The All-Weather Saint

Rev Alan Barker
Rev Alan Barker
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THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: By Rev Alan Barker, Holbeach Methodist Church

Did you watch the weather yesterday? Can you safely put away your umbrella? July 15 was the feast day of St Swithin.

A weather rhyme has the following advice:

‘St Swithin’s day if thou dost rain

For forty days it will remain

St Swithin’s day if thou be fair

For forty days ‘twill rain nae mair’

According to the Met Office, weather records cast doubt upon the accuracy of the saying. However, St Swithin probably wouldn’t have minded. He was a Saxon Bishop of Winchester whose love of people and places of worship was matched by a love of walking. When dedicating or visiting a church he would travel the tracks and byways of Wessex choosing not to ride, but rather to mingle with his people. His choice challenges patterns of church ministry today, so dependant upon cars and distancing priests and pastors from their communities. St Swithin’s dying wish was to be buried outside the entrance of his church where the footsteps of his friends would pass by and the raindrops from the eves would drip upon him! Whatever the weather outlook, come rain or shine, St Swithin tells us that people and friendship matter.