Lenten Lunches 2006
Lent Study Group
Free Faith Lifts
You Shop, You Give
2006 Social Events
New Family Services
Advent Study Group
Our Prayer Book - Online
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The Benefice held it's latest children's activity day at the Church Hall on Saturday, March 25th.
This time it was devoted to creating all sorts of things to make Mum feel very special for Mothering Sunday.
Children from across the Benefice spent a lively and creative morning hand-crafting cards and rosettes, making posies, decorating cakes and boxes to carry them in.
Perhaps the most popular activity was creating hand and foot print banners in bright, primary coloured - and thankfully washable! - paint.
These were displayed in St. Andrew's, Medstead and St. Mary's, Bentworth for the Mothering Sunday services, where posies made on the day by the hard working helpers and children were also distributed.
After all that inspired effort, the children enjoyed juice and cakes and let off steam with stories, singing and play, before, all too soon, it was time to collect bulging carrier bags to take home to mum.
Thanks must go to Kathryn Flenley, Michele Rankin, Antonia Hammond, Diane Palmer, Liz Gilbert and Kerry Prior for all their hard work in planning and setting up all the activities, which were enjoyed so much by the children, as well as to all those who helped on the day.
Our next Family Service is on Palm Sunday, 9th April, in the Church, where there will be more activities especially for children to enjoy: including special hymns, palm crosses, and perhaps even the odd donkey!
A number of programmes and articles I've encountered of late seem to comprise almost a concerted attack on all forms of organised religion, if not on God in person. It's easy enough to understand why - God's name is being used, as down the centuries it always has, to justify all manner of atrocities.
For those of us who try simply to lead godly lives, it can be incredibly frustrating, not to say depressing. Certainly, the God in whom I believe cannot be the inspiration for the suffering inflicted by so many on God's own Creation.
A parishioner from one of our villages reminded me the other day of her understanding: "God is love, and Love is service". This seemed to me to be one excellent way of interpreting God's will in this world. He is the source and the inspiration for how we can live, if only we resolve to.
Jesus, for example, revealed a loving nature to God which, perhaps, had not been so plainly identified before: that God, far from being remote and capricious, as earlier attempts to understand his nature might appear to put it, loves us as a father.
Not only this, but in the manner in which we relate to him, we are encouraged by Jesus to use this "loving father" model. Gods who have to be constantly appeased in order to avert their wrath from us are of no use at all: our God is a God of love.
Jesus himself lived out this love in his behaviour to those around him. He constantly sought to ease the burdens of the sick and the oppressed, and was especially active in his support of the religiously marginalised (lepers, for example).
He also lived a life of service, constantly seeking opportunities to be of practical help and disclaiming any rights or privileges: think, for example, of the occasion when he washed his Disciples' feet.
Finally, he let go his own life so that others, even to you and me, should be saved.
Sometimes, people point to past episodes in the Church's life as reasons why God cannot exist, such as the Inquisition. All I can say there is that the Church was wrong, it has grown up since then and is now a more mature institution. Thought of in parallel with us as human beings, it's as if these were episodes from the Church's childhood and adolescence, and which of us didn't make mistakes while we were growing up?
To hold today's Christians responsible for actions by those from so long ago is as helpful as suggesting that all of today's British people, religious or not, are responsible for the oppression of black people in the Southern States of America and elsewhere. Or that today's British are guilty of the land and mineral snatches of our predecessors all around the globe!
The Inquisition was more to do with 'power politics': the Church insisting it had divine right to be the only religion in the world regardless of it's behaviour. We see that in play today, though not from the Christian faith, and it's just as frightening now as it was then.
"God is love, and Love is service" - this captures the heart of the Christian gospel. Today's Church seeks to love and to serve; to proclaim God's love and to help those of his people who suffer. That seems to me a cause worth espousing and derives from a God in whom I, along with many millions of others, can believe.
The Friends Of St. Andrew's hosted a Call My Wine Bluff evening in the Village Hall on Saturday, 11th February, which was enjoyed by over 100 people.
The evening started with a glass of something sparkling, nibbles and a light hearted opener, Wine Options, where everyone had to identify a particular wine from a series of options: old world or new, Chardonnay or other, 2004 or 2005 vintage, and so on. Those who guessed incorrectly sat down until just one person was left standing, who claimed the £50 prize.
Suitably fortified, the eleven teams moved on to taste three white and three red wines, around a break for supper, whilst listening to three eminent experts, including a very persuasive Ben, describing it's provenance and price, with only one telling the truth.
At the end of the evening the Margaux team, hosted by Sharon Blackshaw, emerged victorious, with a very creditable six points out of twelve. Even more impressively, they seemed to improve as the evening wore on!
All profits from the event, amounting to almost £1800, went to the Friends of St. Andrew's Church.
Thanks to FOSAC for organising such an entertaining event, to all those who kindly hosted each table and provided suppers and to Stone, Vine and Sun, the wine merchants, for sponsoring the event.
The Parochial Church Council met on Wednesday, 25th January. As well as the usual business, your PCC discussed the following:
Our next meeting is on 29th March, 2006. If you have any matters you would like discussed, please let our Secretary, Chris Tew, know by 15th March.
Has anyone seen Charlie Shaylor? He wasn't in church last Sunday, and won't be again for a few weeks. Have we conspired to drive him away? Actually, no. He's reached that stage in his training to become a Reader that he should undertake a three-month placement in another benefice. Charlie has elected to serve his placement in Four Marks at the Church of the Good Shepherd. Our loss is their gain, and we look forward to welcoming him 'home' again in time for Holy Week and Easter. (Parishioners in Medstead will recall the same happening to Carol Fuller during her training).
Talk of festivals leads me to say a big 'thank you' to so many people who contributed to a wonderful Christmas season at the end of last year. All four churches have recorded very high numbers of parishioners joining us to celebrate the Nativity and, so far, I have received only one letter of complaint (because I didn't use the King James Bible at one service).
This also provides me with a public moment to say 'thank you' to the small army of people, far too large to name one-by-one here, who contribute so much to the work of our churches in each of the four parishes. We as a community, and I in particular, are all very grateful for everything that you do. Which leads me on to...
...the need for volunteers in 2006. Each parish will hold its annual meeting around Easter time and, as ever, we shall be looking to recruit people for a range of roles. In Bentworth, for example, we have only one Churchwarden and, under the new rules, he must retire next year. It is urgent that we find someone now who can spend a year under Chris Jones' expert eye to learn the ropes. The requirements for a Churchwarden (apart from willingness to serve!) are that a candidate must be:
All the parishes will be searching for others to fill a variety of opportunities, and these will be publicised separately.
As I write this, I have just read that Sir Iqbal Sacranie, secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Great Britain, is to be questioned by police for "allegedly homophobic remarks" he made during a recent broadcast on Radio 4's PM programme. Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986 makes it an offence for a person to use "threatening, abusive or insulting words" within the hearing of "a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress" as a result.
I wonder how far this will go? Leaving the issue of human sexuality aside, will I, as a Christian priest, one day find myself being 'interviewed by the police' because I have said in a public place, "Jesus is the Son of God" and someone hearing me has complained that, by my remarks, they are "likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress" for my "threatening, abusive or insulting words"? How does one define "distress"? To what degree will mainstream religion find its activities outlawed by the Public Order Act 1986. It will be interesting to see!
On Saturday, January 28th, there will be a musical tea party to celebrate Celia Hayes and her love of music, starting at 4pm in the Church Hall.
Celia introduced so many young people to the sheer joy of making music and we will be celebrating that gift.
So, come and join us for an afternoon of music from nursery rhymes to professional singing, with instruments of all shapes and sizes: recorders, flutes, piano, trumpets and violins!
For more information, please contact Sarah Delaney on 01420 563602. Please bring a plate of food to share.
Dark and difficult times lie ahead. Soon we are going to have to choose between what is good and what is easy...
So says Professor Dumbledore to Harry Potter in the film Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Kathryn took me to see the film as my birthday treat at the beginning of December and I enjoyed it as much as I had expected.
I remember coming across the above quote, in slightly different wording, when I first read the book, shortly after it's publication. Life might be giving us a reasonable, or even comfortable, time at present, but there's always the possibility that things will change at any time.
Many people living in our country just now might well look back over their lives and consider that, materially at least, things continue to get better. This is a prosperous nation, one of the most prosperous in the world. Real hardship exists, without a doubt, but dare I say it, for a sizeable percentage, life is good.
The Israelites who survived the Exodus were alerted to the dangers of complacency which might follow their prolonged wanderings through the wilderness. In that wilderness, they came to know their complete dependence upon God for their everyday life: when they had no food, God provided for them (Exodus 16); when the water ran out, God provided (Exodus 17).
At every turn of their long, long wanderings, God was there to care for them. Then, at the moment of entering the Promised Land, Moses called the people together and warned them:
"Take care that you do not forget the Lord your God, by failing to keep his commandments, his ordinances, and his statutes, which I am commanding you today. When you have eaten your fill and have built fine houses and live in them... and all that you have is multiplied, then do not exalt yourself, forgetting the Lord your God... Do not say to yourself, 'My power and the might of my own hand have gotten me this wealth.' But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth... If you do forget the Lord your God and follow other gods to serve and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish." (Deuteronomy 8:11-19).
History records, in much of the rest of the Old Testament, the sequence of disasters which ensued, precisely because the people regards themselves as self-sufficient: no longer dependent upon God!
At the beginning of a New Year, we see people complacent, convinced that they can make their way in a God-less fashion through life, often choosing what is easy rather than what is good.
People in our world ought not to die for lack of essentials: clean, safe water, food, basic medicines but they will, because it's easier not to give sacrificially to end their plight. We in this country will continue to 'feather our own nests' rather than look to the despair of so many.
Jesus says, "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it." (Matthew 7:13-14)
So, if you want a New Year's resolution, how about postponing that exotic holiday/house extension/new car/new horse... and returning to the Lord.
For Jesus says, "Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:25-30)
Happy New Year.
In the Diocese of Winchester, a priest is entitled to a Sabbatical, or period of Study Leave, after 10 years in full-time stipendiary ministry. Having been without a sabbatical since I was ordained in 1988, I am thus seven years overdue!
As it's alternative title indicates, a Sabbatical is not simply an opportunity to stop work for three months on full pay(!), but a project of academic study is expected to be undertaken - and supervised!
I have chosen To investigate the non-Chalcedonian (or Monophysite) Orthodox Church, with particular reference to the Syrian Orthodox in Tamil Nadu, south India and how their beliefs are reflected within their Liturgy. I reckon to know a reasonable amount about the Catholic and Protestant Churches, but have little knowledge of the Orthodox branch of the Christian faith.
The final breach between Greek and Latin Christendom is generally held to have happened in the year 1054, but the process towards that breach had been occurring gradually over several hundred years.
The chief doctrinal points at dispute were, firstly, the claims of papal supremacy by the Roman Catholics and, secondly, the Filioque clause added to the Nicene Creed by the Western Church.
The Orthodox Church, deriving from the Greek tradition, was not content to accept the pope as the supreme head; instead, it is organised into Patriarchates, which are mostly based in the 'east', but are spreading throughout the world. As part of the Protestant movement, we in the Church of England might be thought to be sympathetic towards the Orthodox on this point!
Who was Jesus? Does it matter whether he was:
It's not just an academic nicety: it stands at the centre of what we believe and proclaim. Ever since the first Pentecost, his followers have been asking themselves this self-same question.
The Filioque clause, arising from this debate about the nature of Jesus, is quite contentious. In the Nicene Creed, which we recite at every Communion service, we say of the Holy Spirit that he "...proceeds from the Father and the Son".
For non-Latin scholars, Filioque means 'and the Son'. That's the nub of it: are the three persons of the Trinity entirely equal, or does one of them (the Holy Spirit) proceed from the other two? And what does 'proceed' in this context mean? That's the basis of the argument; the Orthodox decided that the addition of this one Latin word was unacceptable, and schism resulted.
The Orthodox, like Western Christendom, has undergone further splits; the Syrian, Jacobite and Coptic (one of the oldest forms of Christianity) comprise the Monophysite Churches.
They're also called non-Chalcedonian because they came into being immediately following the Council of Chalcedon in the year 451. With your permission, I'll wait to write about Monophysitism until after I've studied it!
My Sabbatical leave will run from 1st June to 31st August, 2006 and will be supervised by the Rt Revd. Dom Giles Hill OSB, Abbot of Alton Abbey. You will receive a report after my return and, possibly, a presentation evening!
After almost a year's scrutiny and consultation with parish representatives, the Budget for 2006 was approved by the Diocesan Synod on 15 October 2005, without any opposition.
The Diocesan Budget for 2006 enables the Board of Finance to spend up to £11,283,000, an increase in Parish Share requirement of 5.0%.
The budget is based on the vision, endorsed by the Diocesan Synod, that we are called to resource the range of activity of mission and ministry within our parishes in bringing the Good News of Jesus Christ to all the people who live within our Diocese, whether they are active church members or not.
What will this pay for?
73% will be spent on stipends, housing and pension contributions for 226 stipendiary ministers. This includes a stipend increase of 5.1%, to honour a commitment to improve stipends, as well as the initial element of enhanced stipends for clergy in the Channel Islands faced with higher costs of living. There is also provision for one additional lay stipendiary post.
The Synod has endorsed the aspiration to make no further reductions in the budget for ministry in future years but use resources that are freed, as the availability of stipendiary clergy continues to reduce, to provide for lay stipendiary ministry in roles that are being identified by Deaneries in their reviews of the shape of parochial ministry.
Of the remainder, 6% is for licensed ministry training, 11% is for engagement with the world, Christian discipleship, social concern and the media and 10% for administration and grants to parishes, for faculty payments, church inspection, aided benefice grants and a provision for those who do not meet their Parish Share in full.
How will we pay for it?
Over 90% of the funds will come from parishes both as Parish Share (86%) and parochial fees (5%). The remainder will come from investment income and grants (4% each), and 1% from the Archbishops' Council.
2006 is the first year which the Diocese will receive no support from national church historic resources, which have now been targeted towards the poorer Dioceses. The Diocese is now funding itself, which is testimony to the commitment of church members.
However, the Diocese remains well behind the giving levels of other Dioceses, and in order to meet the aspiration to sustain ministry numbers, increase stipends and provide for more local ministry, the Diocese will have to work hard to improve giving still further.
Each parish pays an annual Parish Share which, on average, amounts to half of its total annual expenditure. The Parish Share is, therefore, likely to be the largest item in the parish budget.
What does our Parish Share pay for?
It is a contribution to the costs of ministry and mission in every parish in the Diocese. It also contains a small contribution to mission and ministry in poorer dioceses in the Church of England, and elsewhere in the Anglican Communion.
In 2006 the Parish Share will fund 86% of the Diocesan Budget of £11.2 million. 73% of this budget will be spent on parish clergy stipends, pensions and housing costs.
How is our Parish Share calculated?
The Diocesan Synod shares out the total parish among the 15 deaneries. Each deanery then shares its total among its benefices, then each benefice shares its total among its parishes.
Each benefice's share consists of, firstly, the average cost of its clergy, including a contribution to the costs of clergy in training, which may be abated for benefices with low church membership.
The second part is calculated using a proportion of the total ordinary income of the benefice averaged over three years. Allowances are made for the cost of parochial ministry, approved lay workers, parish insurance premiums and mission/charity giving by the benefice.
Finally, the benefice share is capped to a maximum increase of 15% over the previous year.
In benefices with more than one parish, the Parochial Church Councils agree on how to apportion the benefice share amongst the parishes.
Who decides the Parish Share?
The Diocesan Synod, Deanery Synods and Parochial Church Councils, often in consultation with church members.
Each of these is a representative body, with a substantial proportion of membership being elected.
Diocesan Director of Finance
Focus, November 2005
One of St. Andrew's major charity fund raising events is our annual series of Lenten Lunches. This year, they will be served in the Church Hall, between 12 noon and 1.00pm, on the following dates and in aid of the following charities:
Ash Wednesday, 1st March:
Sue Sly, 562457 or Gaye Howard, 565993.
Friday, 10th March:
Foundation Study for Infant Death
Sue Sly, 562457 or Sara Clements, 560294.
Saturday, 18th March:
Sarah Delany, 563602.
Thursday, 30th March:
Motor Neurone Disease Association
Mary Spinks, 561440.
Monday, 3rd April:
Hampshire Association for the Blind
Mary Leonard, 562246 or Jennifer Lines, 563312.
If you would like to help at any (or all!) of the lunches, or for more information, please contact one of the persons associated with the individual lunch, above.
During Lent Ben will lead a Study Group on five consecutive Tuesdays, starting on Tuesday, 7th March. The theme of the course will be Meekness and Majesty: The Humanity of the Servant King.
The meetings will be held at Paul Isaac's home, Down House in Hussell Lane, next to the Green, starting at 8.00pm and finishing by 9.30pm.
The meetings are on Tuesdays 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th March, concluding on 4th April
Please contact Paul on 562631 if you would like to join us.
We are giving away
Free Faith Lifts
Evening Praise at St. Andrew's Church, Medstead
Date: Third Sunday of the month:
21st May and
Start the week with an hour of worship and song, old and new.
All ages welcome!
For more information please contact Kerry.
The online shopping portal, which brings together a selection of the most popular web-based retailers with a number of charitable causes, for example the Christian agency Tearfund, works like this.
When you buy via the site, the retailer pays UshopUgive a commission on everything you buy. A percentage is then passed on to your chosen charity. The fee received by UshopUgive is indicated beside a link to the retailer. The percentage passed to the charity is also listed.
Giving does not cost you anything: you pay the same price as you would directly through the retailer's site.
There are over 100 retailers on the site, including Amazon, Argos, John Lewis, lastminute.com and Tesco.
St Andrew's social events for 2006 can now be found on our Events page.
Quiz Night: 31st March
8th April & 18th November
Safari Supper: 6th May
Flower Festival/Art Display:
Hog Roast: 22nd July
Autumn Walk: 16th September
Race Night: 7th October
Recital: 26th November
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.
New for 2006: Family Services are moving to the Church Hall.
Date: The second Sunday of every month:
9th April: Palm Sunday.
Many of the Village Clubs will be involved with the Services.
Activities will be organised especially for children to enjoy.
We would love to see you, so please come along and join us!
For more information please contact Kerry.
After two years absence, Sunday School will be starting up again through Antonia Goor, who has very kindly agreed to run it.
From 15th January, Sunday School will be held at 9.15am on the third Sunday of each month, at the Old Rectory, Lasham, for children from across the Benefice.
All children are encouraged to come along. Please contact Antonia Goor on 01256 381254 for more details.
Following the success of our Advent Study Group, Ben has agreed to hold a second series to start on Tuesday 10th January.
The meetings will be held at Paul Isaac's home, Down House in Hussell Lane, next to the Green, starting at 8.00pm. Contact Paul on 562631 if you would like to join us.
The session only lasts for four weeks and the meetings are on Tuesdays 10th, 17th, 24th January and Wednesday 1st February.
Why not join in with this short course which always finishes at 9.30pm. We will be using Joyce Huggett's Watching and Waiting as well as the Bible as our study material.
As you enter the Church, please take a little time to look at the Prayer Book on the table by the door - and also do use it to request a prayer for someone in need.
If you cannot come to the Church, then you may request a prayer for someone in need, online, via our Faith page.
It is there for all to use, as and when we feel the need - these prayers are offered to God, from the altar, during the intercessions, following the date of request.
Our congregation are also encouraged to include in their daily prayers "all those included in our Intercessionary Prayer Book".
You are also welcome to join us at any of our services, where prayers will be offered.
During October and November 2005 over 500 people from churches across the Diocese attended a series of Consultations on Future Patterns of Parochial Ministry.
We have now received a digest of the main themes and ideas and a summary of the responses from the Consultations. If you would like a copy, please contact Kerry.
The digest, detailed responses and presentations are also available from the Diocesan website
The next stage of the consultation process will be a one day Diocesan Conference to be held at St. Swithin's School, Winchester, on Saturday, 1st April, chaired by Bishop Michael.
At the conference the considered framework for future patterns of ministry will be presented to those who attended the Consultations.
Our team is to serve refreshments at Winchester Cathedral Refectory on the following dates this year:
June 15th and
This is an important contribution to the Cathedral's activities. If you would like to join us, please ring Mary on 561440.
Winchester is now a Fairtrade Diocese. With over a third of our churches, including St. Andrew's, serving Fairtrade tea and coffee after services, the Diocese has sucessfully bid for a Fairtrade Diocese mark.
Fairtrade pays a guaranteed price to farmers and producers, covering the cost of production, a premium for social enterprise (schools, medicine and sanitation) and loans to cover living costs until the crops can be harvested and sold.
For more information contact the Diocesan Social Responsibility Department on 01962 624806.
Fairtrade Markets will be held in Winchester Cathedral Close on Friday, 17th and Saturday, 18th March and in Middle Brook Street on Sunday, 19th March.
Among the fairly traded items will be clothes, arts and crafts and food.
You Shop, You Give
Most of us come to Church for spiritual reasons, but occasionally we may give thought to the thousand-year old building which is our home.
If you would like to know more about the fabric of St. Andrew's you will find, at the back of the church, copies of A Guide to St. Andrew's Church, Medstead.
This new booklet costs 50 pence and offers visitors a guided tour of the church building.
Please put your money in the wall safe next to the South door.
St. Andrew's Church
A record £2,117.85 was harvested from last year's Parable of the Talents event.
Many thanks to Mary for the management of this event and to all those who took part.
If the three people who have not yet made their return would do so, the result may be even greater!
Wessex Petroleum will donate half a penny to St. Andrew's Church for every litre of domestic heating oil purchased using an identifying code.
I recently purchased oil from them and found them to be the cheapest supplier at the time.
If you are interested in taking part in the scheme please contact Stephen, for more details and for the code.
Wessex Petroleum can be contacted on 0800 980 6172 or 01202 825101.
Our Church Hall was without gas on 27th and 28th December. When the gas main was laid (in 1986?) a Vimto tin was inadvertantly sealed into the pipe and this has been shunting around Medstead ever since.
The evening of the 28th, however, was very cold and the additional gas flow required for heating and cooking in the village centre caused the Vimto tin to be drawn into the 2½" local supply, completely blocking the pipe.
After some, rather untidy, digging the tin was removed and, what a surprisingly cheerful Transco engineer described as, a "unique problem" was solved by Wednesday lunchtime.
Please pray for the family of June Cecilia Arkell, loving grandmother to Rachael and Oliver, who died peacefully on 16th February 2006, aged 86.
A memorial service for June was held at St. Andrew's on 3rd March.
Francesca, Charlotte, Ewa and Paul are thrilled to announce the birth of John Kazimier, who was born on Thursday, 16th February at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester.
John weighed in at 8lb 14oz and was 54cm tall.
It is with sadness we report the death, on 9th February 2006, of Ian Nicholson, a long time resident of Hattingley, but lately of Brendoncare in Alton.
A Memorial Service is to be held at St. Andrew's on 24th February. Our thoughts are with his widow Jean and the family.
We offer our congratulations to Cathy and Nathan Smoothy on the birth of their baby boy, Benjamin, a brother for Matthew, on 21st January, in Winchester.
Mother and baby are doing well, even if Dad is missing his sleep!
Chris & Elizabeth Tew give thanks to the Lord for the safe arrival of their 7½lb grandson born on 11th January, 2006.
Mother and baby are doing very well and father, Kevin, is elated.
Pamela and Malcolm Goodall are pleased to announce their middle daughter, Amanda, gave birth to a baby girl on 22nd December.
The baby's name is Cassandra Jayne Lucie. Mother and baby daughter are both well and looking forward to Cassandra's christening at St. Andrew's on 7th May.
Having been Church Hall Bookings Secretary for 13 years, Elizabeth Tew is now putting away her pen, so we are looking for her replacement.
Could that be you? If you would like to pursue this further please phone Ian Jurd, Chairman of the Church Hall Management Committee, on 563533.