Trainee Ordinand, Nathanael reflects on his recent social context placement at Foxearth Meadows:
Having received a warm welcome at a couple of Friday work parties in the winter months, it was fantastic to be able to spend some extended time at the reserve over three days. Being in my final year at Westcott House, training for priesthood in the Church of England, it has been wonderful to fit this time into my schedule and to do something completely different. Here are four things that have struck me through my time at the reserve.
- Each time I have visited the reserve I have learned something new. From hedge-laying to coppicing, or spotting new bird songs, it has been a delight to be in an environment where I can soak up these new skills. No question was ever too silly, and I was able to find something I was proud to have contributed to each time I changed out of my wellies to head home.
- Over the course of my postgraduate study many of my assignments have incorporated themes of environment, creation, and creative worship. In my time at the reserve, I have been so blessed to see this in action and thriving. Foxearth Meadows is Christian community lived out in a most beautiful way! The connections between faith and conservation are so obvious in this place and it was a pleasure to be able to chat about that with those who volunteer or visit.
- Just before Easter it was fantastic to help with a school visit. Being a Scout leader, working with young people outdoors was something very familiar. However, I was struck by how engaged these students were with the ways in which their Christian faith impacted every part of their lives. They led us in worship one morning (below) and, in turn, shared insights into how we can find connections between scripture, faith and creation. Seeing young people so deeply engaged in this way gives me so much hope!
4. When I first visited the reserve, it was cold, damp and very muddy. The walking boots were quickly swapped for a pair of knee-length wellies. As I visited each month through to spring it was amazing to witness the transformation of the seasons. Breath, life and beauty were always present but showed themselves in different ways each time. I quickly realised that it was in knowing the land and being present with it that we come to know how best to nurture it so that it flourishes in due season. A lesson that I will take as I begin my ordained ministry.