Pax JULY and AUGUST 2020
The Parish Magazine for the Benefice of St. Ippolyts with Great and Little Wymondley
The Reverend Ginni Dear, The Vicarage, Stevenage Road, St. Ippolyts SG4 7PE 01462-237032
Michael Hooper, Hillrise, Stevenage Road, St. Ippolyts SG4 7PE 01462-457350
Jane Veasey, Gosmore Cross, Newlands Lane, Gosmore SG4 9BD 01462-434254
Cherry Carter, 2 Church Green, Great Wymondley SG4 7HA 01438-724919
Paul Harding, The Old Rectory, Church Green, Great Wymondley SG4 7ES 01438-729219
Mike Allardyce, 81 Whitney Drive, Stevenage SG1 4BL 07967-831968
David Palmer, 198 Cleveland Way, Great Ashby, SG1 6BY 01438-367912
Visit our website - www.stippolytschurch.org.uk
Ginni asked me to write this column at very short notice on Tuesday 23rd June, the day when the Prime Minister announced that churches could reopen as from Saturday 4th July. We discussed the situation in the benefice (as we saw it) before I put fingers to computer keyboard (as opposed to pen to paper), so this is as much from her as it is from me.
Our main priority will be ensuring the safety of those who use our churches while attempting to provide as meaningful a pattern of worship as possible. During these past months the clergy have been provided with extensive guidance from the diocese and this has been a huge help. Like the current situation this guidance is on-going so anything I write may be out of date by the time you read this. Please therefore keep up to date by watching the church website which will inform you about services and church life in general - or by reading notices in the village.
It may be that in future this three month period of lockdown will be seen mainly negatively. Many people have lost loved ones from the virus and others (including my younger daughter) have suffered from it but recovered. Many of those pillars of normal existence have been undermined or even destroyed, and if there is going to be a return to normality (whatever that is) it may well be slow and even painful. It has been an earthquake that has shaken our security to its foundations, the more so because it came without much warning.
This has also been the case in the Church. We have not been able to worship together since March and as a priest I have missed this very deeply. Now however the light is starting to shine again and some kind of worship will hopefully begin in the near future in all our three churches. All we know at present is that hymn singing cannot take place for the time being and some kind of social distancing will be needed. In other words we cannot immediately turn the clock back to (say) February and have things as they were. Decisions will be taken shortly about the nature of worship and indeed of ministry within the benefice; as soon as they are they will be announced.
There has however been one very positive aspect of the lockdown which needs to continue and indeed to be developed. Facebook and Zoom services have taken place and have been very widely supported. Sadly I have not been able to take part in these because of computer deficiencies but they have been an enormous help to far more people in the benefice than could ever have been envisaged. Any future pattern of worship will involve these continuing parallel with those in the churches. They will not be an alternative to coming to church but
will be especially for those who for one reason or another are unable to do so or who would prefer to worship privately in their own homes. It is not clear how this will work in practice and it must be practicable for those organising it. Again, watch this space.
These are challenging but also exciting times. Organised Christianity may well come out of this experience stronger than it was before the virus hit us. But whatever develops, remember that the Church is still there for you. A mere virus cannot destroy its mission, its worship and its ministry.
With love and best wishes, Reverend Paul Lanham
NEWS FROM THE WYMONDLEYS
ST. MARY’S LITTLE WYMONDLEY
CLOSER TO THE WILD SIDE
With the reduction in traffic through the village high street, I was very surprised to see two Muntjac deer playing in a front garden and then skipping out onto the street, where normally you take your life in your hands opening the car door to venture to the Post Office. That’s not the only place I have seen them; one or two (difficult to be sure) have taken a fancy to our garden. The first time we noticed one, we were quite thrilled and sat watching for a while as he nosed around the tree near the bird table. Thinking about it later, I wondered what the attraction was, whilst they look lovely, they do have a voracious appetite, and we are quite fond of our shrubs. We checked the fences and discovered a gap under some wire, blocked that off and thought we had solved the problem, only to see a deer wander down one evening while we were still sitting outside, he wasn’t afraid of us, he looked at us as if to say, ‘What’s your problem? I’ve just come for my supper’. I followed him back up, I thought they were timid creatures, but I was easily within a few metres. I watched him squeeze through again, more reinforcement to fence followed, but he was determined to come in, I can’t help feeling he was on a reconnaissance trip. A few days absence and we thought we had succeeded, but no, there he is again, we have given up now, he comes and goes as he chooses, appears to be eating grass cuttings which have probably matured into silage, so he is very welcome to that.
We have two nesting ducks in the garden, the one at the back comes down early in the morning and makes a terrible fuss until we go out and feed her. The other is under a hedge in the front, she has me very well trained. I deliver two meals a day to her side, she only has to step out to eat. I stand guard to keep pigeons at bay and she just steps back in. We expect them to hatch any day now and there will be many more mouths to feed, but
it is lovely to see them.
We have a bay tree opposite where we sit. There are at least three pairs of pigeons nesting in it, they are setting up a tower block of apartments, it’s quite funny watching them coming in and out at different levels. The swifts are back, busy picking up water from the pond to construct their nests, so we have plenty to keep us amused and entertained.
WYMONDLEY PARISH COUNCIL
It is anticipated that there will be a remote meeting of the Wymondley Parish Council on Monday 20th July at 7.00pm. utilising Zoom. Members of the public are welcome to attend the meeting and should email
Clerk to Wymondley Parish Council
ST. MARY’S GREAT WYMONDLEY
What strange times these are for us all.
Does anyone else find the days and weeks flying past so fast? So much to do and summer needs to stretch out before us to compensate for all the turmoil that Covid-19 has caused.
Here in Great Wymondley life carries on.
The church is still closed awaiting renovation though the porch is open for Jam and Marmalade sales. People are coming from all round the surrounding area on their walks and cycle rides and seem to enjoy choosing which varieties to get. The Barbecue Sauce has done well too.
The swifts are nesting in the roof on the north side of the apse. They are a joy to see during the day and in the early evening as they soar and dive catching insects in the skies over the village. A pyramidal orchid is growing in the churchyard in a new place and narrowly missed being mowed down by the grass cutters. It was in a different place from the one that appeared last year so we hope that they will spread.
The Community Orchard is thriving apart from one Conference pear tree. This we think was the one tree, that when they arrived bare-rooted, had just one bit of root. It will be replaced. The paths are cut through the orchard and in the longer grass around the trees the Bee Orchids have bloomed. There are fruits on a few of the trees but we need to remove them in the first few years as this encourages them to put their energy into developing a good root and branch system. The Gaping Lane trees are a little bit older so we will leave a few apples on them so that we can try to identify what variety they are.
The Stall on the Green has been doing a very good trade in vegetable and flowering plants on the days when it is put out. Many people are developing their gardens during the lockdown and plants are not always available in the garden centres.
Technology has really come into its own as Services are shared with the three benefice churches on Facebook each Sunday at 9.15am. followed by a Zoom Café at 10.15am. Then there is Morning and Evening Prayer Mondays to Thursdays at 9.00am. and 6.00pm.
The PCC’s of all three parishes in the benefice have held an important Zoom meeting to discuss the dire financial situation that all the churches are in because of the Pandemic. There are at present no services, collections or fundraising events to bring in an income and yet there are still bills to pay. St. Marys PCC here
in Great Wymondley has also had a Zoom meeting to discuss the way forward for the church here in the village.
WYMONDLEY BAPTIST CHURCH
Did you see the description in the Comet recently about the Wymondleys? Our villages were treated to a whole page which started like this "Nestled between the thriving towns of Hitchin and Stevenage are Little and Great Wymondley - two compact villages in North Hertfordshire that cram convenience and spirited community into 1.4 miles of glorious countryside." Wow! We certainly live, according to that description, in a wonderful area. However accurate we think those words are, we have to admit that we do live in a good place and we have much for which to be thankful.
We have our Churches, and all through the Pandemic we have been able to link in to a Church service, on zoom or Facebook, or communicate with our Vicar or Chapel member by phone or e-mail. We also have the Wymondley Scrapbook on line which Robbie Howard has provided, and friendly neighbours. The local pubs have provided take away meals, our Parish Councillors look after things for us and we have a village school whose motto is 'Responsible, Respectful and Remarkable'. And these are just some of our blessings.
On Sundays at Chapel (on Zoom) we have been doing a series on 'Restoration', starting with the rebuilding of the temple through the people who had been suffering for years in captivity. This restoration resulted not only with the temple in Jerusalem but also the restoration of the people whose willingness, generosity and devotion renewed their faith as well as getting the job done. We read in Ezra that 'many wept aloud while many shouted for joy when they saw the foundations of the temple being laid'. Worship and praise of God resounded through the city.
Our pandemic cannot be compared to the exile of God's people, but as we move into the next stage with the beginning of a kind of new normality, we can feel the joy and optimism that they had when they saw what could be accomplished.
Over these weeks we have prayed in our homes but all together on Tuesday evenings at 7.30pm. As soon as we are able to use our church building and hall we will make sure that we let everyone know. With social distancing still an issue our services will continue on zoom until further notice.
Our prayers are for all who are ill and for those mourning and missing loved ones. We continue to pray for our Government and for the Queen and for the NHS and for those suffering with this virus in parts of the world where there is extreme poverty, and for the Covid-19 to be over once and for all.
Our speakers for July: Link in at 10.30am. for a 10.45am. start
5th Kieran Murphy
12th Phil Jackson
19th Bryan Field
26th Will Andrews
2nd Pauline Wade
9th Bryan Field
16th Dr. Barry Funnell
23rd Ian Merrick
30th Derek Peterson
Link in on https//zoom.us/j/8675752648 or download the zoom app and join using ID8675752648. You can also dial in on 01314-601196 or 0203-512874. Any problems phone 07531-081621. This link can also be used for Bible Study on Wednesday evenings at 7.30pm. (weekly) or Friday at 11.00am. (fortnightly)
Marjorie McCarley (01438-727050)
LOCKDOWN INERTIA ?
I am writing this as it seems that the lockdown is being radically eased. To be honest I have suffered rather badly in the last three months from a non-medical condition that might be called Lockdown Inertia. I have read countless books (of dubious literary but great entertainment value), attempted innumerable crossword puzzles, spent countless hours in a very comfortable armchair watching repeats of old television programmes (how have I lived without Van der Valk, Rumpole of the Bailey and The Bill, and why can't programmes of that quality be produced these days?) and lain luxuriously in bed knowing that I don't have a sermon to write so I can get up when I like. It has made me feel rather guilty.
But apart from the negative aspect of the lockdown there has been a positive one, in the shape of the garden which is rather large. The start of the lockdown coincided with the start of the growing season so when I took the resulting debris from weeks of hacking back bushes and grubbing up weeds to the tip in mid-June I could not have got a single weed more into the car. I wouldn't say that the garden is pristine but it's less overgrown than it might have been.
But it has also been silent. No aircraft screaming past on their way to Luton Airport as they normally do. Fewer cars on the local bypass, which can clearly be heard from half a mile away. Just bird song and silence. This has given me a chance to sit on our beloved swingseat - and listen to silence. As a countryman born and bred (despite an interlude ministering in urban Lancashire in the 1970’s) I love peace and silence; even in Lancashire I could go up onto the moors and find solitude. We never seem to have time to be still these days; we always have to be doing something. For some this has been a time of deep loneliness, reminding us that social inter-relating is part of what living is all about. But for many it has also been a time when we can pause and ponder about things that might otherwise be crowded out. 'What is this life if full of care, We have no time to stand and stare?' wrote the poet W.H. Davies. Perhaps I am lucky in that my formative years included days spent on the Cotswold escarpment near Gloucester; I could gaze out over the glittering River Severn to the Forest of Dean and the distant Welsh Mountains - marvel at that amazing view - and wonder.
Sitting on that seat (and gently swaying) has also given me an opportunity to do something that I would otherwise never dream of doing, namely meditating. Emptying my mind and just being still. What do I really believe? What is the purpose of my being on earth? What are the things which are most important to me? What for that matter do I make of a garden where scientifically everything fits together in such an intricate way? Then after dark to sit on that seat and look at the stars and wonder about Creation. As someone who (even at my age) always wants to be doing something, it has been a fascinating thing to do and I must go on doing it if the weather is kind. We need to pause and be still from time to time. Regardless how the rest of the summer works out, this time of the year is the ideal opportunity.
Very best wishes, Paul Lanham
NEWS FROM ST. IPPOLYTS
FRIENDS OF ST. IPPOLYTS CHURCH
It is with regret that due to Covid-19, the Fund Raising Committee has taken the decision to cancel the
Flower Festival which was due to take place in August.
ST. IPPOLYTS PARISH COUNCIL
Thank you to Ginni for hosting our Zoom Café. It is good to see and chat with others.
One of the sanity-saving activities I have pursued during the Covid 19 lock-down has been the taking of regular extended country walks. I always enjoyed a walk but one of the positives from this wretched pandemic ……. and YES, there have been positives amid the pain and disruption ……… is that I have extended my normal strolls into countryside safaris and have “yomped” much more than ever before, eating up miles of country roads, paths and bridleways and considerably extending my knowledge of the local geography.
It may be that growing up in an industrial city environment, as I did, makes me appreciate the serenity of the countryside the more and I must even confess to feeling a sense of “ownership” at times, when I get a lovely landscape all to myself. My preference would be to tread paths and bridleways - even if they are sometimes muddy, rutted and occasionally decorated by early morning equine traffic. Country lanes with their high hedges and leafy overhangs are charming but the tarmacadam surfaces are less appealing. However, it was something I noticed in these country lanes which set me wandering …… and rambling.
Hard road surfaces usually require run-offs to carry away the rainwater; ….. gutters and drains …… placed at strategic points to prevent flooding. And here is the nub of this “ramble”. I noticed that nearly all of those grill-like apertures in the roadside are blocked and unable to do the job for which they were intended. It was here that my mind went back to my boyhood and those back-to-back terraced streets running down to the railway yards, and a little man called Jim.
Jim was road sweeper - quite small in stature - whose long handled broom somehow seemed to me to be taller than the man himself. His barrow, I recall, also had various other tools for raking and scraping and with these implements Jim took great pride in keeping the gutters free flowing, raking out the alien tufts of grass which dared to spring up and ensuring that those wrought iron grills in the gutters were open for business. The rains might come but Jim had made sure that the channels were open and ready to cope.
Walking on I reflected on the pandemic and all the worry, distress and anxiety it had generated. How so many people were choked either by immediate problems or mired at the thought of what might lie ahead. For some the pressure seems to have built up as the weeks passed by and there was no sign of release. Perhaps the drains were blocked? The channels to get things moving again were cluttered. We needed a Jim to perform his magic, to help shift the mental detritus and make us able to feel free-flowing again.
Those of us sharing the Christian faith know that we have a “Jim” who is constantly with us, helping to sweep the road clean, helping us to shed unnecessary mental clutter and we are grateful for that. But it is also up to us to play a part in keeping the daily path easier to travel. Perhaps we should all become “little Jims”, and offer to help sweep the path for fellow travellers who are experiencing difficulties at this present point on life’s journey.
George Herbert, a poet and clergyman writing in the 17th century seems to have appreciated the value of a broom in good hands:-
“A servant with this clause makes drudgery divine:
Who sweeps a room as for Thy laws makes that and the action fine.”
PARISH CHURCH REGISTERS
Funeral & Burial 20th May: Susan Christine Lafferty
18th June: Graeme Shirley Kidd
Cremations 21st May: Wendy Marian Gray
27th May: Dennis Frederick Stokes
4th June: Anthony Pugh
Burial 3rd March: Derrick John Silver
Burial of Ashes 16th March: Carole Howman
Funeral & Cremation 19th May: Dahlia Asher
The prize draws for the ‘100 Club’ have been made as usual for the months of April to June, but due to being in lockdown and the difficulties of getting cheques sorted out, the cheques are only just being issued.
There are also some subscriptions which are now overdue for the same reason. In the near future, people who pay by cheque or cash in the first half of the year will receive a request to pay. If this applies to you, rest assured that your numbers have remained in the draw!
The winners for April, May and June were:
No. 16 Mary Blaksley £20
No. 52 Doreen Smith £15
No. 51 Doreen Smith £10
No. 21 Frank Harding £20
No. 50 Sue Sykes £15
No 167 Ryan Butcher £10
No. 33 Carole Zimmern £50
No. 84 Luan Cowlishaw £30
No. 169 Saskia Weiss £20
No. 65 William Steel £20
No. 156 Becky Furr £10