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A monthly letter

December 2018


Dear All


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

Rev'd Barbara


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.

Things to do in December/January

1st December Exploring the mystery, music and poetry of Advent

Rev'd Malcolm Guite,Chaplain of Girton College Cambridge,poet and songwriter

tickets £10 from John Summers 01935 827414


7th-9th December 10am-4pm Deck the Halls- a winter flower festival

www.bishopspalace.org.uk 01749 988111


8th-22nd December Christmas at the Palace including Father Christmas

www.bishopspalace.org.uk 01749 988111


Christians Against Poverty

ART4CAP 12th December -23rd January

Shop next to HMV Quedam – art, pottery for sale to raise funds for the Centre

HELP required 10-5 Monday - Saturday

Contact Steve Hart on stevehart@capuk.org or text 07449167058


War Time Lunch

This was a most enjoyable time with lots of thanks to Jo, Chris and all those who helped by providing the food. Over 40 people gathered to have a much needed meal even second helpings. We had an evacuee, some people of quality wearing their tweeds and furs and an officer in uniform. Staff wore appropriate overalls and head scarfs. Explanations of food and rationing systems were available to help with the quiz. We ended with a sing song led by Brenda Sherring and of course, the National Anthem.



November 2018


Dear All


Remember, remember the month of November


This month, as the Autumn leaves fall in the mist, brings us to all kinds if remembering, both happy and sad.

1st of November is All Saints Day. All those whose names we may not remember, who have held to their Christian faith.

2nd November is All Souls Day when we remember those we know who have died. We have had a particularly sad year with the loss of many we knew. We are remembering this time on


Sunday 4th November 4pm at St Mary's Mudford. The music will be led by the Benefice Choir and we are very pleased to welcome the Rev'd Linda Hann, the Chaplain at Yeovil District Hospital, as our preacher. Names of loved ones will be read out and candles will be lit in their memory. The service will be followed by Afternoon Tea.


5th November Bonfire Night 6pm.The New Rectory Garden, when we remember the foiled attempt to blow up the King and Parliament. I always have plenty of garden rubbish to burn so if you wish to come to this outdoor event I will provide tomato soup, hot dogs and gingerbread. Let me know if you are coming. If wet cancelled.


Friday 9th November

The students from the Park School, who have been learning to ring tower bells, will ring for the service in Chilton Cantelo Church before their Service of Remembrance.

I will be giving an illustrated talk to the Friends of St Mary's Mudford, based on my holiday in Russia back in May.2.30 pm Mudford Village Hall.


9-11th Christmas Artisan Markets. The Bishop's Palace Wells 10-4pm £7.00 entry


Sunday 11th November 10.45am Remembrance Sunday Services at both Rimpton and Mudford. Hopefully new and more experienced ringers will ring the newly tuned and rehung bells at Mudford. If you are interested learning to ring please ring me for times of practice at Mudford Church.


Thursday 15th November War - we remember both World Wars with a fundraising lunch at Mudford Village Hall.1pm. Please wear wartime clothes if you wish.


Saturday 24th November 10-1.30 Christmas Fayre Marston Magna Village Hall.


Friday 30th November, We remember St Andrew, St Peter's brother, who first brought Peter to meet Jesus. Our Cathedral is dedicated to St Andrew.

Solemn Evensong with Wells Cathedral Choir at Wells Cathedral 5.15.pm



Rev'd Barbara Stanton



October 2018


Dear All


Four years ago I came to live in Marston Magna. The time has flown by and I have very much enjoyed being Rector of these five Somerset parishes. I still remember coming for the interview and being shown around Marston Magna Church and strips of sticky tape being pointed out for the proposed toilet for the disabled and the servery. I thought what a go-ahead parish. Just the sort of parish I want to be part of and just what rural churches need to be able to offer, more than a weekly religious service.  I had left both my previous parishes with similar plans afoot. It was a joy to visit one of the churches in Suffolk and see what had now been completed. The appearance of the Church had not changed at all, but the added facilities had made a big difference to the continuing life of the Church.


Should such plans be completed, Marston Magna will be the first in this Benefice to offer what all of us expect in other public places. Mudford Church has water and a servery and hopes to install similar facilities but, as yet, the architect has not found a solution in another Grade 1 listed building.


What I could not understand in Marston Magna was a reluctance to follow up this exciting proposal. Now, at last, a small group of enthusiastic people have been appointed by the Parochial Church Council to investigate the possibility of providing disabled toilet under the tower, leaving some room for storage. The servery is planned to go at the back of the Church on the right with a matching bespoke wooden storage cupboard on the opposite side. No pews will be sold or leave the Church.


The provision of such facilities in rural churches is very much in tune with the Diocese, who actively encourage such provision and so help to ensure the future well-being of both ageing congregations and the provision for activities suitable for children. I have found it very embarrassing over the years at special occasions like weddings christenings and funerals, when I am asked where such faculties are and have to say there are none! Such facilities will make life much easier for those who provide coffee and refreshments after services and concerts, where at present everything has to be brought into the Church and taken away afterwards.


None of this can happen overnight. Naturally there are numerous planning hoops to go through. Finance will, I hope, come partly from grants but a lot of fund raising will have to happen too. However, I think these villages have shown their generosity in raising money for our Benefice Projects and I hope will support the activities we will come up with, to make improvements to what the Church can offer the village. You can rest assured that everything will be done tastefully and in sympathy with this ancient and beautiful building.


Rev'd Barbara






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