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October 2017

“Forget Norwegian fjords and Icelandic glaciers. Some of the most breathtaking landscapes are right here under our noses.”

That was the advice of one daily newspaper last October when the UK was ablaze with its glorious Autumn colours.  And our corner of it was no exception.

The newspaper’s advice came back to me when I visited Iceland for a few days in late August.  I was impressed by the barrenness of its lunar landscape; at the unpredictability of its spurting geysers; and at the power of its waterfalls.  It was stunning.  But I couldn’t help feeling there was something missing.

Then the penny dropped.  Where were the trees?

I gathered that the early settlers had cut most of them down to create farms, and to build and heat their houses. So by the 1950s only 1% of the land had trees.  Since then, there’s been a huge national replanting programme.  But from the little I saw, the trees still seemed very few and far between.

Icelanders may have the fleeting glories of the Northern Lights, but how can you have an Autumn without trees?

The turning of the leaves from green through a myriad of vibrant hues of yellow, gold, red, and finally brown is simply a wonder and a delight.

Yet Autumn is a season of paradox.  A time of exhilarating beauty and steady decline.  The days shorten and cool.  Summer’s abundance starts to decay.  We have the inevitable ‘touch of frost’ and the trees shed their glory.

In his poem “Spring and Fall” the Jesuit Father and poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins, was compelled to make up new phrases to try to express just this paradox.  And so he gives us “grieving over goldengrove unleaving” and the lying “worlds of wanwood leafmeal”. Phrases filled with wonder and sadness.

And we may grieve with Manley Hopkins as beauty goes to ground. But with the “unleaving” is so very much promise.   Seeds are being planted, and that “wanwood leafmeal” composts the earth ready for another springtime.

At the heart of the Christian faith is the promise of renewal and hope, of yet another uprising of green.  Silently and lavishly, the seeds of new life are always being sown – not only in the natural world but in each one of us.

So this October, let’s enjoy our trees in all their vibrant glory.  And as we do so, let’s celebrate that God is forever making all things new.

Anne Futcher

Axe Vale Orchestra at Colyton

Sunday 15th October at 3.00 pm, St Andrew’s Church

Entry £10 incl. tea and cake – free to students and Under 16s.

Conductor Arturo Serna, Leader Alexandra Ennis
A full programme including:
Poulenc Sonata for Flute, arr. Berkley, Soloist Jeremy White
Mozart Symphony no 31 (“Paris”)

Harvest Festivals in October

Come and celebrate with us food and farming, the gifts of the land and the bounty of the Creator this October. Festival services take place as follows:

Southleigh – Sunday 8th October at 11.15

Musbury – Sunday 8th October at 3.00

Colyford – Sunday 22nd October at 3.30

The Harvest Breakfast at Colyton is on Sunday 15th October at 10.00 with the service starting at 10.45 (see separate post)

Goose Fayre service

Colyford’s popular mediaeval Goose Fayre takes place on Saturday 30th September, and as usual the special celebration service in St Michael’s will be the next day, Sunday 1st October at 6.30 pm. This year there will also be a dedication of the lovely new organ.

‘Growing old disgracefully’

Anna Sutherland will give a talk on behalf of the Friends of St Andrew’s in the Sunday School Building on Wed 18 October at 7.30 pm.

Autumn Bible Study

Our Bible study groups are starting again: do drop in to any of the groups for a warm welcome.

The monthly Branscombe group studying Matthew’s gospel is meeting on Fridays 22 Sept, 13 Oct, 10 Nov and 8 Dec, from 2.30-4.00, phone 22303.

The Musbury group studying a psalm and the Sunday readings (phone 553180) meets fortnightly on Tuesdays 7.30-9.00, on Sept 19th, Oct 3rd, 17th, 31st, Nov 14th, 28th and Dec 12th.

The Colyton group studying a psalm and the Sunday readings (phone 551400) meets fortnightly on Thursdays 7.30-9.00, on Sept 28th, Oct 12th, 26th, Nov 9th, 23rd and Dec 7th.

Inspirations – piano and voice

In St Andrew’s on Wed 13th September at 7.30, with Henry Perry and Steph Berner.