REVEREND JOHN BLORE Writes…
“For all that has been, Thanks. To all that shall be, Yes!”
Those words from the late UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld’s personal journal, “Markings”, are apt for all our times of change and transition, and for this new year of 2022. By the grace of God, we learn to regard all our past life as interwoven with the thread of God’s redeeming love, and to embrace each new day, every new year and our whole lifetime with faith and openness.
The Bible is very clear that our faith is set in time. St Luke places the Gospel events within the context of the political events of the his day. The Jewish religious festivals were annual celebrations of God’s gracious acts in history. We too celebrate our personal and family anniversaries, perhaps including our Baptism and Confirmation days.
Alongside the formal Sacraments such as Baptism and Communion, we can see other familiar experiences as sacramental, symbols of underlying spiritual truths. So our anniversaries are sacramental reminders of God’s involvement in Time, not just our special times, but all the time.
The Bible uses two different Greek words for “time”, Chronos and Kairos. Chronos refers to minutes, days and years, time as a measurable resource. Kairos, however, means time as opportunity and challenge, as in St Mark chapter 1 where Jesus proclaims: “The time (kairos) is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand”. Jesus invites us to be part of the action, working and praying for God’s Kingdom to come, “in earth as it is in heaven.”
What are our challenges and opportunities this New Year, as a church, as a community, as a nation, as a family, as me? What good have I done in the past year? What good is God calling me to do in 2022?
We might use this prayer as we look ahead, and each new day…
I praise my God this day;
I give myself to God this day;
I ask God to help me this day;
I ask God to bless my loved ones,
all his children and his whole Creation this day
both through me and in spite of me,
until we all are changed from glory into glory
in that perfect Day.
A very happy New Year to you all.
NEWS from LITCHAM ALL SAINTS
Calling all ladies!
Can you spare a little time in the year to help with flowers in the Church please? I have lost a few helpers that have not returned after the pandemic. Nothing fancy is required, just putting flowers in a vase for a month in the Church to make people feel it’s loved. Usually around at the beginning of each month as flowers do last well in the Church.
I would be very grateful for your help, please call me on 01328 700274.
ALTAR FRONTALS for the Jubilee
The frontals to the altar in the Guild Chapel (on the south side) are very ancient and fragile. The PCC has decided that it would like to commemorate the Royal Jubilee in 2022 by creating a new set of frontals in the four seasonal colours.
The new frontals are designed to minimise the amount of hand stitching required, but there will be some hand work on the stylised cross motif in the centre of each. This will be an easily handled piece not involving the whole frontal cloth, which can be done at home. There will also be some hand embroidery of the EIIR and date after the completion of the main work.
If there any seamstresses (and seamsters) who would like to help, please contact Richard Vogt or Karen Moore; numbers are in the front of the magazine. Obviously, we need to have these finished by the time of the jubilee celebrations at the beginning of June.
JUNE BEVAN WRITES…
For a week in October, Jeanette and Mick Mitchell kindly hosted an afternoon tea almost every day. Thank you everybody who came and had afternoon tea and especially to Mick and Jeanette for hosting it and also to the people who helped to make it flow, Elizabeth Russell, Christine Fretwell and Ella, Jeanette’s Granddaughter who helped too as a waitress. The raffle was won by Mr Vernon Fretwell, a massive £800 was raised for much needed Church funds. I thought it was definitely on a par with The Assembly rooms in Norwich. A very relaxing afternoon..
The 3rd of October was a Benifice service at Wellingham Church and a good 50 or so people attended and were made very welcome.
On the 31st October, All Souls Day, we hosted the Benifice service here in Litcham All Saints Church. Jeanette and I provided tea and coffee after the service, but that was no contest against Tiggy Birkbecks wine table. All the cakes that I made went though?
A reminder that Christmas flowers go in on Wednesday the 22nd of December please.
If you get this in time, another reminder that I am hosting a mince pie and mulled wine morning on Friday the 3rd of December from 11am. Here at Bevan Cottage. Come and enjoy the Christmas spirit we were cheated of last year. Mike the Butcher has kindly agreed to sell raffle tickets in his shop. Thank you again for your help Mike! He and his wife have had the dreaded Covid bug. Hope you well now Mike?
Please join us at one or more of our many Christmas services, we have so much to make up for after last year, you will find them all at the front of this magazine.
Thank you for your continued support over the past year, I know if had been hard for us all and I pray that God grants us a better 2022.
I finish with this little poem that I found among the many that I have.
Never Forget to be grateful
Never Forget to be Glad,
Never Forget to be ready to help
Or comfort a soul that is sad,
Never Forget to be gracious,
Never Forget to be just,
Never Forget the love of a friend
And never betray a trust.
Never Forget to be tender
Never Forget to be true,
Never Forget that God is above,
For he’s never forgetting you.
It only leaves me to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a much healthier and happy New Year.
Love and God bless, June.
PS. As I write this Chester is snoring his head off so loud that I can hardly concentrate on writing this!
CLYPPING THE CHURCH?
I was going through one of my books called Seasonal Worship from the Countryside. A gem of a book which the Rev’d Heather Butcher suggested I should have. In it I came across an ancient church service of which I knew nothing about and would indeed welcome any local knowledge that you may hold on this subject. The service is called Clypping the church.
This caught my attention and although a service usually held on Easter Monday; in fact, the day on which I write this, I think it may well be a service worth reviving at another time, in the future when restrictions allow us.
Let me explain why…
The word Clypping has its origins in the Anglo-Saxon meaning to embrace or hug. In this service the congregation and parishioners, adults and children alike form a ring around their parish church and embrace it, giving thanks for it and celebrating its role in the community.
What a wonderful sight this must have been, with prayers, singing and celebration as people gathered together for such a joyous occasion.
So how can an ancient service like this be of any relevance to us today?
As we are well aware, the constraints of social distancing as we protect our communities has meant that we cannot hug or touch others whilst we battle this monstrous virus. Having a tangible way of gathering when it is safe in the future, may be an Important way to mark what has been a transformational year in our lives.
During this last year we have been acutely aware of our interdependence on one another and on our communities, but still many see our churches as being far removed from this daily reality, but it need not be so.
Let us imagine our villages without churches, what loss that would be. Not only as historical buildings, but as sacred spaces where we can nurture our spirituality and a sense of the Divine. A place for contemplation, devotion, and renewal.
A place where life and death are held as sacred, where tears of sadness and of deep joy are shed. A place where we as a community can gather and welcome all into our midst.
Could the ‘hugging’ of our churches begin a movement towards drawing us all as a community of hope as we gather again in our ancient buildings? I hope so.
I have been so inspired by the fundraising efforts that are happening in our parishes which help keep our churches alive, do join in with these, we need your help, and maybe we will one day revive the service of Clypping the church, by then we will all need a good hug too!!!
Meanwhile would you consider holding your parish church in your heart, thoughts, and prayers as we face the future with hope.
A Prayer for our Parish Churches
Our parish and church are made up of people like me.
Help me with others to make it what it is.
It will be friendly if I am.
It will be holy if I am.
It will do good works if I work.
It will be prayerful if I pray.
It will be generous as I am generous.
It will be a parish family of love, fearlessness and faith,
compassion and mercy, if I am filled with the same qualities.
Almighty God help us all to form the community
that you would have us be in our churches and beyond.
Mother Shawn Tomlinson, Assistant curate
Churchyard Burials and Memorials
Burial or the interment of cremated remains in a churchyard is a right open to all who have resided within the parish concerned. Burial in a churchyard is subject to the rules set out in the Churchyard Regulations 2016; this can be found in the Litcham Church porch or on the internet. This is a document with the authority of national law.
The regulations stress the principal of Christian burial with its emphasis on the expectation of the afterlife, rather than dwelling in detail upon the life of the deceased. They also make it clear that this is an essential difference between church burials and those in municipal cemeteries.
Although many of us find great interest in exploring older graveyards with many colourful inscriptions on the stones, the current regulations have turned their back upon such things and only permit simple stones of a limited range of materials and design, with simple inscriptions recording the name and dates of the deceased and a short message from the bereaved family. Phrases from scripture are permitted, but not other verses and most pictorial emblems are also not permitted.
Permission to erect a memorial is delegated to the rector or vicar (the incumbent) of the parish, provided that it complies with the regulations. It is normal to wait at least six months before commissioning the memorial, but the loss of a loved one can still be keenly felt and the incumbent can be put in a stressful position if demands are made that they cannot accede to within the rules. The family should therefore check that their requirements are within the regulations and ask their funeral director or mason to do the same. If an agreement cannot be achieved the proposal has to be the subject of a Faculty Application to the Diocesan Chancellor. This is a legal process incurring the inevitable delay and red tape.
Apart from disagreements about the design of memorials, there can be friction over the way in which they are subsequently decorated. The regulations are clear about what can be put on a grave. One vase against the headstone or sunk into the ground is permitted. Bulbs may be planted. There can be no other items placed upon the grave. This is partly for practical reasons when mowing grass, which is why kerbs and chippings are no longer allowed. It is also because people’s tastes in tributes varies widely and one person’s tribute can upset another tending a nearby grave. Lanterns, lights, ornaments, balloons etc. are all ruled out, as are plastic flowers and wreaths. Given that churchyards are invariably sanctuaries for wild life, distracting lights and plastic toxins are clearly harmful. Although a grave can be a focal point for grieving, the Christian teaching is that the deceased is not there.
Churches and their churchyards are regularly inspected by the Archdeacon during his quaintly named ‘Visitation.’ The incumbent and churchwardens are held responsible for upholding the regulations. We have all seen coverage in the press of how heated matters can get when the rules are invoked and no one wants to cause upset over such a sensitive issue. We always try to discuss any difficulties with the family concerned, rather than remove unsuitable items without warning, but there are times when this is not effective. The clergy and wardens therefore ask that all those tending graves in any of our churchyards be mindful of the rules and avoid the risk of disagreement.
Litcham All Saints, Churchwardens
If anyone collects stamps from their Christmas cards and is looking for a worthy cause. I shall be sending a parcel to Embrace the charity that supports hospitals and schools in Palestine. Please drop them into your local church.
Clergy: Revd Miriam Fife (acting Team Rector)
Phone: 01328 700765 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr J. O. Birkbeck, Litcham Hall, Lexham Rd.
Mr R. C. Vogt, The Cottage, Pound Lane
Mrs. Karen Moore, Point House, Back Street.
Telephone 01328 700313
Fees are payable to visiting clergy only for the Sunday Eucharist (Holy Communion)
and where appropriate for officiating at Baptisms, Marriages and Funerals.
The Drop In is held at the Jubilee Hall on Tuesdays in term time.
We are changing our opening times to 10am – 12 noon
The Drop In is for everyone, from all our villages.
- Caring for someone with dementia?
- Lonely or feeling isolated?
- At home with young children?
- New to the area?
- Looking for information about debt?
- Like to knit?
- Just would like coffee, cake and a chat.
Come and join us, we are a friendly bunch
£1 includes coffee, refills and cake