Rural ministry roundup Yew and Yours:
10 year check up for The Conservation Foundation’s Millennium Yews
A decade after 7,000 young yews propagated from 43 of the UK’s oldest living trees were planted to celebrate the new millennium in parishes throughout the UK, The Conservation Foundation is asking their guardians to give their special tree a ten year health check and report back on how it’s growing.
The Foundation distributed the Millennium Yews in 1999. Grown from trees between one and two thousand years old, some even predating the birth of Christ, the English Yew (Taxus baccata) was chosen as a living symbol of celebration which reflected permanence and endurance, as well as the abundance and vitality of life.
Many Millennium Yews found a place in churchyards, often alongside some very ancient yews. The new arrivals were also planted the length and breadth of the country from Canisbay, the UK’s most northern parish, to the Isles of Scilly, where the yew was delivered by HRH The Prince of Wales. A Millennium Yew marked the establishment of Berinsfield in Oxfordshire, the first new village for over
200 years and the Woodland Trust’s new woodland in East Sussex.
The Millennium Yews have seen a decade with many momentous events and we would like to see how they are faring after their first ten years. As well as details of their size and spread, we hope to receive news, pictures and any stories of links established with other parishes and communities through the Millennium Yew project.
If you were at one of the Cathedral services where the Millennium Yews were handed out, you might
remember that they came with the message to nurture the environment as you would nurture the young tree. In the International Year of Biodiversity, this message has even greater resonance now than it did then.
If you are a Millennium Yews guardian or know of someone who is, The
Conservation Foundation would like to hear from you. Please send news and pictures, with the location of the tree, including the post code to email@example.com
and follow the yew story at www.conservationfoundation.co.uk
Childrens’ glorious contribution
When planning Big Little Church – an opportunity for small churches in Worcester Diocese to come together in a big way and celebrate the joys of being small – we wanted to meet the needs of people of all ages. While adults were engaging with the ministry of the word, children had an opportunity to work together to create an altar frontal. It was then used for the celebration of communion later in the service.
Two of the participants Edwin and Barnaby Bullock said: “at Big Little Church we went into a side room and Robin Sharples and his helpers had cut
4 www. countryway. org. uk
out lots of colourful flames and bits of material. We had to glue the strips onto some white material. There were a lot of people working and we didn't have much time, so we had to work fast. We worked on the flames in the middle of the picture where there was a volcano. That was the Holy Spirit. Others made the land and the sea, with animals and trees representing Creation. We wrote some of the names of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. It was fun."
The frontal now hangs in Suckley Church in Worcester and will travel to other churches so they can enjoy something of the children’s creativity.
Millennium Yew in Long Itchington, Warwickshire
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