A monthly letter
January's WI meeting in Marston had a talk from the organiser of the Lord's Larder, the food bank which services Yeovil and its surrounding area. All three of our larger Churches support this work and have a box or a basket in church which is regularly emptied to a safe place. When there is a large enough contribution, the food etc. is taken to the Lord's Larder which operates from the Gateway Church in Yeovil. Churches are often open during the day and it is possible for anyone living in the villages to contribute if they wish. In Mudford, donations may also be made at the Thursday Cafe in the Village Hall.
The Food Bank seeks to help those who have nothing to tide them over, for whatever reason, until a payment of some kind is available to them. The Bank only responds to referrals from Social Services, Doctors, Citizens Advice and other bodies who know who is in desperate need for a short period. It can be argued that there should be no need to do this as the government should do it, but it is often delays in the payment of benefits that mean many people have no money for a short time. Rough sleepers are also helped; care is taken that they are given items that need no cooking and are not difficult to open. Special diets are also catered for, as are cats and dogs. Sometimes a church gives a monetary gift, perhaps at Harvest, and this can be used when stocks of something have run down and the items have to be bought. Obviously, tins etc. must be in date and home-
It was heartening to learn that at present there are sufficient volunteers to service the Bank. We have regular letters of thanks from the Lord's Larder and believe it is a simple thing for anyone to do to help those in the most need in our own country.
I must have had time on my hands this weekend and read the Church Times. As you may know the US government is experiencing a shutdown which has led thousands of government workers to have no pay. It is the American churches with their food banks who are helping these people now.
A basket of goodies was collected at the WI meeting and given to the
Thank you to all those who support this much needed project.
Happy New Year and lots of thanks for all the lovely Christmas cards I have received. It is always sad to take them down on Twelfth Night. I always get out my bulbs from under the stairs to take their place and remind me of Spring soon to come.
Seems strange to be writing 2019.We begin the New Year with The Feast of the Epiphany, on the 6th January at the end of the Twelve Days of Christmas. For once the Sunday falls on the right day, when we remember the visit of the Magi to the Christ Child. Some of you may have been surprised at Mudford Carol Service that they did not get a mention. It is because we are having a special Carol Service to celebrate this event at 4pm. By this time the Magi and their steeds will have reached the Crib on the 6th. This is your chance to sing the carols about the Magi or Wise Men or kings and we will have the benefit of the Benefice Choir and Ken Sherring playing the organ.
We will have had two Sundays of Christmas and then the 6th begins four Sundays of the Epiphany still with the celebratory white vestments in our churches and in Marston Magna Church a special Epiphany candle. Epiphany means “manifestation”, the manifestation of who the child Jesus is, which is not just to the Jewish people but to the Gentiles, everyone one else too. The Magi are thought to have been from countries far away from Israel to the east, later traditions even gave them names, Caspar, Melchoir and Balthasar. I remember going to Cologne many years ago where legend has them buried in the Cathedral. This manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles fits in well with the Conversion of St Paul on the 25th of January, who, more than anyone, began to take the message of Jesus to foreign lands and ends the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. We also remember in January the Baptism of Christ, another epiphany of who Jesus is, and his first miracle, changing the water into wine at the Marriage at Cana.
Confirmation confirms promises made at Christening and Baptism on behalf of a child by parents and godparents. At Confirmation these promises are made by adults for themselves. After Confirmation it is possible to receive Holy Communion, the bread and wine Jesus taught us to remember him by. Confirmation is done by a bishop at a very special service. If anyone is interested in learning more about Christianity with a view to being confirmed please get in touch with me. 850745.
Plough Sunday 13th January .9.30 Chilton Cantelo
We have not had one of these before at Chilton. Plough Sunday is the first Sunday after Epiphany. It is one of the four agricultural services celebrated in England, along with Rogation, Lammas and Harvest. It happens at a cold time of year when workers may not have been needed on farms and farm hands suffered hardship. They would go around villages with a plough and be given food to help them out. The plough would end up at the Church and be blessed in the hope of a good harvest later on in the year. If you are coming to this service, it would be good to bring some non-
We are living in times of great change and upheaval. There are still wars going on in Syria and Yemen. There are mass migrations of peoples from their own countries to those where they hope there may be more safety and prosperity. In December we celebrate Christmas, the birth of God's Son whose family also knew what it was to escape from danger to another county. We remember the story of Jesus' birth not just with accounts from the Gospels of Luke and Matthew which tell us of his birth, but at our Carol Services we also hear from the prophets, who we believe, foretold of the coming of a saviour.
The prophet we hear from most is Isaiah. He lived about 700 hundred years before Jesus at a time when the country of Judah was faced by one crisis after another, including the advance of the Assyrian Empire. Assyria swallowed up Israel and threatened neighbouring Judah. Here are a few of his words:
“The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light........
for a child has been born......
and his title will be Wonderful Councillor, Mighty Hero.
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”
In despair came Isaiah's message of hope. This message of God's love in a continuing troubled world can be heard not only in the readings at Carol Services but in the words of the carols themselves. God's love should make a difference to our lives. The Christian message has continued the work of the prophets who spoke out about caring for the widow, the orphan and the stranger. It must be the aim of Christian life to continue that love and care. Special efforts are always made to reach out to others by providing Christmas lunches, supporting the work of the Salvation Army appeals in Yeovil to run night shelters for the homeless and to help people out of debt. We will hear on the radio of the St Martin in the Fields appeal for the destitute in London. We try to do our bit with the Christingle services and Carol singing with money donated to the Children's Society and at other services to other local charities.
Make this Christmas a special time by your care, your generosity, your prayer and worship. All the Churches have Carol and other Christmas services. Come and hear the message of the prophets and the angels of hope for our world today.
May you all have a very happy and peaceful Christmas
What is a Christingle?
This year The Children's Society is celebrating 50 years of holding Christingle Services to raise money for this country's most vulnerable children. The idea came from Eastern Europe where candles were put in windows to celebrate Christmas. This idea has been adapted with fruits and sweets on sticks and oranges to tell the story of creation and Jesus. It is a short service with carols and songs and aimed at families but I have found that people of all ages, including myself, enjoy this service and receiving a Christingle.
I remember especially when I was a curate, driving with my mother from the Service on Christmas Day in Leicestershire, to cousins in Essex. After all the services on Christmas Eve including Christingle and Midnight, I felt myself dropping off to sleep. A coffee stop was essential but everywhere was shut. Then the life saver. “I have a few left over Christingles in the boot.” After a short rest in an empty car park and eating all the sweets I felt wide awake and continued the journey. I am ever grateful for a few Christingles!
If you have never been to such a fun service, come and try it out.