Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Church Matters

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Church Matters

Article excerpt

Byline: By Francis Wood

Give Swithin a chance

poor St SwithIn. All this good man wanted was a burial place where the gentle rain would fall on his grave. Now the only thing that people remember is that he makes it pour down for 40 days.

He was Bishop of Winchester in the 9th Century. Being a humble man, he left instructions for his body to be buried outside the church, where worshippers might walk over his grave. What is little-known is that he lay there for 109 years (862-971). In that time his brother monks developed such a devotion to him that they later decided to transfer his body to a glorious shrine inside the cathedral.

Such was Swithin's influence over the elements that he resisted their attempts by making it rain violently for 40 days. Still they managed to get him indoors. The shrine was destroyed at the Reformation (1538) and now nobody knows where he is, except through legend. You can check out the truth of the weather prophesy over the next few days.

DOING GOOD

I'd like to say a word for the do-gooders of the world. Why do they receive such a bad Press these days? They're now described in the dictionary as "interfering busybodies", which seems a bit cruel to me. Thursday next happens to be the feast day of one of my favourite do-gooders, St Margaret of Scotland (1045-93). She was known for her devotion and charity to the poor. It is said of Margaret that she would never sit down to a meal until she had first fed four-and-twenty orphans and needy people. It seems that doing good has a long history. They'll celebrate her day at St Margaret's Church, Scotswood, with a festival service on Thursday evening at 7.30pm.

SILLY SEASON

We're coming to the silly season. The time of year when news is hard to find. An editor will look out of the window and tell a reporter: "Go and find out why that dog has five legs." "But it has four legs, boss," replies the reporter. …

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