Engaging with God through the beauty and wonder of butterflies

31st October 2023

More than 25 adults and children took part in a butterfly safari in Frome earlier this year organised by retired priest, Revd John Samways. Sharing his passion and love of butterflies, John took the group to Rodden Meadow in the middle of Frome where they saw 16 different species of butterfly. John said, “It was one of those days when everything fell into place and where you felt God’s hand was in it.” 

There are only 60 species of butterfly to be seen in the UK today, compared with more than thousands of species of moths. John says "introducing people of all ages to them can be such a good starting point for engaging with God our creator. 

“I’ve never met anyone who is disappointed with or disinterested in butterflies, indeed their colours, flight and beauty progressively generate a growing curiosity and sense of wonder. It is wonder which dwells in the heart of our relationship with God, our Creator and Redeemer.  Our understanding of God ideally begins with our appreciation of the profound significance of the story of Creation."

John has undertaken other butterfly walks with people from different parishes and this safari in Frome offered an opportunity to reach out to the local community. The event was organised by Frome Town Council who linked John up with a school for children with learning difficulties. Those who took part ranged in age from the very youngest who were brought in buggies, a good position from which to see butterflies(!), to parents and grandparents. John said, “From the youngest to the oldest there was an immediate sense of engagement as we set off on our ‘Butterfly Treasure Hunt’." 

Jeffrey Glassberg, biologist and lepidopterist, says of butterflies that they are, "Beautiful and graceful, varied and enchanting, small but approachable, butterflies lead you to the sunny side of life. And everyone deserves a little sunshine." This quote sums up what John feels about butterflies, a passion he has had since he was seven years old when he was captured by their wonder when his nextdoor neighbour brought in a Peacock butterfly that was hibernating in a matchbox. Since then, butterflies have been interwoven with his spiritual journey, illustrating so clearly "the journey and wonder of transformational change". 

Sharing his passion for butterflies with others John says, "Butterflies - a precious gift of God …… and revealing a journey to be widely shared." 

Images Unsplash: Peacock

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