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December 2022

From the Rector

At Christmas time we celebrate the birth of Emmanuel—‘God with us’. At the heart of the Christian faith is the notion that God’s greatest desire is to be with us, in all that we are and all that we do.  That may sound overwhelming or daunting, but if we can spend some time getting our head around it, it becomes nothing short of miraculous and life-giving. God wishes to be with us, here and now, all the way to the other side of the grave into eternity.  We know all this because of the babe born in Bethlehem. 

            This Christmas will be a time of great joy and fellowship for some, or will be tough for others—the trials of life often come to the fore during the festive period.  The empty chair at the table, the struggle to keep up with expectations and traditions, especially during a period of financial worry.    

            From the accounts of Jesus’ birth in the Gospels we learn that the first Christmas was wonderful, but far from easy for the Holy Family. Yet they came through.  The Angels reassured Mary and Joseph, the Wise Men brought encouragement and affirmation; they all knew that God’s desire to be with them was so strong that they could not fail.  This is the same hope Christians hold to today. 

            In the new year we shall be organizing some groups for people to come and explore the idea of faith.  We plan to follow the Being With course, devised by the Reverend Dr Sam Wells and the Reverend Sally Hitchiner from the renowned Church of St Martin-in-the-Fields, London.  The title Being With may not sound like everyone’s cup of tea, but this is a good course, especially for those who have no experience of the church or are thinking of returning. The course is run over ten sessions, covering topics like essence, story, community, suffering and hope.  There are no expectations, and each session is about people coming together to share their story. There is no judgement, wrong answers or prescribed path. The course is an invitation to invest in becoming the type of person who knows how to be at ease with yourself, others, the world around us and through this to be with God. It is an invitation to discover faith in the context of discovering friendship.  If you are interested in joining a Being With group, or would like more information, please let me know (rector@holyford.org  or  01297 553180).

Details of our Christmas services and events can be found in this magazine and online. There are lots of opportunities to join us in any of the six churches which make up our group, called the Holyford Mission Community. Please see our website (Holyford.org) Facebook page (@holyfordmission) or contact a churchwarden or me for details of the types of services there will be, and times. 

On behalf of all of us at the six churches of the Holyford Mission Community, I wish you all a happy, joyful and peaceful time as you prepare for Christmas. Whether or not you are able to have ‘the perfect’ Christmas, for whatever reason, I pray that the light and peace which sustained and encouraged the Holy Family at Jesus’ arrival may find its way into your hearts and homes.

With every good wish and blessing,

Fr Steven.

Christmas Services at St Andrew’s, Colyton

Friday Advent Reflections

Colyford Christmas Fair, 3rd December 10am – 2pm

St Andrew’s Christmas Tree Festival 7th – 10th December

Be Part of St Andrew’s Christmas Tree Festival

November 2022

Remember, Remember the 5th November

Remember, remember, the fifth of November,
Gunpowder treason and plot;
I see no reason why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.’

As we approach the colder months my thoughts turned to memories of my own childhood and the customs of 5th November or Bonfire Night.
The children in our street would stuff our dad’s old clothes with straw and old newspapers and make a scarecrow. We would then plonk it into a wheelbarrow and take it down to the local parade of shops and call out ‘Penny for the Guy’.

Any money given would be spent in the shops buying sparklers for Bonfire night celebrations. Families would buy little packs of fireworks for their back garden, and our Catherine wheels almost always stopped half way through! I only recently discovered the origin of the Catherine wheel. It

It’s recorded that Saint Catherine was tortured on a wheel by the Emperor Maxentius for refusing to renounce her Christian faith.
The wheel broke and Catherine was eventually beheaded instead. Her martyrdom is remembered in the firework called the ‘Catherine Wheel’.

Back to my memories….Over the preceding weeks, families would be building a communal bonfire, with all their old chairs, bits of wood, branches and anything else that would burn.
Then on the 5th November the community would gather around and the effigies of Guy Fawkes would be lifted high on the bonfire and the whole thing set on fire.

People shared out bonfire toffee, which was very dark, brittle and tasted strongly of dark treacle and the children all lit their sparkles at the same time, drawing pictures into the dark night sky. I still love sparklers.

I wonder if anybody has similar memories? This was before the days of too many health and safety rules and regulations, when people were trusted to just be able to be sensible for themselves.

Times have changed and many families now visit large, organised bonfire celebrations, but something in my heart still cherishes those memories of years gone by and the fun we all had as a community on 5th November.

Hope you enjoy yours this year,

Blessings and best wishes

Linda Joy
Children and Families Worker
Holyford Mission Community

Weekly Silent Prayer for Peace in Colyton

Colyford Harvest Supper

October 2022

Autumn is always a season of change, and during September we saw a huge amount of change, with a new Prime Minister and a new King in one week. I don’t think we shall ever forget it. The death of Queen Elizabeth was not unexpected, yet, when it happened, it was a shock and great sadness.  On the evening of the announcement, our tenor bell was tolled by Keith Smith, our Tower Captain. The sound of the bell drew people to church, so I quickly had to unlock, as people wished to come in to pray. It was heartening to see a steady stream of people coming into church that evening. Operation ‘London Bridge’ (the plans we had ready to follow in the event of Queen Elizabeth’s death) came into force, and the Books of Condolence were out the next day. Many pages have been filled with expressions of appreciation and love for a unique and special person. The books of condolence we have had out in the six churches of the Holyford Mission Community were taken into schools and nursing homes for people there to sign, and will now be collected and sent to the county archives, where our pages of tributes will be added to others across the region.

 On Proclamation Day, Simon Richards raised the Union Flag to full mast for 26 hours, before it was lowered again. The proclamation of the new King took place in Colyton on the Tuesday after the Queen’s death outside the Feofees Town Hall and it was good to see a small crowd gather, including children from our ColyTots group and Colyton Primary School attended, together with the Headteacher of Colyton Grammar, Councilors, Feofees and townsfolk.

On the Sunday after the Queen’s death, we held special services in all six churches. It was lovely to welcome so many to St Andrew’s and St Michael’s in this parish. All through the period of mourning people came in to church to pray, light a candle and sign the book. The following Sunday Evensong at St Andrew’s was a commemorative service, and it was fitting that our eight bells rang for an hour before, half-muffled. On the day of the Queen’s funeral, we tolled the bell again, before we live-streamed the service in church. Our thanks to Simon Ford and his team who arranged the live-stream; they did an amazing job. The sound quality and picture were so good in church, it felt like we were in an extension of Westminster Abbey. Cake, sherry, tea, coffee and tissues were passed around as we watched the Queen make her final journey.

The Queen was a remarkable person, and a great lady of faith and humility. She was a lady of wonderful contrasts. She was deeply religious, but not in any pious or showy way; hers was a testament of unassuming witness, rather than an argument or apologetic of any kind. The Queen was Supreme Governor of the Church of England, yet did not push State religion, or get caught in up in some fashionable, bland moralism. She wasn’t afraid to talk about Jesus Christ, and did so often, in a real, normal way; she was never pushy or gushing. Her faith was practical, deep and secure, which made her open to other faiths. She saw the Church as a kind of umbrella, offering shelter to anyone who needed it. When all the beauty and splendour of her funeral fades, this is what we will remember of her. She has made a deep and lasting impression on us all.

Queen Elizabeth I once remarked: ‘…though after my death you may have many step-dames, yet you shall never have a more natural mother, than I mean to be unto you all.’ Whatever of Good Queen Bess we admire, Elizabeth II felt like a natural mother to millions. What an incredible and encouraging legacy.

‘I know how much I rely on my faith to guide me

through the good times and the bad.

Each day is a new beginning.

I know that the only way to live my life is

to try to do what is right, to take the long view,

to give of my best in all that the day brings,

and to put my trust in God…

I draw strength from the message of hope

in the Christian gospel.’ 

Queen Elizabeth II   (1926–2022)

HM Queen Elizabeth Funeral Service Screening & Commemorative Evensong

The death of Her Majesty the Queen

Musbury Silent Auction Saturday 16th September

Good Grief Tea & Chat. New time: 2.30 – 4pm

Big Church Picnic @ Pecorama – Postponed

This Event has been postponed due to the death of Her Majesty the Queen.