Sadly the towering trees which used to line the long driveway up to Scargill House have had to be cut down. At this melancholy time Scargill’s Director Phil Stone reflects on community, culture shock and how sometimes seeds need to die if they are going to live…
This last week has been sad and significant for Scargill. Our treasured avenue of horse chestnuts, which has been part of the landscape for the last 50 years and more, have become diseased and dangerous and have had come to down. Interesting and surprisingly what has been left is a new vista where the surrounding hills look even more inviting and attractive.
We are gradually becoming aware that the rhythm of life involves some small and some significant deaths so that God can bring new life and new beginnings. The rhythm of cross and resurrection are central to our lives. Scargill itself was resurrected, but not before it had to go through a death in 2008. The whole estate was up for sale and the long ministry of Scargill had finished. The place was dead. God though had not wiped the slate with either the place or the ministry.
When Di and I came to Scargill to grow and develop the ministry at the beginning of 2010, we were excited about the new adventure, but after a while I was wondering what we had done. From being a vicar in a large inner city parish, an area dean with responsibilities, I had come to Scargill where there was just a handful of us and 10,000 sheep. However lovely those sheep are, they are not great conversationalists, and regarded me as a sort of mint sauce threat (probably rightly so). After a couple of months of this I was feeling diminished, and well out of my depth. I went to see a wise friend who listened and shared a verse from John 12: “Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit”
Something had to die in me, for something new to come alive – never easy, often painful, but necessary. We can never jump to resurrection until we go through our own cross. Three years on Scargill is alive and thriving. The place is beginning to bear much fruit, but what is most significant is that I have deepened my understanding that I am loved by God, that I am called “his beloved”. Sometimes God has to strip away old securities so he can help us find again our true identity.
This week we begin Passiontide, with the invitation to journey with Jesus through Palm Sunday next Sunday, onto the Cross, and then onto the joy of Easter Sunday. As we journey with Jesus may we also know that he journeys with us as we face our crosses We need to ask him for courage.
This week new trees will be planted down our avenue at Scargill.
Our resurrection life continues.
The community at Scargill is always warmly welcoming new members and wishing a fond farewell to others as each person’s contract is staggered so that as we grow and change we can maintain consistency. If you are interested in spending some time as part of our community or know someone who might be interested then click here (especially if you/they have professional catering experience!). Feel free to use the contact information in the link to get in touch and start a conversation going to work out if Scargill is the right place for you to explore more about life, community and God.