Vicar’s Viewpoint June 2021
This unlocked place is quiet and near,
an Eden where God’s gifts appear,
so lavish, wonderful and strange,
the very birds sing praises here.
This is a verse from a poem by the late Frances White about our churchyard at St Mary with St Alban. It encapsulates what many have experienced when strolling through our gates.
My own appreciation of the churchyard has grown in time. During my first years as vicar I was preoccupied with what happened inside the church building and with the community beyond the gates. The churchyard was overgrown and largely overlooked. But more recently my eyes have been opened by the wonderful work that has been done by our holy gardeners, as well as by local historians and even local beekeepers.
I now walk through it daily, noticing the emergence of another wild flower, the buzzing of another insect or the quirky detail of another gravestone. Above all, I notice how the church and the churchyard together form an oasis of calm in the midst of our busy London suburb. I recognise the importance of continuing to offer this ‘holy space’ to everyone in our community. And by everyone, I mean not just the humans but the birds and the bees as well.
So I’m delighted to promote our very first ‘Love your Burial Ground Week’. I hope you can join us for one or more of the events. And I hope you’ll linger awhile when you next pass through the gates.
Rev Joe Moffatt