As you can see above, our church is decorated with beautiful red poppies in preparation for Remembrance Sunday, 10th November.
The Open Day last Saturday was a reminder of the talent for flower arranging we hold in our midst, and these arrangements in the picture hold great meaning in their symbolism to help us prepare for the important themes of the remembrance season.
The bare branches, giving the arrangement structure in the background, represent the bleakness of the battlefield. We will not only remember those great battles we learnt about in our history lessons study the great wars of the past century or so, but a powerful reminder of the fields of battle in our news across the world still today.
The pointed, striped Cordyline leaves provide the swords, one of which is broken. These powerful tools of aggression are powerful reminders of the violence of war, and the way that it can destroy lives.
Finally, the emblematic red poppies of remembrance. These cast our minds to consider the blood spilled during battle, calling from us deep sorrow and regret, as well as gratitude for those who have given so much, alongside questions about war and peace in our own times and the need always to work for peace and to pray for a world where there is more trust between fellow human beings.
Please join us for Remembrance Sunday at Horney Parish Church this Sunday at 10.30am.
It was a great joy to be back among this community last Sunday. When I began my sabbatical time, back in July, November 3rd seemed a long way off, but it has soon come around!
Since the end of July I have spent four weeks in the United States.
Visiting San Francisco again was a wonderful experience, and I loved Chicago too. So many people had spoken warmly of Chicago, with its architecture and distinct identity mediated through the way its people identify with the place, and this was a great thing to dip into for a week. It was New Mexico, staying in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, which was my favourite aspect of this American trip I think. The day before flying from San Francisco, a person of that city said “in New mexico you’ll get a real sense of the spaciousness of America” and this was certainly the case.
As you may know, much of the land is desert, with vast open spaces as far as the eye can see, and the desert brings a rawness which is quite attractive and challenging at the same time. A highlight in Santa Fe was visiting the Georgia O’Keefe museum. O’Keefe lived much of her life in the desert of New Mexico, and her art has a special sense of the demanding nature of this terrain.
I also spent a lot if time in Suffolk, much of it in solitude, with Peggy Woolly for company. Whilst this had its challenges certainly, and I structured the time carefully, I did a lot of reading, resting and sleeping which was a precious gift.
Visiting Mount Athos was, I think, the great highlight. A monastic republic on a Grecian peninsula, Athos is home to twenty monasteries, with other dependant communities associated with them, and is a focus for much pilgrimage for Orthodox Christians.
My thanks to everyone who has worked so hard over the past three months, ably led by Mthr Anna and the Churchwardens, and I look forward to sharing with you more of what these three months have held for me in due course.
With the assurance of my prayers