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Article in the August Diary by Ruth Pyke July 17, 2018

Posted by nicholastufton in The Diary Monthly letter.
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I wonder how many of our readers were used as children to playing outside in fields, fishing in brooks and feeling safe to be outside all day. In a culture which is increasingly worried about health and safety, and with a growing amount of indoor entertainment, both adults and children can become increasingly distant from the natural environment. *

Our village schools are tackling this head on – Reed have their vegetable garden with children involved in the sowing, weeding and harvesting. Barley and Barkway Federation have regular Forest School at their Newsells site and recently the church has used its outdoor spaces for worship: a Pet Service held outside Barkway Church, a memorial service in the grounds of Reed Church and Messy Church out on the recreation ground for B in the Park festival.

Great feelings of delight and wellbeing have been expressed at worshipping in the open air at all of these events. Fortunately, the weather has been kind to us but I do think there is something to be gained from being outdoors.

The great story of God begins in a garden; Jesus’s agony and his resurrection both happen in a garden. Two saints celebrated in August have connections with the natural world. St Augustine, a great saint of the early church, came to faith in a garden as he read the words of St Paul; and St Aidan the abbot of Lindisfarne, came from a community that was part of the Celtic church, which integrated the Christian life with a respect and wonder for the creation.

So if we can spend more time outside during this summer, if we can enjoy the outdoors environment more, maybe we can also be more open to a sense of wholeness, a sense of proportion, a sense of well-being. Maybe we will be moved to wonder how all this was created, maybe it will inspire us to find new ways to worship God out in the beauty of the world he has given us.