A big thank you to Bob and Frani Williams for hosting the 'Friends of St Ippolyts Church' Tea Party at their superb home of Maydencroft Manor on Wednesday 24th May. Over 50 people enjoyed the the spendid afternoon where we were all treated to a delicious array of cakes washed down by copious amounts of tea. The weather was extremely kind and, as well as tea and cake, we were able to buy handmade greeting cards from Pauline himks and Jo Cooper.
THY KINGDOM COME EVENT
It would be lovely to see our Benefice represented at this special Beacon Event Celebration which marks the end of ‘Thy Kingdom Come’. This ten-day period of unified prayer encouraged all Christians to pray that more people may come to know Jesus. It
has been running all around the world and has involved all denominations. The last day of the event will be marked on Pentecost Sunday, 4th June by this special service at St. Albans Cathedral at 6.30pm.
Do come and join in if you possibly can, it will be a great occasion!
FRANCES (FRANKIE) MARJORIE EDMONDS - 14.5.1921 - 26.3.2017
Some of you will have been at the beautiful memorial service on Tuesday 2nd May at which we celebrated the life of our dear friend Frankie Edmonds. We were all asked to wear cheerful colours and it turned out to be a happy gathering of family and old friends. There were lovely tributes paid to her by Tricia her daughter and our Vicar, The Reverend Ginni Dear. Ginni said that she just wished she had known her in her heyday as they obviously shared a great sense of fun.
Frankie loved what she called ‘the old tunes’, Vera Lynn, songs from My Fair Lady and many others which she remembered well, particularly from her wartime service with the WAAF. Some of these were sung in church at the end of the service and we all burst into applause! She would have loved it.
I first met Frankie in 1958 when John and I came to live here soon after we were married. I think it must have been at a party someone gave to welcome us to the village. Frankie and Humphrey would certainly have been there. John died in 1982 and I shall never forget the kindness they showed me, quite a young widow, during that difficult time. They were both a rock of strength for me, socially and practically and with my family and other local friends, they put me back on my feet.
Frankie was a wonderful friend and support to so many people and although having no grandchildren of her own, never failed to show her interest in all our families. She loved young people and everyone I know enjoyed being in her company, she was indeed such fun.
Frankie never lost her spirit even after her dear Humphrey died and during her last few difficult months. She left us, peacefully and quietly in her own home, and will be sorely missed by all who knew her. It is good to know that after such a long and full life she will be safely reunited with her beloved Humphrey.
May they rest together in peace.
REINVENTING THE VICAR!
Following on from my letter in last month’s PAX, I feel an update is in order!
First of all, a huge thank you to you all for your positive and encouraging comments following my admission that I need to address my health and fitness issues and especially to those of you who said that you would pray
for me - I was very touched that you would do that for me - and, yes, even vicars need prayer too!!
The ‘new regime’ has got off to a slow start owing to some pre-arranged holiday and a week long, fully-catered conference I had to attend - I was careful not to over-indulge too much but a ‘full English’ is hard to resist! I am a few pounds lighter than last month but my legs and hips still feel like they belong to someone else (possibly an aging arthritic duck!). However, the holidays are over and it’s full speed ahead with the healthy eating under the watchful and slightly sadistic eye of my eldest daughter! It’s not going to be a quick fix but, with your continued prayers and encouragement, I’m hopeful I’ll get there eventually.
Watch this space!! Ginni
OPEN GARDENS - Sunday 24th June 2018
Do you live on Waterdell Lane, Mill Road, Mill Lane (from Mill Road to Gosmore High Street), Gosmore High Street, Maydencroft Lane, The Crescent, Townsend Place, London Road (from Waterdell Lane to Flint House) or Orchard Close?
Is your garden looking lovely this month?
If so would you "open" it next year on Sunday 24th June?
We would love a range of gardens, big and small, formal, informal, allotment style, etc. It doesn't have to be perfect (what garden is?) and if you enjoy it we are sure that others would love to see it.
LEARNING HOW TO PRAY
I was with a group of primary school children recently and I was asked to say a prayer before the children went off to their activities. In true ‘vicar-fashion’ I began by saying “Let us pray” and instantly twenty heads bowed, hands were put together with index fingers under chins and eyes were closed ... all except one little boy at the back who began looking all around him …. upwards, downwards and side to side.
As I continued with the prayer I could see the teacher nearest to him quietly motioning him to assume the ‘praying position’ whilst the little boy looked a little “discombobulated”. Later on, the teacher relayed the conversation she had had with him at that point. Apparently, on being pulled up for his lack of conformation with the rest of his peers, he whispered to the teacher “but Miss, if I close my eyes then I won’t be able to see God when he comes to listen to the prayer”!!
It struck me then that this little boy probably had a better idea of what it meant to pray than most of the rest of us. After all, he had his eyes open because he really did expect God to turn up to listen. I wonder sometimes whether that is our expectation of God, that He does actually listen to our individual pleas, or whether we just hope our words are heard but daren’t think about it too deeply in case we are seen as lacking faith?
I was pondering this whilst I was on holiday and questioning my own expectations of prayer and the reasoning behind the mechanics of the way I pray. I remember when I was a small child being told to close my eyes and bow my head during the school prayer. I don’t think I had any expectations then although I do remember trying to squint my eyes a little bit to see what everyone else was doing without any of the teachers spotting my non-compliance! I wasn’t brought up in a church-going family but I remember that in my troubled teenage years, I would bunk off school and wile away the time in the countryside addressing my thoughts to ‘someone out there’. I wonder now if the feeling I had that somehow my thoughts were heard was God desperately trying to get me to realise that He was indeed there!
I always felt a draw to my local church, aside from the fact that it was a good place to hide when I was truanting and the weather was too cold to wander the countryside, because it seemed to ooze peace and a sense of belonging I didn’t feel anywhere else. But I also remember that when I eventually started attending a church in my late twenties I
was more concerned with doing things the ‘right’ way and not looking foolish than I was with questioning why I was there in the first place.
Life has obviously moved on considerably for me since those days but I am thankful to that little boy at the school for reminding me how easy it is to allow our misconceptions or preconceptions of God to get in the way of our relationship with Him and how those of us who ‘do church’ can be barriers
to those who are just coming to an awareness of the possibility of God.
I’m interested in your thoughts on this. Whether you are a life-long Christian or someone who isn’t sure whether God is actually there or not,
or anyone in between. How do you pray or, how would you pray if you did? Do you think there is a right way to pray? Do you expect God to be listening or daren’t you ask that question? What helps you to pray and what stops you from praying? What preconceptions or misconceptions about God are you aware that you have or have had?
With love - Ginni
BIBLE STUDY GROUP
Bible Study Group meetings continue on Wednesdays 10th and 24th May at 2.30pm. at Oakhurst, behind Kingshott School (home of Margaret Edmonds). We are studying The Book of Genesis. Refreshments are served after the meeting. Come and join us! Further information from Margaret Edmonds (01462-452340) or Clare Larsen (01462-453541) Clare Larsen
Afternoon Tea at Maydencroft Manor
On Wednesday 24th May from 3.00pm. - 5.00pm.
Come and enjoy a slice of home-made cake and a cup of tea for £3.00. Everybody welcome and do bring a friend. In aid of The Friends of
St. Ippolyts Church.
I haven't organised another meeting before our Tea Party on 24th May but do ring me if you would like any information. Just come everyone please, bearing a cake of any description!
I’ve decided that I’m a ‘late bloomer’!! Most people begin new healthy eating regimes or decide to do something about their fitness in the New Year but not me.....it takes a bit of sun and a few turns at puffing up and down The Vicarage garden with the lawnmower to persuade me that I really have to get to grips with myself!
Part of my Lenten reflection was to take a good look at myself and my habits and see if the life I was living was in line with the one I felt that God wanted me to live and I came to the conclusion that God probably hadn’t intended for me to give myself stomach problems by eating the wrong food nor to waddle around in a manner more suited to someone 40 years older than I am. This last point was brought home to me quite forcibly when I did indeed meet a lady 40 years older than me who was as nimble as a mountain goat and left me puffing in her wake!!
We all pick up bad habits during the course of our lives and a lot of the time, they don’t actually impact all that greatly on our day to day living, but it’s still a good discipline to occasionally take a step back and notice whether that is indeed the case or whether we are just kidding ourselves about the impact of our habits and using any old excuse to justify the lack of care and respect we have for ourselves. We are, after all, built in the image of God, and who we are and what we do reflects who God is into the world around us.
I have definitely fallen short and have run out of excuses as to why I don’t take action. So why am I telling you this? Well, one of the crucial aspects of living a Christian life is accountability. We can kid ourselves endlessly about the things we do well and the things we do badly, both physically and spiritually but, in reality, what we all need in order to grow and mature is someone to walk the journey of life with us. Someone who will encourage us to reach our full potential, urging us on when the going gets tough and gently reminding us of our goals whilst also loving us when we falter or fall.
As Christians, that is what we are supposed to do for one another. If we hide our struggles, be they physical, emotional or spiritual, then we are effectively closing the door to a wealth of non-judgemental love, encouragement and support that is freely offered by our brothers and sisters in Christ.
So, my struggle with my physical well-being is holding me back from many things I could potentially be doing and now that the whole world (well, anyone who reads this magazine!) knows about it, I have no hiding place, I need to do something about it......and you lot can hold me accountable!!!
I’ve already begun to take action. My health-freak of a daughter has taken charge of the cooking, forcing mountains of vegetables and fruit into my protesting mouth and curdling milk with her glare when I go within 40 paces of the biscuit tin! My holiday in Devon last week involved tramping across Exmoor with the dogs, clambering over huge rocks and boulders, staggering down cliffs to the sea and crawling back up without complaint (ok, the only reason there was no complaint was that I had no breath left to utter a single sound!!). I may have woken up this morning feeling like my legs and hips belong to someone else but it is a start and now that I am accountable to you lot, there’s hope that a new and improved model of your Vicar may just emerge!!
With love - Ginni
There are 12 Easter eggs already hidden in each of our 3 churches for you to find. No chocolate yet, but each egg is numbered, has a clue inside and a mystery symbol painted on the outside. Having found one, note the details and, with the aid of the appropriate form (or forms ) at the back of the church, solve the puzzle and post the completed form (s) in the labelled box. Then reassemble the egg with its clue inside and replace where it had lain hidden. Finally wait until Easter Day tp discover whether you have won a prize!