Birthday – Ordination and Loos!

Church News – June 2014

June promises to be an interesting month, not least because we have two united Benefice Services in the one month! Firstly we will come together for the Benefice Service a week early this month to celebrate Pentecost, or the birthday of the Church. This will be at Alderminster on Sunday 8th June.

Ascension Day comes forty days after the resurrection of Christ from the dead and then ten days later we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit. Acts chapter 2 describes how the Holy Spirit came with the sound of a violent wind and like tongues of fire that rested on all the disciples who were gathered in Jerusalem. Jesus was no longer present as a living being with his followers here on earth and so God breathed his Holy Spirit into the church which is now his body, “the Body of Christ”, here on earth. Any church without the Spirit is dead, just as a human body without the breath of life is dead. It is the Spirit who empowers us for life and growth in the church today just as it did over two thousand years ago.

 That is worth celebrating but so too is Ali’s ordination as a Priest which takes place at Coventry Cathedral at 5 pm on Saturday 28th; June – everybody who would like to attend that service is welcome to do so and it is likely we will be arranging a bus so we can travel up together for this special event.

 In case you cannot make the ordination, or even if you can, we are having a special joint service for the entire Benefice which will take place at Butlers Marston Church at 10.30 am on Sunday 29th June. At this service Ali will celebrate her first Communion and a good, long-standing friend on hers, The Reverend Keith Mobberley, will be the preacher at that service. We are planning to have a bring-and-share lunch after the service with a glass of wine to help aid the celebrations – do please try and join Ali to mark this very special weekend for her.

 On a practical note a loo will be provided at Butlers Marston Church that day which should make life easier for all of us!

 June is a busy month for several parishes with a series of fund raising events taking place. Pillerton and Butlers Marston both have their fetes (7th and 14th respectively) whilst Ettington have an event called “Fashionably Late” on June 13th in the Community Centre with food and Halford have their Street Party on midsummer’s day. There are also three weddings in June – all at Butlers Marston.

 We try to mention all of these events, and others, in the “Weekly Grapevine” newsletter that now goes out to over seventy homes in the Benefice by e-mail. If you do not yet receive this weekly e-mail please let us know and we would be only too pleased to add your name to the list of recipients so you can be kept informed of what is going on. If you do not have e-mail, please ask someone in your parish who does, and I am sure they will be willing to print a copy of the letter off for you.

Similarly if there are events in your parish that you would like to tell others about please let me know and they can be included in the “Weekly Grapevine”.

 Finally, June is a very busy month for our schools with the end of the academic year fast approaching. It is a very important term for children who have exams to sit and who will be moving on to the next level of their education. Please pray for the children and their teachers at this busy and significant point in their school careers. Thank you.

 John Horton,

June 2014.


It’s not all doom and gloom!


Dear Friends,

 Last time I wrote ‘Church News’ spring seemed a very distant prospect indeed. Now however the grass has been mown for the first time, snowdrops are all but over and the hellebores, daffodils and crocuses are looking great and there are buds appearing on almost everything.

In church we are now well into the season of Lent and our planning is beginning to focus on Easter, late this year, on Sunday 20th April. In case you fear that for the church this is a season full of doom and gloom please be assured that this is not the case!

  • Of course we have this short season to reflect on all God’s Son Jesus did for us whilst he was on earth.
  • Of course it is good to examine our own lives in the light of what Christ did for us. Jesus should be our role model and he sets a very high standard with his words in Mathew 5: 48; “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect”. By this standard, even the very best of us has some way to go!
  • Of course it is good to realise that our western life-style is often way beyond that of many of the poorest people on this earth. Thinking about that should prompt us to aim for a simpler life, concerned everybody is treated justly and paid a fair price for their labours – when we buy our clothes are we sure they are not made in sweat shops? When we use our cars and heat our homes do we consider the resulting emissions and what we might be doing to the environment? It is usually the poor and vulnerable who suffer the consequences long before we do.

    But all that does not mean that we cannot celebrate and enjoy ourselves. We have already had some really joyful spring weddings and there are others coming up shortly. The Lent lunches with their lashings of home-made soup and fresh bread are some of the best ‘light lunches’ available. In case you have missed them so far there are still two more on 2nd April at Halford Village Hall (this one combined with tea and cake!) and 9th April in Ettington Church.

    On Good Friday at 9.30am there will also be a Family Hot Cross Bun workshop in Alderminster Village Hall and, whilst there will be some time for reflection on the importance of this special but solemn day, there will also be plenty of fun and lots of Hot Cross Buns for all who attend.

    Nevertheless, the main celebration will come on Easter Day when all our churches will rejoice and celebrate the truth that Jesus Christ actually rose from the dead and has opened the way for us to become the people we were always meant to be, living a fulfilled life, using all the gifts and abilities given to us by God.

    That is well worth celebrating and there should be plenty of chocolate around too! For anyone who may not be keen on chocolate there are still all those wonderful spring flowers – yet another example of God’s goodness to us.

    A very happy and joyful Easter to everybody!


    John Horton

April 2014.


Spring is coming!

Church News February 2014


Despite needing to write this fairly soon after Christmas in order to meet with editorial deadlines, the mild autumn and early winter weather mean that there are already signs of spring to be seen. In the last few weeks we have passed the shortest day and begun to see the tips of snowdrops and daffodils popping up out of the ground. We also noticed a surprisingly early hedge full of catkins on Boxing Day whilst there are a few aconites out in a sheltered corner of the garden. There may be a good bit more of winter to come but there are also some very welcome signs that spring is on its way.

Easter is late this year – Sunday 20 April. This means that Lent does not begin until 5th March, Ash Wednesday, by which time there should be even more evidence that spring is on its way. The interval between the Christmas/New Year celebrations and spring/Easter can seem a very long drawn out one with its cold, wet and windy weather, but it can be a valuable time too depending on our attitude towards it.

The tale of two shoe salesman despatched to a distant country where no one wore shoes sums up how we can approach the next few months. One salesman stuck it for a few miserable months before contacting the company to tell them that no one wore shoes and he should be permitted to return home. His replacement arrived eventually and within days had contacted the company with the message “no-one has shoes here, please send more, soonest”.

Winter can be seen as a time to hibernate or it can be seen as an opportunity to press on with many things we never seem to get around to in the summer months. For me reading is one of those tasks that I seldom ever indulge in other than what is required for preparing sermons! At least some of the Gospel readings for February are from the early part of Matthew’s Gospel (Chapters 5 and 6) that focusses on the Sermon on the Mount. They cover some very practical issues from how to be “salt and light” (make a difference as Christians in our communities) to how we can avoid needless worry – something most of us spend too much time doing with no good results!

You may like to try a bit of extra reading over the next few months of dark evenings. You might also like to try joining one of our house groups where the readings can be discussed along with a host of other matters too in a fairly informal and relaxed way (Cath, Ali or John would be happy to tell you about a group near you).

Whatever you decide to do over the coming weeks please try and remain positive and remember that spring, new life and Easter are not that far away. Those little spikes appearing down the garden and in the hedgerows are a reminder of that!


John Horton,

February 2014.



A Really Good Morning

Posted by John on Dec 11, 2013 in Newbold, Stourdene News

Saint David’s Newbold welcomes a really special visitor!

Last Wednesday morning the Mother’s Union of Newbold-on-Stour hosted a service attended by the World Wide President of the organisation, Mrs Lyne Tenby. Lyne was accompanied on her visit to Saint David’s Newbold-on-Stour by the Diocesan President of the organisation, Mrs Di Sliwinski.

The ladies of Newbold had invited other local Mothers’ Union members and friends to join them for a Communion Service led by the Rev Cath Vickers and The Rev Alison Massey making a congregation totalling around 50 people. It was a very joyful occasion with plenty of coffee and mince pies to follow.

The congregation ranged from around nine years old to over ninety and represented well the values of the world-wide Mothers’ Union with its focus on marriage and family empowered by the Holy Spirit.


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November – a busy month

Dear Friends,


Suddenly the warm days of summer have become little more than a memory as both the mornings and evenings become darker and colder too. The leaves are also starting to come off the trees in large numbers. I write this as people begin to look forward to the autumn half term, the end of which will see us into November, a busy month!


The month begins with All Saints’ Day on November 1st; when we give thanks for all those Christians who have died and gone to be with their Lord in heaven. These are not special folk who have performed incredible miracles but ordinary people who have done their best to live here on earth as they believed that God wanted them to. On Sunday 3rd; November there will be services at Ettington (4 pm) and Alderminster (6.30 pm) to give thanks for, and remember, friends and relatives who have died. Everyone who would like to attend an “In Loving Memory” service is warmly invited to do so.

The third Sunday of November will be the usual Benefice service at Pillerton but we will have an additional Benefice Service the following week at Ettington when Bishop John will conduct a United Service of Healing at 10.30 am. This is the only service in the Benefice that day and will follow on from the a day on Healing which Bishop John will also lead in the Village Hall at Newbold-on-Stour on Tuesday 19th; November. For those interested in attending the day at Newbold, bookings can be made through Colette Inman (Telephone: 07583 434468 or E-mail: admin@stourdene.org). Healing is something about which Bishop John knows a great deal and it is likely to be a very worthwhile day.

As the month ends so we will be anticipating the season of Advent when we prepare ourselves for the coming of Christ in the stable at Bethlehem on the first Christmas. We also use this time to prepare ourselves for Christ’s second coming. These weeks in the run up to Christmas are so often more about preparations for Christmas – a mad dash to the shops for cards, presents, wrapping paper, food, drink, more drink, etc. In addition there are parties to attend and prepare for, relatives to visit and so much else to complete. All good stuff but largely irrelevant to the true meaning of Christmas!

Amidst all the hassle of Christmas preparation why not try to make space for some reflection and prayer so we are really ready for the coming of Christ whenever that may be? As a means to help us do this there will a weekly series of four Advent Compline services in Ettington Church beginning on Wednesday 27th; November at 7 pm. Compline is a lovely, simple evening service, in a lovely atmospheric setting with time to reflect and draw near to God – why not give it a try?

Enjoy November and Advent and all that they have to offer!


John Horton.


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