Trinity +1 14 June 2020
Now that we're in so-called Ordinary Time - not in the Advent & Christmas or the Lent & Easter cycles - we might think again of our saints and other holy people. And just a few days ago there was someone really worth remembering: Thursday was the feast day of St Barnabas, missionary and companion of St Paul - but more than just a companion of Paul, for he was already well established among the early Christians while Paul was still persecuting and terrorizing. And Barnabas's support was critical to Paul's eventually being at least partially accepted by the old guard in Jerusalem.
He was an important figure in the early Church and referred to as an apostle though not one of the original 12 but, while some of his story appears in the Acts of the Apostles and he is mentioned in 3 of the Epistles, we don't hear as much about Barnabas as perhaps we should.
He was born into a relatively prosperous community in Cyprus and, as a Levite (a Jew of the priestly tribe), had connections in Jerusalem. He went there as a young man, where he became a believer, joined the early Christians and eventually sold his lands and gave the money to the apostles. Barnabas was in Jerusalem when Stephen, the first Christian martyr, was stoned to death (when Paul was there too, looking after the coats).
You'll remember that after his conversion on the Damascus Road Paul went on travels, in Arabia the Book says (probably the Jordan valley), and then returned to Damascus, where he began to 'preach Christ in the synagogues', which suggests that he preached only to Jews and ‘God fearers’ - that's to say Gentiles who had adopted Judaism and attended the synagogues. But we know little else about this period until, because of his message of Christ as the Messiah, exacerbated by the apparent anomaly of his past record as a rabid persecutor, the stricter Jews plotted in AD35 or 36 to kill him; he escaped by being lowered down the city walls in a basket at night and fled to Jerusalem, where, as might be expected from his past role, he was met there too with suspicion and hostility. Luckily, however, Barnabas knew of Paul’s conversion and his work in Damascus and convinced the apostles that he was genuine. It's been suggested that Barnabas knew him from before, when they had both been students of the teacher Gamaliel, an expert in religious law, a moderate and the most honoured and respected rabbi of the first century. Indeed, many years later, after his arrest, Paul told the crowd in Jerusalem that, though from Tarsus, he had been brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel.
Anyway, after that first meeting with the apostles, Paul returned to Tarsus for about 5 years. Meanwhile, though he had earlier preached only to Jews and ‘God fearers’, others had already started spreading the Gospel to the Gentiles. As we read in Acts, men of Cyprus and Cyrene had already travelled to preach in Antioch (sometimes referred to as Antioch in Syria, but now just inside the Turkish border, by the modern town of Antakya); they were so effective that news of their success reached Jerusalem and the apostles sent Barnabas (himself a Cypriot you remember) to investigate. He found a thriving community and went to Tarsus to fetch Paul to help him, so, for the second time, being instrumental in a major development of Paul’s career. The 2 stayed at Antioch for at least a year and were clearly well regarded, for, when news came of an impending famine and the relatively well-off church at Antioch collected funds for the Jerusalem Christians, Paul and Barnabas were chosen to deliver the money.
It was during this visit that Jerusalem raised the question about whether Gentiles should recognize the Law of Moses as binding: the dietary laws for example, and whether the men ought to be circumcised. Neither point was resolved, though it was agreed that Peter would continue as First Apostle to the Jews and Paul would continue his mission to the Gentiles ... and that the Gentile churches would contribute money to Jerusalem! But it hadn't been thought through properly: what, for example, would happen when Jews and Gentiles mingled for worship or meals. It would continue to be a problem.
Meanwhile, Barnabas and Paul returned to Antioch, taking with them John Mark, a cousin (or perhaps nephew) of Barnabas, and soon afterwards set off on the first of Paul's missionary journeys. All 3 sailed first to Cyprus, where the proconsul Sergius Paulus was so impressed by Paul’s authority over the sorcerer Bar-Jesus Elymas that he became a believer - the first inroad of the new religion into the upper classes of Roman society. And it's after recording that, that Acts starts calling Saul 'Paul', his Roman name; and it's from then too that the pair are referred to as 'Paul and Barnabas' rather than 'Barnabas and Saul'. From Cyprus the 3 sailed north-west to the mainland, where, at the coastal town of Perga, John Mark left them; Paul and Barnabas continued into the mountainous regions of what is now southern Turkey for a demanding tour of teaching before retracing their steps to reinforce their work and, from the coast, sailing back to Antioch, effectively now Paul’s home base.
However, while they had been away - or shortly after their return - Peter had visited the church at Antioch and had actually eaten with groups where Jews and Gentiles customarily ate together. When news of this reached Jerusalem, the other apostles were scandalized and sent representatives to investigate and to remonstrate, which they did so firmly that Peter and other Jewish Christians abandoned their liberal attitude and ‘separated themselves’; according to Paul even Barnabas got carried away with the hypocrisy. Paul attempted to resolve the problem on the spot, but the delegation from Jerusalem, perhaps going beyond its instructions, went around the churches, some of which Paul had only just founded, insisting Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.
In the face of such interference, Paul and Barnabas decided that they had to go to Jerusalem to confront the lions in their den. They met at what has been called the Council of Jerusalem, which was attended by the apostles and elders and, perhaps, many more members of the Church. At that meeting, where only Peter and James are reported to have spoken, the Church repudiated those from Judea who had caused the trouble over circumcision, and the letter (the Decree) afterwards sent back to Antioch implied if not precisely stated an agreement that circumcision was not essential to the conversion of Gentiles. Judas Barsabas and Silas were sent to accompany Paul and Barnabas to Antioch, where the Council’s Decree was read with joy ‘for the consolation’.
After a short time back at Antioch, Paul decided to travel again, initially to visit the churches that had been founded on his first missionary journey. Barnabas planned to join him, but the 2 quarrelled over whether they should be accompanied by John Mark, who Paul believed had not pulled his weight on the previous journey; Paul may also have harboured some resentment over Barnabas’s wavering during the earlier difficulty in Antioch. Eventually, Barnabas and his nephew went to Cyprus, while Paul took Silas and set off on his second and most adventurous missionary journey. About the quarrel, Paul wrote later that the rift was healed, but by that time Barnabas was probably already back in Cyprus.
And that's the last that we hear of Barnabas in the Acts of the Apostles. Some other accounts report that, in about AD61, some Jews, perhaps including Elymas the Cypriot sorcerer who had been humiliated by Paul years earlier, turned up at Salamis while Barnabas was teaching in the synagogue and, enraged by his success, dragged him out, tortured him and stoned him to death. His cousin John Mark was there at the time, recovered the body and buried him privately, there at Salamis, which is about 4 miles north of what is now Famagusta, on the east coast of Cyprus and currently in the Turkish zone.
According to the History of the Cyprus Church, in 478 Barnabas appeared in a dream to Archbishop Anthemios of Salamis and showed him the place of his grave beneath a carob tree. The following day Anthemios found the tomb and, inside, the remains of Barnabas with a manuscript of Matthew's Gospel lying on his chest. Anthemios presented that Gospel to Emperor Zeno at Constantinople and received from him the privileges of the Greek Orthodox Church of Cyprus: a purple cloak, the imperial sceptre and red ink - which the Archbishops still always use for their signature.
Barnabas is the Patron Saint of Cyprus and, when he was born there, his parents named him Joseph but, when he had sold his property and given the money to the apostles in Jerusalem, they called him Barnabas, from the Aramaic Bar Nabya, son of prophecy, though the Greek text describes him as the son of enablement, both labels highlighting Barnabas's role as a major player, an enabler, a vital early support to Paul. A vital support in taking the Gospel to the world beyond Jerusalem, to the Gentiles ... to us. So we all have special reason to remember and honour him.
Thank you St Barnabas.
Pax JUNE 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 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
CELEBRATING A NEW NORMAL
Well, here we are, over two months now into lockdown and week by week, restrictions are being lifted. In a couple of days’ time, we will be able to meet in our gardens with our family members and I’m sure many of you will, like me, be very excited at the prospect of finally getting to see the grandchildren again. But sadly, I think the reality won’t quite match the expectation. The virus is still out there and we still have to be careful. My visions of my grandchildren running joyfully around my garden are marred by the reality that I will probably be running away from them saying ‘no hugs darling, just play over there’, and I can already imagine the confusion on the face of my uncomprehending 2 ½ year old grandson. It’s not going to be easy, is it?
And what about church? If shops are starting to open, surely it can’t be too long before our churches open their doors again? But what does the reality of that look like? Your guess is as good as mine but visions of socially distanced queuing to get in, staggered seating, face masks, no singing and no after-service interaction spring to mind and make me shudder more than a little. It’s not going to be the way we remember or want it to be for a very long time, is it?
As I look back on what I’ve just written, I’m aware of a deepening sense of gloom descending, a feeling of normal life being something of an uphill battle. Yes, I think I am right in what I say but it really isn’t the whole story, is it? Lockdown has also given us much to be thankful for. I know I am luckier than many as I have a nice Vicarage and a big garden but I rarely appreciate it as I’m never in. These last few weeks have given me time to enjoy the gift of living here, time to reassess what is important, time to make changes. It’s made me panic about how I’m going to interact with those who need me in our parishes and work on solutions earnestly rather than hold my hands up helplessly. It’s made me imagine the possibilities rather than only seeing the obstacles.
And as for church......well yes, I miss.....oh how I miss.....seeing you all each week, coming into church to be greeted by smiles and hugs, worshipping together, singing (badly in my case!), sharing Communion, etc...but look what a church we’ve gained online!!! Morning and Evening Prayer were not something that happened publicly because nobody wanted to come and yet now we have a lovely community of people who join me online every day for a few minutes of prayer to start and end our days.....becoming familiar with one another’s presence just as they would have if they had met physically in church. And then there is the unity......we have three churches in our benefice and, quite frankly, getting the congregations all together from time to time was a bit like herding cats!!! But now, here we are, week after week, together online and united with others who have sought us out for various reasons to join us in worship but who perhaps wouldn’t have physically attended church otherwise. Our churches are growing rapidly......isn’t that what we’ve always wanted?
Now we are celebrating Pentecost, the gift of the Holy Spirit, sent to help and guide us. And boy do we need the help right now!! I urge you to pray with me, earnestly and continuously, that the Holy Spirit will guide us out of lockdown. That we may be patient and take with us all that we have learned through this challenging situation. Pray that we will not ‘go back to normal’ but rather, go into the future with renewed hope and clearer vision, conscious and thankful once more of all that we do have and prepared to continue to help those around us who have lost much during this pandemic. Pray also that we may find ways to incorporate our online community with our physical community and continue to build a bigger, stronger community of faith. And above all, pray that our hearts and minds will be opened to the leading of the Holy Spirit and the endless possibilities ahead of us.
Much love - Ginni
HERE AND THERE
THE VOLUNTEER AND PEOPLE ASSISTANCE CELL
This has been created as a countywide partnership by Hertfordshire County Council to help manage and implement a coordinated effort to support those affected by coronavirus.
These are the main points of contact for those wishing to help and those in need of support from volunteers:
- Residents, services and community groups who would like to volunteercan visit
- Residents who are self-isolating and in need of support from volunteers can visit
- Anyone currently using a social care service should expect that to continue, however they should speak to their care provider first or call on 0300-123-4042 for other urgent care needs.
Frequently asked questions for people with care and support needs can be accessed online at www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/serviceupdates.
NEWS FROM THE WYMONDLEYS
ST. MARY’S LITTLE WYMONDLEY
The new normal?............... let’s hope not.
My husband and I discovered very early on in our marriage, that if it was going to succeed, we shouldn’t shop together - recipe for disaster.
I write a list, go in, get what I need, twenty minutes, job done. My husband makes a day out of it, he walks up and down every aisle, looks at all the products, gets the latest use by dates, is a grand master at buy one, get one free, and can compute a multi buy deal without pausing his trolley. So every Saturday morning he sets out, I get a lay in, on his return, I rush out to help him in with the bags and make sure there is a pot of coffee ready, perfect harmony, until…
We spend what seems like hours trying to get a delivery slot, try going on line at ridiculous hours but to no avail; it’s not a problem, because, thanks to him, we have a well-stocked freezer. Then, salvation, ASDA contact us and we can now shop. Even on-line we really don’t work well together. There are vast lists; let’s get fruit and veg. first, I suggest, hoping I can escape back to garden. Do we want ripe bananas, green bananas, what apples, are you clicking on the right button, you have just ordered 6 kilos, not six apples. Let’s stop for a break, and move onto comfort food. Have you any idea how many varieties of biscuits there are? Please make up your mind which ones you want, it’s a lovely day out there.
Twenty four items in our basket and we are two hours in, isn’t this fun? Now go to checkout, confirm order, did I click the finish button? I can’t remember, but I really want to finish now. We speak to a very helpful, patient lady on the helpline, she talks us through it, and we have done it, and now we can look forward to doing it all again next week.
ST. MARY’S GREAT WYMONDLEY
LOCKDOWN IN GREAT WYMONDLEY
These are strange times through which we are living with the normal pattern of life disrupted and changed in so many ways for everyone. Despite all of this, new patterns are evolving as we adjust the spending of our time and getting things done in a different way.
Here are some observations from our small community:
The reduction in traffic through the village has been a wonderful bonus and is now back to what it was when we first came to live here over 45 years ago. This has meant that we can walk, cycle and push buggies safely in the village where there are sections without pavements and traffic fumes are no longer polluting the air we breathe. There are very few vapour trails in the sky from the air traffic that used to cross our skies.
We can now hear the birdsong so much better. The swallows and swifts have safely returned and the garden birds all seem to be thriving as the warm weather and earlier growth in plants and insects has meant that their breeding is going really well.
The village is now a mass of cow parsley, daisies, buttercups, dandelions and white May blossom. Gardens have had an abundance of apple and plum blossom and roses and wisteria festoon cottage walls. This makes everything all the prettier for the numerous people who have cycled and walked the roads and footpaths, often for the first time as they find new routes for their daily exercise. So many visitors have said when we see them that they had never known that the church and churchyard existed or that the Recreation Ground was here or that there were so many footpaths in the area. We often see them scanning their phones with a footpath map on it as they try and find their way. Children with their families have taken to the footpaths and green spaces to get their daily exercise between their home schooling sessions and recreational time at home. The extra visitors have boosted the sale of jam and marmalade in the church porch to which has been added Andrew Harding’s Barbecue Sauces and for all of this we are very grateful. There are also books in the porch for people to borrow and return when read.
Empty buses travel through the village to Hitchin and Stevenage on their normal timetable and the trains down by the Arch Road Bridge and footpath go past virtually empty like ghost trains. Everyone seems to have been gardening, especially as the weather has been so good and people have more time. There has been a lot of interest in growing crops to eat. A great deal of clearance work has been done on the Community Garden with a lot of volunteers working very hard. Brambles, weeds and self-set small trees have been dug out and the first beds for crop growing have been laid out. In the Community Orchard up at the far end of the Recreation Ground the trees have blossomed and been watered in the very dry weather. They have each been mulched at their base with grass cut last year from the wildlife areas in the churchyard. Winding paths have been cut through the grass so that people can walk through the orchard and see the trees close up. Orchids are growing
in the longer grassed areas which may bloom this year
New technology has enabled Zoom Meetings to take place for the Men’s Breakfast Group and the Book Group, helping people to keep in touch. People are also following the Facebook Church Service on Sundays and Morning and Evening Prayer during the week from The Vicarage in St. Ippolyts and the Chapel in Little Wymondley holds Zoom services.
The Green Man has had to close for the time being but has been providing Take Away Meals ordered by phone that people are enjoying. Delivery vans are a very common sight in the village regularly delivering food and other supplies. There have been so many acts of kindness as people offer to get items when they go to the shops, add items to their food delivery or Click and Collect order and share other deliveries as some of us self-isolate or people just reduce their trips to the shops. Every Thursday people stand outside their houses to Clap for Carers and there is a lovely feeling of community with that as we show our immense appreciation and thanks for all that they do in these difficult times.
Doug Richardson circulates a Village Prayer on Sundays that we can use when at 8.00pm. many houses light
a Candle of Hope in their window. So we find that life has changed for all of us as we spend our days creating new patterns of daily activities. We do not know what the future will bring but we do know that we live in a caring community and will continue to help each other, especially those who have troubles or who are unwell
We are so grateful that we live in such a lovely village with clear skies, trees and green spaces. The knowledge that the seasons, nature and wildlife continue in their wheel of normality, regardless of the Coronavirus pandemic, is a great comfort when we feel anxious and fearful for the future.
WYMONDLEY BAPTIST CHURCH
We shall always remember March 2020 when life changed for us all and now we have reached June and still we are living in this isolated world but gradually things are beginning to change, albeit quite slowly. But one thing the coronavirus pandemic has taught many of us and it is how to appreciate so much that we may have taken for granted. I know we may miss a lot of things during this time of lock down and we do sometimes feel weary and wondering 'how long....' but although we miss a lot of things (and people!) I made quite a discovery the other day. I decided to make a list of all the things for which I was thankful and I found the list very very long! and yes, we have much to be thankful for .
When Jesus promised the disciples that the Holy Spirit would come to them and for us after His Resurrection and Ascension, this was something we shall always be thankful for. At Pentecost the Church was born and the sorrowing, despondent disciples became bold, bright and empowered as they set out to share the news of Jesus with the world. 'Thy Kingdom come' is something which Pentecost has inspired and is happening in our land and indeed, in our world. This year we are going to pray for the people in our villages - in different roads, from Little and Great Wymondley. If you want us to pray for something specific please write it on a piece of paper and put it in the Chapel letter box.
We are thankful for all our preachers who have joined our Zoom Church preaching their sermons from their homes and it has been so good to join together in our homes but all together. This is when modern technology is a blessing. We also pray together on a Tuesday evening at 7.30pm. (without Zoom) but there is also the opportunity to join Zoom at other times. On 2nd June 'First Tuesday’, which is usually at The Orange Tree, will be on Zoom - this time Will and Lynne's link and of course we make our own coffee! Any enquiries phone 01438-228232.
It has also been a blessing to join with our neighbours applauding the NHS on Thursday evenings and in our road on VE (75) Day we even heard music from one of the houses as well as seeing our flags and bunting so we could manage to sing together 'We'll meet again'!
We pray for our Queen, for our Government, for our nations, for the world and for each other. Especially we think of all who are suffering through ill health or bereavement and we trust God through the whole of this pandemic experience.
Our preachers for June:
7th Dr. Barry Funnell 14th Leslie Message (Belgian Evangelical Mission)
21st Clive Bacon (Fathers' Day) 28th Reverend Jane Robson
Join us at our Internet Service on Sundays at 10.30am. (for a 10.45am. start).
Dial in at 10.30am. on 0131-4601-196 or 02030-512874 and meeting ID8675752648#.
Use the line https://zoom.us/j8675752648. Meeting ID 8675752648. Any problems in joining phone
07531-081621. This link can also be joined for a Bible Study on Wednesday evening.
"Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures for ever." Psalm 107v.1
Marjorie McCarley (01438-727050)
NEWS FROM ST. IPPOLYTS
ST. IPPOLYTS PARISH MEETING
Due to the coronavirus pandemic the postponed April meeting was held on Zoom on Monday 11th May. Thanks to those who joined and presented reports. The draft minutes will be on the Parish Council website.
ST. IPPOLYTS PARISH COUNCIL
The Annual Meeting followed the above meeting on Zoom.
ST. IPPOLYTS PARISH HALL
Due to the coronavirus pandemic the hall is closed to the public.
Good news! Following a suggestion from a resident who provided some grant funding, and in partnership with St. Ippolyts Parish Council a defibrillator is now operational at the hall.
For updates please see www.stippolyts-hall.co.uk or www.facebook.com/stippolytsparishhall
Thank you very much to Ginni for her emails and services on Facebook, they are much appreciated.
VE DAY CELEBRATIONS
V.E. Day Celebration in Ash Drive
Like a lot of people, I suspect, we hadn't given much thought to VE Day celebrations on Ash Drive until two days before. I was chatting to neighbours as they passed by when another neighbour opened her window "what shall we do for VE Day? Prosecco and scones at 4.00?" and so it was agreed, bunting up at 12.15pm. and sitting on our drives at four. Bunting was dug out of cupboards - or hastily made (that household no longer has any red, white or blue T shirts) and within a few minutes the cul de sac was looking very festive, we just had to hope no delivery lorries wanted to come in.
At four every household was sitting outside with table and chairs and their drink of choice from tea to gin or champagne and the music was playing. We had a lovely time indulging in socially distanced chatting and getting to know neighbours we have lived beside for well upwards of ten years but have seldom chatted to before. We all agreed it had been a positive outcome for lockdown as without it we doubted very much if we would have bothered, who knows we might get outside again to celebrate the end of lockdown when it finally comes.
V.E. Day Celebration in Newlands Close West
Friday 8th May 2020 was a beautiful sunny day for the celebrations of the 75th anniversary of VE Day and perfect weather for our street party - maintaining social distancing, of course!
We are lucky that we live in a small close where neighbours know each other, and since lockdown those relationships have been enhanced by a Close WhatsApp group formed to help one another with shopping and information. Through this WhatsApp group we were able to plan our VE Day celebration.
Neighbours decorated the walls and hedges of their front gardens with bunting, flags and streamers, and put out their tables and chairs on the pavement just outside their houses, keeping well apart from others. We all tried to wear patriotic red, white and blue colours, and even Jenny’s dog, who enjoyed watching the celebrations, wore a red harness and sat on a blue mat!
We ate 1940’s-style lunches of sandwiches, jellies, fairy cakes and had cups of tea or squash. We even had 1940’s music, interspersed with speeches by Winston Churchill, played from an iPod with speakers perched precariously on the top of a wall.
After lunch we had fun with individually timed egg and spoon and bean-bag-on-head races; all applying hand sanitizer or washing hands as required. Some neighbours even danced and everyone ate chocolate lollies wrapped in union flag metallic paper from M&S!
Only one neighbour with mobility problems was unable to join us but we were able to speak with her individually through her front room window.
It was a hugely enjoyable day which has enhanced relationships with our friends and neighbours and left us all with some very happy memories.
Jenny Sheach and Ina Machin
WHAT IT IS TO BE A PILGRIM
Firstly…. what do you think it is? It’s been very interesting while thinking about this myself, to ask others what they think it is to be a Pilgrim. Over the past few months, I have asked a selection of people and of course as you would expect, have got a variety of answers! Here are a few of them:
To travel in Hope, an individual journey, to have sore feet! to put yourself out, to push yourself,
small steps in Faith and Hope, a Spiritual journey and Orientation of the Spirit.
Throughout history societies, cultures and civilisations have had within them the idea of some sort of pilgrimage. Perhaps even the natural world has this deep within it too. Take those huge migrations of birds and fish and other animals, something of a pilgrimage each year! Well something to ponder anyway. Pilgrimages have been a feature of all the main religions for as long as they have existed. Today something like 330 million people go on pilgrimages each year.
Probably one of the most obvious ideas of pilgrims is that of the Medieval Pilgrim, written about by Geoffrey Chaucer. Christian pilgrimage was first made to sites connected to the life of Christ and his Resurrection and early followers. So, journeys to the Holy Land, Rome and Santiago de Compostela were some of the main places to go. However here too in Britain were some of the top pilgrim routes. The Pilgrims Way - Winchester to Canterbury (more of which later) and St. Cuthbert’s Way to name a couple. But these pilgrimages were not an easy undertaking. Often dangerous due to illness, robbery and even murder. A pilgrimage was a great leveller from Kings and Queens to farmers and peasants. Sometimes a wealthy person would pay someone else to do the pilgrimage - so a sort of virtual pilgrimage! The difficulty it presented was part of the point of the pilgrimage to step out of daily routines to encounter God. To make penance for something, to ask for healing, to assist in getting into heaven. For some it was the only journey they ever made, and the only time they may have left their town or village. The mass movement of pilgrims ended at the Reformation. But in the 19th and 20thcentury there was a gradual rediscovery and not just the big routes. But also, more local paths to prehistoric sites, ancient churches, holy wells, waterfalls and anything else considered sacred or significant.
Although at the moment with the restrictions in place, we are unable to go on a pilgrimage that involves actually putting on walking boots, and having rucksacks packed…..we can perhaps get out a map, look up Winchester and follow the road to Canterbury (not on motorways!) that is the route of the famous Pilgrims Way. Or St. Cuthbert’s Way - Melrose Scotland to Lindisfarne Northumberland. Or the Two Saints’ Way - Chester to Lichfield Cathedrals. Noticing the towns and villages along the route, and thinking about the communities there. Those from long ago to now, all that history and prayers of past pilgrims as they travelled along the route.
Or if you have a garden try a mini pilgrimage around the garden. Stopping to notice plants, flowers and insects. A great opportunity to give thanks for Creation and our part within it.
Pilgrimages can be made in all sorts of ways and all kinds of lengths taking a short time, or as that great hymn written by John Bunyan (actually taken from his spiritual classic Pilgrims Progress) suggests, a lifetime venture. Fearing not what people have to say, but to labour night and day to be a Pilgrim, to follow the Master.
Reverend Charmaine Sabey-Corkindale
The next Pax will be a double issue covering JULY and AUGUST. Material should reach Clare Larsen,
As there are no events as such taking place in our three parishes, if you have any items of interest or stories to tell do please send them to me in time for the next issue of Pax.
Ascension Day – 24th May 2020
Acts 1: 8. You shall be my witnesses.
The Ascension. Jesus went up into heaven. There's a story of the first astronaut, that good Communist Yuri Gagarin. It's said that when he first went into orbit he radioed that he could prove there was no God because he had gone up into heaven and it wasn't there. Naive of course but it illustrates the problem that we may have about the Ascension. We talk about Jesus going UP into heaven, as opposed to down or sideways. Of course it's the only language we can use to describe the events that day but it's only picture language. For we aren't talking about Jesus going up in the physical sense. We are thinking about Him leaving this earth in a physical sense. He died and rose again, but when His earthly ministry was over He left this earth without dying a second time. As for the up bit, we think of 'up' in terms of being spiritual, rather mysterious, full of light rather than being in the sinister darkness down, below ground. So it's not a case of heaven being 'up there' as Gagarin implied in his naivety. Jesus returned to His Father unconquered by death. All religions have thought of heaven being up rather than down, with gods on mountain tops or something similar; we use this imagery in Christanity as well.
Luke had to describe the events of that momentous day using the language and ideas available to him. To have described them in any other way would have belittled the significance of the event. But whatever form it took, it must have confused the disciples even more than they were already, if that were possible. I can imagine them in a kind of spiritual turmoil for at least the previous few months. There was the sense of impending tragedy as they began the long journey south to Jerusalem from Caesarea Philippi, Jesus brooding about His inevitable excruciating death and the fact that He could escape it whenever He liked. There was the Last Supper, with tensions almost reaching breaking point, followed by the betrayal and the crucifixion – their hopes dashed and then raised again by the Resurrection. Then those 40 days after the Resurrection that we know so little about. They wouldn't have been human if they had not been bewildered by everything that was going on – and let's face it, they were very very human.
But overshadowing everything was the question of whether Jesus was in fact the Messiah that the Jews had dreamed of for so many generations, the great king who would conquer Israel's enemies and restore her greatness. It had sustained them as they languished in exile beside the waters of Babylon. It had sustained them when they suffered unspeakably for their faith at the hends of the Greeks 200 years before Christ came. It was keeping them going as they endured the preening army of occupation that Rome had brought when it conquered the country, made worse by its feeble and hated governor Pontius Pilate with all his loathing and contempt for them. False Messiahs had come and gone but Jesus had spoken of His Kingdom and He had acted in a messianic way. The disciples were full of this but they did not understand the idea of a spiritual kingdom and a spiritual Messiah. So at the Mount of Ascension they were totally confused. 'Are you at this time going to restore the Kingdom to Israel?' they asked. Jesus must have wanted to tear His hair out at that point. Even in these final moments of His ministry it was clear that they simply hadn't a clue. You can't help being sympathetic with Him – but also with them as well.
But Jesus did not call them to understand but to serve, to continue the work that He had begun. 'You will be my witnesses, both in Jerusalem and in all Judaea and in Samaria and to the furthest parts of the world' He commanded them. Interesting that His vision was that of a worldwide faith at a time when religions were almost entirely national, confined to individual countries. Perhaps He said this, perhaps the words were put into His mouth by Luke after Christianity had begun to spread throughout Gentile territory. Or perhaps Jesus was being prophetic. Either way I don't think it matters. What matters is that Jesus told His disciples to go out and spread the good news about His Kingdom and to put into practice the implications of His teaching, the nature of His Kingdom.
And this has been the Church's task ever since, that we should witness to Christ.. The Christians often did this the hard way. I don't want to bore you but the Greek word for witness is Marturum, from which we get the word martyr. All down the ages people have witnessed to their faith by being willing to suffer and die for it. Over 50 years ago as a student training for the priesthood I spent two years trying to work out why the first Christians suffered so much. I never got the resulting degree and it was very disturbing at the time, disturbing ever since. One of the things that I discovered was that far from weakening the Church, martyrdom made it stronger – as the contemporary Christian historian Tertullian put it, 'The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church'. The Church has survived and indeed grown because of the faithful witness of its members – history proves that.
But what do we mean by witnessing? Any fool can believe in some sort of god if he puts his mind to it. It is far more rational, far more logical to believe in God than not to do so – in spite of what the atheists will tell you. But Christianity is not just about believing, it's about putting those beliefs into practice. This lies at the very heart of Christianity, as Christ gave His followers two commands – love God and love your fellow men. The two are inextricably linked. Christianity is a way of life based on faith; it's not about faith alone. People may think that all there is to being a Christian is coming to church, believing vaguely in God, being nice to people and enduring boring sermons. But God has given us this dual commandment, and the implication is that it's the basis for a different way of life, of looking at life, that we show our love for God in our love for other people. At the same time we focus our lives primarily on the spiritual rather than the material. So it's a radically different way of looking at the world and of living in it. We get so worried about the idea of witnessing, that it's about talking and testifying to what we believe. Now quite apart from the fact that we simply don't do that sort of thing in these genteel parts, it's completely wrong. We witness unconsciously by living the kind of lives that Christ would have us live, by showing in our lives that Christianity WORKS, that it is an alternative to the selfishness and materialism that we find around us. As the final prayer in the Eucharist puts it, 'Send us out in the power of your Spirit, to live and work to your praise and glory'. That is how we are Christ's witnesses, by being ordinary people living ordinary lives in the power and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. That was the task that Christ gave to His disciples when he ascended into heaven. 2000 years later it is given to us in this Benefice as it has been and always will be to all Christ's followers – at all times and in all places.
all Christ's followers: at all times and in all places.
Psalm 23 v. 1. The Lord is my Shepherd
The picture of the shepherd lay at the very heart of Israel's life. Today's psalm reflects how God's relationship with His people was seen in these terms and we find it again and again throughout the Old Testament; the people are God's and He will lead them and protect them as long as they do not stray from Him.
Jesus took this same idea and some of His illustrations reflect it. So He speaks of Himself as The Good Shepherd in the passage that follows today's Gospel reading. Furthermore by saying that 'I AM the Good Shepherd' He was claiming by implication to be God's Son; we find this phrase 'I am' several times in John's Gospel and they all relates to such claims. He, God's Son is the Good Shepherd, just as He is the light of the world, and so on.
But it lies deeper than this. Israel was a rural country and sheep with their shepherds were everywhere; it was one of the most common sights in the country. So when Jesus spoke of sheep and shepherds He was using a picture from everyday life. This was typical, for many of the parables take the form of spiritual lessons taken from things that were part of the lives of the man in the street. So we read of looking for lost sheep and lost coins – the notorious road from Jerusalem to Jericho – absentee landlords and rogue servants – sowing and harvesting – and so on. Were He on earth today I sometimes wonder in my naughtier moments what illustrations He might use as a basis for parables. Driving on the M1 or M25 perhaps (a variation on the Good Samaritan parable!) - the tedium of airports – a lost passport just before going on holiday - stuck in a traffic jam on the way to an important appointment – celebrating a family event – the daily commute or the weekly shop – add your own example. Jesus started where people were. He was a man of the people and He drew on the everyday experiences of everyday people – which of course He was before He began His ministry. So He drew faith into the realm of normal human existence rather than being outside it.
It is pure luck that this psalm and today's Gospel are appointed for this Sunday of all Sundays, lying as it does during the coronavirus crisis; lessons in the Church of England are fixed on a three year cycle (rather than chosen at random) and these have come on this day this year. Believe it or not Judy and I deliver the Hitchin Comet every week around part of the village where we live. Wherever we go these days we find the famous rainbow in windows or even chalked on the pavement, often by children. Everywhere there is this slogan 'You are not alone', again often written by children. Our village care scheme is thriving, offering help to anyone who needs it. On a personal level we (as senior citizens!) have been offered endless help by neighbours and friends. Above all we had enormous sympathy and help from the Accident & Emergency team at Bedford Hospital last Sunday after Judy had dislocated her shoulder in a freak fall - then from people who have discovered about it. If anything good comes out of this crisis it should take two forms. One is that this spirit of mutual support and care should continue when it is all over. The other is that we should never ever again take for granted the skill and compassion and utter dedication of the medical profession, especially those serving in hospitals.
You are not alone. We do not know what the future holds for ourselves or our country. In the short term we do not know for certain whether we or our loved ones will be touched by this virus. We do not know how the next few days or the next few weeks will turn out, how life will be and what the new normality will be. Even closer to home, we do not know when we will be allowed to worship together again in this church; I am sure I am not the only person who is missing being in church with you and with the other congregations who I am honoured to serve. Then of course we can have no idea of the long term economic and social impact of what has struck us so suddenly and tragically and what the effect on us will be. The future has seldom been more uncertain than it is at present.
But I am absolutely certain of one thing. It is that 'You are not alone'. Everyone is going through the same kind of experience; nobody is exempt because this is a worldwide thing. Other people care about you personally as you read this. I doubt if there has been a time since the end of the 2nd World War (another related picture but for next Sunday!) when the nation has been so united and so caring about one another.
But even more importantly God cares about you, as a person. This is what we find in another agricultural parable as the shepherd searches for a single lost sheep from his flock. YOU personally matter to God, in all your vulnerability, with all your anxieties, in your mundane everyday lives in this worldwide crisis. The Psalmist writes that 'even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me'. Even when things are as bad as they could be, even when our fears are at their greatest, even when we feel most alone, even when we are at rock bottom, God is with us to support us and help us. You are not alone. The slogan of this pandemic is also God's message to everyone at this time. He is with us to encourage us, to calm our fears, to help us through. He will never ever leave us, no matter what may happen to us.
A Reflection on Luke 24:13-33 by Charmaine Sabey-Corkindale
There are some themes in the Gospel, that are there for us to explore and reflect on:
Eternal presence, to feel the presence rather than to see it.
Divinity through humility, revelation through faith and Christ with and among us.
Let’s focus now on the road to Emmaus before we take a glance at the meal!
Unbelief is a major motif for Luke’s empty tomb narrative, preparing for the overcoming of doubt via the direct presence of the Risen Lord. The journey from Jerusalem to Emmaus is characterised by defeat, and the journey back to Jerusalem by witness is victory. The turnabout through Jesus’s instruction takes place on the way. Jesus is more than a powerful prophet as the travellers suggest; but is indeed the fulfilment of the prophetic vision of a suffering and glorified Messiah.
We can see that Luke uses the motif of recognition and non-recognition. As you recall the travellers are kept from recognising Jesus. Although their hearts warmed as Jesus ‘opened up’ the scriptures it was the breaking of bread that was the turning point to recognition.
Now here comes some unusual suggestions…. have you ever seen the two paintings by Rembrandt of the Emmaus supper? It’s definitely worth looking them up online via Google on a laptop or even a mobile phone! They were painted at different times in his life. The first: Supper at Emmaus 1629. Has Jesus seated at a table looking at a man and someone in the background working. We as the onlookers are distanced from the scene. The second, The Supper at Emmaus 1648. Has Jesus seated facing the viewer, and several people around the table.
The meal in the painting is heavy with significance. The fruit on the table, a glance at the first meal described in Genesis – the eating of fruit and their eyes being opened… that led to creation being subject to decay, futility and sorrow. The first meal after the resurrection, He took the bread blessed it and broke it, then their eyes were opened!
Both have the moment of recognition of Christ amongst them as the central theme. However, it is set differently, and it is interesting to wonder why? Perhaps Rembrandts own life and faith journey has influenced the different styles.
Again, if you are able, it would be good to investigate the painter’s life and other works. He was a person of great faith and drew inspiration from the bible for many of his works. Indeed, he painted Simeon in the temple (recognising the infant Christ) three times! Simeon in the temple 1628, Simeon in the temple 1631 and Simeon’s song of praise 1669 this was his final work and was left unfinished at the time of his death.
This Gospel reading has sorrow, surprise, puzzlement, and then gradual dawning of light. In the second half, unexpected actions, astonished recognition, a flurry of excitement and activity….. surely a model for what being a Christian is all about….
Yesterday today and tomorrow.
Death has been defeated; God’s new creation has dawned.
Jesus himself Risen from the dead, not just alive again but transformed.
So, we too are invited to know Jesus in the breaking of the bread.
Scripture and sacrament joined together.
Reverend Charmaine Sabey-Corkindale
Pax MAY 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
By the time you read this, we will have been in lockdown for well over a month. I’m sure that you, like me, never envisaged this state of being even in your wildest dreams - but yet, here we are. No doubt, you have also gone through the same range of emotions as I have, from enjoying a much slower pace of life to panic about what the future holds and every conceivable emotion in between!! I’m very much aware though that lockdown is much easier for me than it is for so many other people and I feel grateful and guilty all at the same time. I suspect though, that for most of us, the hardest part has been the ‘not knowing’. Not knowing how long this will continue, not knowing whether we can work or not work, or whether we will have jobs to go back to, not knowing if what we class as ‘normal life’ will ever be the same again, not knowing if a simple thing like going to a shop will put us at risk of catching the virus, and so on.
But as we live with the tension of uncertainty, something else has emerged - thankfulness. Boy do we have so much to be thankful for! In amongst all the chaos, have emerged our heroes......our dedicated NHS staff, the shop workers, refuge workers, postal and delivery workers, our teachers and teaching staff, our gardeners, our pubs and restaurants (turned take-away) workers, our emergency services, funeral directors, care home staff and garden centre and home improvement workers......and all those I’ve missed!!! And the biggest heroes of all - our neighbours! Especially the ones who keep an eye out for us, shop for us, chat over the fence to us and cheer us on.
Out of darkness comes new life......out of the dark uncertainty of Covid 19 comes a new reconnection with our shared humanity. We have realised that we need each other, that we can all play our part, that we all matter - and that really is something to be thankful for!
Doug Richardson, our Lay Leader of Worship has written a lovely reflection on Psalm 46 (see page 4) which I commend to you and which will I hope comfort and encourage you as it did me.
With love - Ginni
LOCKDOWN vs. VICARS - LET THE BATTLE COMMENCE!!
As I’m sure you are aware by now, it’s not just the shops that have shut during lockdown but also our churches. This has taken every Vicar I know completely out of their comfort zone and forced them to work out ways of doing church differently.........and that, I feel, is a very good thing even if it is terrifying!!!
So, what have I been up to during lockdown? Well, spending an awful lot of time on Facebook!!! All in the line of duty of course! Our services are now live-streamed from my lounge at 9.15am. on Sundays via Facebook live, so if you have a Facebook account then search for Ginni Dear or St. Ippolyts Church with Great and Little Wymondley and you’ll find me. I’ve summarised below where you can find information regarding our churches during lockdown - please do find us and join us!
Reverend Ginni can be contacted by:
Facebook: Search for Ginni Dear or St. Ippolyts Church with Great
and Little Wymondley and leave a message
Services via Facebook Live:
Morning Prayer at 9.00am. every day from Monday to Thursday
Evening Prayer at 6.00pm. every day from Monday to Thursday
Holy Communion every Sunday at 9.15am.
St. Ippolyts Church website
Any new services or changes to service times will be advertised here. There will also be a sermon or reflection posted weekly.
We are hoping to host a weekly Café via Zoom along with something to engage with our young people in the near future - see website or Facebook for details.
Future editions of PAX will only be available on the St. Ippolyts Church website (www.stippolytschurch.org.uk) until further notice. Our regular printer is currently closed and we are also concerned to safeguard those who deliver Pax from door to door. If you do not have internet access please ask a family member, friend or neighbour to print it and post it to you. If that is not possible please contact Ginni (as above) or Clare Larsen (01462-453541) and we will do our best to help you.
A WALK THROUGH PSALM 46
Although I am writing this in the second week of April, I am sure that the way we are being asked to live our lives in lockdown will not have changed by the time you come to read this at the beginning of May.
Our churches are closed, and we are not able to meet together for any of our normal church activities. In fact, apart from immediate family life all social contact is now on hold.
Occasionally we will meet someone on a walk or perhaps have a delivery, and suddenly we find there is someone to talk to, and amazingly they always want to talk back; strictly at 2 meters of course. Even the most self-reliant of us have discovered that we are in fact very social creatures. We really do need each other.
This enforced style of living has been easier for some than others. With access to a garden or even local countryside, some are able to easily take outdoor exercise. Even then the highlight of the day has often become a home delivery, or perhaps the excitement of a “click and collect” slot.
But for those in medically enforced isolation or for those living in city tower blocks, this will have been a very hard time indeed. However, our Bible is filled with promises of help from our Heavenly Father for all who trust in him. With that thought in mind let’s take a short walk through Psalm 46.
The Psalms are the Old Testament hymnbook. There are 150 of them and they cover the whole range of human feelings and experiences, from dark depression to exuberant joy. Although they were written for particular circumstances, they remain timeless. As we read them we find that even in our modern age we are stirred by the same emotions, puzzle over the same fundamental problems of life, cry out in need to the same God as the Psalmist of old. We find it easy to identify with them.
In reading the Psalms these words of C. S. Lewis are important:
“The Psalms are poems, and poems intended to be sung: not doctrinal treaties, nor even sermons. They must be read as poems if they are to be understood. Otherwise we shall miss what is in them and think we see what is not.”
Psalm 46 begins:
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.”
The Psalmist describes poetically the worst calamity he can picture, with even mountains slipping into the sea. Things which he had always felt were secure are suddenly gone.
Right now, our own world is suffering a similar vulnerability as so many things we have always taken for granted are disrupted. The Psalmist is telling us, that even when our own security is suddenly gone, we can seek refuge in God himself.
The psalm continues:
“There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns. The nations rage, the kingdoms fall; He utters his voice, the earth melts. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”
Here we have the promise that we don’t have to go far to find our Lord, in fact he is right here with us. We are reminded of the picture of heavenly perfection described in Revelation chapter 22, where within the new Jerusalem there is “the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city.” A very powerful reference to the Spirit of God’s continuing presence amongst us.
The psalm finishes as if God himself is speaking to us:
“Come, behold the works of the Lord, how he has brought desolations on the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire. “Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”
God is here describing his power.
So, I hope that as we remain in the middle of this pandemic, this Psalm will remind us that Jesus Christ is God and Lord of history. Nothing has happened outside of his plan. Nothing ever leaves him bewildered or astonished. Nothing ever catches him by surprise. Those who know Jesus Christ have nothing to fear, even if the coronavirus leads to more catastrophe and confusion our God is our refuge.
As a benefice we praise God for his power and together affirm the central truth of Scripture that he is supremely powerful and will be exalted among the nations.
NEWS FROM THE WYMONDLEYS
ST. MARY’S LITTLE WYMONDLEY
A CHANGE OF MIND
What a difference a month makes, all our service and event plans shelved and social engagements cancelled. I have always regarded social media as the curse of this century, Facebook and WhatsApp are a mystery to me, I would rather be out in the fresh air than posting tweets or whatever it is everyone seems to do. I do possess a mobile phone, which, I admit has been useful, but I always forget where I have left it, and if it rings, it’s a frantic hunt for it. However, in these difficult times we find ourselves in, it is the only way of keeping in touch with family and friends. Thank goodness Reverend Ginni is up to speed with it all and able to continue her ministry to us all, especially during Holy Week. Tony and I have managed with her weekly prayers via e-mails, a great comfort.
Similarly, I often come in after a hard day in the garden, back aching, hands like sandpaper, and think wouldn’t it be good just to have a window box, but oh!, I take that back many times over, our garden has been our salvation. At this time of the year there is much to do, and it is full of green shoots. We get so much pleasure from seeing seeds germinating, listening to the dawn chorus, enjoying the warmth of the sun. Our resident robin has quickly caught on that we are now full time gardeners and eagerly waits to join us, being the first one in to survey newly turned earth and harvest any tasty morsels, we are really truly blessed and you will not hear me moan again.
REASONS TO SMILE:
Standing on the front step every Thursday evening and making lots of noise in recognition of our valiant N.H.S. and front line workers.
Our new neighbours, whom we have hardly spoken to, offering to get us
anything we need.
A friendly wave from the postman.
Our local shopkeeper opening extra hours and going
out of his way to get what we need.
The kind volunteer who delivers our medication.
Seeing the farm workers busy drilling fields, a sense of things carrying
on as normal.
Luton Airport strangely quiet. Think how much we are reducing our
Spring cleaning a cupboard (which has probably missed a spring or two)
and discovering a pack of toilet rolls, now that made me chuckle.
Future editions of PAX will only be available on the St. Ippolyts Church website www.stippolytschurch.org.uk. (See note on Page 3).
ST. MARY’S GREAT WYMONDLEY
The church here was closed on 18th March as were all the churches in the country as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Annual Parochial Church Meeting and Meeting of Parishioners did not take place on 26th April and will be held at a later date.
In the same way the Service of Blessing for the Community Orchard after the APCM followed by a picnic will not happen because of Social Distancing.
The Plant Sale on Church Green will not take place for the same reason.
There may well be the opportunity to buy plants around the middle of May as some have already been sown and propagated. When the Lock Down is over there may be some plants for sale on the Stall on the Green from time to time. Please ring Cherry if you are interested. The number is on the front cover of Pax.
Sadly the Fête in June has also been cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
CHURCH JAM and MARMALADE
The church porch is open every day for sales of Jam and Marmalade and also bottles of Barbecue Sauce donated by Andrew Harding. There has been a steady stream of walkers and cyclists passing through the churchyard for their daily exercise which has increased sales. Thank you to everyone who returns empty jars and lids.
This new season’s fruit is developing well with all the fine weather and we are hoping for abundant crops.
Stay Safe and Good Wishes to everyone from St. Mary’s PCC
Future editions of PAX will only be available on the St. Ippolyts Church website www.stippolytschurch.org.uk. (See note on Page 3).
WYMONDLEY BAPTIST CHURCH
Did we ever imagine how much the past weeks would have changed the lives of the whole wide world! The global outbreak of COVID-19 has impacted the lives of everyone and our hearts and prayers are with all being treated in hospital and for all whose loved ones have lost their lives.
At Chapel we have had regular Sunday morning services since 22nd March and we have Craig Bacon to thank for setting up the Zoom system and enabling us to see and sing and talk to each other and to praise and worship together. Our preachers have all joined in with us and have delivered their sermons from their homes. So we give a special thank you to Pauline Wade, Will Andrews, Jonathan Welch, and Sir Les Ebdon. We look forward to hearing our booked speakers in May.
Sadly Cyril Darley died on 8th April and will not now be receiving his telegram from the Queen on his 100th birthday. Cyril was a beloved member of our Church as well as being a devoted and loved Father, Grandfather and Great Grandfather. He will be greatly missed but is now in the presence of the King of Kings, where there is joy unspeakable.
Our prayers continue for our Government as they guide us through this Pandemic and we are thankful for the recovery of the Prime Minister. We pray for all in our village who are feeling lonely at this time. We are all, I'm sure, busy using our phones, laptops, tablets, mobiles, etc. to keep in touch with each other. What a blessing social media can be at such times and it has been good for all who have 'Facebook' to see Reverend Ginni's 'Thought for the Day' and other messages. The wonders of technology mean we can also talk to people thousands of miles away and my son has found that extremely uplifting and helpful speaking to far away friends through the Zoom system. These times, like Wars, bring us all close together and we have all applauded our NHS as we've joined in at a safe distance on Thursdays in our roads to express our heartfelt thanks. Of course 8th May is VE Day which reminds us of our deliverance in the 2nd World War and brings to mind the Day of Prayer when George VI called the Nation to prayer.
We still pray every Tuesday so join us at 7.30pm. as we pray for each other, for the Country, for the sick and bereaved and indeed for the world. Our hearts are with the friends and family of Mrs. Sue Knight who died on 5th April after just 8 days in hospital. As a friendly neighbour of mine she will be much missed.
Our preachers in May (on Zoom) are as follows:
3rd Michael Resta (All Nations Christian College)
10th Judith Nugent 17th Doug Richardson
24th Craig Bacon (Thanksgiving) 31st Pentecost Sunday
Join the Sunday service at 'Church on the Internet'. at 10.30am. Dial in on
01314-601196 or 02030-512874 and meeting ID 8675752648 (#) use the link https.zoom.us/j8675752648 or download the Zoom app and join using ID8675752648. (any problems phone 07531-081621).
Marjorie McCarley (01438-727050
HERE AND THERE
WYMONDLEY PARISH COUNCIL
The Parish Council Meeting and Parish Annual Assembly scheduled for 20th April were cancelled to minimise the potential health risk to members of the public, councillors and staff from Coronavirus/Covid-19. Arrangements will be made for "virtual" meetings to be held during the remainder of the Coronavirus crisis and the dates for these will be published on the Council's website at www.wymondleypc.org.uk.
The Parish Council and I welcome its new Clerk, Sharon Long, who took over from me on 23rd April. She can be contacted by post at 23 Ampthill Road, Flitwick, Bedfordshire, MK45 1AZ; by telephone on 07733-853263; and by
COMMUNITY FACEBOOK AND WHATSAPP GROUPS
Did you know that there is a Facebook group and associated WhatsApp group for St. Ippolyts and Gosmore? We are using the groups to help people out and to try and stay positive during this time. There are people on these groups who may be able to help you with shopping, collecting medication, etc. if you are self-isolating. If you would like to be added to the WhatsApp group, please send me an email. You can find the Facebook group by searching for “St. Ippolyts” in the Facebook search box. You will be asked a couple of questions just to confirm that you are connected to St. Ippolyts. Anyone from the Wymondleys is of course also welcome to join!
If you are self-isolating and don’t use either of these platforms, I will still try to help by posting to these groups on your behalf so please send me a message!
Best wishes, Cathy Beach
ST. IPPOLYTS FLOWER FESTIVAL - 29th, 30th and 31st August
We are hoping that the flower festival will go ahead but it will all depend on how the virus develops and government advice closer to the date of the event.
ST. IPPOLYTS PARISH COUNCIL
NEWS FROM ST. IPPOLYTS
FRIENDS OF ST. IPPOLYTS CHURCH
This message is to say 'Thank you' to Ginni for the daily inspirations which are shared with us all. Also thank you for the beautiful Good Friday service and the Easter Day Service too.
A 'Thank you' also to our choir master John Edwards who has led the 'Melodic Miracles' for a long time now and we have all very much enjoyed our practise time in the church once a month on a Thursday afternoon. John had also planned for us to sing an anthem at the Easter Service and we were looking forward to singing this together. Hopefully we can still sing this at services to be enjoyed when all these strange days have passed.
'Thank you' to Friends for all the flowers in St. Ippolyts church and for the cleaning which everyone takes part in.
Thank you to everyone who we normally see; for the smiles, the cheery waves - which are being missed very much as at the moment many of our friends in the village may be isolated and there are current restrictions keeping us apart.
'Thank you' to all those involved in caring for the elderly, needy, and those with special needs and all who are in the NHS and involved with nursing or GP surgeries.
THANK YOU TO EVERYONE - God bless and we will all be together for celebrations soon.
ST. IPPOLYTS PARISH HALL
Due to the Government directive regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic our hall is currently closed to the public. (Closed from 23rd March). Our March trustees' meeting was done electronically. Frank Harding was elected Chairman, Pamela Skeggs elected Secretary and Michael Fisher elected Treasurer. Other trustees are Phil Byford, Barbara Thomas and Carl Watson. Sam Kelly - Bookings Secretary and Kerry McManus - Cleaner.
2019 was a very active year for our charity with the major project being the conversion of the lighting in the main hall to one based on LED. We now have a very flexible system, including surrounding coloured mood lighting. The other major work on the hall was the re-sanding and sealing of the floor. At the end of the year we said goodbye to Paul Adams a trustee and Mike Skinner caretaker. Carl also took over caretaker duties.
The final draft of the Report of the Trustees and Unaudited Financial Statement
As many of you know my parents live in a tiny hamlet just outside Hexham in Northumberland, it’s a beautiful place, full of peace and quiet. At the best of times it seems a very long way away from me and my sisters (the nearest is still just over a hundred miles away) and now it seems so much worse. They have no computer or smart phone but are being very good about self-isolating: our biggest challenge has been trying to find ways of getting groceries to them.
So, you can imagine my relief when I received an email from one of their neighbours “We are in touch with most of our neighbours and they have expressed a willingness to help Tom and Jill should the need arise. We are aware that they are ruggedly independent and reticent to ask for help. If in your regular conversation with your parents you glean something that is needed please “tip us the wink”. We would be glad to help either directly or through our neighbours - and no one need ever know!” A WhatsApp group has been set up and a new neighbour who they barely knew is collecting a paper for them every day (not exactly a necessity but they love their Daily Telegraph!).
It is wonderful to know that people are keeping an eye open for Mum and Dad and that people care about them. The only problem with all this is my Mum - “we don’t want to be a burden” and “it seems wrong, I’ve always been the one to give help” - too right Mum, you have always been there to give help, it’s one of the reasons everyone is so willing to help you now!
Like many others at the moment I have been trying to do my bit and I keep hearing Mum’s refrain. It is always from people who have been in the past, and still are, stalwarts of our community; they should not feel guilty that in this instance they are the ones receiving help, they have helped so many people in the past!!
If anyone does need help with shopping, picking up prescriptions or just wants a good old fashioned natter on the phone please get in touch.
KEEPING IN TOUCH
At this strange, difficult, and worrying time, we are very grateful for technology and the internet, phone calls, letters and cards, neighbours helping each other out, and time to pause, reflect, prioritise and pray.
I miss going to our lovely church, fellowship, and singing hymns together, but I am grateful for Ginni's daily vlog, her words of comfort and wisdom, and the services from The Vicarage.
It is a great comfort to know we can still pray and worship at the same time, even if we are all doing so from our own homes.
Please Note: Future editions of PAX will only be available on the St. Ippolyts Church website www.stippolytschurch.org.uk. (See note on Page 3).
PARISH CHURCH REGISTERS
Burial of Ashes 9th January: Nora Irene Pateman
Funeral at the Crematorium 18th February: Betty Joyce Sings
COVID 19 AND THANKFULNESS - A Reflection
I think most of us know that Ginni is seldom keen to write her contribution to this magazine - unless of course it is to regale you all with stories of all her mother’s failings and misfortunes! Well, I am her mother and she has asked me to write a contribution this month! My first reaction - to get my own back? Second reaction - I don’t do anything much that I could possibly write about. Then I thought about the little that I am able to do, and realized that in these worrying times most of us are in the same boat. No one can come and go as they please, the vast majority of us are having to self-isolate. Self-pity really isn’t an option.
If the weather is fine I can wrap up and go outside, take a little ride on my mobility scooter (I draw the line at rain, however!). Providing we keep our distance (2 metres) I can even talk (louder than normal because of the distance!) to fellow residents of the retirement complex I live in and I can also be visited by my daughter for an impromptu chat in the gardens. The grand-children are a different matter, however, so I have to make do with video chats and “virtual” video walks. They are quite inventive with their “keeping in touch” techniques and I do sometimes have difficulty in responding in kind with their technological knowledge, but they seem to find it quite amusing to painstakingly give me instructions!
I now realise that I am VERY lucky to have the things I have and the ability to do what I do. Some people have NONE of this. They have virtually no contact with the outside world, they have no one to phone them or wave through the window at them and the technical ability to communicate via email or the web.
If you are one of these people, then I send you my kind thoughts and very good wishes. If you are like myself and have limited contact then please be patient and grateful for what you have - there are so many people far worse off than us - it will, I am sure, come right in the end.
Christine (Ginni’s mum!)
Material for the JUNE issue of Pax should reach Clare Larsen,
Please Note: Future editions of PAX will only be available on the St. Ippolyts Church website www.stippolytschurch.org.uk. (See note on Page 3).
To see Ginni's on line Services visit the St Ippolyts Church with Great and Little Wymondley facebook page
Low Sunday 19 Apr 20 20 St George Low Sunday then, low after the high feast of Easter last week. It was sometimes referred to in the Roman Church as Quasimodo Sunday: nothing to do with creeping around the belfry, nor even about Notre Dame de Paris, but rather, just as we often call the Sunday next before Advent 'Stir up Sunday' after the opening words of the Collect (you remember, Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people), similarly Quasimodo Sunday was so called because of the Introit at Mass on this day, which quotes from 1 Peter [2.2]: As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby. In Latin the opening ‘as newborn babes’ is Quasi modo geniti infantes. So, Quasimodo Sunday. Our prayers today, as daily for the past few weeks, have largely been driven by the current Coronavirus pandemic - and more than a few of us have had a least a touch of the disease. But let's for a moment think of something different, a bit jollier perhaps. Next week, as I'm sure everyone knows, we celebrate not only the birthday of William Shakespeare, born in 1564, and the anniversary of his death in 1616. But also on the same day, of course, St George's Day. Yet, although quite startling to someone brought up with school half-holidays on St David's Day, apparently fewer than one in 5 people in England know that St George is celebrated on 23 April, and allegedly more than a quarter of people living in this country don't know who England's Patron Saint is anyway! But we Church people know, and we can't let the week go by without some mention of St George. Still, we don't know a great deal about him and I'm afraid that the fight with the dragon to save the damsel has as little to do with St George as does being ripped apart by horses with St Hippolytus. Both legends really derive from Greek mythology. But the dragon has a good story and I'll touch on it later. It's difficult to put together an accurate account of George's life because there is so much myth and legend tied in but, from the bits that we do have, it seems fairly certain that he was born in the second half of the third century in Cappadocia, pretty much in the centre of what is now Turkey. His parents were Christian and, when his father died, his mother returned to her native Palestine, taking George with her. He enlisted as a Roman soldier and rose to the rank of Tribune, a senior officer. He was still serving in Palestine (or had returned there) when in 303 and 304 Emperor Diocletian directed the most devastating and sustained persecution of the Early Church. George was said to have torn up a copy of Diocletian's order against Christian soldiers - but, whatever, he was certainly arrested, imprisoned and tortured, but refused to deny his faith. Eventually he was dragged through the streets of Diospolis (now Lydda or Lod) and beheaded. The earliest solid record that we have was by the prolific writer Pope Gelasius (pope between 492 and 496), who observed that George was one of the saints 'whose names are rightly reverenced among us, but whose actions are known only to God'. And that was less than 200 years after George's death, so not much detail there. The first known British reference to George occurs in an account by St Ādamnan, an Irishman who became Abbot of Iona late in the seventh century: he had heard about him from Arcuif, a French bishop who had travelled to Jerusalem and other holy places in Palestine. The Venerable Bede also mentions George and the saint's reputation grew with the returning Crusaders. Indeed, in Fordington (an old village now a suburb of Dorchester) the church has above the south door an old stone carving of a miraculous appearance where, it was claimed, St George had led the crusaders into battle; naturally the church is dedicated to St George, believed to be the first church in England to have been so. Then, in 1222, the Council of Oxford named 23 April as St George's Day. And when Edward II founded the Order of the Garter in about 1348, he put it under the patronage of St George; and Edward IV & Henry VII subsequently built St George's Chapel, Windsor, as the chapel of the order. So from the 14th century then, St George came to be regarded, in England at least, as a special protector of the English; and English soldiers were told to wear 'a sign of St George' on their chest and back: the red cross that is now incorporated into our Union Flag and the White Ensign of the Royal Navy - and, of course, is the flag of the CofE too. The Feast of St George was promoted to principal status after the Battle of Agincourt on St Crispin's Day 1415, when many believed that they had seen him fighting on the English side. But his popularity waned somewhat after the Reformation as religious beliefs changed and even more so as gunpowder became the main weapon of war, and the lance and sword became less significant. So much so that, in 1778, the Roman Catholic Church demoted St George's Day from a feast day to a simple day of devotion - and even that became optional in 1970. Nevertheless, by then, in 1940, King George VI had inaugurated the George Cross: the highest gallantry award for civilians, and for military personnel in actions not in the face of the enemy - in effect a civil version of the Victoria Cross. The reverse of the George Cross depicts George slaying the dragon ... and I promised to rehearse that tale! Much earlier, St George's role was seen as involving verbal jousting and violent suffering rather than knightly adventures and derring do, but in 1483 Caxton printed a book called the Golden Legend - largely a translation of a French collection of fantastic details of saints' lives - and it told the tale of St George and the Dragon. This story goes that, born in Cappadocia as we've heard, George became a knight and went one day to Libya, to a city called Silene (the same place as Cyrene perhaps?). And by this city was a lake in which lived a fierce dragon which terrorized the whole country. At first, the people there had fed the dragon 2 sheep every day so that it wouldn't attack them, but when that eventually failed to satisfy, they gave it a sheep and a human. The king decided that the sacrificial man or woman should be chosen by lot, and this went on until the lot fell upon the king's daughter. The king tried to bargain his way out of the deal, but the people were adamant that the girl should be fed to the dragon just as so many of their children had been. So the poor lass was taken to the lake and left there, alone. But soon, St George just happened to be passing, saw her and asked what was up. She told him and begged him to leave before the dragon arrived and killed him too. To which, in the words of Caxton's book, George replied 'Fair daughter, doubt ye no thing thereof for I will help thee in the name of Jesu Christ.' And she: 'For God's sake, good knight, go your way, and abide not with me, for ye may not deliver me.' At which stage the dragon appeared and rushed towards them for its lunch. George leapt on his horse and attacked the beast with his lance, injuring it severely and driving it to the ground. He then persuaded the girl not to be afraid but to put her girdle around the dragon's neck: it then obediently and quietly followed her as she lead it into the city, where, of course, it caused major panic until George told them all not to be frightened, saying (again according to Caxton's book) 'Ne doubt ye no thing, without more, believe ye in God, Jesus Christ, and do ye to be baptized and I shall slay the dragon.' So, naturally, the king and thousands of his people were baptized right away. George duly killed the dragon and had it dragged out of the city; the king established a church of Our Lady and St George, where a fountain of healing water sprang up; and they all lived happily ever after. And there's a Rossetti watercolour of George marrying the princess!  So there we have it - all we know of St George and a bit extra too. But there is little connection with England per se. Indeed, George became very popular all around, for he's also the Patron Saint of Aragon, Catalonia, Georgia, Lithuania, Palestine, Portugal, Germany and Greece; not to mention the cities of Moscow, Istanbul, Genoa and (with St Mark) Venice. He's also the Patron Saint of soldiers, archers, cavalry and chivalry, farmers and field workers, horse riders and saddlers, and in more recent years, the Scouting movement. But hardly a full-time Anglophile. Scotland enjoys a real apostle as its patron, while Ireland and Wales have their home-grown saints - and celebrate them with enthusiasm. So how about an English saint for England? There's Alphege and Anselm and, obviously, of course, Alban, a Romano-Briton, the first English martyr, executed traditionally in the same Diocletian persecution as was St George, though more recent study indicates that he was martyred either 50 or 90 years earlier. But I don't need to press his case before this congregation ... though ‘Cry, “God for Harry, England and St Alban”’ doesn’t quite have the same ring, does it! Still, St George it is: he's done us well and we should celebrate him. As Pope Gelasius said '[his] name is rightly reverenced among us, but [his] actions are known only to God'. And so to finish, as we sit, let us pray the collect for St George's Day: O God of hosts, who didst so kindle the flame of love in the heart of thy servant George that he bore witness to the risen Lord by his life and death: grant us the same faith and power of love that we, who rejoice in his triumphs, may come to share with him the fullness of the Resurrection: through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God, now and for ever. Amen. [1772 words] Postscript follows >> Postscript In the earlier days of the pandemic, Ginni's message in Pax opened with the first verse of Psalm 46 as in the Book of Common Prayer: God is our hope and strength, a very present help in trouble]. And how appropriate that remains for us now. A lovely and well-know psalm - and I'll pass on one of those little quirks that are of no real use, but which are quite fun. I learnt it from Inspector Morse! If you count 46 words from the beginning of Psalm 46, and 46 words from the end, just see what you get. You need to use the version in the Authorized Version of the Bible (the psalms in BCP come from the earlier Great Bible of 1539 edited by Myles Coverdale). And don't count the Selah that you will see as a separate word at the very end of the last verse. Actually, Selah appears 71 times at the end of verses in the psalms (and 3 times in the book of Habakkuk), and we don't know exactly what it means, but it's probably either a musical direction or an instruction about the reading of the text, something like 'stop and listen', so stressing the importance of what has gone just before - a bit like Amen perhaps. Anyway, Psalm 46: 46 words from the beginning and 46 words from the end (not counting the Selah). I mentioned the answer in my sermon.
You may wish to light a candle and have some reflective music playing in the background.
The Lord is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. God is close to those who trust in him.
O Lord, open our lips
and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.
The night has passed, and the day lies open before us;
let us pray with one heart and mind.
Pause for reflection as you offer the day to God.
As we rejoice in the gift of this new day, so may the light of your presence, O God, set our hearts on fire with love for you; now and for ever. Amen.
A Psalm will be read here
You may wish to use the weekly pattern of short readings given below, or choose a passage of your own. There may be different readings for live services.
But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel:
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour.
‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling-places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.’ Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
You are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling-place for God.
Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honour. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer.
He said to his disciples, ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? If then you are not able to do so small a thing as that, why do you worry about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not keep striving for what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying. For it is the nations of the world that strive after all these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, strive for his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.
A period of silence may be kept where you are invited to offer the people and situations you are concerned about to God. The following prayers may be used but could vary in live services.
Almighty and everlasting God, we thank you that you have brought us safely to the beginning of this day. Keep us from falling into sin or running into danger; order us in all our doings and guide us to do always what is righteous in your sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Keep us, good Lord, under the shadow of your mercy in this time of uncertainty and distress. Sustain and support the anxious and fearful, and lift up all who are brought low; that we may rejoice in your comfort knowing that nothing can separate us from your love in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done; on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
The Lord bless us, and preserve us from all evil, and keep us in eternal life.
Let us bless the Lord.
Thanks be to God.