I will tell the congregation of your wonderful deeds!” (Psalm 40:9)
“I feel so strongly that God wants me to encourage other believers with my testimony,” says Christine Schlueter, who went through five major brain operations in forty years.
It all began in 1974. Christine was living alone in London with her baby son, following a marriage break-up.
When she became disoriented and unwell, she was initially misdiagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Five years later the real cause was discovered: a benign brain tumour next to her right ear, affecting balance, hearing and mobility. Surgery helped, but as the tumour was attached to the acoustic nerve, it was impossible to remove it completely. This meant that the tumour (acoustic neuroma) continued to grow, necessitating more surgery only five years later.
“It was hard bringing up my little boy when I couldn’t do normal things with him,” she remembers. “He thought it was a great joke to run away from me because I couldn’t catch him!” Fortunately Christine’s mother and sister lived nearby and supported her in caring for Michael. But it hurt when he was taunted by the other children: ‘How come your Mum doesn’t pick you up from school? Doesn’t she love you?’
One day in 1983, Christine accompanied a friend to a Luis Palau Crusade in London. When a call was given for anyone in need of prayer to come forward, she found herself getting up from her seat and rushing to the front of the hall! There she committed her life to Jesus, describing the clarity of those moments as her own Damascus Road experience. From then on she knew that her life did have a purpose after all. Attending church introduced her to a further support network of new friends, who encouraged her in her new-found faith and provided a much-needed social life.
With the continued help of her family she was able to work as a medical receptionist at a local doctors’ surgery while bringing up her son. Another two bouts of surgery followed. “One of the operations left me feeling as if I was suspended in space” she adds. “It was a frightening experience.”
Christine admits that there were times when she was anxious about the future. “No-one looking at me then would imagine I’d live for so long!” she says. In 1991 Christine followed her family to live on the Isle of Wight. There she discovered a community of like-minded people at Carisbrooke Priory, a place of healing and prayer, where she has found a deep sense of belonging.
Recently, Christine’s condition worsened so that her speech, hearing and mobility were badly affected. “Moving, speaking, eating – everything had become so difficult because the tumour had grown so large and was pressing on my brain,” she explains. “Owing to the jumble of nerves there it was deemed inoperable.” But the testimony of another Island woman gave Christine hope, and her faith soared. In a frank discussion with her surgeon, she shared her faith and the fact that she was willing to risk the dangerous operation. In December 2017 the surgery at Southampton General Hospital went ahead. It was a resounding success.
With the help of carers and good friends, Christine is able to live independently and her speech, hearing and general wellbeing are much improved, along with her mobility. She lives a full life: attending worship, eating out with friends and, of course, she is still a stalwart member of the Priory community. Looking back over all she’s been through, she is convinced that the Lord has helped her to live her life so well.
“Don’t look at what you can’t do or haven’t got!” she insists. And of her condition, “It’s not the worst thing!” So what is, I wonder? “Not having God in my life would be so much worse. God is so close, especially when I need him the most. So don’t look at the problem - look at God!”
I am humbled by the quiet wisdom of this deeply spiritual woman before me, whose faith has been strengthened through much adversity. “I hope that anyone with a life-limiting illness who reads this will feel encouraged.”
More Volunteers Needed
We have a loyal and hardworking band of volunteers, who help to keep the Priory running in variousroles. However, having just had one of the busiest years in the Priory’s recent history, we find ourselves in need of additional volunteers, in particular serving in the Tea Room.
What do our volunteers do?
Those serving in the Tea Room take and deliver customer orders, make tea and coffee to order, operate the till and coffee machine and ensure that there are enough supplies available to satisfy customer needs.
Those serving on Reception greet visitors, give directions when needed, answer the telephone, and from time to time assist the Administrator with mailshots and leaflets.
There is always work to do keeping the gardens in good order and the building clean and tidy.
If you find you have some time to spare each week, and would like to offer your services to the Priory, please contact Maxine or Louise on 01983 523354 or call in for a volunteer pack.
2020 Vision Revisited
“I can see clearly now” and “Blinded by the light” were both hits in the realm of popular music. Clarity of vision is worth seeking, but not to the exclusion of faith in the face of the radiant Light of Christ. Saul had to be blinded by that Light before he could become the Paul of clear vision.
During the months that we were digesting, summarising and reporting on the 2020 Vision responses, an excellent Christmas Fayre, a lovely jazz concert and a packed Carol Service were held. These were followed by the profound and truly ecumenical celebration of the 150th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s visit to the Priory. Along the way, “the three As” of Priory life came into focus: Adoration, Accommodation and Attraction.
Conveniently, perhaps, 20 questionnaire responses were received, for which we are very grateful. A summary was made available, and can still be obtained by request. Several people expressed gratitude for the consultation, and some very helpful suggestions were made.
Carisbrooke Priory is a fellowship, a Christian family, hence the real business of seeking and following God’s good, pleasing and perfect will lies in the ongoing renewal of our minds as we worship, pray, talk, work and eat together. However, the ‘snapshot’ offered by 2020 Vision shows that recent, significant changes are largely supported, and are in line with the Priory prophecy. God knows where that will lead us to by the year 2020, so it is up to all of us to keep listening to Him.
Born and brought up on the Isle of Wight, Gioia Minghella-Giddens lives in Havenstreet with her husband, Richard. The eldest daughter of Edward and Gloria Minghella, whose work for the Island community will be well-known to us all, Gioia grew up in a household in which service to others was a natural and valued part of everyday life.
Gioia is the proud mother of four grown-up children - Sophie, Joseph, Lillie and Benedict. A highly successful teacher for over 25 years, both on the Island and in London, Gioia changed career paths in 2002 when she took over the family ice cream business, from which she has recently retired. This dual pathway has given her first-hand experience of working with young people from diverse backgrounds and of helping them find their feet as mature members of the community, as well as of the many challenges facing businesses and employers here on the Island.
Gioia has relished the privilege of her year as High Sheriff as an opportunity to become involved in as many community projects as she can. She is particularly drawn to those which bring together and value both young people and senior citizens, those which support the elderly and infirm, those which reach out to the needier and more vulnerable members of the Island community, those which celebrate diversity, protect our heritage and, of course, those which encourage the Arts. She says she has enjoyed a busy and rewarding year, and now that her Shrieval year is drawing to a close, she very much looks forward to joining the Priory Family, whose wonderful work for the community she greatly respects and admires.
Gillian & John Ryeland
It’s a great privilege to be joint Patrons of The Priory and although we don’t live on the Island, Bob and Maxine keep us up to date with news and updates on all the exciting developments taking place. We have felt connected to this wonderful place for almost 20 years, since we first met and became friends with Chris Lane, Colin and Marja, so it was a real joy to be invited to become Patrons - ‘official’ supporters!
Those of you who have yet to meet us might like to know a little about us. We work very much as a team heading up The Christian Healing Mission (CHM) in London, a role that we’ve held for almost 22 years now. Fortunately we still enjoy it as much as ever! Although we’re city-based, many weekends are spent travelling around the country speaking at various churches and events. In our free time, we enjoy exploring London, walking and spending time with our lovely family.
We look forward to our next visit to Carisbrooke later in the year and hope to meet many of you then.
I was born at Ryde and have lived on the Island for most of my life. I am married to Melva and we have two daughters and seven grandchildren. My career took me to the British Hovercraft Corporation as an Electronics Engineer including working on the Black Arrow rocket; Systems Engineer in Advance Projects. I also worked for Plessey Radar as Engineering Development Manager leading the Multifunction Electronically Steered Adaptive Radar (MESAR) project, which is the prototype for the radar on the current latest Royal Navy destroyers.
I was ordained in the Anglican church in 1990, my first post being a curacy on a large council estate in Poole. Since then, I have worked as Chaplain at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, as a parish priest in Malvern, Chaplain to the MoD Defence, Experimental Research Agency (DERA) and Area Dean of Malvern, Rector of St John’s, Rowlands Castle combined with being Warden of Readers for the Portsmouth Diocese and then as Diocesan Mission Resources Advisor with the role of encouraging churches to have vision and relevance.
Since retiring in 2011 I have enjoyed preaching at many Island churches and also the Priory. My aim is to encourage Christians to be empowered by the Holy Spirit to be Christ’s love in action, proclaiming and demonstrating God’s kingdom.
Events This Summer
are again pleased to support WALK THE WIGHT
Sunday 12th May 201
Our Tea Room will be open for comfort and refreshment breaks!
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’PETER, FOLLOWER OF CHRIST’
Monday 10th June 2019
9.30 a.m.—2.45 p.m.
Tea and coffee will be provided -
please bring a packed lunch
Suggested donation £5
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As part of
OPEN STUDIOS 2019
we will be hosting six local artists here at the Priory, who will be displaying their art in various locations throughout the building from 12th to 22nd July
Our Tea Room will be open on both Saturdays, 13th and 20th July, and we will also be holding our
on Saturday 20th July
10.00 a.m.—3.00 p.m.