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Colyton’s Flower Festival

There will be a festival evensong at 6.30 on Sunday 3rd October at which the Bishop of Exeter will bless the installation of the new lights.

New lights in St Andrew’s

The project to renew the lighting and electrics inside the church has been completed and we are now enjoying the brilliant interior which shows to more beautiful effect. Thanks are owed to the Friends of St Andrew’s who helped fund the work. There will be a special services of thanksgiving with the Bishop of Exeter on Sunday 3rd October at 6.30pm, at the culmination of the weekend flower festival.

Work in progress in the Pole Chapel

New lighting in the Lady Chapel

New lighting in the nave

Electrics in the clergy vestry…..

September 2021

At the time of writing this short article, the Olympic Games are in full swing in Japan and every morning I catch up with the previous night’s events on what is usually Breakfast TV on BBC. The usual presenters are there but instead of the usual diet of close analysis of what is happening with the Covid pandemic and the repercussions of Brexit, we are treated to a short news bulletin and the weather forecast and the rest of the programme is devoted to sport. I applaud this shift of emphasis because watching sport for me is more therapeutic and mood enhancing than endless debate about seemingly insoluble problems. I wonder however what has happened to all the news and views that filled the air waves for the last 16 months or so.  The truth is that something more important has come along in the view of the TV editors and so much of the news and views have simply vanished.

In life in general greater priorities push out lesser ones. Of course people vary as to what they consider to be a top priority. What are your priorities in terms of your ambitions, time, money, talents? The everyday decisions we make reflect our deeper priorities. The BBC decided that an Olympic Games that we had waited 5 years for warranted moving other material to less prominent billing, if any billing at all. Maybe they decided that the nation’s morale would benefit from some relative frivolity. How I spend my money, how I use my talents, how I make use of my time reflect what I think is ultimately important.  

The Bible talks about priorities many times. “Seek you first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you.” “He who seeks to save his life will lose it”. “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth”. “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

Nigel Freathy

Alex achieves gold award

Regular worshippers at St Andrew’s and viewers of the online services will be delighted (but perhaps not surprised) to learn that Alex McNeice has been awarded the Royal School of Church Music Gold Award. This has been the fruit of a great deal of hard work, assisted by a little talent as well, of course. Since the Gold Award has been running (about 15 years or so, I think) there have been to my knowledge 9 awarded in Devon and Cornwall, so that tells you something about Alex’s achievement.

For the exam (held in late July in Sarum College, Salisbury) Alex had to prepare a hymn, a psalm and a major solo (“But thou didst not leave his soul in hell” from Handel’s “Messiah”), the tenor parts of two major anthems, five further anthems in which he needed to be able to sing other voice parts, sight reading, a service which Alex had to devise, including writing his own prayer, writing programme notes on the music he was singing, and lots of questions on the church’s year and appropriate music. Needless to say the exam took about an hour. 

We will be presenting the award officially at Evensong on October 3rd, and it will also be presented in Exeter Cathedral on 23rd October.

Lantern Shop sale and parish picnic

Saturday 11th September from 12.

Songs of Praise on the beach

SUNDAY 22nd AUGUST at 6.00pm at Branscombe beach.

The popular songs of praise service with Honiton Town Band returns and all are welcome. Car parking is free from 5.30 (you need to give your registration). Please bring a picnic to have afterwards if you wish. If it’s wet the service will be held in church.

August 2021

From the ministry team

The first of August is known as Lammas day and the word Lammas literally means ‘loaf mass’.  It is a celebration of the first fruits of the harvest which were used to bake a loaf which was brought into church to be blessed.  This tradition seems to go back to Anglo-Saxon times but more recent changes in farming practice have reduced its relevance as the harvest period in this part of the world is extended over a much longer period.

Irrespective of such practices the importance of bread in our daily lives cannot be denied and judging by the amount of supermarket shelves devoted to it we must eat quite a lot of it! I remember that when on camping holidays, especially abroad, one of the first things to identify locally was where bread could be bought and the word for it in the local language!

The word companion literally means one who shares bread and reminds us that food in general is not just about satisfying our own needs but also the importance of social contact when we perform some basic activities. Food (and drink) sharing and eating together is a means of social cohesion not only in human groups but also other social animals and it is one thing that we have lost in the current pandemic and it is not surprising that people yearn for it to return as in pre-pandemic days.  In our modern culture bread is now a very diverse product and perhaps reminds us of our own social diversity, but eating and drinking together becomes a means of laying aside our differences and appreciating what it means to be truly human.

The  New Testament records that in Jesus in his last hours before his crucifixion shared a meal with his disciples which included both bread and wine; a meal of both sorrow and reassurance of a Father’s love for his Son and each one of us too and which is still remembered in Church services today.

Charles Hill

Piano recital 27 June

Our own Nicholas Brown will be playing for us in our first out of lockdown concert, with tea and cake, in St Andrew’s on Sunday 27 June at 3.30pm.

New toddler group

All parents/carers and toddlers welcome! 9.00 Tuesday mornings in St Andrew’s during term time. No session at half term, 1st June.

May 2021

This month our letter comes from Rev Nigel Freathy

The disciples of Jesus had made great sacrifices to follow Jesus. They had left their homes and occupations and for three  years they observed from close quarters Jesus’ miracles and listened to His teaching. Then came the nightmare of His arrest, trial and execution. Had it all been a mistake?

Three days after Jesus’ crucifixion, the disciples started to see Jesus again in the flesh. They could touch Him and see Him eat. For forty days on numerous occasions they met with the risen Jesus. Following Jesus had not been a mistake after all. The love of God in Jesus had conquered death and the sin  of humanity that had put Jesus on the cross in the first place.

Then one day they went to a mountain in Galilee and met Jesus once more and there he gave them His final instructions along with the promise that He would be with them always to the very end of time. St Mark tells us that  then Jesus is taken up into heaven as does St Luke who also tells us that, despite the fact that the disciples are not going to see Jesus in bodily form again, they return to Jerusalem with great joy.

The reason that they are so joyful is that Jesus has promised them that He will be with them always and in St Luke’s account of the incident in the book of Acts Jesus specifically says, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you.” So they return to Jerusalem full of joy and there they await God’s promised gift.

This month we celebrate the ascension of Jesus on May 13th and the subsequent coming of the Holy Spirit on the disciples at the Jewish festival of Pentecost which this year is on May 23rd. Like the disciples we can rejoice that through His Holy Spirit Jesus is indeed with us here in East Devon empowering each one of us to carry out His mission to the world for we are His body here on earth.

The Lantern Shop re-opens

GREAT NEWS!

17th May:

We now have more volunteers (and would welcome still more) so the shop will open:
MONDAYS, WEDNESDAYS and SATURDAYS from 10 until 1
and
TUESDAYS, THURSDAYS and FRIDAYS from 10 until 4

We are not taking donations at the moment.

Messy Mothering Sunday Church

This Sunday 14th March is Mothering Sunday. Linda Joy has posted a video online for us, ‘While we can’t hug‘.

Messy Church will meet in St Andrew’s churchyard on Sunday at 4.00pm, and all are welcome. Please could families who want to come email Linda on lindajoychildrensworker@gmail.com.

February 2021

From the Rector

I hope that this finds you well.  I am writing this in the middle of January, deep in lockdown. Our churches have remained open for individual prayer, but several of the PCCs within our benefice have decided that we should cease public worship for now. At the time of writing a lot still seems to be up in the air. We hope that there will be some public worship back in some of our churches during February—please see our website (Holyford.org) or contact me or a churchwarden for information. 

Despite not gathering in person as a church on Sundays, the services and prayers continue, individually in church, online, over the ‘phone and on Zoom.  Please be assured of my prayers for you all, every day.

There is a general feeling that we are on the ‘home straight’, but that the immediate future will still be tough.  President Joe Biden in his inaugural speech included a quotation from the Psalms: ‘Heaviness may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning’ (Psalm 30.5). This is an important and powerful prayer during this period of heaviness.  Yet we know it will pass, and joy will come in the morning.

February sees the beginning of the season of Lent; a time of penitence and preparation for Easter. It is about preparing for joy, but in a deep and measured way, with patience. As we hope and prepare for the future, we have learned over these past months that we are unlikely to return to normal with a whizz bang and a party (more’s the pity!) So we must be watchful of the expectations we place on ourselves and others.

The last words of St David to his followers, who were facing many challenges and problems, come to mind: ‘Be joyful, keep the faith, and do the little things’.  Little by little the heaviness will become lighter and the morning will come.  ‘Be joyful, keep the faith, and do the little things’. We will get there.

With every good wish and blessing,

Fr Steven   (tel. 01297 553180)

January 2021

From the Rector

It is always tempting at this time of year to make predictions and resolutions. Whilst it is no bad thing to begin January with ideas or dreams of what we wish to achieve, it seems more difficult than ever to know or predict what will be likely, or even possible, as we make plans for the next twelve months.

            The only thing I can predict with any degree of certainty is that, unless I stop snacking between meals, my clothes shall grow even tighter during 2021…

            Setting to one side thoughts of biscuits etc., allow me to turn our attention towards the Holy Family: Jesus, Mary and Joseph. What can they teach us about plans, resolutions and predictions?

Their plans, intentions and new year’s resolutions went by the board that first Christmas. Yet in all the uncertainty, Mary trusted and embraced her future with God, as she accepted the call to be the mother of Jesus. This upset various plans. After the shock of learning of Mary’s pregnancy, Joseph’s compassionate intention to quietly release Mary from their engagement, is overturned.  After he learns the truth from an angel, the depth of Joseph’s goodness is revealed in his decision to heed God’s call and support his wife-to-be. He and Mary travel the long distance and begin their family in the temporary and uncertain surroundings of the stable. Soon after the birth, despite the visit of the Kings and the promising signs, they are forced to flee and become refugees. So begins the rather underwhelming and uncertain earthly life of God. Yet great things happen.

            The Holy Family clearly lived very much in the present during those days, dealing with what was in front of them calmly. I think one of the most striking things about the account of Jesus’ infancy is the remarkable equanimity which shines through as characteristics of Joseph and Mary. Their plans have gone out of the window, yet they remain calm, faithful and hopeful.  They had with them the child: Emmanuel, which means ‘God with us’.  God with us in good and bad, certainty and uncertainty, there in love for us however we feel, to share in whatever we take to him and no matter what form of words our prayers take. 

Our Christmas services went well across the parishes. My thanks to all those who attended for their patience and cooperation with the various Covid-measures we have in place. It has been good to hear that people have not only appreciated the services, but also felt safe whilst in church, and of course, at our outdoor Crib Service in Colyton. 

As we enter Tier Three restrictions (as of 31st December), our churches will remain open for public worship. We continue to have strict social distancing measures in place and everyone is taking great care to ensure the churches are places where we can feel safe and confident. We continue to pray for all who are unable to be with us in church at this time.

            We have aimed to provide access to church services for all, whatever situation you find yourself in during these times. Those remaining at home can join us via the online service, those at home without the internet can join us via the telephone service on Sunday afternoons. There are a range of services you can attend in church, too.  We have the usual Sunday services, often with music, provided by choristers at a safe distance; or if you are worried about gathering in larger groups, there are smaller, shorter Eucharists at St Andrew’s on Wednesdays at 10am or Sundays at 8am, or daily Morning Prayer (Mondays to Fridays at 8.30am), or Evensong (Tuesdays to Fridays at 5pm) where groups of around 5 to 15 gather.  You may wish to attend one of the smaller village churches, perhaps Southleigh or Northleigh, where there is plenty of room available for people to spread out. Details of our services and church opening times can be found via our website Holyford.org or Facebook page, @holyfordmission.

            Whatever lies ahead, we continue to celebrate the wonderful fact that God is with us. As you plan for what will hopefully be a brighter year, may you know God with you and continue to draw strength from the power of his love.

            With every good wish and blessing for the New Year,

            Fr Steven.

Angel Making

Angel making

Time and people resources mean that organising the placing of these in Churches is difficult so you are encouraged to share your photos by emailing to Charles.hill465@btinternet.com  or to Linda (lindajoychildrensworker@gmail.com) and they will be displayed here.