Diocesan Letter to Parishes

God’s gift to humankind

By Trevor Willmott, Assistant Bishop, Diocese of Bath and Wells

The leaves of the trees will be for the healing of the nations. Rev. 22.2

A few days spent recently in the Lakes gave us a much anticipated opportunity to visit the new RHS garden, Bridgewater, near Manchester. Created in the ruins of the much overgrown walled garden of a long gone great house, the garden is the result of co-operation between the RHS and the City Council.

While the Paradise Garden with its pools and flowing water reminded me of the river of life in the Revelation, it was the therapeutic garden which captured my imagination. A number of charities working in inner Manchester with people whose lives are deeply affected by issues of mental health and social deprivation had approached the RHS to explore the possibility of creating a working garden to be grown and maintained by the various communities involved. The result is stunning both visually and mentally.

To aid the development the partners decided to allocate some of their limited financial resources towards the appointment of a full time occupational therapeutic gardener. Talking with her and reading the display boards around the garden we discovered that for many of those involved not only was this their first experience of gardening but more importantly the physical work and interaction is giving them a hope and purpose in life in ways that nothing else had been able to achieve.

The Revelation speaks of a world transformed and made new by God; the very stuff of the earth, trees and water, bringing new life to what was tired and old. The Scriptures remind us that the earth is God’s gift to humankind to be tended and cherished; to be used for the good of all.

But let the last word be that of the therapeutic gardener “we can care for others; we can care for the earth. All we need is a vision and the will.”

With my blessing

+Trevor