From the Rectory June 2021

The pair of swans about which I wrote last month have become parents...four tiny, fluffy, cute cygnets nestle in the feathers of the Pen; two eggs are yet to crack open.

Following our benefice Annual Meetings, Adam Mills and Sally Brearley, Dr Graham Sterling, and Brian Hernaman and David Hughes were elected churchwardens. Thank you to them, and to those serving as PCC members this year.

On 17th June 1246, some 42 years after its construction was begun, Beaulieu Abbey was dedicated. The service was conducted by the Bishop of Winchester in the presence of King John's son, King Henry III, his wife Queen Eleanor, their son, Prince Edward, the Abbot Alcius de Gisors, and the bishops of Bath and Wells, Exeter and Chichester. Although the Cisterican Monastery is now largely ruined, nevertheless the remaining buildings and stones remind us of what was once one of the wonders of Christendom. Belinda, Lady Montagu's wall hangings in the Domus provide us with a vivid record of the Abbey's history. It was a seat of learning, religious works being copied and illuminated. Fugitives could claim sanctuary at Beaulieu, so long as they remained within the precincts. Although the monks were not medically trained, nevertheless a garden in the Cloister includes many medicinal herbs used to treat various complaints.

It is a privilege to worship in the monk's former Refectory. There has, in the history of the Church, always been a deep relationship between buildings and those who use them. Buildings can express our feelings of profound hope or faith. There has always been sacred space where God has spoken, and holy ground where the only appropriate response is worship; as T.S. Eliot expressed it in his 'Four Quartets', “where prayer has been valid”.

St Paul uses the image of a building in a more specifically spiritual way. He speaks not of a physical building, but of the people of God as the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. He says that we are the building, and each one of us is a living stone. As such, we support each other by living for each other; by being there for one another. We give thanks for our Cistercian heritage, for the first monks who journeyed from Citeaux to Beaulieu, and for those worshippers whose prayers through the centuries have made this hallowed ground.

Congratulations to Marion Loveland who celebrates her 100th birthday on Sunday 6th June. Following the 9.30am service refreshments will be served in the Cloister – weather permitting.

 

With my love and prayers,

Father John