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Friday Advent Reflections

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

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.

Coffee Time Concert with Nicholas Brown – this Sunday!

Quiet Day at Southleigh Thursday 16th August

Holyford @ Prayer

Sheldon Singers Spring Concert in Musbury

Saturday 7th May at 7.30pm

Good Friday Messy Church

St Andrew’s, Colyton, Friday 15th April 3 – 4.30pm

FoSM Ukraine Coffee Morning 26/3/22

Friendly Friday at St Andrew’s, Colyton

Colytots at St Andrew’s, Colyton

All Souls’ Services

You are cordially invited to either or both of these services for the whole mission community. Sunday 31st Oct at 6.30 and Tuesday 2nd Nov at 7.30.