Fiona Thomas

Radical Gardening Trees need roots, and the Latin word meaning “of or having roots” is radicalis from the Latin radix or root. In botany the word for root is radicle. In speaking it sounds exactly the same as the word for getting to the deepest most fundamental part of something, going to the origin, essential: radical. So real change has to be deeply rooted, not ephemeral or superficial. People are rooted in their land. It has always been that way, particularly when most people were still responsible for growing everything they needed to eat. Exiles yearn for the land that they came from, and there is more than one migrant who has brought with them a little jar of earth from the homeland that they may never see again. It was like that for the people of Jerusalem taken captive by the Babylonians and whisked away to exile in two waves. How were the first set of exiles to live in this strange place? They wrote home to their prophet Jeremiah: “What should we do?”. The reply eventually came in Jeremiah 29.1-7 as a message about buying land and growing food as a sign of being prepared to settle in a new homeland. The first wave of exiles were to settle down and seek the good of their adopted city. But back in Jerusalem things were not going well for the next generation. There had been a rebellion by the people of Jerusalem and once again a Babylonian king laid siege to the city. Jeremiah was still a prophet but he’d upset the royal court by telling a few...

Bury South Pastorate

As one of the organisers (all two of us) I’m not sure I’m the right one to be writing about our experience as I could be slightly biased. However here goes. Bury South Pastorate include Bury URC, Besses o’th Barn URC and Blackford Bridge URC. Having had weekends away in the past at commercial hotels, we decided that a visit to the Windermere Centre was in order. Bill and I sent out indication of dates and venue to the three churches and we received affirmatives of 25 members wishing to be included. So the planning started. As we are presently without a minister, the Saturday Morning study session was a bit of a headache as we didn’t feel confident in preparing this so we approached the team at the Centre and they were very happy to help. Several emails and a bit of telephone contact later, we had a programme prepared and were ready for the weekend. So with bags packed, and passengers picked up, I headed for the Lake District on a very fine sunny day. We were the first car to arrive and were met by our host, Barry. I think he was getting worried because no-one had arrived and it was nearing three in the afternoon. After signing in, I showed my passengers to their rooms. Then everyone else started arriving – so I left Barry to register the visitors and I escorted them to their rooms, carrying bags etc. and generally being available to help out including getting the chair lift fixed. Afternoon tea and coffee was provided, and the weekend began in earnest. The...