Among the summaries of basic human needs is one that says “to know where we came from, why we are here, and where we are going”. With apologies to St. John’s, Newport, who were already using the name, our “2020 Vision” initiative embraces these ideas by looking at our history, seeking to establish what we are currently doing that is God-inspired, and where we sense that God is leading us in the next few years.
So who do we think we are? Today, Carisbrooke Priory has three distinct, but inter-related identities:
A place of prayer and worship
A home for people to call their own – the partnership with the Salvation Army
An attraction – an historic building with a well-regarded Tea Room
Each one of the above stands the test of both the Priory prophecy and “an Open Door to the Peace of God”.
The challenge to Carisbrooke Priory, which can only be met in the power of the Holy Spirit, is to achieve the right balance of these identities and seek to resource them accordingly. Similarly, it is important that Patrons, Trustees, Staff, Volunteers and Supporters of the Priory should relate to the whole thing, ‘the big picture’, rather than distinct parts of it. This is especially true when it comes to looking back. Change has been painful for some, but new eyes are looking on and praising God for what He is doing today!
Some of you will wonder why I didn’t mention healing in the first identity. It has often been said that healing was such a part of Jesus’ earthly ministry that it should not need to be injected back into the work of the Church. It is an integral part of the life of the Body. Giving a home to people who have been ‘out-cast’ offers healing. Welcoming people in for refreshment and peace offers healing. Praying and worshipping the God Who heals opens us up for healing. Far from being forgotten, our inter-related identities depend on the One Who we believe heals people, and communities, today!
The illuminating task of considering the feedback from the 2020 Vision initiative will fall initially to the new Board of Trustees. God has challenged us to improve on governance, leadership and management, a challenge to which our new Trustees are enthusiastically signing up.
I’ll end with an extract from a poem called “Place and People”, which reminds us of our need to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.
A house prepared and furnished with love will not be perfect,
For who would dare to infect perfection with their obvious imperfections?
Love covers a multitude of sins to generate an abundance of godly wins,
And God’s laughter is at the heart of a place filled with such contradictions.
When place becomes more important than people, we’ve lost our vision,
But to decide to prepare a place for people to feel loved is a wonderful decision.
New Trustees - Geraldine Gardner
I was asked about fifteen years ago if I would consider becoming a Trustee, but at that time, my husband, Andrew, and I were running St. Rhadagunds Christian Centre, so really felt it was not the right time. We did, however, bring many of our volunteers to the priory and often stayed for the bible study. When our time at St. Rhads came to an end, I went back to my original career and worked as a Domestic Abuse Advisor at the Island’s women's refuge.
I now work for a Charity called Hope Into Action as a Housing Officer and also Southern Housing as an outreach support worker. Both roles bring me into contact with people who need support with housing and debt, and support to access benefits. Both roles are challenging but very worthwhile and I enjoy helping people to move on with their lives.
On a more personal note I have been a Christian for 33 years, and have been married to Andrew for 40 years this September. We have a son and a daughter, Henry and Sophie. God has given us so many blessings and we have three grandchildren with another one on the way!!!
Life is never dull, what with Andrew as Street Pastor Co Ordinator for the island and our involvement with several other charities, and of course our two lovely dogs Minnie and Gus who keep us on our toes.
I am really looking forward to being part of the amazing work that is being done at the Priory, and to meeting all the team when I start in September so please stop and say Hi when you see me - I love to chat!!
New Trustees - James Cook
It is my pleasure and privilege to be appointed to the Trustee Board of Carisbrooke Priory. Since arriving on the Isle of Wight five years ago to live and work, I have visited the Priory often and I have been impressed by its work. Located in the centre of the Island and with a history of Christian healing ministry, the Priory is well placed to serve people throughout the Isle of Wight.
After a career in heavy industry, where I served in various capacities in the UK and overseas, I was ordained in 2008 to ministry in the Church of England, initially in Berkshire. As an Associate Priest, I have been the Minister of Christ Church, Totland Bay since 2013. In October of this year, I am due to retire from parish ministry and to move with my wife Suzanne to live in Shanklin. It is my hope and prayer, after a suitable period of rest and refreshment, to continue serving the Church in retirement.
As a qualified accountant, my responsibilities prior to ordination included financial management and working with trustees. For several years, I was a company director. As an active Christian since my early teens, I have been involved from time to time in a variety of voluntary work.
I have long been motivated by the person and example of Jesus, whose ministry was to bring good news to the poor, release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind (see Luke 4.17-19). Through being a Trustee Director of Carisbrooke Priory, I should like in a small way to support such ministry.
Seeing Things Through Other People's Eyes
At the August Family Forum, the group started by looking at copies of the picture which is reproduced above. We began by sharing our reactions to it, which were varied and fascinating.
So what do you see? Were your initial reactions positive, negative, or neutral? Look again, and again still. Are you seeing it differently now?
Having formed our own opinions, it was important to listen to those of other people. This is the ‘give-and-take’ of God-given fellowship, as we learn to see things from other people’s points of view.
And how about the artist? Was he drawing the actual scene, or is it an interpretation? Now we move to seeing through the eyes of the originator, the creator of this picture.
Jesus prays for His people to know the same unity as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (John 17 v 20-23). Seeing things as other people see them, and ultimately as God sees them, is vital to such unity!
Getting Our House In Order
Having had building contractors in and out of the building for some months now, and having welcomed seven new residents to our North Wing, the clearance of several rooms has taken place. At the time of writing, phase 2 of the works is almost complete, and soon we will be welcoming in a further five residents. Whilst a considerable number of items that were removed from the North Wing could not be used, and have already been disposed of, there are still items of furniture and fittings that have simply been stored elsewhere, awaiting a decision as to whether we can, in fact, use them. Clearly, this is not ideal, and in the case of electrical items, we are paying to have things tested that may never be used! It is our intention, therefore, to begin a winter programme of ‘de-cluttering’ the remaining rooms and attics – a marathon task in some respects, but much needed!
During September, therefore, the two of us will begin taking a look around at each room and attic (and maybe cellar), identifying what items need to be disposed of, and will then be arranging for a freshening up of the various quiet rooms etc in order to make them more inviting and comfortable.
We are conscious that there may be some items, particularly in the attics, that are being stored on behalf of others, and therefore if you are aware of any items of furniture or other items that belong either to you or to someone you know, or items that may have a particular sentimental value, do please make us aware of this as soon as possible. We would hate to cause upset to anybody by disposing of such items.
It may be that at some point in the near future, we will be holding a ‘clearance sale’ in order to dispose of some of the items removed from the various rooms as they are cleared, so watch this space!
Louise and Maxine
Events This Winter
Saturday 10th November
10.00 a.m. - 3.00 p.m.
Tea Room open for refreshments
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ADVENT QUIET DAY
Monday 3rd December—9.30 a.m.—2.45 p.m.
Tea/coffee provided—please bring a packed lunch
To book, please contact Maxine on 01983 523354
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PRIORY CAROL SERVICE
WITH THE SALVATION ARMY BAND & SONGSTERS
Thursday 20th December at 7.00 p.m.
followed by refreshments in the Tea Room