PCC Meeting: 20th March
Lenten Lunches 2012
PCC Meeting: 30th January
Ben's New Year Message
Medstead Lawn Tennis Club
Four Marks & Medstead Rotary
Medstead Bowls Club
What Is Lent?
Lent Appeal: Alton Food Bank
Male Voices For The Choir
The Gesima Sundays
2012 Social Events
Births, Deaths & Marriages
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The Parochial Church Council met on Tuesday, 20th March and, in addition to the usual items of business, discussed the following:
The next PCC meeting will be held on Monday, 28th May at 8.00pm in the Church Hall. If you have any matters you would like discussed at the next PCC meeting, please contact the PCC Secretary.
One of St. Andrew's major charity fund raising events is our annual series of Lenten Lunches, with invited speakers. Lunches of homemade soup, bread and cheese will be served from 12 noon to 1.30pm in the Church Hall. All donations collected will be divided equally between the nominated charities. This year, the lunches will be in aid of the following:
Ash Wednesday, 22nd February: Hope and Homes for Children
An international charity working to ensure children have the chance to grow up in the love of a family, leading experts in closing children's institutions and reforming childcare systems.
Thursday, 1st March: Women's Aid
Women's Aid works to end domestic violence against women and children and supports a network of over 500 domestic and sexual violence services across the UK.
Saturday, 10th March: Treloar Trust
The Treloar Trust, based in Alton, provides education, therapy, medical support and training in independence for young people with physical disabilities in a caring and supportive environment. The Trust gives students the opportunity to develop their confidence and skills to enable them to achieve their potential in all aspects of life.
Thursday, 15th March: Hearing Dogs for Deaf People
A UK charity which trains and places dogs trained to alert the deaf or hard of hearing to chosen everyday sounds, so offering greater independence, confidence and security at no cost to the recipients.
Friday, 23rd March: Breakthrough Breast Cancer
Breakthrough Breast Cancer is dedicated to saving lives by finding the causes of breast cancer, improving detection, diagnosis, treatment and services.
Friday 30th March: Kathryn Mercy Home Trust
Provides board, lodging and an education for deprived children in Devakottai, Tamil Nadu, South India. The Mercy Home relies almost entirely upon a network of sponsors and unlike most other schemes there are no hidden costs or overheads, all the money raised will go directly to the Mercy Home and make a direct and real difference to a child's life.
A coffee morning in aid of the Kathryn Mercy Home Trust will also be held at Mary Spinks' on Saturday, 21st April, between 10.00am and 12.30pm. All are welcome to attend and bring and buy cakes, produce, etc.
If you can help and/or make soup for our Lenten Lunches, please contact a Chruchwarden, thank you.
On Sunday, 4th March we welcomed The Right Reverend Peter Hancock, Bishop of Basingstoke, and his wife Jane to conduct a service of Confirmation and First Communion, for Kathryn Flenley, Susie France, Bethany Magennis-Prior, Sydney-Rose Dejorey-Hanson, Caroline Dejorey, Rachael Arkell and Laura Strangeway.
In the Anglican church, infant baptism is practised and the child is usually too young to make the necessary promises. These promises involve repentance, turning to God and renouncing evil. So, in baptism, godparents promise they will try to instil these values in the child and therefore make these promises on the child's behalf.
When the child grows up they may wish to affirm these beliefs personally, in other words to confirm the promises made on their behalf at baptism by the godparents, before the Bishop and the body of the church, the congregation.
Please pray for the candidates as they enter this new stage of their Christian life and continue to pray for them as they continue their Christian journey.
On Sunday, 4th March we shall have six candidates being confirmed by the Bishop of Basingstoke, in St. Andrew's Church, Medstead. Confirmation is a very important step in the life of us all, since it marks the point in the Christian journey where those who have been baptised as children make a firm commitment to Christian discipleship. Through prayer and the laying on of hands by a bishop, the Church also asks God to give those being confirmed power, through the Holy Spirit, to live the life of discipleship.
Of the six candidates, three are children and three adults. It will come as a surprise, I have no doubt, to discover that one of those is my wife, Kathryn who, already a (Lay) Reader within the Church of England is now but four months short of being Ordained! Kathryn was brought up within the Methodist Church, and participated in their equivalent of Confirmation in her teens. It is one of the sadnesses of the Body of Christ (the 'Church') that we still are not able to recognise one another fully, even after many years of unity-shaped dialogue.
One can only hope and pray that progress, which seems to have stalled almost completely at present, will one day soon resume and lead to positive developments. That dialogue of repairing the fractures in the Body of Christ, it seems to me, would be much more worthwhile than endless debates about human sexuality and the gender of bishops!
You will notice that the service schedule for 4th March has changed. A Confirmation service is a hugely important occasion, not only for the candidates, but for the church as a whole, and so the PCCs of Lasham and Shalden have decided to cancel their services for that morning and encourage everyone to share in the Confirmation at Medstead. I wholeheartedly agree, and thank both PCCs for their commitment to this service.
In the light of this, I have decided that the Confirmation, to mark its significance, should be a Benefice service (it includes Holy Communion), so it will be the only service in the Benefice that day. Together, we shall demonstrate our commitment to those making theirs, by being there to support them.
You might have heard of the violent actions recently taken against the Coptic Church in Egypt and wondered who they were? The Coptic Orthodox Church is the main Christian Church in Egypt, where it is believed to have up to 11 million members; perhaps one million more Copts live outside Egypt. The denomination in the UK has a cathedral near Stevenage in Hertfordshire, a theological college and several churches. The word Copt comes from the Greek word Aigyptos, meaning Egyptian.
Copts believe that their Church dates back to around 50 AD, when the Apostle Mark is said to have visited Egypt (in much the same way as the Church in South India is believed to have been founded in person by St. Thomas). Mark is regarded as the first Pope (and Patriarch) of Alexandria, making it one of the earliest Christian groups outside the Holy Land. (There were initially five Patriarchs: Alexandria, Antioch, Constantinople, Jerusalem and Rome. Rome, of course, broke away; other Patriarchates have also been created). The early Coptic Church suffered its share of persecution under the Roman Empire, and there were intermittent persecutions after Egypt became a Muslim country.
The Church separated from other Christian denominations at the Council of Chalcedon (451 AD) in a theological dispute over the human and divine nature of Jesus Christ. However, relationships between these "monophysite" churches and the rest of us are much warmer than once they were.
The Coptic Church is led from Cairo by the Pope of Alexandria, currently Pope Shenouda III, who is 117th in succession to Mark. Coptic services take place in the very ancient Coptic language (which is based on the language used in the time of the Pharaohs), together with local languages. The liturgy and hymns remain similar to those of the early Church. The Church is ecumenical in outlook, and was a founder member of the World Council of Churches in 1948.
The persecution of Christians is nothing new; it dates back to the earliest days of the faith, of course, but it does seem as though we are hearing of more and more instances in these days. Indonesia has long been active in this respect, as is Nigeria; in all, the faith is actively persecuted in over 40 countries worldwide. The rise of a more fundamentalist side to Islam (not, you will note, Islam as a whole) increases the threat to members of other faiths, especially those who share common ancestry, viz. Christians and Jews. Despite persecution, Christians continue to meet for worship and to witness for Christ in all these places, and the church in restricted nations is growing.
I would urge us all to devote extra time in our prayers for the welfare of persecuted Christians everywhere.
The Parochial Church Council met on Monday, 30th January and, in addition to the usual items of business, discussed the following:
The next PCC meeting will be held on Tuesday, 20th March at 8.00pm in the Church Hall. If you have any matters you would like discussed at the next PCC meeting, please contact the PCC Secretary.
The climax of the Advent and Christmas Season is the Twelfth Day of Christmas, known as Epiphany. Observed on 6th January, Epiphany commemorates the visitation of the three Magi, Persian Priests or "wise men" traditionally named Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar, to the baby Jesus (Matthew 2:1-12).
Epiphany celebrates the revelation or incarnation of God made man in the person of Jesus Christ to the world. It also celebrates the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist in the River Jordan (Matthew 3:13-17), inaugurating his public ministry as an adult. In the words of the collect for The First Sunday of Epiphany, the Baptism of Christ:
Eternal Father, who at the baptism of Jesus revealed him to be your Son, anointing him with the Holy Spirit: grant to us, who are born again by water and the Spirit, that we may be faithful to our calling as your adopted children; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen
The Season of Epiphany includes Candlemas, also called The Presentation of Christ in the Temple which took place 40 days after Jesus' birth and The Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We will celebrate this on Sunday, 29th January at the 10.00am Benefice Communion Service. Candlemas celebrates these events: presentation, purification and light for the world.
The feast of Candlemas can be traced to at least 543. The Feast of Lighted candles is mentioned by Bede and St. Eligius, who was bishop of Noyon from 640 to 648. It is a watershed in the church year, marking the point at which we take a last look back at Christmas and then turn our minds firmly towards Easter, for this reason it has been called a 'bitter-sweet Sunday'.
The Season of Epiphany extends from Epiphany to Ash Wednesday, on 22nd February this year, which marks the beginning of Lent.
Emperor: "New things, everything new every time. How regal, how wonderful!" That was (in conflation) a line of mine from the Bentworth Mummers' last production. The Emperor and Empress, both pretty self-obsessed and acquisitive types, have been persuaded to go on a mad spending spree, at serious risk of bankrupting their country. Indeed, as the action develops, the Chamberlain and Treasurer share in a scene in which both lament the continued overspending, the Emperor and Empress clearly having no concept of what letting spending get out of control means; public spending, at that, since all the money is coming from the Treasury.
This being something of a pantomime, there is, naturally enough, a happy ending: all the misappropriated gold, together with the goose which lays the golden eggs, are rediscovered and "everyone lives happily ever after." If only life were so simple!
As we move into 2012, all prepared to enjoy ourselves with the London Olympics and in celebrating the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, we can't escape the fact that finances around the world are in something of a mess. The Euro crisis (at the time of writing, at least) remains unresolved. Hard times lie ahead, so perhaps it's as well we've a little escapism in store this year to distract us from other, far more serious matters.
I thought I heard a report recently which stated that charitable giving in this country did rather well last year, though try as hard as I may to find this on the internet I can't discover any reference to it. [Ed: World Giving Index 2011: New CAF study suggests world is becoming 'more charitable', The Guardian, 20.12.11] If I did hear correctly, then it's a gratifying piece of news; inevitably, those at the bottom of the heap, as it were, always suffer more in straightened times. As the crisis continues, it will prove increasingly important that we all keep the poorest in mind.
Those of us who practice a faith, in particular, whatever the faith, will know that a duty is laid upon us all to be generous in supporting others in their need. (Which is not to say that those of no faith don't also feel an imperative; simply that the source of that imperative will be different).
This year, as well as paying our way as churches, I'm confident that we'll continue to give to others, preferably along the biblically-inspired tithing lines. Kathryn and I came home from India with a variety of additional needs we'd like to be able to meet. You too, no doubt, have your favourite causes in mind. As we enter upon 2012, we will all need resolution (in the sense of determination) to meet the needs of those we're seeking to help, both at home and overseas. Perhaps our new Year's resolution should be to have resolution; that way, we'll not be letting anyone down!
Fancy a free game of tennis? Then, read on. Have you ever had the urge to have a game of tennis or did you play in the past and fancy dusting off the old racket and rekindling your interest? Well spring is just round the corner, the summer tennis season is about to begin and, following the success of last year's Rusty Racket campaign, Medstead Lawn Tennis Club would once again like to offer you the chance to have a go!
We are running two adult fun coaching sessions from 5.00pm to 6.30pm on Saturday, 17th March and 4.00pm to 5.30pm on Sunday, 25th March for non-members. Our resident coach, John Marlow, along with other committee members will be on hand to ensure you have a good time.
Players of all standards are welcome and tennis equipment, including rackets, will be available. All you need is a soft pair of non-marking training shoes and a desire to have a go! There will be no charge for the session and coaching is also provided free of charge. Furthermore, there is no obligation to join the club. However, if you do wish to join for the next season then you will be welcome to use the courts free for the rest of March.
We are a friendly village club with opportunities for players of all standards. We have three excellent floodlit courts with planning permission to lay a fourth. In the summer we run eight teams in the local leagues - two men's, two mixed, three ladies and a veterans. We run a club tournament with 25 events ranging from novice boys and girls through to super-vets for the over 60s which runs from June until finals day in September. In addition, there are one day fun tournaments held at various stages throughout the season, the first being scheduled for Sunday, 1st April.
Adult coaching is held on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, with open club sessions on Thursday evenings and Sunday afternoons. Juniors are not forgotten, indeed we encourage our youngsters to learn and progress through to the adult section of the club. On Saturday mornings we have coaching for children aged 7 and upwards from 9.30am to 1.00pm.
In the winter we also run eight league teams - yes we play all year! In addition, we play an internal, club league on Monday evenings which allows players of all standards to participate and enjoy competitive tennis.
All this and free use of the courts throughout the year comes with your annual subscription, currently £87 for an adult. For further information please contact John Marlow on 01420 562422 or our Chairman, Tony Cox on 01420 563234. What better way to keep fit; why not come and give it a try? We look forward to seeing you!
Over fifty members enjoyed a New Year Social at The Swan Hotel in Alton. A leisurely lunch was taken in the company of fellow members, with plenty of time to enjoy the company of friends and catch up on all the news. The craft group will meet to share and tell and plan the crafts to be enjoyed during the year, whilst the walking group will enjoy a walk in Alice Holt Forest with lunch after at The Cherry Tree in Rowledge.
The Stone Age was brought very much to life at the February meeting as Katy England educated members on the history of the period and how the Stone Age people lived. Katy has a wonderful collection of replica Stone Age items with which she illustrated her very interesting talk. Katy has made many of the items herself including a needle made from bone and the thread made from sinew and is clearly passionate about her subject. An excellent afternoon was spent in Katy's company learning about our far distant ancestors, handling the various items and marvelling at just how Stone Age people lived.
The business part of the meeting followed the speaker and a great milestone was reached when two new members were welcomed taking the membership to 80.
Eggs, Effigies and Education for Women was the subject for the March meeting when Catherine Dougherty educated and entertained the members with her talk. Catherine took everyone right through the history of women at Cambridge, starting in 1208 when it is thought the university began after the murder of a woman whose identity is unknown. Eggs came into the equation when they were used to pelt those voting for the inclusion of women into the university, and effigies were very much in evidence at the same time.
It was amazing to learn although women were eventually allowed to study at Cambridge they were not awarded degrees until 1948, when Queen Elizabeth was awarded an honorary degree, thus paving the way. The talk ended with the story of a WI President from Devon who went to Cambridge as a mature student in very recent years. This was a very interesting and informative talk.
As ever there is masses going on in Medstead WI. On Thursday, 3rd May Medstead WI will be holding a Spring Walk with lunch to follow in the Church Hall which is open to non-members and it is hoped members from other WI's will join in. There will be an outing to Stansted Park and Gardens on Wednesday, 8th August, entry into the County quiz and skittles matches and the June social event for which more details will follow.
Meetings are always held on the second Thursday of the month at 2.00pm in the Village Hall. The next meeting is on Thursday, 12th April when Ann Chance will talk on her experiences of being a Cowboy, when much laughter is guaranteed. New members and visitors are very welcome so do come along and join in the fun of being a WI member. For more information, please contact Cherry Messenger on 01420 563678.
Roedowns WI meets on the first Wednesday of the month in Medstead School at 7.30pm. So don't miss out on the fun and friendship that being a WI member offers - if you are interested in joining please contact Louise Duckett on 01420 562835 to find out more. The next meeting is on Wednesday, 4th April, it will be a Diamond Jubilee party preparation and brainstorm. This month's competition is a painted egg!
Medstead WI, Oct-Dec 2011
On Sunday, 8th January Four Marks & Medstead Rotary donned white shirts, bow ties and black trousers to host and run our first over 70's lunch, having taken over the event from the previous organisers.
Visitors were greeted with a sherry, followed by a main course of roast pork, crackling, veg and dauphinoise potatoes or veggie pie accompanied by red or white wine. Empty plates returned to the kitchen, there was then a choice of pavlova, chocolate roulard, fresh fruit salad or sticky toffee pudding. Cheese and biscuits followed, then finally mince pies, chocolate mints and coffee. I don't know where they put it all!
Our thanks go to Ruth and Sarah, our chefs, for such a wonderful meal and to Tony Humphries who supplied the entertainment, singing and playing guitar to well-known songs. The guests left around 4.00pm with big smiles - a very good time had by all.
On the first Thursday of each month at 7.30am in Rumours Café, Rotary hosts a Business Breakfast for Four Marks and Medstead businesses to network. Apart from providing good speakers at the meetings, our main theme is to encourage buying locally off each other, facilitated by our website for local businesses. If you need a service look here first, to see if you can buy locally rather than going further afield.
A Federation of Small Businesses survey showed the two top issues are late payment and the economy. So if all local businesses agreed to pay within the contracted terms when trading with each other and to buy products or services from each other, then two main issues are partially solved by one simple action.
For more information on Four Marks & Medstead Rotary Club, please see our website, or email Helen Allen-Rogers
Rotary - let us make a difference
Four Marks & Medstead Rotary, Oct-Dec 2011
We were very fortunate indeed with the weather for our annual Ladies vs. Gentlemen match on New Year's Day. The day was fine and tolerably warm and rain held off until after the match. Once we were back in the clubroom with soup, mince pies and mulled wine it didn't matter what was happening outside. There were 23 players and, as so often in these matches, the result was not clear-cut. The ladies won on five of the six rinks, but the men won by such a big margin on the sixth rink that they had a bigger total of shots!
The bad weather over the last two years has led to a strong interest in short mat bowls in the clubroom and our standard of play has greatly improved. Short mat has now become so popular that we regularly have two mats in use at all our roll-ups even when the weather is fit to play outdoors. There have been very few times this winter when it hasn't been possible to play outdoors, and on most roll-up afternoons there has been at least one outdoor rink in use, sometimes three or four.
Last year we were snow-bound just before Christmas and had to postpone the Christmas Dinner, which was eventually re-instated as a Christmas Lunch in January. It was so popular that, for the first time ever, we reached the limit of our catering capacity. We carried out a survey of members and there was a strong majority in favour of continuing with the arrangement, so this year's Christmas Lunch was held on Saturday, 14th January.
The decision to move our Christmas Dinner proved to be a wise one. Everyone could drive home in the light and, of course, clashes with other Christmas events were automatically avoided. Forty-two members and partners enjoyed an excellent meal of roast turkey with all the accompaniments, followed by a dessert of trifle, mince pies and coffee. This is when our large warm clubroom and fully equipped kitchen show their full value and we also appreciate how fortunate we are to have such competent organisers on the committee and such competent cooks amongst our members.
The event was completed with some good entertainment. Two new items this year were handbell ringing, by our own newly formed Bowls Bell(e)s, and some rural humour from a visiting country yokel masquerading as Bernard Miles, who turned out to be David Buckland, the brother of our chairman.
A team of four, two men and two ladies, representing our club put up a good performance in the annual tournament sponsored by East Hampshire District Council at Chawton Park Indoor Bowls Club on Sunday, 26th February. We finished fourth out of twelve teams, most of which included regular indoor players, whereas we all play outdoors throughout the year.
A PTQ (Puzzles, Tea and Quiz) afternoon on Sunday, 4th March was well attended despite heavy snow falling during the morning and early afternoon. Forty-two members and guests enjoyed the very good and generous tea. The next event on our social programme is our annual Ladies' Lunch.
Benefiting from our all-weather green, we always try to arrange a few pre-season friendly matches so both we and our opponents can get in a little practice before the grass greens open in the spring. After heavy rain forced the postponement of our pre-season match against Shalford, we managed to play it at the second attempt on Wednesday, 28th March. We lost this time, but it is always a good close match because our opponents play on a very similar all-weather green to our own. The Shalford club's membership, even more than our own, is boosted by winter members who go back to their grass-green clubs in the summer. For that reason we always arrange our matches against each other to take place in March and September, just before and just after the main season.
The finals of our winter competitions were played on Saturday, 31st March. The final of the Winter Cup was played in the morning and Douglas Hudson comfortably beat Alan Wilkins, the current club champion. In the finals of the Short Mat Competitions after lunch, Ted Browning had an easy win over Wilf Robinson in the open event and Pat Burgess had a much narrower win over Anne Robinson in the ladies' competition, which was not won until the last end. It is the first time in the club's history that a husband and wife have reached two of the finals at the same time.
It's difficult to believe we are only about seven weeks away from the start of the summer outdoor season. Stan Hardman League matches start at the beginning of May and are played every Thursday afternoon throughout May, June and July. Teams consist of nine players of whom three must be ladies.
Our next friendly match will be against Rogate at home on Wednesday, 11th April, the first of this year's matches for the Jim Whitcher Memorial Trophy, the second match being at Rogate on Wednesday, 15th August. For those who don't know the history, Jim, the brother of Stan, our recently retired chairman, was captain of the Rogate club for many years and his widow gave the trophy for annual competition between the two clubs. We won it two years ago but Rogate won it back last year. We shall be trying very hard to regain it.
Anyone who would like to try the game or just play casually is always welcome at our roll-up sessions. We have open sessions every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday afternoon (also Tuesdays for ladies only) and we play on the short mats indoors if the weather is too bad to play on the green. There is plenty of club equipment that newcomers can use, so just turn up a little before 2.00pm, or ring the secretary for more information on 01420 563495.
Medstead Bowls Club, Oct-Dec 2011
Lent is a season of preparation during the forty days and six Sundays leading up to Easter. Lent is not a time for self-punishment, rather it is a special time of self-examination and penitence, for concentration on fundamental values and priorities.
If you have found yourself away from church and wondered about giving it another try, or if you are questioning your own faith and wondering what you believe, then Lent offers the perfect chance to try the fellowship of the church one more time.
Throughout Lent, church services take on a simpler tone, appropriate to the season. So, for example: crosses showing the risen Christ are veiled; the word Alleluia is not used in the liturgy or hymns. This helps us focus on Lent as a special season of renewal in the Church year.
Traditionally, Lent, a holy time of preparation, is marked by giving up some things and taking on others. So people, for example give up sweets, chocolate, meat, alcohol or even Facebook for Lent.
Giving up something for Lent can be made more meaningful by using the time or money saved for another purpose, for example, in prayer or Bible study, by donating to charity or our Lenten Lunches, or by taking something new on.
The Alton Food Bank is collecting food for local families experiencing financial hardship. Here are the items most recently requested:
There are leaflets in each of the Benefice churches as well as a box for your gifts. Thank you so much for a very encouraging response so far - two full boxes to date. Please continue to bring items to church.
Trussell Trust foodbanks provide a minimum of three days non-perishable emergency food to local people in crisis. All food given out is donated by the local community. Alton Foodbank works in partnership with frontline care professionals in order to identify people in need.
Thank you so much for all your generosity over the past six weeks of Lent. Ben and I have been able to take so many items to the Food Bank. We will leave the boxes in the Churches so please continue to bring items from the list above.
On Sunday, 29th April 29th representatives from the Alton Foodbank attended our Benefice Service at St Andrew's, where they told us more about the families who come to receive food and of the opportunities to share their stories and offer prayers.
As a result, Stephen Blackshaw has volunteered to represent the four churches on the Alton committee. Paul Susans, one of the speakers wrote: "Thank you for a warm welcome this morning, we much appreciated your welcome and that of your congregation."
Please continue to bring items to the churches for the food bank. Thank you for your generosity.
Mothering Sunday, this year on Sunday, 18th March, is the fourth Sunday in Lent and is a time of special thanksgiving. It is the day when Christians think about all things concerning motherhood. We give thanks for the Church as Mother, the Virgin Mary as the mother of Jesus, we remember God cares for us like a mother and we give thanks for our own mothers. Flowers are handed out in our church and people are encouraged to share a time of refreshment in the penitential season of Lent.
The Bible has a lot to say about mothers and motherhood:
"honour your father and your mother" Exodus 20:12;
"each of you must respect his mother" Leviticus 19:3;
"cursed is the man who dishonours his father or his mother" Deuteronomy 27:16;
"do not forsake your mother's teaching" Proverbs 6:20; and
"a foolish son (brings) grief to his mother" Proverbs 10:1
are just a few examples.
Mothering Sunday also has an interesting history. Also known as Refreshment Sunday, Pudding Pie Sunday or Mid-Lent Sunday, on this Sunday people visited the church in which they were baptised: their 'mother' church. People who visited their mother church would say they had gone "a mothering".
Young girls and boys in service - maids and servants - at the local Manor House or in a mansion, were only allowed one day to visit their family each year. This was usually on Mothering Sunday. For some this could be a significant journey since their mother may have lived some distance away, indeed another town altogether from the Manor where they were put into service. Often the housekeeper or cook would allow the maids to bake a cake to take home for their mother. Sometimes a gift of eggs or flowers from the garden or hothouse was allowed.
Mothering Sunday Services in the Benefice are:
HalfHour 4 Families: 9.30am at St, Mary's, Bentworth
Family Service: 9.30am at St, Mary's, Lasham
Family Service and Communion, with a gift for every mummy: 11.00am at St. Andrew's, Medstead
We would like extend a big thank you to Bethany, Laura, Liz, Gay and Debby for volunteering their time to make posies and also to Jennifer an Jill for donating the flowers and greenery, for distribution at the St. Andrew's service.
At St. Andrew's we are blessed with a choir that regularly supports our morning worship and festival services but, with Easter approaching and other Festivals coming up, we need more male voices!
We are not trying to compete in Choir of the Year or develop the Hampshire equivalent of a Welsh Male Voice Choir, but we do need to balance our harmonies with Tenor and Bass voices.
The only requirements are that you can sing and can attend rehearsals which are usually held before the Sunday morning services. You do not even have to be able to read music, although this is obviously an advantage.
If you would like to experience the fellowship of singing in harmony with a body of other singers, please contact Wendy to discuss further.
Every year, midway between Christmas and Easter, we find Sundays in the Book of Common Prayer designated by the Gesima words: Septuagesima, Sexagesima and Quinquagesima.
They are different in character from the names of most special Holy Days, like Christmas, Good Friday, Ascension, Transfiguration, which directly reference and celebrate a special event.
The Gesima Sundays indirectly reference, and are effectively a countdown to, Easter. They are Sundays which are seventy (Septuagesima), sixty (Sexagesima) and fifty (Quinquagesima) days before Easter.
Originally, there was also a Quadragesima Sunday, forty days before Easter, but that is now called the First Sunday in Lent. Quinquagesima Sunday is exactly fifty days before Easter; the others are approximations, a few days adjacent from the secular calendar.
The bring-and-share Karamoja Supper, part of the Alton Deanery Karamoja Link Committee's fundraising efforts for Karamoja, was held at The Church of the Good Shepherd, Four Marks on Friday, 24th February, and once again proved a popular event. All donations raised at the Supper have been dedicated to the General Karamoja Link Fund.
Howard Wright and Julian Lyon Taylor talked about their fact-finding trip, on behalf of the Deanery, to Karamoja in December 2011. They travelled over 600 miles within Karamoja on dirt roads, visiting various parishes and projects, meeting with Diocesan Training Centre (DTC) graduates, witnessing first-hand the wonderful work they are doing, the impact of food-relief funds and the Ng'Karimojong Bibles provided by the Deanery
They arrived in Karamoja from Entebbe, via a Mission Aviation Fellowship filght on 2nd December and were hosted by the Bishop of North Karamoja Diocese, James Nasak and his wife. They travelled south to Karamoja diocese on 6th December and were welcomed by Simon Aisu, the Diocesan Secretary, Bishop Joseph Abura and his wife, Margaret.
They had amazing journeys to the far north and south, climbing the mountains overlooking Kenya, encountering vibrant congregations existing in the most beautiful, yet harsh, environment. They were humbled by the hospitality they were shown and by the faithfulness of God's people in the midst of extreme poverty and need.
They also laid the foundation for a Deanery team visit in 2012. This is an opportunity of a lifetime, but will not be for the faint-hearted. It is hoped the team will assist rural churches in building projects or mission; teach basic IT and word processing skills to Diocesan staff; share stories from the UK and assist in teaching in schools; teach and encourage ministers and those in training at the DTC. If you would like to be considered, or for more information, please contact either Ben or our Karamaoja Link representative, David Hayward.
In the subsequent Q&A session, one question raised was, bearing in mind the costs involved, are visits to Karamoja justified compared to simply sending the equivalent amount of money to finance specific projects?
Kennett Westmacott replied the Karamoja clergy would feel insulted if we simply sent money without periodic direct contact, which the Karamoja people find uplifting and sustaining. He explained the real challenge is to find sufficient resources to finance visits as well as specific projects, visits which also allow specific skills to be imparted, such as the use of sewing machines, basic accounting and ICT.
The new two-year Diocesan Training Centre bursary scheme started in February and will run to December 2013. Twelve students have started the course, nine from North Karamoja and three from Karamoja (South) diocese; of these, the Karamoja Link Committee expect to support eight or nine. These students have yet to be allocated to our supporting Alton Deanery churches. A new bursary scheme promotional leaflet was presented at the Karamoja Supper; copies are also available on Church Hall noticeboard.
Following three years of drought throughout much of Karamoja, there have been unexpected lengthy rains since September 2011. The anticipated dry season began in December, but not before there was time to grow and harvest the traditional crops of sorghum, millet and the more recently introduced sunflowers, grown both as a food source and, where presses are available, for seed oil.
Meanwhile, Education Uganda, a charity working to help improve primary education in Kasese District, South Rwenzori, Uganda held an Educational Links Seminar at Intech, Winchester on Monday, 27th February. Education Uganda Patron and Ugandan High Comissioner to the UK, Her Excellency Amb. Joan Rwabyomere gave the keynote address on the importance of twinning links in the education of Ugandan pupils.
Faith In Action: Karamoja
On Wednesday, 25 January the Bishop of Winchester designate, The Revd Canon Timothy Dakin, will be consecrated Bishop at 11.00am at St. Paul's Cathedral, London.
There will be an Inauguration and Enthronement Service at Winchester Cathedral on Saturday, 21st April.
If you are interested in being considered for a ticket for the Enthronement Service, applications should be made either by e-mail to or in writing to Miss Emma Law, Winchester Cathedral Offices, 9 The Close, Winchester, SO23 9LS.
All applications will be considered but, as spaces for this service are limited, tickets are not guaranteed. You will be contacted by the middle of March if your application has been successful.
Applications should be made no later than Monday, 16th January and must be either in writing or by e-mail. Telephone applications will not be accepted.
New Bishop Of Winchester
Once again, St. Andrew's Annual quiz night, on Saturday, 3rd March, proved a very popular event. This year's theme was The University of Life Challenge and fourteen teams totalling 78 people took part, hosted by local author Jack Linley, who writes as Jack Sheffield, who was as organised and flamboyant as ever!
We all give a special thanks to Jack and also to his future son-in law, Ian, who stepped in at the last moment as Lis was not well. The final amount has to be determined, but we expect to have raised over £420 from the event.
The Social Committee has now planned a provisional programme of events for this year. Our social events are always very popular, so please put the dates into your diary and watch out for full details to follow. Highlights include:
Saturday, 3rd March: Quiz Night
Saturday, 28th April: Spring Jumble Sale
Saturday, 21st July: Hog Roast
Saturday, 6th October: Bavarian Evening
Saturday, 3rd November: Autumn Jumble Sale
Sunday, 25th November: Patronal Recital
Please see our regularly updated Events page for more details on these and other village events.
If you are interested in joining the Social Committee or helping at any of the events, please contact Sharon Blackshaw.
Winchester Cathedral Refectory is a purpose built restaurant with a high vaulted glass roof and steel structural supports and has won several awards for both its design and food.
The Cathedral Refectory offers a full range of refreshments every day from 9.30am until 5.00pm (March to October) and 9.30am to 4.30pm (November to February).
A welcome is provided by parish teams from the diocese. All profit from this catering division is covenanted to the Chapter of Winchester for the maintenance and mission of the Cathedral.
You could be part of our Refectory team. The next duty for the St. Andrew's team is on Wednesday, 18th January, followed by duties on Tuesday, 5th June and Wednesday, 22nd August. If you can help for either a whole day or half a day please contact Mary Spinks.
No previous experience is needed and this is an equal opportunity job!
Our Julian Meetings are held once a month at Belmont, Five Ash Road, Medstead, from 8.00pm. We start with coffee and catch up with each other's concerns, before reading a chapter of our current book The Ladder of Perfection, by Walter Hilton, as our lead-in to the silent prayer until 9.00pm.
The next meeting will be on Wednesday, 11th January.
If quiet Christian contemplation is something you might enjoy, or if you just want to find out more, please contact Gay or Jill. We are always delighted to welcome new members.
There is an opening for a Foundation Governor at Medstead Church Of England Primary School, one of the most successful primary schools in North-East Hampshire. Applications are now invited to join Deborah Jackson and our Rector Ben in this role. Preferrably, applicants should not already have children at the school.
Every school is led by a Governing Body which is responsible for developing the school's strategic direction. Their focus will be to help raise standards and to shape a school's distinctive identity and ethos.
The size of Governing Bodies and their composition varies depending on the size and status of the school. Most Governors are elected, for example Parent or Staff Governors, or appointed, such as Foundation or Local Authority Governors, but some hold the office by virtue of their role within the school or community and are ex-officio Governors, such as the Parish Priest in a Church School and the head teacher. Being a Governor is a non-executive role.
In Medstead School, Foundation Governors are usually appointed by the PCC or the Diocese. Foundation Governors are not in the majority but still have responsibility to ensure a Christian ethos is maintained and developed.
Medstead Church Of England Primary School
The funeral of Gordon Urquhart was held at St. Andrew's Church on Monday, 26th March with interment at Aldershot Cemetery.
Our condolences are extended to his family and friends, whom we hold in our prayers.