|Story and photos - Agnes Ovenstone|
Monday 8 February the Guild welcomed Margaret Webster, our visiting
elder to our meeting. Our speaker for the evening was Rev Andrew
Don. His talk was called Jonah "A Fishy Tale".
us how when Jonah was on board a ship he had told the sailors to throw
him overboard when a big storm came up as he was to blame because
he had run away from the Lord. Instead the sailors tried to get the
ship to the shore but the storm was getting worse so they asked for the
Lord's forgiveness and threw Jonah overboard.
The Lord then
commanded a big fish to swallow Jonah and he was inside for three days
and nights. Jonah prayed and thanked the Lord for saving him from
drowning and promised to always obey him so then the Lord ordered the
fish to spit him up onto the beach.
We sometimes find tales like
this difficult to understand. Is it possible that a man could
actually survive inside a whale?
then told us that the records of the British Admiralty testify that
James Bartley, an apprentice seaman on a whaler, was swallowed by a
whale in February 1891, some two hundred miles east of the Falkland
Islands in the South Atlantic. This is his amazing tale.
huge sperm whale was spotted so the small boats were lowered and set
off to reach their prey. James was in the boat which reached the
whale first but the whale dived and when it surfaced again it crashed
down on the boat. Another boat picked up the survivors but James
Bartley and another man were missing.
When the now dead
whale floated to the surface it had to be cut up at once because of the
hot weather. While they were doing this they noticed something moving
in the stomach so the captain called the ship's doctor.
he cut the stomach open inside was an unconscious but alive man - James
Bartley. It was a month before he was able to tell what had happened to
him in his terrifying experience.
He had spent fifteen hours
inside the whale's stomach and as a result he lost all the hair on his
body and was blind for the rest of his life. His skin was
bleached to an unnatural whiteness that gave the appearance of being
bloodless, although he was healthy. He never made another trip to sea
and died eighteen years after his remarkable survival and terrifying
adventure. His tombstone in Gloucester says "James Bartley - a
modern day Jonah"
What an interesting evening we had and a thought provoking one too.
Guild meets again on Monday 7 March for a Coffee Evening with the
'Ageing Well' Choir. The season ends on Monday 21 March with the AGM
and Bingo. Both in the Church Hall starting at 7.30pm