squeezing into the pound shops, nor the obedient American and Japanese tourists following their guides’ uplifted, unopened, umbrellas.
No, It was the cherry lady from Faversham, but selling gooseberries this time. She promised ‘cherries next week’.
I bought gooseberries.
That afternoon as I was cycling home from visiting friends, I sought out the elder flowers needed to make the best gooseberry fool and gooseberry jam. Along the Crab and Winkle cycle path they were as unpolluted as anywhere.
Mrs T made the fool, and froze some puree to make more when summer is mere memory. The fool all went. We took some to the L’Arche gardening club on Sunday, where our Polish friends could not get enough of it, nor could I. Maybe the spare puree won’t make it till Christmas!
And I made the jam. A few Happy Christmasses there!
But yesterday there were cherries in town.
Summertime can begin! Laudato Si!
The story about Abel and the letter box reminded me of watching the two fledgling sparrows that left the nest in next-door-but-one’s roof to flit and flutter down to our back gate, where they could perch, and cheep and flutter their stubby wings in the hope that their parents – or any passing sparrow for that matter – might feed them.
They could see how to get food from the fat ball holder, but hadn’t the co-ordination or confidence to try for themselves.
Here is one of them watching intently as his mother (or is it his aunt?) pecks at the fat balls over the gate. The fact that he was fed a second later did not prevent him starting to call again as soon as he’d finished swallowing.
Although the adults are very tolerant of humans moving about the garden we share with them, young Chico took off as soon as the back door opened. Three metres’ flight to the washing line, where he could not get a grip, and turned base over apex before achieving enough co-ordination to crash into the holly bush.
The two chicks were soon back on the gate, ‘Please Sir (or Madam) I want some more! When the psalmist sang of the sparrows finding a home at God’s altar, did he expect the priest to scatter food for them?
Of course Francis fed the birds, and so should we. And perhaps we should attend to the needs of each other as well. As Abel said, ‘You have to help me.’
We have just received the latest newsletter from our friends at L’Arche Kent which they have asked us to share. Just click on the link below!
As you can see from this shot a few weeks ago, the Glebe garden is right in the city, thought now that the trees have greened up it is a good deal more private than in winter time. It looks as though Rupert and Mark are busy cutting the osiers (willow stems) for craft work. Where is everyone else?
2018 Spring Newsletter
I was waiting at the seaside bus stop when a handsome young lad arrived, a smile on his face. He was dancing on the spot, though his headphones were off his ears and indeed switched off. He looked crazily happy, but not crazy!
One of his mates got on a couple of stops later, and so we heard just why the firstcomer was so happy. He’d just got accepted at university. ‘I can’t wait to get out of here, man, and get to university. This place is dead, there’s nothing to do.’
I got off at our local university, to walk home in the Spring sunshine across the green of the campus. Two students alighted in front of me; quite a few prefer to live in the peaceful resort rather than the city.
No doubt there will be young people coming to Canterbury from the town where my fellow-traveller is going, glad to get away from somewhere that has grown too small for them. Many come from London, glad to get off their patch and out from under their parents’ eye.
Perhaps that feeling was part of the initial attraction for the Disciples, determined to follow Jesus wherever he went. Not that James and John escaped from their mother!
And after Easter and Pentecost – James stayed in Jerusalem, but John ended up in Greece, Peter in Rome, Mark in Alexandria, Thomas in India, Joseph of Arimathea, so they say, in Somerset. Fired up they were – with a Pentecostal fire that was life-long.
I trust and pray the fire that made the seasider dance will burn within him all the days of his life.
It’s comforting to learn that a bishop has a hinterland, that he has not been born and bred in a purple cassock. Eric Treacy of Wakefield with his steam trains or the poet Archbishop Rowan Williams in more modern times, Peter the fisherman and Paul the tentmaker at the beginning. But halfway between them we find Dunstan of Canterbury, bishop, blacksmith, harpist and illuminator of manuscripts. Who mentioned Dark Ages?
Back in September, Janet and I visited Canterbury Cathedral for their annual Open House day. There was a stall for the archaeologists, who had a dish of slag, the product of smelting iron from rock, just like that to be found around the tips of Merthyr Tydfil. In another dish alongside it were magnetic black chippings, typically 3mm long: these were shards of iron thrown off when a piece of hot iron was hammered on the anvil. ‘Is this from Saint Dunstan’s workshop?’ I joked. ‘Perhaps’, they said, ‘it’s certainly Saxon.’
It seems that Saxon Canterbury was a centre for fine ironwork. As that fact sank in, suddenly the portly monk was there beside us, just a few steps from his grave, wearing his leather apron, hammer in hand. Of course that was my fond imagination, though I had seen the self-portait of Dunstan kneeling before Christ when it was exhibited here and so knew what he looked like.
But those relics of manual work – maybe of Dunstan’s labour, but probably other monks’ really – said more to me than any bone in gold and crystal reliquary.
Public Domain, Wikipedia.
Jeff Halper at St Paul’s Church, 7:30pm Monday 21st May
Richard Llewellin, former Bishop of Dover, writes:
‘A very remarkable Israeli Jew, called Jeff Halper, is coming to speak in Canterbury during a visit to the UK.
Having watched the demolition of a Palestinian home for what he considered no good reason, he started the Israeli Committee against House Demolitions. This organisation has rebuilt countless numbers of Palestinian homes demolished by the Israeli authorities (some of which have been then demolished for a second, or even a third, time!).
Jeff Halper is larger-than-life, an excellent speaker, and has very good things to say about the future of Israel and Palestine. He is speaking at St Paul’s Church, Canterbury, on Monday, 21 May at 7:30 PM, and you will not be disappointed at his talk if you can manage to come and listen to him.’
CHRISTIAN AID WEEK
SUNDAY 13th MAY at 6.30pm
St Dunstan’s Church
80 London Road
Canterbury CT2 8LS
This year’s service focuses on Christian Aid’s work in Haiti, as part of Christian Aid Week 2018, but also has a local focus, as the speaker will be Svenja Powell, who is part of Canterbury Welcomes Refugees, an organisation helping churches and charities to work together to welcome more Syrian refugee families in Canterbury.
The following extract is taken from the Newsletter of the Canterbury Society of Friends, describing events last year:
I had been asked to give a talk in the sermon spot – and from the pulpit, on the subject of L’Arche and Rogation Sunday. Carol was also absent from Friends’ worship in order to attend the service and the subsequent beating of the bounds procession to the Glebe. Whilst I was figuring out how to climb the pulpit, David walked in and to the organ. One of the clergy remarked to me ‘oh good, it’s David, it’s exciting when he plays. It is also his birthday, upon which David started playing ‘Happy Birthday’ and we all sang along.
The procession after the service was a delight – in warm sunshine and with nearly all the congregation coming down to beat the bounds and for the seed to be blessed in the Glebe.
It struck me that a lovely example of the interaction between our places of worship had occurred and community spirit was experienced at its best.
Editor’s note: I really enjoyed the tea and cake provided by the lovely L’ Arche community, their families and volunteers in their tranquil community garden after the service and on my birthday in glorious sunshine.
Blog editor’s note: there were Catholics as well as Anglicans and Quakers present at this celebration! (I’m tempted to say, spot the difference.)
Today is the feast of Saint Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury. You can read about him at Anglican Resources. There, too, you can find this prayer.
I pray that I may so know you and love you
that I may rejoice in you.
And if I may not do so fully in this life
let me go steadily on
to the day when I come to that fullness …
Let me receive
That which you promised through your truth,
that my joy may be full
Some of the crypt of Canterbury Cathedral is from Anselm’s time (1093-1109).