Beryl and her husband have been members of St John's for many years now. Here she writes in her own words about her experience as a poet.
“She is a Poet but she didn’t know it”. So read the caption underneath my photograph in the local newspaper, having won an award in a competition run by the Downland Poets of Eastbourne and East Sussex.
We were living in Eastbourne at that time having recently moved from Carlisle in Cumbria where we had spent the last 14 years. I was licensed as a Reader (LLM) in 1975. Besides officiating at Services in many of the little country Churches I had the opportunity to learn about the study and practice of prayer. Living as we did in the quiet and peace of the countryside enabled me to do this. My Spiritual Director was a Priest who guided me along that particular path. It was at that time I started writing down the thoughts that came into my head during my prayer times and it seemed to me they were often in verse or song or just ‘prayers to God’. My Director corroborated this and told me to go on writing! When I won the award, mentioned above, I took it as God’s confirmation of the gift He had given me.
We returned to Cambridge in 1988 having lived there in the 1960s with three small children and my husband studying at Gonville and Caius College. I was invited to join the Cambridge Poetry Group which had just been formed under the leadership of a small group of male poets keen to include women poets! It is still thriving today and produces a monthly booklet to which I subscribe and where some of my poems are included. In the early days my poems were more inward-looking, God/me poems. I was advised to create more outward- looking poems about the world around us - the natural world and relationships.
I started creating booklets of my poems, having been taught desktop publishing on my laptop and selling them for charity as well as giving them to family members and friends. Later, I made use of two firms helping to self-publish my books in order to send them further a-field. I always used my own name as Author as it was my way of witnessing to my faith. I have never made any money from my poems. They were God’s gift to me. Gifts are meant to be shared and the glory given to God. “All good gifts come from God and of his own has he given us.” If I hadn’t become a Reader I would never have discovered this gift. Thanks be to God!
Two of Beryl's volumes of poetry can be downloaded here. The most recent is a booklet entitled "Poems of Word and Worship" and includes the poem "Memories in a Garden - Gesthemane" which won
first prize in a competition organised by United Press for religious verse in 2013.
The following documents are sermons and homilies that Beryl has written over the years. The first document, Through the Christian Year, shows the seasons appropriate for each sermon.