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  • Rev. Caroline

Gardens for joy

“A garden isn’t meant to be useful. It’s for joy.”


This is a quotation from novelist Rumer Godden. I hadn’t come across it until today, when I searched the internet for something suitable, in the light of my recent visits to our two church gardens, camera in hand.


It seems particularly appropriate for the congregation of St Andrew’s, who have just begun their month-long Stewardship Season, focusing this year on TIME. People are being encouraged to think about the different ways in which they spend their time, for instance, with friends and family, at work, in leisure activities, self-indulgently and, of course, with God. Is the balance right? Is it time for some reordering of priorities?


As for time with God, well, it’s for joy. It may not produce anything useful, in the sense that you can look with satisfaction on the emails you’ve answered, the windows you’ve cleaned, the miles you’ve clocked up, or the shopping you’ve done. But you might well feel a sense of peace, of hope, of resolve, of JOY.



On Tuesdays and Thursdays, between 11.00 am and 1.00 pm, the doors of St Andrew’s are being opened up in welcome. Church members and visitors alike can come straight into the sanctuary from the Terrace.


Thank you to our volunteers who plant, water and weed these lovely gardens.

And this brings me to the gardens at St Andrew’s. Here is beauty. Here is peace. Here is an oasis of calm – yet so close to the Wellgate shopping centre, bus stops, and a main road.


The Wyvern garden created by the young people.

The garden at Meadowside St Paul’s is smaller but no less remarkable in being another oasis of calm, in its case so close to the Overgate shopping centre, bus stops, and a main road. When I was taking photos there today, not one of the many passers-by had any inkling that I was there, for I was screened by the trees and slightly below the level of the pavement.



“A garden isn’t meant to be useful. It’s for joy.”



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