It was a beautiful day. After a seemingly perpetual winter, the sun was shining at last and the sky was blue. As I walked towards the church I paused to take notice of the buds straining to burst into life. Above the bare-branched trees a raucous community of Rooks were wheeling around in the sky, cawing to one another incessantly like inky delinquents. Fabulatorus and I agreed that we were very lucky to find ourselves approaching Guestwick church on such a day as this.
It is one of the precepts of The Ragged Society of Antiquarian Ramblers that every church has its treasures - though, in some instances, you may have to look a while before this is revealed! We had read our Mortlock and Roberts church guide, and, thus, were very curious to discover evidence of the earlier Norman cruciform church which is hinted at by a fossilised gable and other evidence on the exterior of the church. However, fascinating though this is to our antiquarian intellect, it was a new addition that surprised and delighted us.
As you can see in the photographs above, an exquisite new window - intended to celebrate the natural life of local creatures and, in a wider sense, creation - provided a feast for our eyes. Having enquired about this to the Revd. Veronica Wilson, the Rector of the parish, and the Churchwarden, Robin Back, we now know a bit more about it. The 'Creation' window was conceived and constructed by local resident, stained glass expert and glazier, Adam O'Grady. It was installed on the 26th January 2010.
Robin Back described to me thus:
"First and foremost it is a donation to the Church and Community of Guestwick and each pane has relevance either to the church or to village life. The obvious symbols of the Lamb and the cross Keys of St.Peter are at the top and surrounded by other symbols including the sun, the moon and the dove of peace. The other panes represent creatures of God which mostly are local. Bats, birds, hares and rabbits, snakes, newts, frogs and insects, trees, leaves, ferns and plants, fish, squirrels, owls and butterflies... The list is seemingly endless. The whole is a metaphor for creation and its infinite richness and variety, also its beauty which we can see all around us."
Local people are hoping to organise a parish picnic to celebrate the donation of this window in July. This church continues to be a part of the community and develops through the love and inspiration of those who care about it. Adam O'Grady has given us a wonderful gift, and cast new light within his community. Here is a thing of beauty which makes one stop and take notice. It has provided a focus which, both, connects the local community and inspires visitors like us to get in touch - as well as to write these words.
Standing in the light of this window Fabulatorus and I ruminated upon the sense of achievement, pride and wonder which must have accompanied the creation of the church and its treasures throughout its life. All these old things were once new, and, in their time, someone would have laid down their tools, and then stood back to admire their work. Thus, a wonderful new window stretched our imagination and we were able to empathise with those largely anonymous people who made this special place and bequeathed it to us, in what was, with hindsight, an utterly beautiful transient blue-skied present moment.
Guestwick is a richer place thanks to Adam's gift....
Composed by Esotericus