Parish Magazine Archive
Each month the Priest-in-charge writes a letter for the parish magazines. They are reproduced below.
 


Friday August 25th 2017
Be encouraged!
Be encouraged! In his first letter to the Christian Church in Thessalonica, St Paul wrote, "Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.Ē Iíve been reminded of those words as Iíve reflected on my first few weeks as your vicar. We live in a world whe More...
Friday September 15th 2017
ďTake heart, it is I. Do not be afraid.Ē
"Take heart, it is I. Do not be afraid.Ē The world, beautiful though it is, especially the area where we live, can sometimes seem a bewildering, even frightening, place. As I write, the situation on the Korean Peninsular is a particular concern. An already tense situation, that has been wor More...
Tuesday August 1st 2017
New journeys begin
New journeys begin: I've just spent 3 days in Chartres, in north-central France. The town is famous for its cathedral, which dominates the skyline for miles around. But there are plenty of nice cathedrals in the UK, so why head for Chartres? Located in the Cathedral is a 12th century circula More...
Friday June 16th 2017
I will take with me many memories ...
It is 3 years since I arrived as a Ďnot so youngí and inexperienced, newly ordained curate in these parishes. In the initial months of my curacy when I attended training courses, together with other curate colleagues, we were expected to be able to recite the names of our parishes Ė a task whi More...
Tuesday May 16th 2017
Hello message from Scott and Ros
Hello! I'm grateful to have the opportunity to introduce myself, although I want to do that properly when Ros and I, along with our Basset Hound, Marigold, move into Honeybourne Vicarage and I become your Vicar and part of the Vale and Cotswold Edge Team Ministry. I'm excited and humbled to hav More...
Tuesday May 16th 2017
Celia's news
Dear Friends With the early spring sunshine we have enjoyed in April and everything bursting into bloom, we are looking forwards to a new era in our six parishes. Our new team vicar, Scott Watts will be installed at St Peter's, Willersey on 28th June while I will be leaving the parishes on 18 More...
Monday April 10th 2017
We are delighted to announce the new encumbrant.
We are delighted to announce Revd Scott Watts will be the next Team Vicar serving the parishes of Aston-sub-Edge, Dorsington, Honeybourne, Pebworth, Weston-sub-Edge and Willersey. Scott writes,   Dear friends, Ros and I are looking forward to getting to know all of you in the Chu More...
Friday March 31st 2017
As we move towards our great celebration of Easter
As we move from Lent towards our great celebration of Easter, we will re-live the drama of Jesus' last earthly journey which took him to the cross. For some that was a symbol of defeat. Those in power at the time thought that executing Jesus would put an end to his ministry - At that point it More...
Friday March 10th 2017
We can look forward to March winds, April showers and misty May mornings!
With winter now behind us this year, we can look forward to March winds, April showers and misty May mornings! The fresh green shoots of growth, which have been dormant during the winter months, will soon appear. March is a transition month in terms of the weather. But it is also a transition More...
Monday January 23rd 2017
Have you made any New Year resolutions yet?
Have you made any New Year resolutions yet? Itís a much talked about but, in my experience, often failed enterprise in our household! Ideas which seem inspired on New Yearís Eve and for the first few weeks of January soon seem to be replaced by other better ideas Ė and so it goes on until the More...
Monday February 13th 2017
As winter turns to spring
February to me is the time when we can begin to put winter behind us and look forward to spring, and new life in the shape of our gardens and fields being filled with new growth and baby animals of all sorts appearing in the countryside. Life means all sorts of things to different people. What More...
Saturday December 17th 2016
Love, peace and joy!
Love, peace and joy! The Christmas message. As we approach the celebrations of Christmas Day we have a habit of moving into a frenzy of activity and activities. Love there certainly must be, the love of our families and our friends, because the frenzied activity is all about getting ready to c More...
Saturday November 26th 2016
Heads Together
As the summer wanes and the beauty of the autumn colours turns to red and gold and then disappear to leave the bare tress and darker days I am reminded of those times in our lives when darkness can overwhelm us. It is at such times that we need to be able to turn to others for comfort, reassur More...
Monday October 3rd 2016
Who am I not?
At a recent study day, spent with my curate colleagues in training from across the diocese, we were asked a simple question: Who am I not? An odd thing to ask perhaps Ė but on reflection a profound one and a liberating one if you choose to think about it in greater depth. Frequently our iden More...
Monday September 5th 2016
September is a month of beginnings and endings.
September is a month of beginnings and endings. In the Northern hemisphere we are moving towards autumn, the crops are being gathered in and we can celebrate harvest. In the Southern hemisphere, the seasonal cycle is, of course, the other way round. For many of our young people the seasonal cy More...
Monday June 6th 2016
Baptism is the primary layer of identity for every Christian.
Dear Friends   As we move closer to the day of the EU referendum, I have been prompted to reflect on the vehemence of the two arguments Ė leave or remain - and what that tells me about how we value our identity. Identity is a greatly cherished part of every human being Ė to belong mean More...
Monday July 4th 2016
Christian festivals to celebrate the gifts of creation have become a traditional part of the churchís year.
Our summer weather brings out the best of the English countryside! The combination of rain and sunshine creates a patchwork quilt of ripening crops across this beautiful part of the world. For some July and August bring the summer holidays and a break from the usual routines of work and study. More...
Friday April 22nd 2016
Thank you from Debbie and Edward
Dear Friends We are now safely installed in the vicarage in Addington and have just reached the point of deciding where to put pictures on the walls, so before any more time elapses I wanted to write to say thank you. Firstly thank you to the many of you who came to my last service in Honeybou More...
Friday May 6th 2016
We too will journey on ...
Dear Friends On 3rd April we said farewell to Debbie and Edward as they spent their last Sunday with us before leaving for pastures new. We shared a mixture of emotions with them. Joybecause we were blessed with a beautiful spring day and they are looking forward to new and exciting experienc More...
Wednesday March 16th 2016
Moving on...
Dear Friends By the time you read this you will know, or at least many of you will know, that I am moving on from these parishes after Easter and that my last service here will be Sunday 3rdApril. It has been a great privilege to be your parish priest for four and a half years and a year and a More...
Sunday January 10th 2016
The New Year has arrived
The New Year has arrived, our New Yearís resolutions are still fresh in our minds Ė or perhaps we havenít quite formulated them yet and yes, the evenings are beginning to draw out. These are early signs of new life and hope for the future in the dark days of winter when we anticipate and wait fo More...
Sunday December 6th 2015
Evil is not a word I use lightly ...
Dear Friends I write this the weekend the western world is reeling following the attacks in Paris. These attacks were carried out on ordinary people doing ordinary things: eating together, watching football, at a concert. They get at the very heart of life which is not played out on the big s More...
Sunday November 8th 2015
November is the month of Remembrance.
November is the month of Remembrance. For the church, the 1st November is All Saints Day, when we remember and celebrate all those Christians who have lived and died and left a legacy of a true example of Christian living for us to emulate. On 2nd November, All Souls Day, we commemorate those More...
Friday October 23rd 2015
+ Rachel Treweek, the 41st Bishop of Gloucester and the first diocesan woman Bishop
The waiting is over and on Saturday we all became part of history as + Rachel Treweek, the 41st Bishop of Gloucester and the first diocesan woman Bishop, was welcomed to the diocese and cathedral and placed in the Bishopís chair Ė cathedra. She entered the cathedral vested in a simple surplus More...
Saturday September 26th 2015
ďGod saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very goodĒ
As we embark on a new school year, finish the harvest, start putting gardens to bed and experience the inevitable commercial emphasis towards Halloween and then Christmas, I have been reflecting on just how much we are bombarded by words. Words come at us through the TV, radio, internet, books More...
Friday September 11th 2015
Rachel Treweek consecrated Bishop of Gloucester
The recent photographs from the New Horizons Space Probe have been amazing, but what I find even more amazing is the ingenuity of those who conceived the project in the first place. Indeed it has been a delight listening to some of the scientists involved, hearing their excitement and almost a More...
Sunday August 2nd 2015
Almost a year ago life changed dramatically for me
Almost a year ago life changed dramatically for me. As a newly ordained deacon, I joined this group of parishes as a complete stranger. I have been greatly blessed by your welcome and encouragement. Once again this year I can expect life to change having just been ordained priest. This doesnít More...
Tuesday July 7th 2015
ďhow can a good God allow such devastation to happen?Ē
As I write this I canít help but reflect on the terrible scenes of suffering in Nepal that we have seen on our television screens in the last month and it is quite difficult to come to terms with the sheer scale of such a disaster. I can hear you saying to me, "how can a good God allow such de More...
Friday May 22nd 2015
Religion and politics do not mix?
Easter has come and gone, lambs are frolicking in the fields and before we know it, high summer will be upon us! This year brings the General Election to add to the excitement, and 'election fever' seems to have hit our television screens, newspapers and advertising hoardings all over the place More...
Tuesday April 21st 2015
April is the month of Annual Meetings
By the time you read this we shall definitely be on the way to balmier weather, trees in their fresh and vibrant clothes and the more confident flowers of early summer. In the church, after the great festival of Easter, April is the month of Annual Meetings. I know those words are not likely t More...
Tuesday March 31st 2015
Itís a time of new beginnings
Dear Friends With snowdrops, crocus and daffodils flowering as I write, it feels that the dark winter days are behind us. Itís a time of new beginnings and an expectation that fresh colour and bright light will bring forth growth and warmth to our lives. At this time of the year, Christians l More...
Tuesday February 17th 2015
God whose nature is forgiveness
Dear Friends Christmas now seems long in the past and sadly we cannot really claim that 2015 has got off to a very good start if we look around the world. The shooting in Paris has cut to the core of our western belief in the importance of freedom of speech and of religion. Nothing can ever j More...
Monday December 22nd 2014
The time of mince pies and parties
Dear Friends The time of mince pies and parties is fast approaching and as usual I find myself caught between wanting people to enjoy celebration and wanting to remind them that the pre-Christmas time is a time of preparation and that the celebration doesnít actually start until Christmas day More...
Friday January 9th 2015
New Year Greetings
Dear Friends At the start of the New Year, many would say that Christmas is Ďdoneí for another year. I often wonder what the expression means. Is it that we are Ďdoneí with the shopping sprees or the Christmas parties or the Christmas eating extravaganza? Or is it because the endless advertisi More...
Saturday November 1st 2014
Introduction DF
Dear Friends As your new parish priest I felt it would be good to introduce myself separately from the letter I have written for this month. Before 6th October I was priest in charge of Honeybourne, Pebworth, Dorsington and Marston Sicca. I have now relinquished Marston Sicca , and have joyfu More...
Friday August 1st 2014
ĎAll we like ...í
Over the Cotswold Edge, the bees are humming, Dawn-chorus birds send and receive their tweets; From honey-limestone folds, the sheep are coming Into St Peterís stalls to take their seats.   I leave my soon-to-be-vacated bothy, Meet an escapee on Friday Street; Iíd never catch this poor More...
Saturday August 2nd 2014
Part(y)ing is such sweet sorrow
As the big day approached, time hurtled towards us. No way did we feel ready for it, let alone to move house! But time and tide ... And so July 20th arrived, with no apology for its unerring punctuality. It was time to stop. And to go. The farewell service was such a powerful experience for t More...
Sunday July 27th 2014
Ite missa est
Cheeky, I suppose: starting this article for the magazine with three Latin words. But anyone with an RC background and enough miles on the clock will probably remember them: the final words from the Latin Roman Catholic Mass. The deacon sends the people away with this parting shot. ĎGo! You ar More...
Monday June 9th 2014
Exits and Entrances
Itís a brave television series that ends (I mean really ends) with a question-mark hanging in the air, characters and viewers alike left in suspense. But followers of BBC 1ís Silk (Maxine Peake, feisty barrister) know what itís like to be left dangling. Martha, Peakeís character, had failed in More...
Tuesday May 27th 2014
Egypt v. Land of Promise
What is your favourite novel? No Ė let me ask the question a bit more pretentiously: which for you is the finest novel in the English language? I was writing recently about detective fiction. Chief Inspector Morse seems to have settled the question of Englandís Best in his own mind. Much as h More...
Monday April 7th 2014
Knowing the place for the first time
Getting ready to come here seven years ago, my imagination was stirred when I spotted a familiar place-name on the map, actually within my new patch: Burnt Norton.Surely, there couldnít be twoplaces called that? It had (didnít it?) to be the location used by the poet T.S.Eliot as the title for More...
Friday March 7th 2014
ďHow many detectives do you need to ....?Ē
I stumbled into detective fiction about 20 years ago. A friend Iíd served with as a curate pressed into my hand a P.D. Jamesí novel, "An unsuitable job for a womanĒ, which I eventually read. This led me into the Adam Dalgleish mysteries, all of which I devoured. Then I started on Ian Rankinís More...
Friday February 7th 2014
Advertisersí Announcements
Every job Iíve had in ministry (except for my first) has come via advertisements in the Church Times. For more than 40 years, I have looked on, as the styles and techniques used by parishes to promote interest in themselves have changed.It used to be simple: name of parish, type of post (vica More...
Monday January 13th 2014
Archery - The Final Shot
Followers of The Archers Ė and of this column Ė will know that I occasionally use story-lines and characters from the Radio 4 Soap as a peg on which to hang some thoughts. This final shot in my series is the one fired by the hapless Ed Grundy, worried for weeks that his milking herd is bei More...
Tuesday December 31st 2013
Doing Christmas
All through my years of ministry Ė and for very much longer Ė the Church has tried to swim against the tide in the keeping of Christmas. The Rector who trained me took a dim view of people who only turned up for services on Christmas Day. Coming with a skin-full of ale at Midnight would have g More...
Tuesday November 5th 2013
Tonic chord, second inversion
(Letís start at the very beginning...) This is a piece I originally wrote last Spring, and then decided was a bit too eccentric (even for me). However, fired up by the Last Night of the Proms recently, Iíve returned to it with fresh eyes (and ears): and with the hope that it might Ė just More...
Thursday October 10th 2013
Hold that thought!
Over the years, I have never thought that prayer was my forté. To some people, it comes naturally. They listen to Jesusí words, Ask and you shall receive etc, they get it and they just go for it. Not for them philosophical puzzles: how can bad things happen if God is all-good and all-pow More...
Saturday September 7th 2013
Wrong end of a telescope ....?
Looking back at ourselves as we were decades ago is a weird business. This August, I find myself looking back for two reasons. One is, itís 55 years this summer since that experience I had in Lichfield Cathedral which Ė eventually Ė brought me into the ordained ministry. Alone, locked by acci More...
Wednesday August 14th 2013
The Wisdom of Bilbo Baggins
Bilbo, aka the Hobbit, makes several appearance in Tolkienís trilogy, Lord of the Rings. We meet him at the outset, contemplating his Eleventy-first birthday. Bilbo has had enough. In a wonderful simile, he describes himself as Ďlike butter which has been spread over too much breadí. In the co More...
Wednesday July 3rd 2013
Good on you, Diarmuid!
It was a something-and-nothing, almost a throw-away remark. But you could feel the shock waves. BBC TV was holding its annual gardenfest (come to think of it, one of many ...) in Chelsea Week. Nightly broadcasts: summaries, anticipations, finest moments, out-takes. Gardening gurus Alan Titchma More...
Monday June 3rd 2013
When words won't do
Each time I try to tell you, the words just turn out wrong So I have to say 'I love you' in a song   Some of you will remember that song. Human beings often can't find the words to express what they are feeling: at least, not words in ordinary prose. So we have to fall back on so More...
Friday May 10th 2013
Getting it
One of the most over-used lines in cinema, it seems, is: 'You just don't get it, do you?' Jeff Smith, a film enthusiast in want of a life, has watched an untold number of movies in order to come up with an amazing statistic: that it figures in 102 feature films, a surprisingly large number o More...
Sunday April 21st 2013
May 5th - A day with the Bishop
 Once every couple of years, the Bishop or one of his immediate colleagues spends a whole day in each benefice. At the end of 2010, Archdeacon Robert Springett shared All Saintsí Day with us, culminating in a great Eucharist at Mickleton attended by people from all of our parishes. This ti More...
Monday March 11th 2013
Do what you do do well
Lent, Holy Week and Easter are not everyone's cup of tea. Seasons come, seasons go. Some of us rarely bat an eyelid. Time was, people used to turn out for special week-day festivals or solemn occasions. Now, they are mostly observed on the nearest Sunday - though there are some you can't r More...
Wednesday February 6th 2013
Making much of miracles .....
Years ago, I used to be a huge fan of the musicals of Rogers and Hammerstein One of their lesser-known songs from a relatively-forgotten show was A Hundred Million Miracles, from The Flower Drum Song. When youíre in love, itís true: a hundred million miracles are happening every day! Iíd like to More...
Monday January 14th 2013
Ouch!
November 20th was not a good day for the Church of England. After a preparation build-up period of several years, General Synod rejected the change of church law which would have made possible the ordination of women as bishops. This, in spite of the fact that 42 out of 44 dioceses had voted More...
Saturday December 15th 2012
When you come to church at Christmas ...
( ... and I warmly invite you to consider doing so) I suggest you may think about bringing with you some or all of the following: Someone who is happy. Christmas is a great time to be happy (though it's the very time when happiness eludes many). And 'church' is a great place to bring our More...
Monday November 12th 2012
Rickety-tickety-tin
ĚYou'll either get that quotation, or you won't. No half-way house. And if you do, the probability is that you were young, and a bit of a rebel, in the 1950s and 60s. It's the chorus from a grimly-funny song by an American Maths teacher, Tom Lehrer. Lehrer was out there, in the late 50s, do More...
Tuesday October 2nd 2012
The Years Turn
Autumn is a poignant time. Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, Keats thought. A time for reflecting on the zigs and zags of a year hurtling on towards its conclusion. For gardeners, a time of busy-ness: harvesting, cleaning up, perhaps a window for reckoning with weeds which have dug themselves More...
Sunday September 9th 2012
A Broadway Lullaby
When the good burghers of Broadway start losing their sleep, perhaps it is time for us all to sit up and take note. At the end of July, our neighbouring benefice was catapulted into national focus because of a letter which had gone out to some parishioners, advising them that their propert More...
Wednesday August 8th 2012
A (mostly forgotten) poet
I donít Ďdoí drugs. (The class A, B and C sort). Never have. Flirted with alcohol, yes. Not much, in the scheme of things. Ditto, ditto tobacco Ė untouched now for forty years. No. If I want a mid-blowing Ďhighí, I look elsewhere: into the realms of poetry. Over-exposure can seriously mess up the More...
Sunday July 1st 2012
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
It's not often ( ...ever? ...) I start my piece with a Latin quotation. Gone out of fashion, 'dead language', as my grandson tells me. And any way I'm a poor sort of classical scholar. But this one does seem worth thinking about right now. "Who takes care of the caretakers themselves?" "Wh More...
Tuesday June 5th 2012
June - A Tale of Two Queens
I was seven-and-a-half when King George VI died (I remember the day vividly) and nearly nine when the Coronation happened. I watched it on the telly with my grandmother, who would have been able to recall Queen Victoria's funeral. History is elastic like that, a sort of relay-race. I won More...
Tuesday May 1st 2012
May -Sometimes a light surprises
It's a bit like the human genome, a person's genetic fingerprint, is the list of hymns that you know and love. Everybody's bag contains a different selection from everyone else's. It's a collection that you started to build up when you were at school, and/or Sunday school. For some peopl More...
Tuesday April 3rd 2012
April -Singing and Detecting
A Who's Who, for making sense of what follows: Dennis Potter, Playwright 1935-94; author of the television drama, The Singing Detective Philip Marlow, central character in this TV drama, suffering from psoriatic arthritis; author of 'cheap' detective novels Philip Marlow (confusingly), central ch More...
Thursday March 8th 2012
March - Are you now, or have you ever been ... ?
Baptised. Christened. Or whatever you want to call it. This year, Bishop Michael wants us all to ask these questions. He hopes that we'll respond positively, in the present tense: I am baptised! Our baptism may have taken place many decades ago. It may be completely inaccessible to our cons More...
Wednesday February 1st 2012
February - More Archery ......
It's been a while since my first piece on The Archers, time enough for my quiver to be brimming full with further reflections. The big issue for me (and all other listeners) lately has been the capacity of the past to turn up like an avenging Fury and to play havoc with personalities a More...
Monday January 2nd 2012
And a Happy New Year!
I've never spent the festive season north of the border, but they tell me that, in Scotland, Hogmanay is a bigger deal than Christmas Day. It's not a competition - but I can kind of see why that might be. In the depths of winter, when all seems dormant, dark and depressing, it's important to More...
Tuesday November 1st 2011
November -DIYDO
DIYDO, DIYDO! Whatís this? An onomatopoeic rendering of a police car or fire engine sound? Words from a backing group in a 1960s love song? None of the above. Itís a mnemonic. Damned if you do, damned if you donít: a suitable strap-line, perhaps, for the month of Remembrance. November commemo More...
Thursday December 1st 2011
December - Ass
Ass, You, Me ....... Get it? I heard it from a verger in my last parish. Iím guessing most readers will have come across it, from wherever. This is how it goes, this gem of wisdom: "The trouble with assuming is that it makes an ass of Ďuí and me.Ē Right. Youíd better believe it. But itís possible More...
Monday September 12th 2011
October - Ella
That Ella Fitzgerald moment I was recently passing a household where two young people, a while back, had got themselves a reputation for being potential ‚€ėtrouble'. I'm not sure the notoriety was justified ‚€" but that's another matter. What struck me this particular night was t More...
Saturday August 20th 2011
September - Someone to watch over me
First, an apology Ė and a belated word of congratulation! 13months ago (August 2010), I published a little quiz in this magazine, What had all the saints I listed got in common with each other? Promises of glittering  prizes for right answers, etc etc. Then I broke my ankle and spent the best More...
Saturday July 30th 2011
August - Archery
Many readers, doubtless, watch or listen to Ďsoaps'. In my time, so have I. I saw the first ever episode of Coronation Street. For a few months, late in 1978, we were aficionados of Emmerdale Farm (when it was ĎFarm'). And Ė yes- for a good long while I watched East Enders, admired its brillian More...
Thursday June 16th 2011
July - Lazy, hazy, crazy
Summer doesn't get much of a look-in in the New Testament. Pop the word into a Concordance search-engine (or even try looking in a hard-back) and you'll find pretty much just one reference to the season anywhere in the twenty-seven books. (Well, actually three, but it comes down to the same word o More...
Wednesday June 1st 2011
June - Technology, eh?
When I belonged to a church youth group in the 1950s, we produced a duplicated magazine. To be more accurate, I produced it. It involved using stencils (Ďskins') and Ė in my case Ė a primitive one-sheet-at-a-time duplicator, with a hand-roller that you had to run over the stencil, to press More...
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