James’ Song Oh did you volunteer to come and how long will you stay and can we learn enough of love before you slip away? We greeted you with fear and grief you seemed beyond our reach but now we know a child of light who has so much to teach. Sometimes you look with baffled eyes which fills our hearts with pain. Oh is it that we are obtuse and you cannot explain? We march our roads with hustled tread you step a different pace but your path may be more direct to reach your special place. Oh did you volunteer to come and how long will you stay to teach us unconditional love before you go away? © from Thinning Grapes by Mary Sheepshanks I wrote this poem many years ago when my grandson, James Cox, was a fragile small boy with a great many problems and a very uncertain future. It’s hard to equate the sad little figure of yesterday with the stalwart young man James is today: possessed of a fantastic sense of humour, with an original turn of phrase and a gift for making friends wherever he goes, he can be very good company. He is a passionate football fan, a talented swimmer and can ride a bicycle. He still has special needs and will always require special support, but his amazing parents never gave up on him, and thanks to their dedication and the help of the wonderful Camphill Community James has developed skills that once seemed impossible. He is a much loved member of our large and close family who has had a profound effect on us all. He has indeed taught us a great deal about loving. © M.S.S. 05 November 2013 Grace unpacked Grace unpacked is the theme of this year’s ALIVE, the Christian mini-festival organised by St John’s Church, Woodbridge. With events throughout Bank Holiday Weekend 24-26 May, the festival aims to provide Christians of all ages from East Anglia and beyond the opportunity to recharge their spiritual batteries alongside Christians from other denominations, and to make a personal pilgrimage. To find out more, visit www.alivefestival.org or contact St John’s Church Office (Tel 383162).