January 2020 Benefice Letter

January 2020 Benefice Letter

 Light-Bulb Moments    “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”  (Matt. 3:17) As we contemplate a new year and a new decade, putting away the decorations, finding space in the freezer for all those leftovers, we are not yet done with Christmas.  In the Church calendar, the Christmas season runs through till Candlemas in February.   And because Christmas is not just about over-spending and over-indulging, January offers us a chance to think more deeply about the significance of Christ’s birth.  On Epiphany Sunday, a day set aside to commemorate God revealed through the person of Jesus […]

December 2019 Benefice Letter

O Star of wonder, star of night, star with royal beauty bright, westward leading, still proceeding, guide us to thy Perfect Light God of hope be with us in our Advent journey to the stable and beyond, be with us in our meeting and in our travelling together, be with us in our worship and our praying together, be with us in our Advent journey to the stable and beyond, our God of hope. Dear Friends, As the nights draw in and the darkness comes to surrounds us, we enter a time of preparation. Advent beckons and our sense of […]

Wishford School Remembers

Wishford School Remembers

KS2 pupils from Great Wishford C of E VA Primary School filed quietly into St Giles’ church on 11 November for a service to remember those from the village who died in the two World Wars.  The doves that they had made, together with the hymns ‘Peace perfect peace’ and ‘Make me a channel of your peace’, gave away the service’s underlying message of hope that one day the world will be at peace.  Ivy Henstridge and Ivan Gurd read ‘In Flanders Field’ and Jo Jo Barratt ‘For the Fallen’ – all three pupils evoking so well the terrible sense […]

Harvest Praise at Great Wishford

Accompanied by the Benefice choir, who were in particularly fine voice that evening, the congregation at St Giles’ were tunefully vocal in their thanksgiving for harvest.  The message of God as provider and sustainer of life was clear in the readings and the homily, reminding us also that everything we receive is from God and remains his – and we are to look after it.  A fabulous loaf in the shape of a wheat sheaf adorned the altar, made with the enthusiastic help of Jack and Henry Noble.   Afterwards, those not coming to the Harvest Supper were invited to break […]

Berwick St James Harvest 2019

As the rain continued to fall, after days of it already and the promise of more to come, 26 braved the wind and wet to gather in St James’ church and give thanks for this year’s harvest.  The church looked wonderful, decked out in flowers that were radiant with the colours of autumn, a plaited loaf on the altar, and a great deal of fruit and veg.  The produce was taken to the Salisbury Women’s Refuge, to be made into very welcome soups and pies.  Focusing on giving and sharing, the service included the handing out of daffodil bulbs for […]

Stockton’s Village Pet Service

Stockton’s Village Pet Service Lenny to anyone who might care to listen: “Is it my imagination or has a small dog just taken up residence between my hind legs?”

Lenny to anyone who might care to listen: “Is it my imagination or has a small dog just taken up residence between my hind legs?” The church of St John the Baptist at Stockton hosted the village pet service on Sunday 29th September.  As Creationtide was drawing to an end, it made a fitting tribute to the furry creatures of God’s creation that both keep us company, and also provide at least one good reason for what might otherwise be mistaken for talking to ourselves!  Jonathan spoke about how much our pets give to us during their relatively brief lifetimes, […]

The Harvest Is Great

The Harvest Is Great

Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.’ Matthew 9: 35 – 38 Dear Friends, The anonymous poet writes: For the hay and the corn and the wheat that is reaped, For the […]

St Giles Fest

ST GILES’ FEST Villagers past and present enjoyed an afternoon of sunshine and conviviality, fortified by an assortment of delicious sandwiches and cakes, accompanied by Pimms, tea or coffee.  It was an opportunity both to thank those who contribute to village life in so many ways and to welcome new or recent arrivals.  The sun shone as conversation (and the Pimms!) flowed freely.  I am sure that St Giles, whose name was given to our church, would have been delighted to be feted in that way.  And we learned more about him in the service of Evensong that followed at […]

St Giles Cafe Update

St Giles Cafe Update Regular Cafe Customers chatting, in the background is the Cafe serving area.

Café in the Church has just passed its 5th anniversary, and we are still going strong!  Our committed volunteers share their many and varied skills to help make this weekly event happen.  Those skills include baking the amazing selection we put out each week (up to 14 different items during term time!), organising the rota, coordinating and serving, recording and banking the money for church funds, as well as the practical skills that have enhanced the ‘café experience’ – such as engineering, woodwork, sheer muscle, and an eagle eye.  Those practical skills have brought about a handsomely varnished even floor, […]