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Sheldon Singers Spring Concert in Musbury

Saturday 7th May at 7.30pm

May 2022

Life begins at 40?

The number 40 is significant for a number of reasons. In scripture it often precedes a notable event, such as the end of the flood after 40 days, Israel entering the promised land after 40 years in the wilderness; Jesus in the wilderness for 40 days before starting his ministry and 40 days between his Resurrection and Ascension.  The 40th Wedding Anniversary is called the Ruby as the red colour of the stone is symbolic of romance and heartfelt love.

40 years ago in May 1982 I was licensed in Norwich Cathedral as a Lay Reader by the then Bishop of Norwich, Maurice Wood, so the number 40 has a particular significance for me at a personal level.  Over those 40 years the World has changed, the Church has changed and I have changed.

Whilst change is not always helpful and can be threatening, it may bring new opportunities.  When we are tested it can bring an appreciation of qualities we already possess but have remained hidden. It can bring a renewed appreciation of those around us who befriend us and support us and are sometimes taken for granted.

During May, Churches often hold rogation services which often focus on the world around us.  Traditionally it has been a time to ask God’s blessing on newly planted crops but often the focus is widened to a thanksgiving for all of God’s creation which feeds us, encourages us and heals us both in body and spirit.   As in William Henry Davies poem ‘What is life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare’ sometimes we need to stop and reflect thankfully on all that is around us.

I am often reminded of God’s love for each one of us which remains steadfast, generous and unconditional and I hope I have been able to share that with others effectively in a variety of ways through my 40 years of varying ministry.  I have enjoyed working with a whole variety of people in terms of age and background and an immense sense of privilege of being able to share at least a small part of their life’s journey as it comes into contact with mine.

Charles Hill

FoStA Event Thursday 5th May

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

March 2022


Even during the pandemic the seasons continued. Who can forget the wonderful sound of Spring 2020? Against the backcloth of isolation, lockdown, illness, fear and the absence of motor noise from our roads, the birds seemed to sing louder than ever on our daily exercise walks. The bluebells seemed more abundant and more vividly blue. There wasn’t much to be positive about but the emergence of Spring was one. Then Spring gave way to summer and eventually more relaxed restrictions. By Christmas, against the backcloth this time of ice, frost and cold, we shivered in gardens treasuring moments with families but oh so missing the warm glow of the lounge fire.

In the church another set of seasons rotates round each year even in times of pandemic – Christmas preceded by Advent gives way to Christmas and then through to Epiphany and Candlemas. After a pause we have Ash Wednesday, Lent, Passiontide, Holy Week, Good Friday, Easter, Ascension Day, Pentecost and Trinity. A longer pause then before we start all over again.

Each year I value and appreciate the joys of each weather season – the new life of Spring, the warmth of summer, the golden colours of autumn and the crisp frosts of short December days. Each year too I value the repeated cycle of the Christian story centring on the birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. Such a cycle makes sure that we miss none of the vital ingredients.

This month sees us observe Ash Wednesday and Lent which is a marvellous time to reflect on our sinfulness and need for salvation so that when April comes and we celebrate Easter, we really do appreciate what we are celebrating – victory over sin and death.

Keep your eyes skinned for details of all that is planned in this Mission Community for Lent so that you can join in and grow closer to God.

At the same time rejoice in the new life that is in our gardens, by the roadside, in the fields and the woods as yet another year moves forward under the direction of our almighty God.

Nigel Freathy   

Lent Lunch

You are warmly invited to Lent Lunch at St Andrew’s on Saturday 12th March.

Lent Lunch Poster

Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday

You are invited to the pancake parties and the Eucharist with imposition of ashes the following day:

February 2022


This year, perhaps, February brings fewer notable dates as the lateness of Easter moves Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday into March so the romantics will be left with St Valentine and in the Church calendar with 2nd February as Candlemas or the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, 40 days after his birth; perhaps the latter is why February is derived from the Latin word for Purify.  2nd February is also known as Groundhog Day particularly in North America and the date also is associated with weather lore such as ‘if Candlemas be fair and bright winter shall have another flight’. Although some weather lore is based more on superstition than fact  this particular statement has a basis in the statistic that February can be a less changeable month than other winter months although the impact of climate change and its unpredictability are only too evident nowadays and even the sentiment from Flanders and Swann ‘February’s ice and sleet, Freeze the toes right off your feet’ may seem somewhat dated.

Deep down, many of us are creatures of habit and routine and can be challenged by anything that brings uncertainty and it is a particularly English quirk to talk about the weather and its uncertainty allows a little more to discuss!!  The epidemic of the past 2 years or so has indeed been challenging and many have found hidden resources as they take on new tasks and lifestyle changes as well as coping with sadness and loss. I once came across that statement that change may improve things, have no effect or make things worse which is 2 to 1 against change!!  But sometimes it is possible to look back on coping well with times of change with a sense of strength and achievement.

The reality is of course we live in a changing world and it is up to each one of us to do what we can, however little, to direct such change in a positive direction, sometimes to bring improvement for others rather than for ourselves.  It may affect our financial resources, our energy use or the way we choose what we buy, reuse and recycle. Even the smallest changes when multiplied by the same mind in others can make a significant difference to improve the world which we all share.

Charles Hill (LLM)

January 2022

In my early days of involvement with the Christian church, the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in January each year was a fairly major event, involving the breakthrough development at that time of Christians of one denomination actually attending and worshipping in a church of a different denomination. Prior to this, the divisions between let us say the Baptists and the Church of England were so pronounced that any sharing of worship, resources, personnel etc would have been considered inappropriate.

Things are now very different for which we thank God. Christians will regularly work and worship together and will sometimes switch denominations during their lifetime without a second thought. Of course there are still different ways of worshipping and different emphases between denominations but fundamentally we know now that “we are the Body of Christ and by one Spirit we were all baptised into one  Body”, irrespective of whether that baptism was within the Church of England or the United Reformed Church for example.

I only wish that the spirit of tolerance and generosity that largely exists now within the wider church was reflected in the whole of society which seems to be tragically divided and where intolerance, bigotry, prejudice and rudeness pervade and do so most particularly in the world of social media where people write things to each other which one would hope that they would be embarrassed to say face to face. Let us pray for respect, tolerance, forgiveness, humility, courtesy and kindness to be more obvious in all our dealings one with another.   

Nigel Freathy 

Beethoven talk and recital

Christmas at Colyton

Posada – The Advent journey

The figures of the Holy Family are once again travelling around the Mission Community on the way to their desitnation on Christmas Eve.

They set off travelling down the Umborne Valley

A safe berth for the night.