Friday, 28 May 2021

WEB MAGAZINE - October 2021

Rector’s Pages:  

October Issue:  Save the Parish!

I’m sorry that the following is quite long, but I think we are at a pivotal point in the life of our parish churches, particularly in rural areas like ours, and you need to be aware of what is happening to your village church.  This article, I think, is as balanced argument as I can find.......

   From Winchester the Rev’d Canon Dr Frog Orr-Ewing writes: On Tuesday 3rd August, a gathering was hosted by Marcus Walker in St Bartholomew the Great, Londons oldest parish church, to launch a campaign to Save the Parish”. This small conference was intended to begin a campaign for General Synod, expressly to stop resources being siphoned away from parishes, and to resist any further centralisation of power and authority away from parishes and towards dioceses and the central church,’ and a widespread concern that church bureaucracy is increasingly out of touch with front line people-centred parish ministry.

   I am calling the Save the Parish campaign a heart cry, a response which is giving voice to a growing and deeply emotional, intuitive and practical sense that something valuable and precious is being lost. I also want to suggest that Save the Parish is in some way a declaration of love for the church, and of what it means to be Anglican.

   The idealof the parish has for centuries been a core concept of the Church of England. It is so deeply woven into Anglicanism that historically growth has come best when the idea of parish is renewed, reformed and re-invented. Many of the churches in urban areas were a result of a beautiful blend of localism, empowerment, and mission. But parish is best understood as an ideal, a dream, an archetype, because each one is so different, and in each area and age it is constantly changing, with as many exceptions, so it will never truly fitgrand structures and strategies; every area, every congregation, has a unique story and it is the weird particularity which is precious and meaningful. Hopewell, the great congregational studies expert, said: I have begun to see how astonishingly thick and meaning-laden is the actual life of a single local church. Many churches fail to tell their story.” [Hopewell: 1987.]

   Parish has its roots in the ancient Minsters who were said to have spheres of influence of ministryrather than specifically geographic designations. The process of firming up to specific locales took nearly three hundred years and appears to have solidified by the mid 1300s. During the Reformation, the parish was reinvented; the parish churches and congregations remained, but the liturgy and the institution became Reformed.

   Skip forward then into the crisis of the Eighteenth Century, with a population of this country largely disengaged with the Christian faith and local church, and this failure to engage people fundamentally challenged the parish ideal. The crisis of collapse in attendance in the Church of England stimulated the outdoor preaching with John Wesley declaring that the world is my parishgiving rise to Methodism.

   A further major reinvention of the parish was a response to massive shifts in population in urban areas in the Nineteenth Century. The ideal of the parish had long-since become broken, for the reality was a largely failing mission, and small village churches now found themselves responsible for a portion of a metropolis or for an entire town. 

   The result was the most phenomenal fifty-year Anglican church-building frenzy that England has ever seen. This season was marked by strong lay involvement and localism, a very simple procedure for starting new churches, requiring a defined specific area of mission through service, and a specified sum of money to be raised, and one proposed ordained person for each church. The solution was to utterly reimagine the parish as a sphere of mission with a building, and at least 3,000 people in an area to minister to. Neighbourhoods like Camberwell had 11 Anglican churches and parishes carved out of the old village parish.

   Today the parish system finds itself in crisis again, localism is being undermined in the rural areas by unwieldy and potentially unleadable collections of parishes, and falling attendance amongst children, aging congregations and a global pandemic all have had an enormous toll.

   The crisis is real and I do not think anyone is ignoring it, and yet we have reached an impasse between two ideals. In the red corner, the model of parish, with clear priest and people, purpose and place—comfortable with the happy weird mishmash of local customs and life.  And in the blue corner dioceses, bishops and the national institution, with centralised initiatives, staff and management designed to navigate the institution through these choppy waters. So now we have a new story: Parochialism versus Managerialism, and we urgently need a burst of new creativity to write the next chapter.

   Save the Parish is a heart-cry, a late plea for life before deconstruction. The very jumble of emotion and opinions which we see is a rejection of the values of the managerialism that has infected or affected the Church of England in recent years. Ironically, many of the newer city centre resource churchesshare with Save the Parish a radical commitment to local front line ministry with vicars and committed teams moving into previously derelict buildings with a vision to revitalise and grow Anglican worshipping congregations in specific neighbourhoods. Many of the frustrations articulated by Save the Parish are shared by clergy who are leading resource churches and church plants, so there may be a greater basis for unity in a shared rejection of diocesan managerialism.

   Three major changes have occurred which have fundamentally hamstrung the parishes, but unlike other changes in the last century, which were initiated bottom up, these have mostly been top-down, and at the behest of a new commitment to managerialism.

   The biggest managerial shift, which Save the Parish mentions, are the parish measures of the 1970s, under which all churches gave up their land, reserves and glebes and incomes in return for one balanced and universal payment package for the clergy.  The Endowments and Glebe Measure of 1976 a failed experiment, was designed to replace the patchy historic payments to vicars. Parishes were promised they would never have to pay for their clergy again, and centralised management would end their woes when they handed over their assets.

   But this contract failed, and instead of giving the assets (held in trust) back to local churches, the diocesan boards held on to the glebe lands and started needing to raise more money from the parishes to meet their obligations and this gave birth to the parish share system. Fully independent charities freely give a voluntary” share/gift to diocesan funds, in return for which the priests get a pension and a stipend. 

   There is no lack of commitment to giving in order to support poorer parishes, but now even if you do pay, you might lose your vicar anyway, especially in a rural area. However, now local communities have no levers to pull, no agencyand decisions are being made over their churches whether they like it or not. And they are saying that they dont like it. I have lost count of the times that deaneries are given the choiceof which posts to lose. It is like asking someone which leg they would like to have cut off. Since the 1990s, as Dioceses have taken time to cut postsand amalgamate the parishesthey have done so with no apology, and no handing back of control.

   I have on several occasions had chances to help advise lay leaders in villages on how they could respond to a local church financial crisis—a lack of vicar, a church roof collapse. In three villages there was the money available to pay the full stipend and pension, and to repair the church, but a decision had been made by a diocese to remove the vicar, and use the vicarage for a new centralised post. This has happened in my direct knowledge, in three unrelated incidents, in Wiltshire, Surrey and Oxfordshire—so to be clear in three different dioceses. Lay leaders, church wardens in these cases, were happy to face the facts, but were not allowed to solve the problem as they saw fit. In all three situations, it was made clear to them by either an archdeacon or a bishop that it was not their place to decide on how to use the assets of their village or save their parish. In all instances, the posts are gone forever even though the communities had both the desire and capacity to solve the problem locally. 

   “Governance” (ie legal rules for running an organisation) is now an overwhelming burden for churches; must a diverse community in a remote rural community also try to find a dozen people with experience of charity law, accounting and finance, who also have time on their hands to handle HR problems, buildings and parish share; grieving with the dying, burying the dead, marrying the hopeful, and grow the ministry whilst also recovering from the pandemic as well as doing incredible childrens work, and maintaining GDPR protocols and growing through conversion as part of a mission plan? Oh yes—and if the vicars drop a ball in any of this can they expect pastoral support and intercession from the Bishop, or will it be a terse email and a summons, or even a Clergy Discipline Measure?

   Hear the cry from the pews and the pulpits…enough is enough! I have lost track of church leaders reaching out over the last few weeks to confess that they have never been more demoralised and exhausted; while they still believe in their call, and the call to pastor and care for others, and honour God to the best of their ability, they are hanging by very thin threads; the distress is real.

   The intrusion of central bodies into the day-to-day independence of local churches has increased beyond measure over the last decade, and post-pandemic, I believe as clergy rightly contemplate moving forward with their churches and congregations, and realise the hugely hard task ahead of them, they want pastoral care and active support, or if they cannot have this, to be left alone to solve their own challenges on the ground. Church leaders have lacked pastors because their pastors, the Bishops, have often become managers, and are now caught up in the remote business of trying to manage institutional resources in a climate of decline. 

   At the beginning of my ministry, my bishop was acutely aware of me, my parish, my family and the needs of our church and neighbourhood. He rang me regularly to ask how I was, he found practical ways of supporting and encouraging us, visited the church, and if you dont mind me saying so, it felt like he gave a damn.

   I know there are many Bishops who know their parishes and clergy and who practically contribute to mission on the front line, and have found a way to be human with those entrusted to their care. To all of you—thank you, and please dont be discouraged. Maybe at least part of the pathway to flourishing is to recapture a love for the clergy and parishes in the frontline of the Church of England. There is almost certainly legislation that needs to be changed that will dial back the failures of the past and help us regain our morale and energy for service and growth, but most of all, it is time to listen.

September Issue

Rector’s Pages:   “Why celebrate harvest?” (taken from FCN Resources)

   “For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land - a land with brooks, streams, and deep springs gushing out into the valleys and hills; a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills.

   When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you.” (Deuteronomy chapter 8)

   Harvest has surely been celebrated ever since human beings first planted seeds, cut the heads of grain and stored them to use through the times of scarcity. When the children of Israel entered the Promised Land and left off their nomadic existence in the wilderness, they adapted the agricultural festivals being kept in the Promised Land and these have come down to us today: Lammas, the time of the First Fruits, corresponds to the Feast of Weeks when the first sheaf of the barley harvest was offered. Our Harvest Festival corresponds to the Feast of Tabernacles which is described as “the feast of ingathering, at the end of the year” (Exodus 23:16). This was the last and greatest feast of the Jewish year and it was sometimes simply referred to as ‘the feast’. During this time, the men dwelt in green booths or ‘tabernacles’ made out of branches, in commemoration of their time in the wilderness when there were no harvests, and they depended on God for their daily food. So there is much precedent in the Old Testament for a festival thanking God for food and farming. Land and faith in the Old Testament are inseparable, even as the cities of the exilic and post-exilic periods thrived and grew. People understood their dependence on a good harvest blessed by God.

   The Gospels are full of allusion to agriculture and harvest and although early Christianity was arguably a faith of the cities, people were clear about the provenance of the food that they ate. At the time of Christ it is estimated that around 90% of a person’s time would have been spent producing and preparing food. Since the very early days the Christian Church has historically played a key role in reinforcing the connection between people and the land, particularly through the Harvest Festival which really came into its own during the Victorian era. Today harvest is second only to Christmas as the most popular time for ‘going to church’ and is still one of the most popular celebrations, both in town and country.

   It is interesting that many harvest celebrations are nostalgically redolent of a blissful era of harvest-home that owes much to Thomas Hardy. Others owe much to the excellent work of global aid agencies and fair trade bodies who remind us that food production and matters of justice in agriculture are global issues. But it seems to us at FCN, that neither of those extremes really make much connection with the people of this country, whether in rural or urban churches. Most people no longer have any familial links with farming and folk memory is fading of the communal importance of local harvests. Equally, third world and fair trade issues at harvest time appeal to our Christian sense of justice. They make rational sense and rightly pull on our heart-strings. Yet they do not connect with our experience in an immediate way as the celebration of harvest is meant to do. They do not help us link our faith to our dependence upon the earth and the way in which the food arrives on our plates.

   Eating food is one of the few things common to all human experience. What type of food we consume and how readily available it is to us may vary widely. But we all eat. In our society the meals on our table will have been brought there through the contribution of many different people working in a variety of environments. This food chain typically involves farmers or fishermen, processors, retailers and those who purchase and prepare the food to eat. It is important that we reconnect with these realities.

   A harvest service is an opportunity to offer to God the contribution we make in bringing food to the table; to give thanks and pray for others in the chain upon whom we are dependent; and above all to praise God who starts off each chain by creating the sun’s radiance and giving life to all living things.

   It may seem strange that we bring tinned goods to decorate our place of worship but these can be a modern way of acknowledging our dependence on God. On the other hand, lumps of coal or sheaves of wheat may evoke memories in older people of harvests of the past, when life was harder and the celebrations more poignant; just as the ‘tabernacles’ reminded the Israelites of the harder, more dependent times. For all generations a reminder is appropriate of the basic humble elements of soil, water and grain on which we all depend, and the fruits of which we should share with the poor at this time.

   Harvest is a wonderful opportunity to connect in people’s minds the growing focus in our society on environment, health and food with God. It is a wonderful opportunity to talk about the production and consumption of local food. It is a wonderful opportunity to give thanks for all the wonderful gifts of creation and to reconnect with our place as stewards of that creation. It is also an opportunity to pray for and with the farming community, many of whom are struggling to make a living in today’s global economic climate.

Want to help make a difference.......

   Those of our village churches which are holding Harvest Festival services this year in September and October, will be asking for collections of tinned/dried food to support our local food banks.   

   If you are able to donate you could bring your offering to a Harvest Festival service OR leave the donation in the church or porch for a couple of days either side of the service.

Prayer Spaces in Churches

Early in July Jayne Hinds extensively revised the Prayer Spaces displayed in Barrington, Shepton, Dowlish Wake and Kingstone churches.

The current theme is 'Summer - a time to give thanks... relax... and ponder...'

There are reflective ideas on the boards, a stones and water prayer activity to take part in at the church and summer and creation prayer cards to take away.

We would be interested to hear your thoughts and comments on this, to help plan future “Spaces”,


31st July Ruby, Ashton and Denis Callow, holy baptism at Barrington Church.

4th August Hilda Anders, 94 years; ashes interred at Barrington with her husband Edgar.

6th August Brian Sargent, 82 years; returned to Barrington,the village of his birth,

and his ashes interred with his mother Edie.

11th August “John” Jacobs, 94 years; a quiet cremation service at Yeovil, followed by a Thanksgiving Service at his family church, Shepton Beauchamp, for a long and full life, well-lived.

13th August Mike Stone and Rebecca Foster; joined in holy matrimony at Shepton Beauchamp church.

14th August Jack Martin and Lucy Dillon; joined in holy matrimony at Shepton Beauchamp church.

Yeovil4Family Mentors


The next six week training programme for Yeovil4Family Mentors will be starting on the evening of Wednesday 29 September at The Gateway, Yeovil. If you are interested in exploring whether you would like to make a huge difference to people’s lives by becoming a Y4F Mentor, please contact Andrew Dunningham at or 07970 952653.

Andrew Dunningham


Mentor Administrator

August Issue

   In the Book of Genesis we read how God created the world – along lines very similar to Darwin's theory of creation – and in its centre he created the Garden of Eden; in it he placed Man and Woman made in his own image.    Adam and Eve had charge over all Creation and every living thing lived in harmony; animals, plants, insects, human beings lived together, side by side, AND in the cool of the evening God walked in the garden, at one with his creation.    Imagine that, God physically walking with us and nature.

   Sadly, Geneis tells us that this blissful story didn't last once the serpent had tempted Eve and she Adam and as a punishment, the balance of nature was upset; humanity cast out of Eden to toil or starve; animals to feed on each other; every creature interested only in its own survival.

Over the past months of the Covid lockdown, there has been lots of local activity where individuals and small groups have worked together to look after members of their village communities.  Old, infirm and lonely helped and encouraged; young children supported, taught and mentored.  Everywhere, the community spirit was much in evidence in the form of villagers pulling and acting together, quietly and selflessly, in good humour and kindly awareness of each others needs, with a sharing, caring attitude; villagers living in harmony, side by side.

Scholars say that Eden was probably located in the area we now know as Iran/Iraq, but the wiser minds among us are clear that Eden is located near an area now known as Ilminster!   Our villages might not be quite the perfection of Eden that God created, but the recent activities have reminded us how close that ideal is to us, that God walks with us spiritually if not yet physically and how lucky we are.

“For the beauty of the earth, for the beauty of the skies, 

for the love which from our birth over and around us lies.

Lord of all to thee we raise this our sacrifice of praise.”

“For the joy of human love, brother, sister, parent, child, 

friends on earth, and friends above, pleasures pure and undefiled: 

Lord of all to thee we raise this our sacrifice of praise.”   Amen.

Newly Revised Prayer Spaces in Churches

Early in July Jayne Hinds extensively revised the Prayer Spaces displayed in Barrington, Shepton, Dowlish Wake and Kingstone churches.

The new theme is 'Summer - a time to give thanks... relax... and ponder...'

There are reflective ideas on the boards, a stones and water prayer activity to take part in at the church and summer and creation prayer cards to take away.

We would be interested to hear your thoughts and comments on this, to help plan future “Spaces”,


26th June Lee Ormerod and Emma-Louise Beasant, joined in holy matrimony at Barrington church.

25th June Betty Thresher 85 years; funeral service at Taunton Crematorium followed by interment of ashes with her parents at Barrington.

28th June Philip “Pip” Midgely, 93 years; funeral service at Taunton Crematorium.

7th July Renee Fuller, 89 years; interment of ashes at Shepton Beauchamp.

7th July Patricia “Pat” Andrews, 69 years; born in Shepton Beauchamp where she returned for her funeral service in church and burial beside her family.

19th July Dorothy White, 85 years; funeral service at Shepton Beauchamp followed by burial with her husband John.

Wadham School Chaplaincy Update

   Thank you all so much for your ongoing thoughts and prayers for Wadham.  Whilst the school is quieter with less students around, the site is still busy with end of year exams for all remaining students and preparations of the school site for September 2022, when Wadham will welcome Years 7 and 8 as well as the new Year 9’s that year.

   We were sad to say goodbye to our Year 11 and 13’s especially in the circumstances that meant much of the usual ways were restricted or cancelled.  However I know you will join me in praying for them as they look to their futures after such a difficult 18 months to be studying for GCSEs and A Levels.

   Much of my time is spent supporting students in 1:1 meetings sometimes planned and other times as the need arises.  It’s been a tough time for all the students, and many are finding life hard at the moment. 

   I’ve always been in awe of how the staff cope with all the different things school life throws at them, and never more is this true than in the last few months. From working through guidelines of assessments for exams to ensuring the site in every aspect is covid safe.  They all deserve medals for how they’ve coped with the last year, and I really hope that they all get time to rest well during the holidays. 

   This however will be my final update as school chaplain as I will be leaving Wadham at the end of the term, I have been called to serve a Baptist Church in South Northamptonshire as their Minister.  I will be really sad to say goodbye to the school but will continue to remember them all in my prayers.  Thank you to all of you who have supported and prayed for me and the school during my time here.  

   When I started at Wadham I had thoughts of what I would be doing as chaplain; collective worship, prayer spaces, supporting students and staff!  One of the things I quickly realised was the value of being the only person in the school that had time.  Because of the unique nature of the role, I was able to have time for everyone, be that a member of staff popping their head in my office or a student struggling with life at home, more often than not I was able to say, come, sit, I’ve got time.  Whilst yes there have been other things that I’ve done, with ‘Thought for the Week’ and Collective Worship, there has been so much value in having time.  It should never be underestimated how important it is to just listen, and the biggest privilege of being Wadham’s chaplain was being able to listen, to show care in the sitting with.  As a chaplain described it on one of the training days, we ‘loiter with Holy intent.’  Who wouldn’t love a job where that’s one of the main priorities! 

   Please do continue to pray for the school, all the staff and students and for God’s provision for a new Chaplain to serve the school.

   Every Blessing, Abby Linten, chaplain.

Just a bit of light reading on a sunny morning 

Why doesn't Tarzan have a beard when he lives in the jungle without a razor?

Why do we press harder on a remote control when we know the batteries are flat?

Why do banks charge a fee on 'insufficient funds' when they know there is not enough?

Why do Kamikaze pilots wear helmets?

Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars, but check when you say the paint is wet?

Whose idea was it to put an 'S' in the word 'lisp'?

What is the speed of darkness?

Why is it that people say they 'slept like a baby' when babies wake up every two hours?

If the temperature is zero outside today and it's going to be twice as cold tomorrow, how cold will it be?

How is it that we put man on the moon before we figured out it would be a good idea to put wheels on luggage?

Why do people pay to go up tall buildings and then put money in binoculars to look at things on the ground?

Why do toasters always have a setting so high that could burn the toast to a horrible crisp, which no decent human being would eat?

Why is there a light in the fridge and not in the freezer?

Why does Goofy stand erect while Pluto remains on all fours? 

Why do the Alphabet song and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star have the same tune?

Stop singing and read on......

Did you ever notice that when you blow in a dog's face, he gets mad at you, but when you take him on a car ride, he sticks his head out the window?

Does pushing the elevator button more than once make it arrive faster?


4Family delivers a family support programme offering help to struggling families so that they can regain control over their own lives and feel empowered and equipped to move forward.

We offer the support of a Family Link Workers who are the families’ voice amongst the agencies, but also, each family is offered a Volunteer Mentor who plays a crucial role

Be part of a fantastic family mentoring programme which carefully matches mentors with a family living within South Somerset. For more information about becoming a Y4F mentor contact Andrew:


Tel: 07970 952653


July issue

At a recent meeting, a senior Anglican churchman spoke along these same lines and I found that very liberating.....we do what we can, as best we can, and as much as we can.....and we let God do the rest.  Which reminds me of.....

Archbishop Oscar Romero wrote:

It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.....

This is what we are about: we plant the seeds that one day will grow.

We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.

We lay foundations that will need further development; we provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realising that.  This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.   It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.

We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.

We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.   We are prophets of a future not our own.   Amen.”

This saying of the Archbishop reminds me of some of the truly great achievements of the most unlikely of Christians throughout the millennia, for example.....

Doubting Thomas – the term “doubting Thomas” is still current in our vocabulary two thousand years after it was first used to describe the actions of Saint Thomas – Apostle – who doubted that Jesus had been raised from the dead, after the Resurrection appearance of Our Lord to the other Disciples.   Thomas needed firm proof, the words of others was not enough, for him, “seeing is believing”.   There is little known of Thomas' life beyond this well known event, however there are two points which are worth bearing in mind as they contradict the doubt for which he is normally remembered.   

First of all: Jesus had been forced to leave Jerusalem, in fear of his life; he hears that his friend Lazarus is very ill and decides, to make the journey to visit him, in spite of the danger; the Disciples are frightened for their own safety but Thomas speaks out.   He persuades the Disciples to go with him, to accompany Jesus, even if it means that they will all die together.    There is no doubt in Thomas' mind...his place is by Jesus side, whatever will befall them.   (John 11.16)

Secondly: in the 14th/15th century, when Portuguese traders reached India, they found an active Christian church at Tranvancore and Cochin, called “Mar Thoma” whose followers traced their faith to St Thomas the Apostle.   It seems that Thomas had travelled the enormous distance from the Holy Land to South India, a difficult and dangerous journey, to take the story of “Christ”ianity to those people.   This was surely an act of great faith and endurance and there can have been no doubt in Thomas' mind when he set out on this pilgrimage.

Quite often we remember one thing about a person when there is always so much more to discover; its often worth taking the time and trouble to find the full story so that the real person can shine out and be remembered properly....just like Thomas, who doubted, only once!

Heavenly Father; give us the patience to look beyond the obvious and find the real story in each person's life.   Amen.


Jayne Hinds has been busy preparing and planning a new idea for four of our churches - Prayer Spaces.  These can now be found displayed in Barrington, Shepton, Dowlish Wake and Kingstone churches.

There are four 'activities', and any or all can be used in church or taken home. There are also small prayer cards to take away.

The themes are:

1. 5 family members or friends

2. 5 places in the world

3. The Holy Spirit to be invited into our home, community or place of work

4 Take a prayer journal away for personal prayer

This primarily has come about for the 'Thy Kingdom Come' initiative which take places over the 10 days from Ascension to Pentecost, but as church opening is limited, the display will run until the last week in June, when the prayer focus will be changed for a Summer/Creation theme.

We would be interested to hear your thoughts and comments on this, to help plan future “Spaces”,


Most of our churches are now open daily for private prayer; in a few of them there are restrictions on which areas you can use.  (Puckington remains locked, but you can arrange for it to be opened if you’d like to go inside).

Sunday services in our churches are more or less back to normal now, the rota is on the back page of the Web Magazine and on the Benefice Website -

Covid restrictions (Hands, Face, Space)will be carefully adhered to, as a means of keeping us all safe.


4th June     Claire Lucas and James Lane, joined in holy matrimony at Puckington Church.

19th June   Kim Mack and Kevin Rose, joined in holy matrimony at Barrington Church.

American Salesmanship

A while ago a new supermarket opened in Topeka, Kansas.   

It has an automatic water mister to keep the produce fresh.  Just before it goes on, you hear the sound of distant thunder and the smell of fresh rain.   

When you pass the milk fridges, you hear cows mooing and there is the scent of freshly mown hay.   

In the meat department there is the aroma of charcoal grilled steaks with onions.    When you approach the egg case, you hear hens clucking and the air is filled with the aroma of cooking bacon and eggs. The bread department has tantalising smells of freshly baked bread.   Funnily enough they don’t sell a lot of toilet paper!

A bloke starts his new job at the zoo and is given three tasks.    First is to clear the exotic fish pool of weeds.   As he does this a huge fish jumps out and bites him.    To show who is boss, he beats it to death with a spade.   Realising his employer won't be best pleased, he disposes of the fish by feeding it to the lions, as lions will eat anything.

Moving on to the second job of clearing out the Chimp house, he is attacked by the chimps who pelt him with coconuts.   He swipes at two chimps with a spade killing them both.    What can he do?    Feed them to the lions, he says to himself, because lions eat anything.   He hurls the corpses into the lion enclosure.

He then moves on to the last job which is to collect honey from the South American Bees.   As soon as he starts he is attacked by the bees.    He grabs the spade and smashes the bees to a pulp.    By now he knows what to do and shovels them into the lions' cage because lions eat anything.

Later that day a new lion arrives at the zoo.    He wanders up to another lion and says "What's the food like here?"   The lions say: "Absolutely brilliant.   Today we had Fish and Chimps with mushy Bees."

HAPPPY PLANTING by Rev’d Jonathan Morris

For gardeners spring is always a bit of a tense time. You have done the hard work during the winter and have planted the seeds with a hopeful heart.

But then comes the time of waiting, expectant, but slightly nervous; did I plant too early, was the soil warm enough; is there going to be an early morning frost to kill off those early shoots of growth?

I go through the same anxieties each year, wondering, hoping if those seeds planted are going to germinate and bear fruit later in the year. Sometimes they do - sometimes they don’t.

It’s a bit like that in our daily lives. we may nurture seeds of hope or joy in our hearts, maybe seeds to do with a relationship, or with a hope for a job; or with the well being of our children; or hope for a better world; we do what we can in terms of preparation and then sow the seeds as lovingly as we can; but we do so more often than not more in hope, than expectation; waiting can be an anxious time particularly where we have so little control over how things will turn out.  

It is in that space between hoping for things to be different and stepping out, and risking putting that into practice, that we can sometimes feel left in the dark, frightened, unsure. If we let those doubts overcome us, then we give up and concede defeat.

But it is in the planting and nurturing of these seeds that the Church teaches the spirit of God will strengthen us and guide us. St Paul tells us in one of his letters in the New Testament that the fruits of the spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. 

Now there is a harvest that would go some way toward making our world a better place to be. And it starts with you and me in our daily lives, today, planting the seeds of forgiveness, patience, generosity and  gratitude as we go about our daily tasks. That would be a beautiful way to celebrate Pentecost!

Happy Planting.


Jayne Hinds has been busy preparing and planning a new idea for four of our churches - Prayer Spaces.  These can now be found displayed in Barrington, Shepton, Dowlish Wake and Kingstone churches.

There are four 'activities', and any or all can be used in church or taken home. There are also small prayer cards to take away.

The themes are:

1. 5 family members or friends

2. 5 places in the world

3. The Holy Spirit to be invited into our home, community or place of work

4 Take a prayer journal away for personal prayer

This primarily has come about for the 'Thy Kingdom Come' initiative which take places over the 10 days from Ascension to Pentecost, but as church opening is limited, the display will run until the last week in June, when the prayer focus will be changed for a Summer/Creation theme.

We would be interested to hear your thoughts and comments on this, to help plan future “Spaces”,


Services in our churches are more or less back to normal now, the rota is on the back page of the Web Magazine and on the Benefice Website -

Covid restrictions will be carefully adhered to, as a means of keeping us all safe.


5th May 21:        Carol Le Clercq,  77 years; a resident of Puckington for 11½ years;  woodland funeral service and burial at Higher Ground Meadow.

7th May 21    Joan Dean, 96 years; born in Lopen and living locally, until moving to Cheshire on marriage to Roy in 1943, returning to Barrington in 2007.   Cremation at Yeovil.

14th May 21       David Goddard, 74 years; a resident of Shepton Beauchamp for nearly 53 years, a cremation service at Taunton.


Someone has been putting Lego on my doorstep every morning this week; I’m not sure what to make of it.

Have you heard of Murphy’s Law?   No what is it?   If something can go wrong it will.  Have you heard of Cole’s Law?   No what is it?   Thinly sliced cabbage.

A friend suggested putting horse manure on my strawberries....I’m never doing that again, I’m going back to whipped cream.

An archaeological expedition has just found the remains of Long John Silver’s real missing leg.  The lower part of the leg was found during a shin dig.

A man has been shot two hundred times by an upholstery gun; doctors report that he is now fully recovered.

A priest, a pastor and a rabbit walked into a blood donation clinic.  The nurse asked the rabbit, “What is your blood type?” to which the rabbit relied, “I’m probably a type O”.

Gilbert O’Sullivan came into the bank this morning.   O really what did he want?  A loan, naturally.

A man went to the cinema and was surprised to find a woman with a big collie dog sitting in front of him.  Even more amazing was that the dog always laughed in the right places through the comedy.   “Excuse me, but I think it’s astounding that your dog enjoys the movie so much” said the man.   “Yes” replied the woman, “I’m surprised myself, he hated the book”.

I caught my son chewing on electrical cords.  So I had to ground him.  He’s doing better currently, and conducting himself properly.



A huge thank you to all those in Barrington and Puckington and further afield who so generously supported the April Raffle in aid of St Marys Church especially important this year as we couldn’t have a Barrington day.  Together we raised £1345; a terrific amount, thank you.

This would not have been possible without the generosity of those who donated such wonderful prizes and our thanks go to: 

Ann Faithful for the beautiful paintings a choice of two so the winner could make a choice!

Matthew Rowswells gardening/fencing day! 

The Boars voucher (Thank you for also selling tickets Victoria!) 

An amazing basket of fruit & veg and other goodies from Simon Rowswell

A voucher from the Beauty Box (won by Liz Snowden!!)

A voucher from the Smokey 

Di Briers Preserves

Sally Kent Glass 

Barrington Pottery

Wentin Fasteners Stainless Steel garden fork 

Mathew Applegate English Wine 

Beryl Rich Fruit Cake 

Lesley Jones Welsh Whiskey 

Alan Dare Red Wine


A big thank you also to Liz Tozer for all her help with Facebook entries

Friday, 23 April 2021


 Rector’s Pages:  

At one of our local village Primary Schools, my weekly “Vicar’s Collective Worship (Assembly)” during Lent had focussed on how people in the life of Jesus had felt when the walked, talked, laughed and cried with him.  The emphasis throughout has been about these ordinary people being inspired by Jesus to do great things.   After the last Collective Worship of term, when the focus was on the people who saw the Crucifixion and Resurrection, the children were asked to write their thoughts which I share with you.......remember that these are all written by 8, 9, 10 and 11 year old pupils...

Good Friday is terrifying because it’s full of slow, crumbling death.

Easter is a bit confusing but happy.

Good Friday is disheartening, and I feel mislead by Jesus.

Easter is astonishing, shocking, amazing and makes me feel glued to the spot.  Jesus’ resurrection is exciting.

Good Friday is a terrible day and watching would make me cry like it was the end of the world.   Good Friday is a miserable day and Jesus was probably terrified.

Easter is a joyful day for Jesus and his friends, and they would have had a celebration.  Easter is when Jesus came back to everyone and everyone is happy and delighted.

Good Friday is slow gory death.

Easter is crazy, happy and amazing without doubt.

Good Friday is a dreadful day full of pain.

Easter is joyful because Jesus was alive, and everyone was relieved.

Good Friday is a terrible day and If I had been there, I would’ve been frozen with fear.

Easter is a good day because if I had been there and heard the news, I would be wide awake.

Good Friday is sad, disappointing, and painful.

Easter is amazing and we are delighted.

Good Friday is a dreadful day for everyone in the world except the Romans.  If I had been there, I would’ve cried like a baby.

Easter is a happy day because Jesus came back to life and God came back to Earth to save us.

Good Friday is a depressing day for most and a gloomy night that shocked everyone.  If I had been there, I would be in despair and disgust.

Easter is the confusing amazement of Jesus’ resurrection that left people in astonishment and shock.

Good Friday is despair, and a dreadful day for some people mourning the death of Jesus and feeling confusion.

Easter is the enjoyment for loads of people who feel over the moon, delightful and amazing for everyone.

Good Friday is three crosses petrifying the eyes of Mary at the time of dusk.  Good Friday is cheering Romans nailing Jesus to the cross and painful, gory, dreadful death.

Easter is fainting with the shock of a glowing, walking spark of resurrection, relief that Jesus took away our sins.


Services in our churches are more or less back to normal now, the rota is on the back page of the Web Magazine and on the Benefice Website -

Covid restrictions will be carefully adhered to, as a means of keeping us all safe.

From the Registers

14th April     Hilda Anders, 94 years; formerly of a resident of Barrington, her funeral service was held at the church, followed by cremation at Yeovil.

   Elizabeth asked her Sunday School class to sketch a picture of their favourite Bible stories. She was puzzled by Bert's picture, which showed four people sitting in a plane, so she asked him which bible story it was meant to represent.'  The flight to Egypt,' said Bert. 'I see ... and that must be Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus, 'Elizabeth said, 'But who's the fourth person?' Oh, that's Pontius - the Pilot.’

   The Reverend Lewis woke up Sunday morning and realising it was an exceptionally beautiful and sunny early spring day, decided he just had to play golf. So... he told the Curate that he was feeling sick and persuaded him to take the services for him that day. As soon as the Curate left the room, Rev’d Lewis headed out of town to a golf course about forty miles away. This way he knew he wouldn't accidentally meet anyone he knew from his parish. Setting up on the first tee, he was alone. After all, it was Sunday morning and everyone else was in church! At about this time, Saint Peter leaned over to the Lord while looking down from the heavens and exclaimed,"You're not going to let him get away with this, are you?" The Lord sighed, and said, "No, I guess not." Just then Rev’d Lewis hit the ball and it shot straight towards the pin, dropping just short of it, rolled up and fell into the hole. IT WAS A 430 YARD HOLE-in-ONE! St. Peter was astonished. He looked at the Lord and asked, "Why did you let him do that?" The Lord smiled and replied, "Who's he going to tell?"