A seat in memory of The Reverend Jonathan Boston has been installed in Litcham churchyard.
We are grateful to Jonathan’s numerous friends and family who made contributions which enabled The Friends of All Saints Church to purchase the seat and to those anonymous donors who have paid for the installation.
Karen Moore, PCC Secretary
NOW HAS COME SEPTEMBER…
…seems a good opening for the (substitute) Rector’s piece for this month’s magazine. It’s also the opening line of a song from the Gressenhall singers summer concert. As I write this on the hottest day in England ever, another line from that song comes to mind: “The summer is a tyrant of the most ungracious kind”. Which is certainly how me, my garden and my dog feel today. The song is much kinder about autumn: “which is like an old friend who loves us all she can”. It’s the season of Keats’s “mist and mellow fruitfulness”, and it certainly seems to be the season that most inspires the poets. Looking only at poems that reference September, some reflect on the quality of the light at this time of year. Wordsworth saw “an aspect tenderly illumed”, and Seamus Heaney of “wind and light working off each other”. The sound of the season is also celebrated; Wordsworth wrote: “Clear, loud, and lively is the din, from social warblers gathering in “, and Sara Teasdale heard “fields… full of singing and the passionless chant of insects”. With the richness of autumnal light and sound poets celebrate that of the harvest. Lucy Maud Montgomery sees “a ripe sheaf of golden days “ and Patrick Kavanagh experienced “an apple ripe September morn”
September is the start of this wonderful season of completion and fulfilment but it is also a season of promise and renewal. As leaves fall from the trees, the new season’s buds are already in place, and the soil is full of seeds with their potential of growth. We have much to be thankful for. Religious people give thanks to their Creator, which we do in our Harvest Festivals. But all of us, whatever their religious or non-religious stance can appreciate the awesomeness of the Universe and of Life, and the Fruitfulness of our World
There is though, a darker side. Hunger has never been far away from many people and nearer to home, energy prices and inflation are causing very serious hardship. The challenge is how do those who experience abundance share it with those in need. It’s a question that demands an answer but, for now, I’ll leave the final word to another poet, Wendell Berry,
“Better than any argument is to rise at dawn
And pick dew-wet red berries in a cup”
Revd Kevin Blogg
JUNE BEVAN WRITES…
I start with an apology to Jeanette, as I promised to advertise the collection of old photos of Litcham displayed in the church during August in the magazine. But it completely slipped my mind! Sorry Jeanette.
On Saturday the 30th July I went to the ‘Tea and Tunes’ event that Stephen Lynn held on his front Lawn. The event was free but donations were welcomed, there was a raffle and almost £170 was collected for Chapel Funds. It was great fun and got us all toe-tapping and singing.
On Sunday the 31st July we had a Benefice service, taken by the Revd Julia Hemp, at the newly the reopened St. Mary’s Church, Beeston. We were warmly welcomed and enjoyed coffee and biscuits after the service including Jill Scott’s yummy cheesy bites.
This Sunday just gone, 7th August, we held our Benefice service at Wellingham Church, it was taken by Hilary De Lyon. It is a tiny little church with lots of character but no electricity at all, so the music was provided by a battery run CD player.
This year’s Harvest Lunch and Service, taken by Miriam, is going to be at the Bull on Saturday 24th September, see Stephen Lynn piece above for details.
I will close with this poem by Helen Steiner-Rice.
How Great the Yield from a Fertile Field
The farmer ploughs through the fields of green
And the Blade of the plough is sharp and keen,
But the seed must be sown to bring forth grain,
For nothing is born without suffering and pain ~
And God never ploughs in the soul of man
Without intention and purpose and plan,
So whenever you feel the plough’s sharp blade.
Let not your heart be sorely afraid.
For, like the farmer God choses a field
From which He expects an excellent yield –
So rejoice though your heart is broken in two,
God seeks to bring forth a rich harvest in you.
So until next month, Love and God Bless June.
PS. A seat in memory of The Reverend Jonathan Boston has been installed in Litcham churchyard.
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: email@example.com
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.