The Rector’s pages: HOPE AND LIGHT by Di Gallagher
We are in the DARK DAYS. January has been dank and drear – storms and floods, rain and more rain – no wonder we all feel rather sad. But let’s look on the bright side -we are HALF WAY THROUGH THE WINTER
In ancient times THE FEAST OF LIGHTS marked the midpoint of winter, halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, it celebrated the increased strength of the life-giving sun as winter gave way to spring. Have faith, my friends - SPRING WILL COME – IT ALWAYS DOES. In the early Christian church, at CANDLEMAS or the FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS, on 2nd February or the nearest Sunday, the candles to be used for the coming year were brought to church and blessed. Candles played an important part in daily life. Well – there was no electricity for a start. Some thought candles gave protection against plague, illness or famine. In Poland, the custom is to burn a candle before an icon of the Virgin Mary at Candlemas, to keep away the wolves. This stemmed from the days when wolves in the forest were part of life. Our ‘wolves’ are rather different now but the light of the candle (symbolising God’s love) could still help to allay our fears and give us hope.
Without light we can feel lost, lonely or afraid and without hope; Jesus said: "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life”.
In the Church’s calendar, Candlemas remembers the Presentation of Christ in the Temple on the 40th day after his birth. The reading for that day is about how Mary and Joseph as devout Jews, obeying the law of Moses, took Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem to ‘present him’ before God. This turned out to be a pivotal point in the Church’s history when Simeon and Anna, both of great age, and devout Jews, gave testimony as to who this child really was.
In what we now know from the words of the Nunc Dimittis, Simeon is ready to let go – when he takes Jesus in his arms he sees hope and salvation in the form of a child. Anna too recognised and embraced the new church, and Jesus as the light of the world. We can learn from this, hard as it is, that we, the older generation must give way to the young. In a perfect world there would be a mutual respect between young and old - in human terms and in ideas. Simeon had been looking forward to the ‘consolation’ of Israel, the coming of the Messiah, the saviour. Jesus called himself the ‘Comforter’ and the word ‘consolation’ translates variously as ‘comfort’, ‘counsel’, and ‘advocate’. When we look at the flame of the candle burning brightly it gives us hope and reassurance of God’s love, and his consolation. The winter always gives way to the spring. Darkness succumbs to the light. Let us have faith in goodness, in a greater power. But let us also believe in ourselves; let us look to the light, let us share the light and have hope for ourselves, for our children and the children of the world.
(Di Gallagher is a trustee of FMVSO a UK charity supporting orphans, handicapped and destitute children in the Himalayas fmvso.org)
Lighten our darkness, we beseech thee, O Lord; and by thy great mercy defend us from all perils and dangers of the dark; for the love of thy only Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen
First Sunday Services - Sunday 6th March
08.45am Dowlish Wake 1662 Communion
10.00am Kingstone Worship 4 All
10.30am Shepton Modern sung Communion
11.15am Cudworth Family Service for Mothering Sunday
6.00pm Barrington Sung Evensong
Ash Wednesday - The start of Lent
10th February - Ash Wednesday Services
10.30am Kingstone - Prayers & Communion
11.30am Barrington - Prayers & Communion
6.30pm Shepton - Prayers & Communion
4th March - World Day of Prayer
10.30am Shepton Beauchamp church.
This year the featured country is Cuba.
Sunday 6th March
11.15am - Mothering Sunday service at Cudworth
A special service for this special day and these special people.
Buttle Close Common Room - Shepton Beauchamp
We meet at 11.30am on the first Thursday of each month in the Common Room of Buttle Close for a short, gentle service of prayers, hymns, readings and a story. Everyone is very welcome.
Shepton on Tuesdays at 10.30am.
These services are 30 minutes long, simple Communion Services to reflect, pray and give thanks.
EVENSONGS IN WINTER
Please check the times of Evensong at Stocklinch, Dowlish and Kingstone as the service will be held at 4.00pm during the winter months.
From the Church Registers
18th December 2015 Kathleen Wakely, 78 years; funeral service and burial at Shepton Beauchamp.
21st December 2015 Ronald Staple, 84 years; funeral service and burial at Shepton Beauchamp.
29th December 2015 Patrick Fowler, 79 yrs; funeral service at Dowlish Wake, followed by cremation at Taunton.
Fair shares for Rural People
Those who choose to live in the country will know and appreciate the many benefits. Not so attractive are the relatively higher cost of living compared to our urban neighbours. An NFU Survey estimated that this so-called countryside premium’ was an average of £2,000 per head each year – comprising higher transport costs, heating and food prices, coupled with more limited service provision such as transport links or reasonable broadband.
The Rural Fair share group of MPs (which include our MPs for Yeovil and Taunton Deane) are campaigning for a fairer share of government funding for rural communities – currently urban councils receive 45% more funding per head than their rural equivalents. They are calling for £130million to redress the balance and be redistributed to rural councils – this month in parliament. The group has already achieved modest success with a Rural Services Delivery Grant (currently set at £15million) but still rural residents receive far fewer government services. So lets hope the campaign will be successful in getting a fairer deal across Britain.
February also sees the beginning of Fairtrade Fortnight (29 Feb-13March). Lack of food security is one of the World’s most critical issues. Despite millions of subsistence farmers working hard to grow the food we eat, many don’t earn enough to feed and educate their families. Shoppers in the West can change this by harnessing their buying power to buy Fairtrade products where foods and drinks are imported, and, of course, support our own producers for locally sourced food.
This year the Fairtrade Foundation is inviting us to Stand Up for poor farmers by Sitting Down to a Big Fairtrade Breakfast – for more details of where they are and how to host one, go to www.fairtrade.org.uk/breakfast
As the God of justice once said to us (via the prophet Micah): ‘what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God.’ Revd Annie Gurner email@example.com
Side by Side with people with dementia in South Somerset
Could you help someone with dementia to do the things they love?
From going for a stroll in the park, to joining an art class together, being a Side by Side volunteer is a flexible way to volunteer your time and helps people with dementia to keep doing the things we take for granted.
This extra support can make it easier for people with dementia, who might sometimes feel isolated or find it difficult to leave their homes, remain active and feel part of their local community.
We are looking for Side by Side volunteers in this area. If you are interested, please e mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information, or phone us on 01458 251541 and ask for Stephanie, Katherine or Joan.
- One in three people over 65 will die with dementia
- Research shows that 800,000 people in the UK have a form of dementia, Alzheimer's Society supports people to live well with dementia today and funds research to find a cure for tomorrow. We rely on voluntary donations to continue our vital work. You can donate now by calling 0845 306 0898 or visiting alzheimers.org.uk
- National Dementia Helpline, the number is 0845 300 0336 or visit alzheimers.org.uk
WEBSITE FOR OUR VILLAGES & CHURCHES
Our Churches - winsmoor.blogspot.co.uk
Barrington Village barringtonvillage.btck.co.uk
Barrington Pre-school barringtonpreschool.co.uk
Deanery Website crewkernedeanery.blogspot.co.uk
Shepton Beauchamp Village sheptonbeauchamp.org.uk
NEW Shepton Primary School sheptonbeauchamp.somerset.sch.uk
Stocklinch Village stocklinch.org.uk