PCC Meeting: 26th May
An Open Mind
Benefice PCC: 11th May
Benefice Standing Committee
Churches & Families
Benefice Rogation Walk
Annual Parochial Church Meeting (APCM)
APCM Agenda & Materials
Indian Priest To Visit
New Lectern Blessing
Race for Life
St Andrew's PCC
Daily Bible Reading
Concert in the Cathedral
In Our Prayers
Lunch for 210!
Face To Face
VAT: Good News
Births, Deaths & Marriages
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As ever, this event was very well supported and thoroughly enjoyed by those taking part. We all visited five venues for the various courses and had the opportunity to meet new people taking part.
Many thanks to Sharon for the splendid organisation and to the multitude of local cooks who prepared the wonderful courses.
Although primarily a fund raising event, this supper has now become a firm and favourite part of Medstead's social calendar.
Following the discussions at the Benefice PCC meeting on 11th May it was agreed that from the beginning of September our service pattern on the four Sundays of the month will be:
|1st:||11am Family Communion (CW)|
|2nd:||8am Holy Communion (BCP)||11am Family Service (CW)|
|3rd:||11am Family Communion||6pm Evening Praise|
|4th:||8am Holy Communion (BCP)||11am Morning Prayer|
Anita Bray has been given an 8ft x 4ft banner commemorating David's ministry and she would be pleased to have it displayed at St Andrew's. It was agreed that it would not be permanently fixed but that initially it would be displayed between the door and the window in the south wall of the nave.
There are now four vacancies on the Diocesan Synod. Anyone interested in filling one of these should discuss this with Ben.
Kathryn Flenley has held the initial meetings to develop the further Christian education of children in the benefice. This meeting was well supported and included representatives from St Andrew's.
A new team is in place to produce The Villager from August.
The Village Hall Management Committee have invited St Andrew's to take part in a village carol singing event on the green in mid-December. This was favourably received.
The events of 11th September 2001 prompted me to bring forward something I had been planning to do in any case at some time: I invited leaders of other faith communities to come and talk to our parishioners in a series of talks given in Lent 2002. In the first round, we heard from a Jew, a Buddhist and a Muslim. All three gave us an informative introduction to their respective faith communities.
All of us who heard these talks were particularly impressed with what the Muslim had to say. He was a very gentle man, deeply spiritual and holy, who gave us an insight into the practice of what might be described as the silent majority - people who wish to worship the Almighty and live in peace. The five Pillars of Islam, which are: the profession of faith, regular prayer, fasting, almsgiving and pilgrimage, set out a code for life. That code has no more to do with harming another person than does Christ's teaching to "love one another as I have loved you" (John 13:34). Indeed, Jews, Muslims and Christians alike are exhorted to care for "the foreigner, the orphan and the widow" (quoted several times in the Jewish Bible, or Old Testament). Our Muslim speaker back in Lent 2002 expressed his horror at much of what is being done in the name of Allah, just as Jews and Christians the world over despair to witness how God is used to justify ungodly deeds and words.
It is my prayer that, in particular, Judaism, Christianity and Islam (in chronological order of their beginnings) would focus far more upon our common heritage and purposes, through mutual respect and understanding, and thereby deprive extremists from our faiths, other faiths and none of a justification for their profane conduct.
Changing tack completely, I happened across the British Soap Awards on television the other night. It struck me, looking at the clips shown from "all our favourites" what a skewed portrayal of life they present. According to the small screen, all families are dysfunctional, alcohol is the cure for all stress, everyone is being promiscuous and no conversation can take place unless shouted in extreme anger. It has often been said that art acts as a mirror upon society, in which case the soaps have a message for us: we're in deep trouble.
Perhaps I haven't changed tack at all. The soaps, we all know, condense life into short scenes - even The Archers (dear Reader, I'm a registered Archers Addict) now seems incapable of a scene longer than twenty seconds! But this picture is either false or, at the least, incomplete. Just as to claim that "all Muslims are terrorists" or "all Christians are torturers" is grossly wrong, so to suggest that the soaps portray the whole of human existence would be a grave error indeed. The problem is that so many people seem to lack any critical facilities when these claims are made, and believe what they're told without question. Who was it who first said, "there's nothing so dangerous as a closed mind"?
Christians believe that Jesus called us to reach out to all people in unconditional love. We dishonour him completely if we do anything less.
The first Joint PCC meeting for our new benefice took place on Tuesday, 11th May. This meeting is to take place twice per year and is intended to be an opportunity for the PCCs to discuss items which concern the whole benefice rather than each individual church.
As well as the standard items of Rector's Review of Activities, and Churchwarden's Review of each Parish's Activities, principal items discussed on this occasion were:
Ahead of the first Joint Benefice PCC Meeting, the Standing Committee - which includes all churchwardens and the Rector - met on Thursday 6th May to review the Benefice services and activities over the previous six months, including Lent, Good Friday and Easter, before considering the standardisation of services and possible changes to the service pattern.
The latter would be related primarily to the Rector's availability, with Simon Baker and Kathryn Flenley as a bonus rather than pre-planned, and a reduction in the number of lay-led services. These had not proved popular and often had the lowest attendance.
The use of parent parish Gift Aid envelopes in other parishes was discussed and methods agreed for their return and accounting for the contents.
Questions relating to Issues in Human Sexuality (Gay Rights); Re-marriage of Divorced Persons and the Marriage of Persons Not Resident in a Parish were discussed to confirm a Benefice Policy on each aspect.
The first was still subject to debate and the Rector hoped to give a presentation before the September meeting of the Joint PCCs; the second allowed the incumbent to exercise discretion, which all four PCCs supported, whilst the last had established guidelines already.
It was agreed that all four Annual Parish Reports would be combined into a single document, available as a Benefice document to support submissions for finance, for example, to outside agencies.
This year is the 10th Anniversary of the International Year of the Family and Churches Together will be celebrating the occasion.
Churches Together is an ecumenical organisation which embodies the idea of having churches of different denominations working together. Currently, 23 denominations belong to Churches Together in England. These are as diverse as the Russian Orthodox Church, the Council of African & Caribbean Churches, the Roman Catholic Church, the Baptist Union and many more.
This must be Good News!
Over the last ten years the profile of the family has undergone significant changes:
Today, an increasing number of mothers return to work, more fathers take responsibility for parenting, more children grow up in one-parent families, more people live alone and families are more mobile, either through choice: working abroard, or through circumstance: economic or political migrants and refugees.
During this time, many churches have also experienced major changes within their communities, the demographics of their congregations, different worship styles and the need become compliant with child protection legislation.
To mark the 10th Anniversary of the International Year of the Family Churches Together in England has produced a range of support materials for churches, including worship themes such as families having fun, faith in the family, and positive parenting.
Consequently, many churches will be celebrating what it means to be a family in 2004 and will reflect on how they can support different kinds of families, both in their churches and in their communities.
This is an opportunity to thank publicly the large number of parishioners, from all four parishes, who made Lent, Holy Week and Easter such a busy yet fulfilling time for us all. It was a pure joy to witness how many of you demonstrated your thirst for study and discussion by attending either (in some cases, both) of the study groups which ran through Lent. A particular thank you to our hosts in Lasham and Medstead, for turning over your homes to large numbers of people once a week for the five sessions of the course.
Many of you have suggested that you would like to continue with some study in the "summer term", as it were: Kathryn and I are giving thought to possible programmes, but if any of you have suggestions, please let us know.
I was also very impressed by the numbers who attended the two sets of Lent Lunches; one in Medstead, the other rotating around Bentworth, Lasham and Shalden. I don't yet know exactly how much money has been raised for the charities supported, though those details will be made public in due course. A series of excellent speakers came to St. Andrew's. My thanks to all the organisers for providing these opportunities to spend time in fellowship together in this way.
Holy Week and Easter were also observed in good fashion. Compline (in St. Andrew's) has always been a favourite act of devotion; the setting, music and peace were truly inspiring. Services over the "Great Three Days" were well attended, with Easter being a truly joyful climax to the whole season. I was so pleased to be able to introduce our great friend the Revd. J. Jeyapaul from South India and his wife Annamuthu to many of you while they were staying with us and to invite him to share in leading our worship.
The pinnacle of Christian commemoration at this time comes with our celebration of Pentecost (Whitsun) on 30th May; being a fifth Sunday, I would urge you all to come to the United Benefice service in St. Mary's, Lasham that day at 10.00am. As St. Paul wrote, "be filled with the Spirit, as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." (Ephesians 5:18).
Easter-tide is also traditionally the season for church Annual Meetings. They have not all been held as I write this, but will have been by the time the magazine has been published. My great thanks to all who have served in any manner the life of our local churches. No organization such as ours can exist without enormous amounts of love, self-giving and voluntary time; you have given all these and more in abundance. My especial thanks to those who have asked for a rest from their past duties, and also to those who have taken up something new this year. Together, we shall achieve successes large and small in the year ahead.
St Andrew's Annual Parochial Church Meeting (APCM) took place in the Church Hall on Tuesday 20th April at 7.45pm. 34 residents of the Parish and members of the congregation attended.
Stephen Blackshaw and Sarah Delany were re-elected as Churchwardens; Geoff Spinks and Chris Tew as Assistant Wardens. The Deanery Synod Representatives are now Diana Davies-Scourfield and Geoff Spinks. The 10 elected members of the PCC are:
|Paul Adams||Patrick Busby||Logan Colbeck||Carol Fuller|
|Gay Howard||Ian Jurd||Julia Phillips||Val Prior|
|Nathan Smoothy||Chris Tew|
At the Parochial Church Council (PCC) meeting which took place immediately following the conclusion of the APCM, Logan Colbeck was elected as Treasurer, and Chris Tew as Secretary.
The Standing Committee is to comprise Ben Flenley, Stephen Blackshaw, Sarah Delany, Logan Colbeck and Chris Tew.
Lasham's intrepid explorers Sue Jamieson and Antonia Goor have been striding about the Lasham dales and dells planning the Rogation Walk.
Rogation Sunday is 16th May when by ancient tradition the faithful beat the bounds of the parish and invoke the Almighty to bless the fields and the crops. This year we will be walking from St. Mary's Lasham to Shalden, where we will serve tea. For the fit and healthy there is a return leg to Lasham. For those who are one-way walkers there will be lifts on hand to ferry the weary back to their cars.
For both sets of huffers and puffers there will be refreshment at Shalden and the satisfaction that you have taken part in a long-standing country tradition. Dogs please look after your masters and make sure they are safely on a lead. Children take care of adults and don't let them stray please, we are counting on you.
Please don't forget to leave the high heel sneakers and blue suede shoes at home and walk in good boots. We will also need to be in good voice as, at suitable points along the way, by ponds, in the woodlands or fields, we will pause for prayer and hymns.
The combined service and walk will start promptly at St. Mary's Lasham at 3pm.
Please contact either Sue Jamieson (01256 381388) or Antonia Goor (01256 381254) so we know the numbers for tea, otherwise there may not be enough chocolate brownies to go round!
Rogation Sunday Report
Ben and I wish to thank the many people who made the Reverend Jeyapaul and his wife Annamuthu so very welcome when they visited the benefice. This was a particularly momentous time for Annamuthu as, previously, she had only made a journey equivalent to travelling from Alton to Southampton!
They really enjoyed their time with us all and were so grateful for the positive response they received to their work in the Mercy Home.
The reason for their visit was to encourage people to sponsor the next wave of children coming to stay in the Mercy Home and to thank those who had supported it from the beginning. They have been overwhelmed by the number of you who have already agreed to sponsor a child, as have Ben and I!
For those of you who are not sure what the Mercy Home is all about, let me give you some idea. The children who are accepted into the Mercy Home are all members of the untouchable caste, living in remote villages, which means they would normally expect to leave school at the age of 9 or 10 to work in the fields.
However, by leaving their villages and living in the Mercy Home in the town of Devakottai, these children can attend the Government School until they are 16 or 17 and study for a profession. This means they are able to support their families and break away from the grinding poverty imposed on them by unscrupulous landowners, who view their farm labourers as property.
To sponsor a child means giving £120 per year for a maximum of 7 years which pays for all their living and medical expenses. This can be done by individuals or can be shared. If the money is gift aided by tax payers then another 28% is added, which more than pays for the administration costs, incurred when sending the money to Devakottai. There are no other overheads. In return, sponsor "parents" receive twice-yearly reports and are able to correspond with the children.
The next group of children enter the Mercy Home in July, the beginning of the Autumn Term. If you think you would like to be involved in this project then please let either Ben or I know and we will gladly give you more information about how to become a sponsor.
If you wish to make a donation rather than commit to sponsorship then this would be very gratefully received, as these donations go towards paying the staff in the Home.
Remembering the work of Jeyapaul, Annamuthu and their family in your prayers is also vital to the success of the project.
Thank you, once again, for your generosity of welcome.
At this time of year, the Christian Faith delivers high drama indeed! Firstly, on Good Friday we shall commemorate Christ's arrest, "trials", passion and death on the cross: historical events which even the most ardently-atheistic of archaeologists or historians can no longer deny. A young man, wandering from place to place, teaching people about the love of God, was arrested, tried on the flimsiest of evidence, and executed as a common criminal by a military governor who seems to have wanted to release him.
The Jewish historian Josephus (A.D. 37-c100) supports these events in his book The Antiquities of the Jews: "(Jesus) was the Christ; and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him." These events have, of course, recently been brought to the silver screen by Mel Gibson - perhaps you have seen the film? One might expect a Jewish historian to omit these events from a written history - don't we all understand these days how history tends to be written by the victors!
Secondly, as we celebrate on Easter Day, three days after Jesus' death some of the women who were his followers discovered the tomb to be empty; through these women the male disciples came to hear, gradually to believe and then to spread the word: "Christ is risen!". Josephus again: "for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him; and the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day." [Antiquities, Book 18, iii, 3]
For whatever reasons Christ was put to death, it is clear that he turned his back on political revolution in order to accomplish a profounder revolution in the realm of ideas and values. Rather than being a power-hungry radical, Jesus steps off the pages of the New Testament as a figure of nobility, grace and charm, able to reproduce these qualities in the lives of his followers and to raise to decency and dignity even those whom "society" designates as outcasts.
Now there's a cause for real rejoicing! Happy Easter to you all.
St Andrew's Annual Parochial Church Meeting (APCM) is to take place in the Church Hall on Tuesday 20th April at 7.45pm. All residents of the Parish and members of the congregation are warmly invited to attend.
If you have started to attend St Andrew's in the last year please make sure that your name is on our Electoral Roll by speaking to a Churchwarden, as this will allow you to vote at the meeting.
This year we need:
PCC Members: The Church's aim is to bring new faces onto the Parochial Church Council (PCC), so that the Council can truly represent the congregation. If you are willing to join the PCC please let a Churchwarden know. In addition to regular members of the PCC we are looking for someone who may be prepared to take over from our current treasurer who is soon to move from Medstead.
Sidesmen: We are to re-elect the sidesmen at the APCM on 20th April. Sidesmen currently on the rota and to be proposed for re-election are:
|Mr & Mrs P Adams||Mr & Mrs R Balchin||Mr & Mrs A Barnes|
|Mrs D Davies-Scourfield||Mr & Mrs W Davis||Mr & Mrs M Goodall|
|Mr J Hammond||Mr M Johnson||Mr & Mrs I Jurd|
|Mr K Kercher||Mr N Penfold||Mr & Mrs G Spinks|
|Mr & Mrs D Stiles|
If you are prepared to carry out the occasional duty and are not included in the above list please let our PCC Secretary, Chris Tew, know.
Deanery Synod Representative: At the APCM this year we must elect a new member to represent St Andrew's on the Deanery Synod. If you would like to know more about this role please contact a Churchwarden.
Covenant Secretary: Please talk to a Churchwarden if you may be prepared to take on this vital role for our Church.
The Reverend Jeyapaul and his wife, Annamuthu, are coming to visit the Benefice in April.
Jeyapaul is a priest in the Devakottai area in Tamil Nadu, on the southern tip of India, and Annamuthu has never been out of India before, so it will be quite an adventure for both of them.
He became part of our lives when Ben was at Theological College and we gave him some money to help him buy a motorbike in order for him to be able to visit his 15 churches more easily!
Over the next few years he began to unfold his dream, his vision if you like. He was born into the lowest caste in India, endearingly known as "The Untouchables" and it was only by attending a mission school, university and Theological College that he was able to escape the stigma and restrictions of being an "untouchable".
He could see, travelling around his rural parishes, many children just like he once was, with high aspirations but no chance of achieving them simply because they lived in villages where there were no schools.
His vision was to have a hostel in Devakottai where the children could live during term time and thus attend school. He told us that, if he could get 5 sponsors then he would open up his house to the children.
This we managed to do and since then the project has blossomed. The Mercy Home now has 40 children; there is a Nursery and a Home for elderly, widowed or single, women. Jeyapaul, his wife and two children run the whole enterprise.
We hope as many people as possible from the Benefice will be able to meet him and his wife while they are here. We are therefore holding a party for them on the evening of Wednesday April 7th at the Rectory, starting at 7.30pm. This will be an opportunity for you to meet them and find out about the work they and their family are engaged in to support the people who live in and around their community.
If you would like to join the party at the Rectory to meet Jeyapaul and Annamuthu, please call Kathryn on 01420 563218 or email her, so we have some idea of numbers.
They will also be at various Good Friday and Easter Sunday services, including the 6am Service of Light in St. Mary's, Bentworth, the 9.30am Communion in Lasham and the 11am Communion in Medstead.
Do come along and find out about our links with this amazing family!
Fundamental to the smooth functioning of a Benefice with several Churches is good communications. The Parish Magazine of Bentworth, Lasham, Medstead and Shalden, The Villager, has, for many years, fulfilled this role admirably. Not only does it act as a means of spreading information about future events, more importantly it is a means of proclaiming the Gospel and of reporting local news. The magazine is valued by many, both near and far, with some regular readers living as far away as Australia.
However, the small but dedicated team which run The Villager produces its last edition in mid-July. This will be the August edition, which is the start of the new financial and advertising year, and we needed volunteers to take over the posts of Editor and Advertising Executive from Ron Burnett and Sue Jamieson.
The future direction of the editing and the form and function of the new team was discussed at a joint meeting with interested parties, headed by the Rector, held in Oak Lodge, New Copse, at 8pm on Wednesday 19th May.
We can now confirm that The Villager is to continue under a new management team.
Maryanne McEvoy, from Lasham, is to take over the advertising role from Sue Jamieson and, together, they are actively planning the advertising for our next financial year which starts on 1st August.
It was agreed that the editorial role could and would be shared between a number of individuals with separate responsibilities for: Framework and the long-term items such as Services, Martha, Sidesmen and Readers; Monthly inputs from villages; Production and distribution; Finance and Accounting; and Advertising. Volunteers for these roles were earmarked and they would operate under instruction of the Rector and the current Editor for the June and July issues.
Additional support would be sought for these roles from within the Benefice, including a Co-ordinator for Bentworth, to strengthen the team and provide back-up for individuals.
It was further agreed that the financial year would correspond with the calendar year and next year's advertising would cover the period from 1st August 2004 to 31st December 2005.
Further details will be published next month, once the detailed responsibilities have been confirmed.
You may recall seeing reports about St Andrew's Church roof, our fund raising efforts and delays to the original start date of mid-March.
We now have approval to start the repairs to the Church roof. The work is to start on 21st June and be completed on 10th September 2004.
All services during this period will be held in the Church Hall.
During the service on 13th June Ben blessed the new and beautifully designed and crafted wooden lectern which was purchased with the legacy from Peter Hayes.
The lectern is adjustable, so that it will also be possible for children to use it, and it can also be used as a music stand.
This year Cancer Research UK are hoping to bring 325,000 women together to raise £20 million for scientists, doctors and nurses who work to find new treatments for the disease.
Kerry and Emily would be very grateful for any sponsors and there is a sponsorship form at the back of the church.
There are currently vacancies for boys aged 7 to 9 in Winchester College Chapel Choir. Quiristers sing services in the College Chapel during school term only, and also perform a wide variety of other music.
They receive scholarships worth half the boarding fee at the Pilgrims' School, Winchester, where they enjoy a very high standard of education, both academic and musical.
For further details, or an informal voice test, for which no preparation is needed, contact Christopher Tolley, Director of Chapel Music, Winchester College, College Street, Winchester SO23 9NA. telephone: 01962 860299, or email Christopher.
It was just the day to bless the crops, a glorious sunny Sunday afternoon with the fields and hedgerows looking at their sparkling best in the May sunshine.
A host of people ranging from tiny tots and young striders to ancient plodders, with a good assortment of dogs to keep them all in order, came to take part in this old country custom.
Sue and Antonia had done a marvellous job plotting a route, producing maps and clearing nettles. With Antonia as guide on our journey and Ben and Kathryn to lead us in our worship we made our pilgrimage from the Church Yard to the pond and on down the valleys and across the hills to Shalden, pausing every so often to bless pond and pasture, field and forest and any creatures we happened to chance upon, including Andy's patient dairy herd quietly waiting in their stalls for the evening milk.
Sue was there to chivvy us on at the back and huff puff we were soon enjoying a huge and delicious tea in Shalden Church Yard. As ever the good burgers of our neighbouring village had laid on a sumptuous feast of sandwiches, biscuits and cakes.
Many thanks to Sarah Floyd and Valerie Menzies for masterminding the refreshments and to all those, mainly anonymous, who provided the wherewithal.
Hugely refreshed we wandered back again, that is all except Cameron who ran all the way, what a runner, even the dogs were hard put to keep up, and Rachel who peddled her yellow peril in pursuit.
It was a lovely service, thanks to Ben and Kathryn, thanks to Sue and Antonia and all the good caterers and thanks to God.
The next meeting of our PCC will be held on 26th May. If you have any items which you wish us to consider for the agenda please let a member of the PCC know within the next week.
One of the items which we will be discussing is the Service Pattern proposed at the first Joint Benefice PCC Meeting. The Churchwardens and members of the PCC would be pleased to know your views on this subject.
To help you study the Bible at home on a regular daily basis, it can be arranged for you to receive a copy of Daily Bread or Encounter with God, from the Scripture Union, which give suggested daily readings and some brief, enlightening notes.
Please contact David Rowe on 01420 562577 for further information on these and similar publications.
We normally hold a service of Evening Praise on the fourth Sunday of each month. This month, on the fourth Sunday, May 23rd, we are invited to attend a concert at 6.30pm in Winchester Cathedral to support the Girl Choristers in their trip to Stavanger in September.
Tickets are £10 for adults and £5 for those under 18. Please phone Sarah on 01420 563602 for more details.
Continuing the tradition started a few years ago the lovely office of Compline was sung once more on the first three weekdays of Holy Week.
The Services were lead in turn by Sarah Delany, Rev. Ben Flenley and Carol Fuller. This year the Choir supported each service, which added a further dimension.
After a busy day Compline provides a practical way of unwinding and preparing for the challenges of the next day.
For those who do not wish to wait until next Easter before taking part in another Compline Service there is to be a Sung Compline by Candlelight in the Cathedral at 9.00pm on Thursday 20th May.
Please pray for Ben's family as they mourn the sudden death of Ben's brother-in-law, Robert Appleyard.
Ben has changed his holiday plans to spend time with his sister, Sylvia's family and may, therefore, be away from the benefice longer than originally planned.
Pamela and Davina Goodall "Walked the Walk" through the night of Saturday 15th and morning of Sunday 16th May as they took part, with 15,000 other women, in the Playtex Moonwalk 2004.
The Moonwalk is a unique power-walking marathon which started and finished in Hyde Park London, covering 26.2 miles around central London. Participants will hopefully raise in excess of £4 million for breast cancer research and cancer care.
Pamela, a former breast cancer sufferer, and Davina completed the marathon walk in just over 8 hours. Whilst being absolutely worn out they were "over the moon" in finishing this challenge. It was a great night for the 15,000 competitors and the memories will live on.
Thank you to all those people who sponsored Pamela and Davina; there is a sponsor form at the back of the church and all sponsor money will be gratefully received. We hope to raise in excess of £1,500.
We are pleased to tell you that the Jumble Sale on Saturday 17th April raised £488 for Church funds.
Many thanks to everyone for your co-operation and assistance - with organising, sorting, selling, and baking for the Cake Stall - without which this excellent result would not have been achieved.
The next Jumble Sale is on Saturday, 13th November.
Our Jumble Sales are good fun, raise much needed cash for the Church and are always very popular, so make a note in your diary to arrive early for the best bargains!
Geoff & Mary Spinks
Having completed our six Lenten Lunches I am pleased to tell you that 190 adults and 20 children attended, and their donations totalled £638.65. Each of the six charities will receive £106.44.
Many thanks to everyone for your co-operation and assistance, without which this excellent result would not have been achieved. Thank you for organising a lunch, helping, making soup or donating and for making these lunches such enjoyable and friendly occasions.
The Lent Study Meetings this year have been a great success, being led by Kathryn and attended by 24 people from Medstead and Bentworth.
We started with a powerful picture of John in the desert wilderness and then worked on considering many of the things that prevent us from knowing God. We used hymns and prayers to bring us closer to God and concluded the course by re-enacting Jesus's teaching in the synagogue, when he taught, to the shock of those present, that the gospel will be offered to non-Jews.
After much hard work and lobbying by national Church staff and other faith groups the Chancellor announced in his recent Budget that the Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme will now be expanded to allow a full VAT refund on all eligible work.
Meanwhile, the Government has made proposals to the European Commission for a reduced VAT rate of 5% for repairs to listed places of worship, and is currently negotiating a review of EU rules governing VAT reduced rates to achieve this.
The grant scheme announced in the Budget is an interim measure and applies to eligible works carried out on listed places of worship since 1 April 2001.
With effect from 1 April 2004, listed places of worship will be able to claim from this grant scheme the full amount of VAT paid on eligible works carried out on and after 1 April 2004.
Claims for eligible works carried out between 1 April 2001 and 31 March 2004 will continue to receive the difference between 5% and the actual amount of VAT paid.
Our talents should be used in the service of the Church. So please join in our Talents programme by taking £10 from Mary Spinks (01420 561440) and making it grow for the Church. We will be gathering in the harvest of our talents before the Harvest Supper on September 24th.
Last year's Talents included jam making, coffee mornings, cream teas and straight donations, but the real fun is getting together to increase our tenners! Last year we raised over £1,250 for St Andrew's.
So, please remember to put some extra cash in your pockets on Sunday mornings as there may be cakes, marmalade, plants etc. for sale after the service.
In the past we have left a tin at the back of the church for donations towards the cost of the lilies to decorate the church at Easter. This year, would you kindly hand your donations to a Churchwarden, or to me as, sadly, in recent years some of the contents of the tin have gone missing. Many thanks.
Congratulations to Catharine and Nathan Smoothy on the safe arrival of their 8lb 4oz baby boy, Matthew Nathan, on Thursday 10th June. We pray that God will richly bless them.
Congratulations to Deborah and Andrew Jackson on the birth of their 7lb 12oz daughter Katharine Aurelia Marian, a sister for Christian, at 11.55am on Monday 10th May, in Winchester.
Your friends at St Andrew's pray for God's blessings for all of you.
On 13th June Debs and Andrew brought their children, Christian and Katharine to St. Andrew's to be baptised, at the 10am service of Morning Prayer. Christian was very interested in all that was going on whilst 4-week-old Katharine slept through the whole thing.
We have great pleasure in welcoming them into the family of our Church and pray for God's blessing on them, their godparents Sara, Sarah-Jane, Caroline and Dominic, their family and friends.
The Banns are being read for the marriage between Kelley Crittall and Darren Searle. We pray that God will be with them as they make the final preparations for their wedding at St. Mary's Church, Bentworth on Saturday 26th June. We wish then every blessing.
But for the roof works at our Church the wedding would have taken place at St Andrew's, Medstead.
On 22nd April the family and friends of local resident Robert Belcher came to St. Andrew's to say their final farewells. On 6th May the funeral took place of Maurice Wells of Greenstile, Medstead. On both occasions large congregations filled the church, in order to pay their last respects.
May light perpetual shine upon them.
Many local residents will recall Jack Leslie Ellis who died on the 2nd March. Jack, the widower of Miriam, had lived in the area for many years and was in his 94th year. The funeral took place at All Saints Church, Bighton on the 12th March and the Church was full of his friends and relations who came to pay their last respects.
May light perpetual shine upon Jack.