17 June is St Botolph’s Day.
My first temp assignment in 1995 was in Boston where my boss was Mr Mather (same name as my headmaster in my secondary school, where my school motto was “Give All”).
At that time in 1995, I saw that the car registration plates for Boston were OCT, ECT and ACT. I was born in OCTober (on St Luke’s Day) and both my mother and sister had suffered from ECT (Electro Convulsive Therapy, also known as Electric Shock Treatment). I had fought against the psychiatrist giving my sister (who is also my goddaughter) ECT in 1985 and had made myself “ill”. I still very much felt that I should ACT against this ECT “treatment” (also St Luke wrote the Book of the ACTS of the apostles).
There are a few different accounts of St Botolph, but it seems he was an English Benedictine monk who built a monastery on “demon infested” land in the East Anglia region. Thus he was “contending” with the devil for the land. He was stating that the land belonged to God. In the same way, I believe that we are “contending” with demons for our minds. Romans 12:2 was one of the first scriptures that resonated with me when I was born again in 1994. Romans 12:2 says: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will”. We need to think “out of the box”.
You will find that there are several St Botolph’s churches around the country and they seem to be at “gateways” into towns. There are three St Botolph’s churches in the City of London. It was in the grounds of one of these churches (at Bishopsgate) that St Mary of Bethlehem (the world’s first psychiatric hospital that was later named Bedlam) was built. Interesting that there should be such a close proximity of Christianity and Psychiatry. It seems that one of the fears of Christians of today is that they might be called “nuts” (a subtle tactic of the enemy of our souls (psyche means soul) to stop us from witnessing to our belief in a supernatural God). My belief is that ONLY born again Christians are equipped to deal with the “battle for our minds”, but we foolishly hand people over to “professionals” to tinker with what they are not equipped to understand (Psalm 146:3-103).
I was doing a sponsored sleepout on the night of 31 October 1997 in St Botolph’s graveyard in Lincoln. I later found out that John Wilson (my ex-husband) and Katie Jackson had married on that day (and that gave a different twist to “Until death us do part”).
Some of the Pilgrim Fathers were imprisoned in Boston before they set sail (via Plymouth) for the Americas. Before I went to Boston in 1995, I was only aware of them setting sail from Plymouth. I met a friend, James, in Lincoln on St Botolph’s Day in 2005 (he had been born in St John’s psychiatric hospital on the anniversary of the Pilgrim Fathers setting sail from Plymouth) and I remember one of the first things he did was sing to me the song by Casting Crowns “Who Am I”?
We went for a walk and he sang from just south of St Botolph’s church in Lincoln all the way up the High Street and Steep Hill to the Cathedral. We popped into Wilko’s at some point and “I’m a Believer” was playing in the store; he went up to the lady on the checkout and said “I’m a Believer!”.
James was born to be an evangelist!
I met my husband at a wedding whilst I was working for British Aerospace on the B374 in Weybridge in 1987. In 2009, when planning to go on pilgrimage to Plymouth to see the place from whence the Pilgrim Fathers set sail, I found that the A374 runs through Plymouth. Psalm 37:4 says “Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart”.
Plymouth’s motto is Turris fortissima est nomen Jehovah – “the name of Jehovah is the strongest tower”. This is taken from Proverbs 18, which says “The name of Jehovah is a strong tower; The righteous runneth into it, and is safe”.