Three of our Churches, in this Benefice of five Churches, are named after Saint Mary, Marston Magna, Mudford and Rimpton, hence why we have something called a Patronal Festival, a special service to mark the dedication of the Churches. There are a few 'Marys' in the New Testament so our Mary has added 'the Virgin' so we know they are dedicated to Mary, the mother of Jesus.
Mary is quite a special person and, in the Church's calendar, has four special days. The first is 25th March, Lady Day, the first quarter in olden days when rents were paid to landlords. This day is when we remember the Angel Gabriel visiting Mary to tell her that she would be the mother of God's Son and to call him Jesus. The event is recorded in Luke's Gospel.
The second is called 'The Visitation', the time Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth, who, as an older woman, was expecting the much-wanted child who would become John the Baptist. This event is also written of in Luke's Gospel.
The third is 15th August, most often remembered in Roman Catholic Churches as the day Mary was received into Heaven.
The fourth is the 8th September, to remember the birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary. There is no record of this in the New Testament but it has a long tradition going back to apocryphal writings. Apocryphal means of doubtful authenticity. These writings also tell us that Mary's parents were called St. Anne and St. Joachim. I have a copy of a Leonardo da Vinci cartoon of St. Anne, with St. Mary and the two children John and Jesus, in my study. The drawing hangs in the National Gallery. My copy was given to me a long time ago, when I lived in London, by my Sunday School teacher who came on a visit, as a 'thank you' present. This year celebrates the 500th anniversary of Leonardo's death.
We always have someone special to preach at these Patronal Services. This year we have Bishop Ruth Worsley, Bishop of Taunton. You may be familiar with her name as, along with Bishop Peter Hancock, Bishop of Bath and Wells, she writes a piece that is published in the Marston Magna and Rimpton Newsletter each month. This is something which has never happened in parishes where I have been before and shows their concern for all of the people in the Diocese. The service will have the Benefice choir to lead the singing and will be followed by refreshments. Do try to come and hear the Bishop speak.
BIBIC (British Institute for Brain Injured Children)
Our biannial Benefcie Project has so far raised well over half of our target of £1,500. We have a sponsored walk coming up this month.
On Monday 30th September there will be a visit to their centre near Langport at 2pm to see and hear about their work. If you would like to come, please contact me so we can let BIBIC know numbers and arrange transport which will leave Marston magna Village Hall at 1.15pm.
With best wishes
Tel: 01935 850745