Made Mother's Day!
Benefice Standing Committee: 1st Feb
Benefice PCC: 19th Jan
Tsunami & Afterwards
Special Parochial Church Meeting
The Roof Is Raised!
Easter At St. Andrew's
Lent At St. Andrew's
Annual Quiz Night
2005 Social Events
Tsunami Appeal Concert
Tsunami Relief Work
Church Cleaning Rota
Parable of the Talents
Births, Deaths & Marriages
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Traditionally church flowers at Easter contain lilies. In past years members of the congregation have very generously donated toward the cost of purchasing the lilies.
If you would like to contribute towards their purchase for this year's Easter flowers it would again be very much appreciated.
Please hand any contributions to one of the Churchwardens. Thank you so much.
Following the success of the Lasham Olympics last September, the Benefice held a second children's activity day, at Medstead Primary School on Saturday, March 5th, this time devoted to creating all sorts of things to make Mum feel very special for Mothering Sunday!
As the forty-five or so children from three to thirteen arrived, they had a photograph taken to be used as part of the Recipe for a good mum activity, later in the day.
The children began the day making flower posies to be handed out to mums in the four Benefice churches the following day - no mean task as 200 posies were needed!
Then it was on to a variety of craft and cooking activities. Everyone brought something to add to the lunchtime spread. In the afternoon there was more creating to do and a play area outside for the younger children.
When it was time to go each child had a bag full of special, hand-made gifts for their mum. The children ended their afternoon with a big 'thank you' to everyone who had helped in the day.
Many thanks to Kathryn Flenley, Kerry Prior and the band of helpers for giving the children such a great day - and their mums such lovely goodies!
On behalf of my sister and I, we would like to thank Diane Palmer, Carol Fuller, Jennifer Lines, Mary Leonard, Kathyn Flenley, Mum and all the other helpers for such a wonderful day.
It was packed with activities which were card making, egg decorating, peppermint-cream making, mini-simnel cake making, a mum recipe, a hand-print frieze, corn dollies and posy making.
Thank you to all who contributed.
Emily & Bethany Magennis-Prior.
What do you think really happened in the Upper Room at the first Last Supper? Jesus and his friends had gathered together to share in the traditional Passover Meal held, then as now, by Jewish people to commemorate God's saving act in delivering a people from slavery to freedom.
There is a form to these celebrations: our daughter Rachel was privileged to share in a Passover meal with her Jewish hosts when on a student exchange to the United States. Perhaps some others of you have also been so fortunate? But, significantly, Jesus departed from the age-old authorised form of words - always a dangerous thing to do in 'church' circles(!) - and gave us something which has become unique and precious within our Christian faith: the Holy Communion.
Do you know at what point in the proceedings Jesus did this? Or at what point he gave Judas Iscariot a highly-significant piece of bread? Or when he washed his disciples' feet? Here's your chance to find out!
We shall be holding, for the first time in these parishes, a re-enactment of those momentous events at our Passover Supper, to be held in St. Andrew's Church Hall on Maundy Thursday, 24th March at 7.30pm. The evening will proceed according to traditional Jewish custom, including a three-course supper, highlighting Jesus' extraordinary actions.
I invite you most warmly to come and discover with us. For reasons of catering, anyone wanting to share this meal with us is asked to place their names on a 'sign-up' sheet, copies of which may be found in all four churches in our benefice. I anticipate keen demand and there is a limit to the number of people we can comfortably entertain, so please sign up early.
Church folk will know that this is the time of year when we are looking to elect Churchwardens, Deanery Synod representatives, PCC members &c. There is a variety of vacancies available around the parishes. Key among these are: one Churchwarden each at St. Mary's, Bentworth and at St. Andrew's, Medstead, also a Sacristan at Bentworth - strange word, light duties! Other vacancies are available, too.
Our churches operate by the kindness and generosity of small armies of volunteers - is it your turn to lend a hand, or take on a different role? Your Church needs you!
See you at the Passover Supper!
Our Rector leads the Standing Committee, comprising the Churchwardens from each parish. It is responsible for the strategic planning of all our church activities. Recommendations are forwarded to individual Parochial Church Councils for approval and implementation.
The Rector and Churchwardens considered the following during this meeting:
This meeting took place in St. Andrew's Church Hall and was attended by a good cross section of members from all four parishes.
The evening was devoted to a thought-provoking presentation by the Diocesan Director for Social Responsibility, Ms. Jane Fisher, on "Aspects of Human Sexuality". The subsequent questions and discussion precluded her from presenting her second topic "Disabled Access". This will be covered in a subsequent meeting.
Today, negative news stories seem to proliferate more than ever before: war, terrorism, standards of ethics in public and business life, widespread cynicism and apathy with the political process... So what can ordinary people do to really make a difference in 2005?
The response of the British public to the dreadful disaster on Boxing Day was heart-warming indeed. Wouldn't it be wonderful if the momentum for such acts of generosity could continue on into the New Year and beyond?
Some of you may have come across an article in the Sunday Times at Christmas which highlighted the Good Gifts Catalogue, a web site in partnership with various charities which encourages the visitor to donate in a unique way - by purchasing unusual, but highly practical, gifts.
The full purchase price is passed over to the charity, who deliver the gift and guarantee the money will be used solely for the purpose intended: be it bicycles for Ethiopian midwives, grain for a subsistence farmer's family, reconditioned computers for African schools or planting a bluebell wood.
I was intrigued by the idea of buying a revolving goat for families in Africa on my own behalf and received a delightful card and certificate to commemorate my gift. You can also buy a gift for a friend of course and that, I thought, would be a perfect way to remember the birthdays of my friends and family.
I will no longer debate the cost of buying a present for a friend or giving to a charity - now I can do both at once! I am making a list - starting with a camel for my Dad!
Have a look at www.goodgifts.org/goodgifts/
When Jesus said, "Leave the dead to bury their dead" [Luke 9.60] and "Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother cannot be my disciple" [Luke 14.26] what did he mean? How does this sit alongside the picture of "Gentle Jesus, meek and mild" found in a well-known hymn? Or with Jesus' commandment to "Love one another" [John 13.34]?
There are, in the Bible, quite a few "Hard Sayings" of Jesus, as they have come to be known. Do they have anything to say to us today? Are they compatible with our Faith?
Kathryn and I will be leading Study Groups aimed at investigating these "Hard Sayings" to see what they're all about. One will be held in Medstead on Tuesday evenings, starting on 15th February; the other in Lasham on Wednesday evenings, beginning on 16th February. Both courses will run for five consecutive weeks. The venues will be publicised in our four churches.
We invite you to come and investigate with us. Only five sessions, with no commitment called for beyond that, so how about it?
How our donations have been used and Jeyapaul giving aid to a Muslim woman, Tamil Nadu.
Some of you will know that Kathryn and I are very closely associated with a charitable project in Tamil Nadu, south India. The project comprises a hostel for poor children called the Kathryn Mercy Home, named after my wife. It enables the children of the 'outcast' caste to receive the proper education which would otherwise be denied them.
Situated a few miles inland from the east coast of Tamil Nadu, it escaped the ravages of Boxing Day's Tsunami, for which we are very grateful. The home village of its founder, Revd. Jeyapaul, however, was all but destroyed.
Jeyapaul has been coordinating relief efforts for the coastal area, and we have been very pleased to be able to forward donations directly to him.
We have found it especially good to have this local contact since reading in the press that 'outcasts' are often being denied aid in favour of higher caste Indians.
We also have confidence that every penny sent out is used for relief work.
If anyone reading this feels moved to join in, please contact Kathryn or me directly.
Hoping to see many of you at the Study Groups,
You may remember that the Reverend Jeyapaul visited Medstead last Easter. As a result of his visit more people came forward to be sponsors of children in the Mercy Home at Devakottai, Tamil Nadu, in Southern India.
As you are aware, Tamil Nadu has been very badly affected by the Tsunami wave that struck on Boxing Day. Devakottai has not been touched but the Reverend Jeyapaul is taking part in the relief effort.
A letter has been sent to all sponsors, which may be of interest to a wider audience:
Tsunami victims, Tamil Nadu.
We have received news, including images some readers may find distressing, from Jeyapaul about the effect that the Tsunami has had on his home village and Tamil Nadu.
Being only 2km from the coast it has suffered really badly. Devakottai is fine as it is well inland. We have had a collection here in Medstead and will have another at the end of the month.
Acording to a recent article in the Daily Telegraph thousands of low caste 'untouchables' are being denied food, water and shelter by higher castes in camps for Tsunami survivors.
Around 5,000 Dalits from the worst hit area south of Madras have been pushed to the back of long queues for food and water. They have also been turned out of shelters, given leftovers to eat and been denied access to lavatories. They have been accused of polluting water provided by the UN.
Upper caste women have forced Dalits to sleep on nearby roads because they said they did not feel safe with them around. Separate camps have been set up to cater for these lower caste Dalits.
Dalits account for 1/3 of India's population, the majority living below the poverty line, and are associated with the 'unclean' jobs e.g. scavenging and cleaning lavatories. They were involved in disposing of the bodies of many of the victims.
Summarised from: Low caste survivors denied food and water, Daily Telegraph, Saturday, 8th January 2005.
The children we sponsor all come from the Dalit caste as do the people in Jeyapaul's home village, which is in the worst-hit area, south of Madras.
We are hoping to become actively involved in the reconstruction of Jeyapaul's home village and have sent him an e-mail to that end.
In the meantime, if you wish to send donations to be channelled through the Mercy Home, please make your cheques payable to Micheldever PCC and send them to Kathryn Flenley, clearly stating that they are for the Tsunami appeal. Also, if you are a tax payer, please include a declaration to that effect.
We send you our love and gratitude,
Kathryn and Ben Flenley
Tamil Nadu observed January 12 as a day of mourning for the nearly 8,000 people in the state who lost their lives to the Tsunami.
The collections taken at the 11am and the 6pm Services on Sunday 16th January and at the Roof Celebration on the same day have been given to the Disasters Emergency Committee Tsunami Earthquake Appeal.
The Evening Praise service was particularly well supported by FOSAC and perhaps it was this that enabled us to collect an incredible £1,256.
We thank you all for your generosity.
BBC News: Tamil Nadu: A way of life at stake, 6 January, 2005
Daily Telegraph: Low caste survivors denied food and water, 8th January, 2005.
Indian Priest To Visit The Benefice
Those of you who attended the Annual Parochial Church Meeting in April last year will recall there had been some delays in the preparation of our Church accounts.
The accounts for 2003 have now been completed and audited and are to be presented for approval at a special meeting to take place immediately after the 11.00am Morning Praise Service on 23rd January, in the Church Hall.
All members of the Church are invited to attend this very short meeting, which should start at about 12.15pm.
A copy of the 2003 accounts are available in the Church porch for your inspection.
Sunday, 16th January was a day of great celebration, for, after several years of negotiation, planning and fundraising, the leaky roof of St. Andrew's church and belfry tower is now restored and renewed, paid for to the tune of £128,000 and finished on schedule!
This involved many groups throughout the village, starting with the school, which produced a logo for the campaign.
After a Service of Evening Praise, with full choir and music, those who had been involved in the project and had kept the church running during the repair work, went on to a buffet reception in the Church Hall.
This was a very festive occasion, during which Chris Oulton, Chairman of the Friends of St. Andrew's Church (FOSAC), gave a brief history of the project.
He outlined the formation of FOSAC by the driving force of the Rev. David Bray, who was Rector at the time, and went on to thank the many grant-giving organisations and regular subscribers to FOSAC funds.
He highlighted, specifically, the intensive and voluntary work of Bill Davis, who obtained much of the grant money and who kept the FOSAC accounts, and Norman Penfold, who was our local on-site "Clerk of Works" - both very time-consuming jobs.
He also mentioned the varied fund-raising events organised by the FOSAC committee: a rock concert, sponsored pony rides, a tennis tournament, Bingo evenings and a wine Call My Bluff.
Ben then completed the 'formal' part of the evening by thanking Chris for the very effective leadership he had provided to FOSAC for this, its first, project and pointed out that the church would, over the years, have a continuing need for FOSAC's support.
FOSAC already has other events in mind towards funding future maintenance of the Church and surrounds, but regular subscribers are still very necessary to keep our lovely church as a village centre for the important events in the lives of all parishioners.
So please, if you are able and keen to help, financially or by organising an event, join FOSAC and keep raising the roof!!
I have just been listening to a play on the radio. It was set in Ireland and partly involved the selling of bottled 'spring' water which, it transpired, was actually being bottled by the proprietor from his own tap!
He went to the priest to confess his fraud, but wasn't prepared to stop what he was doing for fear of losing his business. I'm glad to say, despite the low opinion of the Church often expressed in modern drama, on this occasion the priest was not prepared to give absolution. The priest was not prepared to give him a fresh start without him ceasing his sinful activity. Nor, thankfully, did he become a partner in the enterprise - another story line often used.
New Year is often a time when people think of a fresh start, possibly going so far as to frame a "New Year's Resolution". I'm writing this well before Christmas, so it's no surprise I haven't heard talk of resolutions yet, but I daresay the topic will appear before the turkey's cold!
Do you take the opportunity to make such a Resolution? Is there a meaningful purpose behind such a concept?
Undoubtedly, many people who take the time to look at their lives close up become aware of areas in which, as school reports are said to read, they "could do better". Sometimes, without stopping to look inside, people know things are not quite right, even if they can't quite put a finger on it.
Perhaps the start of a new year is a good moment to reflect on your life as you're leading it and become resolved to make a change for the better.
Within the Christian Church, of course, the seasons of Lent and Advent are traditionally used for this self-examination. Since Easter is extraordinarily early this year, anyone who missed the chance to frame a resolution in time for the New Year has to wait only until 9th February for the beginning of Lent!
However you prepare for your own fresh starts, I wish you all a very Happy New Year, and look forward to continuing our journey of faith together into 2005.
This year we will be holding the following Easter services and events:
20th March: Palm Sunday Communion, 11.00am.
21st, 22nd, 23rd March: Compline, 7.30pm.
24th March: Passover Supper, 7.30pm, Church Hall.
Good Friday, 25th March: Meditation on the Cross, 2.00-3.00pm.
Easter Day, 27th March: Service of Light, 6.00am & Easter Communion, 11.00am.
2005 Parable of the Talents programme starts.
This year, as usual, we started Lent with an 11.30am Ash Wednesday Service in the Church on 9th February, followed by the first Lenten Lunch.
Lenten Lunches were served in the Church Hall, between 12 noon and 1.00pm, on the following dates and in aid of the following charities:
Wednesday 9th February: an Alton Deanery project in Karamoja, Uganda.
Monday 14th February: St Michael's Hospice, Basingstoke.
Friday 25th February: Motor Neurone Disease Association
Saturday 12th March: Lord Mayor Treloar's School
Thursday 17th March: Save the Children
Mary Spinks would like to thank all those who led, made soup and helped at these lunches.
The donations collected at all the lunches totalled £600, and will be divided equally between the six charities supported this year.
During Lent we also held a series of five Lent Study Groups investigating Jesus' "Hard Sayings".
Generous donations from Judy, Hugh and Guy Leonard and from Peter Prior will now allow us to have the candle in the sanctuary lamp burning permanently for many years.
Many thanks to them all.
This year's quiz night, on Saturday 19th February in the Church Hall, was not only a sell out, with all 15 tables taken by teams, but a lot of fun - despite, or perhaps because of, some fiendishly obscure questions!
A big thank you to the quizmaster, Colin Fuller - who put a lot of hours into research and preparation for the evening and who also ruled argumentative contestants with a rod of iron! - and to Carol for planning the music rounds and Anna for help with scoring.
Thanks also to Sharon and Stephen Blackshaw and the Social Committee who put a lot of effort into ensuring a great night for all participants.
Well done to the team from Medstead Players who won, again(!), in the end by a fairly comfortable margin.
A very enjoyable evening raised over £560 for church funds.
St Andrew's social events for 2005 can now be found on our Events page. In addition a Forties Dance is being planned for the Autumn, date to be advised.
Please put these dates in your diaries!
The Social Committee is also eager to recruit a few more members for its work. If you are interested, please contact either Geoff or Sharon.
It was all hands to the pump at St Mary's, Bentworth on Saturday, February 19th as 20-plus members of the Flenley family, including an honorary member from Medstead on the piano, embarked upon an ambitious programme of music, poetry and dramatic monologues to provide a lunchtime feast of entertainment to an audience of roughly twice their number.
Ben outlined the background to the concert: the request for contributions to the Devakottai Tsunami Appeal, supported by a static display demonstrating the effects of the Boxing Day disaster.
Although the National Tsunami Appeals are nearing their end, the Devakottai project will continue as we support the Reverend Jayapaul's relief work for the victims of the Tsunami.
A choir, comprising all the 'von Flenleys', opened the 90-minute programme with 'All in the April Evening' and closed with 'Take my Heart'.
In between, the various family members demonstrated their individual and collective talents with a cornucopia of songs, from solos to quartets, musical interludes and a combination of sketches to keep the pot boiling.
Joyce Grenfell's Sale of Raffle Tickets, a Biblical Revelation and the 'Oh' variations were particularly amusing; whilst the playing of Flute, Violin, Guitar and Piano each contributed to making the concert a resounding success.
Congratulations to the local Flenleys for assembling the Benefice equivalent of 'The Three Tenors' for this charitable event. Thanks also to all the performers, many of whom had travelled long distances to be with us and last, but no means least the appreciative audience.
With such a talented cast of Aunts, Uncles, Nieces, Nephews and Cousins masquerading as: Alex, Antonia, Howard, Kevin, Laurence, Lynn, Phillip and Rachael, it was bound to be a success!
After having received the promised feast, the appreciative audience were plied with coffee, tea and biscuits before being sent, happily, on their way.
Thanks to the generosity of audience, cast and donors the final amount raised from this event and sent to the Devakottai school in South India was £1,350.
If you would like to donate to this project please contact Ben or Kathryn.
Although the Tsunami did not attack my native village directly, there was terrible destruction to neighbouring coastal areas.
Through our Kathryn Mercy Home we began Tsunami relief work on 21st January and we have successfully undertaken relief work at Nagapottimam and Vellamkammi.
A team of 11 members travelled to the affected coastal areas with relief materials, distributing rice, sarees, lungees for men, bed-sheets, plates, dalls, sugar and biscuits to 100 families.
Our local guide took us to the burial grounds. We lit candles and I prayed for the 360 children buried in the mass graves. I was the first priest to offer a prayer for the little children.
Then we travelled through the eastern coastal areas where the calamity has caused unprecedented devastation and severe destruction.
Huts and pucca houses have been flattened. Fishing boats have been smashed. Buses and big tankers have been strewn around. The families living along the coastline have lost all their possessions.
After considering the plight of the affected families we are decided to go again to the affected areas to distribute trunks and boxes to keep their belongings safe, and supply utensils to allow them to prepare food and store drinking water.
Please pray for their new life. You may send your donations for our relief work through Kathryn Flenley.
Rev. J. Jeyapaul
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who give freely of your time and energy to clean our church every week of the year. It is very much appreciated. Thank you.
During February the 2005-2006 Church Cleaning Rota will be compiled. Would you like your name added?
If you know of any changes from, or additions to, last year's rota, please let Elizabeth know (563106) by the end of February so they can be incorporated.
The St Andrew's team spent the day at Winchester Cathedral Refectory on Thursday 6th January, serving a steady stream of the thirsty and hungry public.
This is an important contribution to the Cathedral's activities and if you would like to join the team for our next session on Wednesday June 15th, please ring Mary on 561440.
Our talents should be used in the service of the Church. The 2005 Parable of the Talents starts on Easter Day. Make sure you collect your £10 from Mary Spinks and see if you can make it grow into £20...or £50.... or even £100 for the church!!
We will be gathering in the harvest of our talents during September.
In past years our talents have included: coffee mornings, cream teas, jam making and straight donations but it is fun getting together to increase our tenners!
The 2004 Parable of the Talents raised a record total of £1,425.35, and three returns are still missing!
Friday, 18th March saw St. Andrew's so full that there was standing room only for the funeral of Mary Lehenda Scott.
Mary was born in 1929 and had lived in Medstead in the past. Mary was obviously a remarkable lady and was much loved by her family and friends. We pray for the repose of her soul and for those who mourn her passing.
May Light Perpetual Shine Upon Her.
At the Family Communion on Sunday, 20th February, Cathy and Nathan Smoothy brought their son, Matthew Nathan, to be baptised.
We have great pleasure in welcoming Matthew Nathan into the family of our church and pray for God's blessing on Matthew, his parents, his godparents Wendy and Patrick Busby, and all those who came to support him.
After a long fight against illness, Ivy Kelly - who was born in 1944 and for whom we had been praying for a long time - went to be with the Lord.
Her funeral was held at St. Andrew's and she was buried in Medstead on Friday, 4th February.
Once more there was a packed Church with those wishing to say goodbye to a committed Christian lady. After the internment in the Cemetery there was a Memorial Service for Ivy at the Harvest Church in Alton.
We ask for God's comfort for her husband Bernard and their children and grandchildren, and the many who mourn her death.
On 31st January the funeral of local resident Gladys Ena Kirby, born in 1911, took place.
The Church was full as family and friends paid their last respects to a very special lady.
On 25th January Chas Friend's funeral took place.
Chas was born in 1937 and was known in the village as a lovely "giving" person and will be much missed by all those whose lives he had touched.