Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Web Magazine - JUNE Issue 2016 - Rector's Pages

The Rector’s pages:  Life has lost its sparkle (By Fr Peter Knott SJ)

     For many people, there are times in life when we feel we’re on a treadmill.   Nothing dramatic has happened; we haven’t lost our job, we haven’t had a row with colleagues at work, or with friends or family.   But each day seems to be just dull routine, and our day to day tasks have become a bit of a chore. Life has lost its sparkle.  
     We turn in on ourself, discontented, ill at ease - sometimes even resentful at the apparently happy and contented lives other people seem to lead, forgetting that ‘no one knows where the other person’s shoe pinches.’   We force ourself to plod on, but with no sense of fulfilment or any great meaning to the daily round of things we’re doing.
     We fear that we are missing out on life somehow.  Jesus said: ‘Be not afraid.’  He uses this phrase often, in different contexts.  This is one of them where He wants us to we realise we’ve been living on the surface, simply responding to daily demands - all of which have to be dealt with of course, but they can so easily obscure the truth of our life.  We feel like a wavering reed, at the whim of the wind which blows us this way and that.
    There’s nothing wrong with leading a busy and active life.  But when that ‘activism’ takes over completely and leaves us no time simply to be ourselves, then we can become disengaged from our real selves, and from God; we have forgotten the admonition of the Psalmist: “Be still and know that I am God.”
     Our world places great emphasis on how well we perform and believes that only what is measurable is of value, and we easily lose any sense that we are more than we can see, observe and verify, and diminishes us as human beings.   If we are to understand who we really are, we need to rediscover our hearts, not in the physical sense but in the spiritual sense that we find in the scriptures.
     Beyond all we can see, there is a deeper place, a deeper life which is part of our nature.   In silent reflection we can rediscover the wonder we can have in enjoying the simple pleasures of life - like a colourful sunset, a brilliant sunrise, an inspiring poem or a great painting. In meditating on such beauty, we can begin to discover our own God-given value which God wants us to love and enjoy as he does.
      The Lord’s Prayer reminds us:  ‘Thy will be done.’  Not in a resigned sense that we just have to accept the situation, but in the positive sense of seeing what can be done in every situation.  There’s always something we can do even where we can see no prospect of immediate change, making a bad situation a little less bad through some act of kindness and concern for others. 
     When we live in this way we find ourselves less inclined to despondent moods and we are in fact finding God - through loving our neighbour as ourself, trying to love others as God loves us. 


Saturday 18th June
Dowlish Wake Village - the famous “Duck Race” 
see details elsewhere in the Web.

Saturday 25th June
Stocklinch Church - Summer Fair, in the afternoon,
see details elsewhere in the Web.

Thank you:
A big thank you to everyone involved (working and supporting) in the following….
30 April - Kingstone May Fair - raised just under £1200 - very well done everyone.
7 May - Dowlish Wake Plant Sale - raised just over £1100 - very well done to everyone here as well.
The proceeds from these events contribute to the day to day running costs of our little churches.

From the Church Registers
23 April Mark Dando & Rachel Causley; joined in holy matrimony at Shepton Beauchamp.

First Sunday Services - Sunday 3rd July
08.45am  Dowlish Wake 1662 Communion
10.00am         Kingstone Worship 4 All
10.30am         Shepton         Modern sung Communion
11.150am Cudworth         Communion
6.00pm         Barrington Sung Evensong 


Sunday 19th June - 6.00pm
Moolham Church-yard Annual Service
The annual service in this hidden gem of a churchyard, with popular hymns and readings on the theme of St John the Baptist (after whom the church which once stood on this spot was named).   Bring a chair or rug to sit one; dogs on leads welcome.

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.

Weekday Communions
Shepton on Tuesdays at 10.30am.
These services are 30 minutes long, simple Communion Services to reflect, pray and give thanks.

True story:
Four-year-old found chewing on a slug. After the initial disgust his mother asked, “Well - what does it taste like?”

An Apache Blessing
May the sun bring you new energy by day,
may the moon softly restore you by night,
may the rain wash away your worries,
may the breeze blow new strength into your being,
may you walk gently through the world and know its beauty
all the days of your life.

BLUEBELL WOOD WALK from St Michael’s Cudworth to St James’ Chillington on Sunday 8th May 2016
   Sometimes in the rural church we wonder, “what are we doing this for” and then there are events like this Bluebell Walk and we are reminded exactly why we do it!
   On a lovely May morning, more than a hundred people gathered at Cudworth Church, people of all ages and lots of children, from all over the area.   After a breakfast and Rogation Service, they all set off up the hill to walk through the woods to see the extra-ordinary site of carpets of English Bluebells in full bloom and in full scent!  Then, admiring the views across the valley that walked out of the woods, down the hill and across the fields to Chillington to be met there by tea and cakes!
   It was a wonderful way to spend a Sunday morning - out in the fields with God.
We are all grateful to the following for making the walk such a success:
   The Lane and Saunders families (Longacre and Knight’s House Farms respectively) for allowing us to use their land and bring our dogs with us.   The folk of Cudworth and Chillington Churches for the food and beverage.  The trailer transport drivers for making life a little bit easier for us!

Out in the Fields with God
by Elizabeth Barrett Browning 
The little cares that fretted me
I lost them yesterday,
among the fields, above the sea,
among the winds at play,
among the lowing of the herds,
the rustling of the trees,
among the singing of the birds,
the humming of the bees.
The foolish fears of what might happen,
I cast them all away,
among the clover-scented grass,
among the new-mown hay,
among the husking of the corn,
where drowsy poppies nod,
where ill thoughts die and good are born--
out in the fields with God. 

Flying with a Spitfire ( by David Tucker
I was brought up in Surrey in the 60’s, just a short distance from Kenley and Biggin Hill. As a boy I read such comics as the Eagle and the Hurricane. Comics full of adventures, features on my hero, Douglas Bader along with many war stories often featuring aerial dog fights. My favourite, as with many young boys of this period was of course the Spitfire. This iconic plane alongside the Hurricane, drove back the Luftwaffe - the largest and most formidable air force in Europe, to win the Battle of Britain and save this green isle from invasion. My love of the endearing Spitfire has never waned indeed it has probably grown over the passing years. This Christmas my long-suffering wife Sue, who puts-up with this petrolhead gave me my Christmas present. It was to Fly with a Spitfire! Originally she had wanted to buy me a flight in one, but being disabled with MS and rather wobbly on my ‘pegs’, I would fail the need to be able to run 75m across a ploughed field. So on Sunday 8th May we arrived at Lydd Airport in Kent where, standing on the runway, was a stunning example of a Spitfire - TD314. TD314 was sold to a scrap dealer in 1954 and there it stayed until being saved in 1969 before eventually being restored at Biggin Hill where she took to the skies again for the first time since the 40s on 7th December 2013. Named ‘St George’ she is now owned by Aero Legends who organise these events. I was in a 70s Piper as we took off for a 40 minute flight that included passing over the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust before heading out over the white cliffs of Dover. So, what was it like? Words cannot accurately convey my emotions as this beautiful Spitfire flew alongside us wingtip to wingtip, suddenly it would break away, the iconic underside of those beautiful wings clear to see as it rolled under our aircraft and appeared on our other side. It fell away to perform a loop the loop, before again flying in at high speed to sit at our wingtips again, the pilot, waving to us as we took far too many pictures. Here was I flying out over the White Cliffs of Dover alongside a Spitfire just like those many brave young men did back in 1940 when so many gave their lives to save ours. The average age of an RAF pilot in 1940 was about 20 years with some as young as 18. Outnumbered 5 to 1 by both machine and men, these young men defended their homeland against incredible odds. When Goering told Galland if the Luftwaffe beat the RAF he could have anything that he wanted, he only had to name it, Galland replied "Then give me a squadron of Spitfires!" Goering was not amused… It was an indescribable experience, a lifetime’s ambition, but I was little prepared for the emotions that it stirred. I have to admit that I was unable to prevent the tears that rolled down my cheeks as I landed again and thought about the battle, the men and their sacrifice for me…I thought ....There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for another. John 15:13  

Summer is a-coming in…

As I write (in early May) the trees are a riot of blossom in South Somerset and everything – plants, hedgerow animals, birds, bees and other insects are busily rushing around to reproduce and nurture their young while the weather is favourable.  I hope it lifts your heart like it does mine! Keen gardeners are also busy planting out their summer colour and mowing their lawns.  And on the farm, the first cut of silage has been taken, the new lambs are growing on and at last the dairy cows are out on grass. The arable fields are quite suddenly a carpet of young crops bursting into life and the lighter evenings encourage the farmers to work even longer hours. We are so fortunate to have here a climate and soil that can grow such a variety of good food, clothing and energy for us.

At Rogation (usually in May) we walked and prayed around our villages, giving thanks for the rural economy and those who live and work there and those who visit, but now is a good time to plan for Lammas – the time of giving thanks for all our English bounty, particularly Bread. The name Lammas first appeared in the time of King Alfred, derived (probably) from the words Loaf and Mass, and is the modern equivalent of the Hebrew Festival of Weeks when the first sheaf of Barley was presented to God. It is usually around 1 August but we are celebrating it at our church fete. Nowadays we often use the newly baked loaf as the centre of the service; here is one prayer:
Farmers wife or local baker: 
In the name of the people of our community, 
I bring this loaf made from the first ears of the ripe corn. 
We offer it to God, and pray for his blessing on our homes and our families, 
on the food we eat and the work we do and all the daily life of this village. Amen

There are other Lammas ideas on the national rural church website:   Bread is such a marvellous staple and these days so varied in form and flavour, and locally we can source rye, barley, wheat, spelt and many other breads.   Like many people of my generation I have had an itinerant life – Somerset is my 34th home! A wise monk once suggested to me that when you move to a new house, bake some bread there, and keep going till you are really pleased with your flavour, appearance and consistency. This may take some time and care but will help you feel grounded in that place.

Coming up over half-term, 1-4th June, is the Great Bath and West show – why not come and celebrate the wonderful diversity of country life. I’ll be there on the FCN stand by the cattle rings – please say hello!  Also, on June 5th is Open Farm Sunday  - do check out the local farms opening their gates to the public – educational and fun – nearby there are farms opening at South Petherton, Haselbury Plucknett and Knole, Nr Langport. Enjoy!

Also that week is National Cherishing Churchyard Week – an initiative from Caring for God’s Acre - a good time to celebrate and encourage wild flowers and other wildlife in these special places: there are lots of good ideas and resources available to involve and invite local communities to help maintain these plots in the heart of our villages.

This is my last article for you, as my post is coming to an end; it has been a pleasure over the last 3 years and thank you for reading!       

Rev’d Annie Gurner, Rural Life Advisor

 Three Saints Federation 

Shepton Beauchamp Primary School & 
St Mary & St Peter’s Primary School  
Building Communities – Building Caring Lives – Building Learning for Life 

The Village Schools of Shepton Beauchamp and St Mary & St Peter’s - Ilton are looking for people like YOU to become a Governor.
Did you know that you don’t have to be a parent or member of staff to be a school governor? School governors are drawn from the local community and come from all walks of life.  What they have in common is a desire to get involved in the community and in the local children’s education. Shepton Beauchamp Primary School and St. Mary and St Peter’s Primary School – Ilton work together and are governed as the Three Saint’s Federation. We are looking for people from our village communities of Shepton Beauchamp, Barrington, Ilton and all villages in between to bring skills that the Governing Body needs to continue to guide and support our valuable village schools. 
School governors represent England’s largest group of volunteers (currently some 300,000 strong), who are dedicated to school improvement. Governors make important decisions with regard to the running of the school including curriculum, pupil targets, school improvement, school budgets, staffing, health and safety, management of premises and more.  
If all this sounds rather daunting, remember that school governors are drawn from all walks of life, backgrounds and past experiences. Moreover, the school and the current governors can provide a broad range of support and training to help new governors understand their role.
The Governing Body acts corporately and is collectively responsible for decisions. The emphasis is on collaboration with other governors and with the Headteacher. The collective decisions made by the Governing Body will help to shape the future of all of the children at the schools 
The amount of time devoted to governance varies, but a governor might be expected to attend five Governing Body meetings per year, plus about three to four Committee meetings. You may also be invited to visit the school on a regular basis. 
Governors report that they derive a range of personal benefits from the work and many find the role enormously rewarding and stay with the same school for years. These benefits include the chance to acquire new skills and upgrade existing ones; undertake an exciting and challenging role; as well as meeting new people to work together towards a common goal.  Governors also report immense satisfaction that, in giving up a few hours a term, they can help make a real difference to children’s lives.  
At present we are particularly interested in hearing from prospective governors with skills and experience in finance; marketing and PR; HR; and law and regulations.  
If you feel that you can help make that difference, and can contribute to our Governing Body, then please contact Sarah Wright, Clerk to the Governors via for further information and an application form. 

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