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Church News November 2014

Posted by John on Oct 28, 2014 in Uncategorized

A BUSY MONTH!

As I write the mist is clearing to reveal a bright autumn morning although wind and rain are forecast for much of the coming week. After a very good summer with excellent crops in fields, vegetable gardens and allotments, autumn is well and truly with us. The Harvest Services are all but over and we have enjoyed some great services and harvest suppers.

The fact that the harvest is safely gathered in however does not mean that we’ve said ‘thank you’ to God for this year and need not worry about that again until next year! Hopefully we will all have much to be thankful for over the coming months. Indeed, November brings us two opportunities to praise God for the lives and actions of others.

On Sunday 2nd November we have our “In Loving Memory Services” at Ettington at 4 pm and Alderminster at 6.30 pm when we can take time to thank God for friends and relatives who are no longer with us.

All Saints’ Day is officially on 1st November and it is when we recall the lives of the saints – people in whose lives the work of God has been especially evident for the benefit of the whole church. This is followed by the “Commemoration of the Faithful Departed” or All Souls Day when we can recall the lives of all who have been more closely connected to us. If you have a loved one who has died, recently or some years ago, and you would like to remember and thank God for them please do feel free to attend one of our two services.

A week later on November 9th it is Remembrance Sunday taking a special significance this year as we recall the centenary of the start of the First World War in 1914. Again, each one of our churches will be marking this significant event with services at 10.45 am on Sunday 9th November. Butlers Marston will have their service at the Village War memorial at 3 pm that same day.

Many people from each one of our communities have given their lives in the service of this country and it is not only fitting that they are remembered but vital that our children are also made aware of this part of our history as today our service men and women continue to serve this country in some very difficult situations around the world.

Looking Ahead

As the month draws to a close we mark the feast of Christ the King on Sunday 23rd November when we proclaim that Jesus is indeed Lord and start to look forward to the season of Advent and remember that Christ will come again. Advent Sunday this year is on 30th November and it is the start of our preparation not just for Christmas but for Christ’s second coming. It is a special time with some wonderful hymns and challenging Bible readings designed to help us focus not on shopping, food and cards but on the real meaning of Christmas and the coming of the Messiah, not this time as a helpless baby but as the risen Lord and judge of all!

November, a busy month with much that is of great significance for all of us – Come, Lord Jesus!

 

John

 
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Poverty – localy and abroad!

Church News August 2014

 

Dear Friends,

We received an appeal recently to help the people of the Central Africa Republic where a very brutal war is ruining the lives of many people. We hear very little about this conflict in our media but it is reported that around two thousand people are fleeing the country daily, crossing the border into Cameroon. Some 2.5 million people are estimated to be in urgent need of clean water and food whilst 750,000 have been forced to abandon their homes. The conflict so far has been especially violent.

In addition to events in the Central Africa Republic, the conflict in South Sudan continues as does the on-going battle with Islamic militants, Boko Haram, in Northern Nigeria. These events too seldom feature in our news although we do hear a little from time to time about other conflicts in Iraq, Syria and the of course the Ukraine following the destruction of the Malaysian Airlines plane recently. The appallingly one-sided conflict in Gaza is daily in the headlines at present. All these wars have displaced thousands of people from their homes leaving them all in a very vulnerable state, short of food, water and open to all kinds of disease. For many their way of life will never be the same again, their jobs, their security, their dignity are gone.

As I was preparing to write this I also received the latest monthly prayer letter and update from the Fosse Foodbank. Again this is something that continues its work with some of the poorest and most disadvantaged people in our area largely without publicity and it is right that this should be so. The Foodbank now has distribution centres in Kineton, Wellesbourne, Lighthorne Heath and Southam. It is hoped that in due course we might also have a distribution point here in the Stourdene Benefice but in the meantime contributions of food are still most welcome. If you are able to give to the Foodbank we try and collect any food that is left in the churches on a regular basis and ensure that it goes over to the main warehouse in Kineton. There is a list of the type of food required in each church, often by the food collection box – please try to keep to what is on the list because other items keep less well and could be wasted.

In all our schools there are a few children who need free school meals because without them they would not receive a good meal at home. During our summer holidays it is important to be aware that those children will not be receiving free school meals for the coming weeks and leaving some families struggling. If you are aware of people who are in difficulties please do let Cath, Ali or I know and we can arrange for these families to receive help from the Foodbank.

Please enjoy your summer holidays and return refreshed for the autumn but do please try to keep informed of the plight of those less well off than ourselves locally and further afield. Please keep these people and their countries in your prayers. Most of our churches have information from organisations like Christian Aid or Tearfund to keep you up-to-date so please use it!

Have a great summer!

John.

John Horton

August 2014

 
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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.

 
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What’s on in the Benefice this week ….

Posted by admin on Jan 16, 2014 in Uncategorized

Cath’s latest weekly information – News – Jan 13th 2014

 
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ALDERMINSTER MAP REVEALED

Posted by John on Dec 1, 2013 in Stourdene News, Uncategorized

DIAMOND JUBILEE HERITAGE MAP OF ALDERMINSTER UNVEILED

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The Alderminster Crafts Group came into being in 2009. Mrs. Pat Hooton, a skilled craftswoman, who had worked on group projects before, gathered a dozen or so people together who were interested. For several years the group has made products for sale at Christmas Fairs and Summer Fetes.  Proceeds were donated to the church and village hall funds In January 2012, the year of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, Pat had the idea of making a Diamond Jubilee Heritage Map of Alderminster, to be hung in the church.  We would start in the Jubilee year and not worry if it took longer than that year to finish it – as it did!  We were encouraged to choose our own subjects and manner of working, for the various panels to go round an embroidered map of the village. Each panel represents some aspect of life in Alderminster: the church and churchyard, various houses and businesses, clubs and societies and the surrounding countryside, as well as symbols of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, and the Olympic torch, which was carried through the village.   The panels were then combined and sewn to a backing material to be suspended on a horizontal pole as a wall-hanging. The finished work celebrates and gives thanks for our local community and its history. It is now installed in the South Transept of St. Mary & The Holy Cross Church, Alderminster.  We have also put together an album of photographs and short descriptions of each of the pieces, their subject and the method used for each. On Wednesday, 20 November, at 7pm, there was a special service, during which the Map was dedicated by the Right Reverend David Evans.  Bishop David lived and worked in our parish before he retired.   We invited everyone in the village, and in particular those whose homes or businesses are featured on the map, to the service and for refreshments afterwards. Many came, and stayed to look at the Map and talk to each other over drinks and nibbles so the event became both a celebration of much hard work and an outreach to those who do not normally attend our services. We hope people who visit the church will enjoy looking at the Map and book, discover a little about the village and perhaps be inspired to do something similar of their own.  The group has much enjoyed working together over cups of tea and biscuits in each other’s houses, learning new skills and getting to know each other. Members provide their own materials to minimize expenses, but they are very grateful to kind sponsors who make donations of money, materials or practical help. Sue Sabbagh November 2013

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