The launch of Charlecote Quiet Garden in January seems a very long time ago, even though the weather last week suggested winter was very definitely still with us; it’s years since I’ve seen such incredible snow drifts!
We’ve had the joy of hosting two quiet days and a parish Lent course since the start of the year. We were delighted to welcome friends from the local Barford group of churches in January for a day, which was as much a practice for us as a retreat day for them.
We spent the January day considering what new thing God could be doing beneath the surface of our lives, when on the face of it all seems barren and lifeless. We planted bulbs as a sign of our trust, hope and openness to what God is birthing, even when it seems like nothing much is happening.
Preparing for this day was an act of trust in itself. Whose idea was it to trail round garden centres in search of healthy looking bulbs in early January?! Praise the Lord for the solitary packet of iris bulbs, covered in bird droppings, discovered abandoned on a shelf in a hidden corner of a local garden centre. Even better they were reduced from £4 to 50p! Who knows whether any new life will grow from these bulbs, which are now all buried in pots of compost? Another act of hope and trust and openness to what might emerge! Another metaphor for life with God?
In February we welcomed people from further afield to contemplate our earthiness: remembering that we are dust and to dust we shall return. Again we had good weather, so there was opportunity to get outside and sink our hands into some cold soil. This day gave us an insight into the uncertainty, but also the joy, of facilitating a day for people God had brought together from a variety of places and backgrounds.
Our first two months have seen lots of new things, and plenty of interest from people across Warwickshire, both those who naturally find themselves in church and those who enjoy nothing better than contemplating in a garden where the weeds are not their responsibility. It may feel like small beginnings, but I keep reminding myself small things are not to be despised. The most majestic oak originated in an insignificant acorn.
We’re looking forward to what Spring has to offer! Why not come and join us for a quiet day or take a few hours out to just be in a spring garden? You’ll find out more information about what we offer here.