“How was your first Christmas in your new Benefice?” a friend of mine asked when I saw her last week. I thought for a moment before replying. What words could I use to describe the mad, crazy, tiring but lovely, last few weeks......? “Beautifully mental” I told her. “Completely bonkers but I rather liked it!” How else could I describe a ‘job’ that over a period of a week contained the following events?
- 8 men turning up on my drive with a huge Christmas tree strapped to a slightly battered trailer demanding that I bless it and then handing me an axe so that they could take a photograph of me pretending to chop it down. Following which they trooped into The Vicarage, shedding muddy boots en route, to drink mulled wine and eat mince pies - and all before 11.00am!!
- A nativity procession with two live donkeys swathed in fairy lights,
a pub landlord greeting us in his dressing gown telling us there was no room at the Inn and singing carols in the smoking shelter - aka the stable - with baby Jesus dangling less than elegantly from Mary’s lap!!
- Carols, mince pies and mulled wine galore around the newly blessed Christmas tree which was now adorned with lights that, after a period of great trial and error, someone had managed to make twinkle gently as opposed to violently blinding the passing motorists!
- 1 school assembly, 2 crib services, 2 carol services, several home visits, far too many sermons, 1 minor melt-down, my youngest daughter’s birthday, more mince pies, a trip to A & E, 1 Midnight Mass and, probably, a partridge in a pear tree!!!
I confess that I did wake up on Boxing Day looking rather like I had been hit with a sledgehammer but I was jubilant that I had survived and, with that wonderful thing called hindsight, I actually rather enjoyed it all! Bring on Easter!!!
And so some thanks ..... to all of you who helped me through. You know who you are!! The ones who encouraged, soothed, reminded, cajoled, bit their tongues, turned up, generally went the extra mile and most of all, gave me wine! Thank you - I couldn’t
have done it without you!
So now that the Christmas festivities are over, life has returned to normal, the New Year is here and our hastily made resolutions are already behind us, what now? Maybe it’s because I have just returned from a lovely break in the middle of Norfolk with no Wi-Fi, mobile signal or signs of human life, that I have had the time to think, but I am looking forward. The beginning of a new year always makes me do that.
The next season is spring and, with it, the promise of longer days and warmer sun. A time to take stock and to plan. I want to spend more time enjoying each moment. I want to notice things more rather than just rushing past them. I want to worry less, be
more organised, spend more time with my children, talk to God more. I want! Perhaps I would have more chance of achieving the things I desire most if I flipped the order a bit and put ‘talking to God’ at the very beginning!!
So often we rush through life with a mental list of the things we want to achieve and beat ourselves up when our plans don’t pan out in the way we had hoped. Our default mode is to try to do things in our own strength rather than seeking the will and guidance of our God who only wants the very best for each one of us. I wonder what would happen if we had the courage to talk to God first about what it is that we should be doing that would bring us the greatest happiness.
Perhaps I should make just one more new year’s resolution. Talk to God before I do anything. What about you?
With love - Ginni
To allow the Revd Ginni more time to speak to congregation at St Ippolyts after what are currently the 09:30 services at St ippolyts on those Sundays before she then has to rush off to Little or Great Wymondley, the PCC has agreed to change the start time to 09:15 on all of the 4 Sundays with effect from 1st March 2017.
The 08:00 BCP services of Holy Communion will not be affected
The next Bible Study Group meeting is to be held at Oakhurst and is about to embark on Genesis. The first meeting will be at 02:30 pm on 11th January followed by another meeting at the same time and place on 25th January. Contact Margaret Ednunds on Hitchin 452340 or Clare Larsen on Hitchin 453541
Thank you to everyone who purchased a church quiz sheet this autumn. This years quiz was all about TV programmes from any decade since the 1950s. Clearly this years quiz was too easy as there were 11 correct entries returned!
I put all the entries with the correct answers into a bucket and Mary, my wife, picked out the two winners.
First prize goes to Jane Veasey, yes this was genuine and not a fix!!
Second prize goes to Malcolm Todd.
Congratulations to both our winners.
Look out for another quiz next year.
I would like to thank St Ippolyts Village Stores who sold the quiz sheets in the shop.
For all those who were unable to complete the quiz the answers are as follows_
|1||Did he ride around the Old Park? (7)||Poldark|
|2||Did Harry Potter enjoy this at the funfair? (5,10)||The Magic Roundabout|
|3||Wimbledon’s 2016 beer is down the road! (6,6)||Stella Street|
|4||Set fire to the tree. (9)||Torchwood|
|5||Not quite three chaps needed to make us laugh. (3,3,1,4,3)||Two and a half men|
|6||You do not keep these as close as some that you do not like! (7)||Friends|
|7||Mutant magpie sitting and making satire (8,5)||Spitting Image|
|8||A medical question? (6,3)||Doctor Who|
|9||Crooked them elbows underground. (3,7)||The Wombles|
|10||A jangled token for a POW. (5)||Tenko|
|11||He is watching you! (3,7)||Big Brother|
|13||Those next door are down under. (10)||Neighbours|
|14||The Irishman delivers the letters. (7,3)||Postman Pat|
|15||Someone gets set alight at the end of each week? (3,10)||The Apprentice|
|16||The bookshop battle. (6,3)||Foyle’s War|
|17||Morse’s Christian name. (9)||Endeavour|
|18||Did this detective come from Sri Lanka? (7)||Columbo|
|19||A couple of herbs. (8,3,5)||Rosemary and Thyme|
|20||Jade Jones, Nicola Adams, Laura Trott. (3,6,5)||The Golden Girls|
|21||Cliff Richard’s song made us laugh. (3,5,4)||The Young Ones|
|22||US Flying team to the rescue, (12)||Thunderbirds|
|23||Just the asses and the nags? (4,5,3,6)||Only fools and horses|
|24||Marriage vows? Not so likely these days! (4,5,2,2,4)||Till death do us part|
|25||The beginning of a regular evening National arts programme. (5)||Arena|
|26||6 and 2 constantly battled it out for 13 weeks in Portmeirion. (3,8)||The Prisoner|
|27||A burning hat would not make much in this programme. (7,4)||Bargain Hunt|
|28||A bouncer for Arthur? (6)||Minder|
|29||Would he have made barmen laugh? (2,4)||Mr Bean|
|30||Victim of an accident? (8)||Casualty|
|31||88 for some people. (3,3,6)||Two fat ladies|
|32||“Hi’ Mum, effluent changed the children’s entertainer. (6,3,4)||Muffin the Mule|
|33||7 colours for children. (7)||Rainbow|
|34||Sad disciple. (4,5)||Blue Peter|
|35||I’ve something to tell you. (4,1,3,4,3,3)||Have I got news for you|
|36||Where did Frankie go to in Italy? (2,7)||Up Pompeii.|
|37||A rasp in the Cotswolds! (11)||Countryfile|
|38||A Communist pygmy! (3,5)||Red Dwarf|
|39||Sue, Mat and Phil’s regular contest? (1,8,2,5)||A Question of Sport|
|40||From bedrooms to basements. (8,10)||Upstairs, Downstairs|
|41||All wander about in Sweden. (9)||Wallander|
|42||These two gentlemen had an intrusive friend. (4,3,3)||Bill and Ben|
|43||Final frolic in Nova Scotia. (4,5,2,7)||Last Tango in Halifax|
|44||Goes with Bangers. (4)||MASH|
|45||The remains before the Beaujolais Nouveaux? (4,2,3,6,4)||Last of the summer wine|
|46||Monitored in Hospital. (9)||Heartbeat|
|47||Four points and thing crash to analyse what is going on. (9)||Newsnight|
|48||The inner inner. (8)||Bullseye|
|49||Not a very big town for a very big guy. (10)||Smallville|
|50||Affirmative, Jeremy Hunt. (3,8)||Yes, Minister|
|51||Something for royal families to play. 4,2,7)||Game of Thrones|
|52||Pica pica (6)||Magpie|
|53||One earns changed lady star. (8)||Roseanne|
|54||An Oscar winner’s hike to the podium. (4,4)||Star Trek|
|55||Daytime residence for the commuter. (3,6)||The Office|
|56||Insiders breakfast. (8)||Porridge|
|57||Joe and his brothers had a windfall. (7)||Bonanza|
|58||A question from the lady in Grace Bros? (3,3,5,6)||Are you being served|
|59||Drinking and smoking in Florida. (5,4)||Miami Vice|
|60||A couple confused ‘shortie’ Newton. (3,3,7)||The Two Ronnies|
|61||A vehicle that ‘ranks’ with buses but with less passengers! (4)||Taxi|
|62||American plains small homestead. (6,5,2,3,7)||Little House on the prairie|
|63||I troop to find a one-time Nile cruiser. (6)||Poirot|
|64||A Spanish resort. (8)||Benidorm|
|65||This French town was in the Channel Islands. (8)||Bergerac|
|66||Start the day with a full belly. (3,3,9)||The Big breakfast|
|67||An Abacus made of Ebony. (10)||Blackadder|
|68||You do this when you stop pedaling. (5)||Coast|
|69||A firework for the 1960s children. (11)||Crackerjack|
|70||Reptilian Footwear. (9,5)||Crocodile Shoes|
|71||This copper said goodnight once a week under a lamp. (5,2,4,5)||Dixon of Dock Green|
|72||Absolutely meaningless. (9)||Pointless|
|73||You don’t do this to a dead horse! (4,2)||Flog it|
|74||Humpty Dumpty’s boffins! (8)||Eggheads|
|75||Dimmest ran away from this programme. (10)||Mastermind|
Please note that our next service following Christmas morning Holy Communion will be at 09:30 on 1st January 2017 at St Marys Little Wymondley when there will be a joint Benefice Holy Communion. The Wednesday morning 11:00 Holy Communion will recommence in the New Year on 4th January 2017.There will be no Wednesday Morning Holy Communion on 28th December 2016.
Happy New Year everyone
IT’S CHRISTMAS !
By the time you read this, the Church’s season of Advent will have begun. It is a season of expectation and preparation, as the Church prepares to celebrate the coming of Christ in his incarnation. Or at least, that’s how it should be!!
The reality in our modern world is that Christmas has been commercialised and most of our preparations and expectations are focussed on buying food and presents for families and friends on Christmas Day. No matter how much we might wish it otherwise, I’m sure many of us often feel that Christ is squeezed into a corner of Christmas, somewhere between the extra shifts at work for those of us who work in the retail sector, the children’s school festivities, the arrangements to catch up with family, the dusting off of the decorations, the festive food buying and so on. Having just been given a list of services for our Benefice by my churchwardens, I also feel that this year Christmas is going to be a whole new ball game!!!
There is also another side to Christmas. Whilst the commercial world fills the shops and streets with must-have products, tinsel and lights, many in our communities struggle to afford even the most basic of necessities like food, warmth and shelter, and face a stark choice between going without or getting into debt. Single people, both old and young, can find themselves faced with the prospect of spending Christmas alone without family or friends and for some that makes this season far from the joyful occasion it should be.
So how can we put the Christ back into Christmas? How can we engage both with the world we live in today and also set time aside to focus on the ‘reason for the season’ - Jesus Christ, who came into the world to give us hope and to shine a light through the darkness of the world that will guide us to eternal life?
Personally, I find the ‘apron’ method to be a good one!!! Let me explain! Rumour has it that a certain Susanna Wesley, the mother of John Wesley (the founder of Methodism) and of his hymn-writing brother Charles, had a method of finding time alone with God despite having 19 (yes, 19!) children. When Susanna wanted to pray she would put her apron over her head wherever she was and that was a signal to her children that she was spending time alone with God and that nothing, other than a life or death situation, should interrupt her! Now just in case you are thinking that I routinely wander around blinded by my pinny, I don’t quite do that!! When life gets chaotic and I find that God is getting squeezed out by ‘stuff’, I seek out a tiny patch of space...maybe in my car, or putting the rubbish out (my kids NEVER join me there!) or even in the only room in the house with a lock on the door (you KNOW what room that is!!) and I just stop for a moment or two and ask God to help me focus on what’s important. It is amazing what God can do in a few seconds!!
A wise Priest once told me that our expectations are often met so if we expect to see Christmas overtaken by the commercial sector then that will probably be the case. If, however, we expect to encounter God right in the midst of all the busy-ness of this world then that too is exactly what will happen. So I challenge us all to find a new way to engage with Christ this Christmas, to find time alone with God and allow him to renew in us a sense of hope and expectation that goes beyond the tinsel and the turkey and illuminates a path that will allow each one of us to reflect Christ’s light into the world we live in.
Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas and New Year.
With love - Ginni
Over fifty members of our community enjoyed a wonderful Christmas Community Lunch at the Bull at Gosmore today. St Ippolyts and Gosmore Parish Council sponsored the event but the real heros were Kim and Charlie of the Bull who treated us all to a splendid lunch of Soup,Turkey with all the trimmimgs and Christmas pudding. Father Christmas even popped in to say "hello" and give everyone a present.
A big thank you to Kim and Charlie and their staff plus all the members of the parish Council who came along to help out.
Our churchwarden Michael thanked everyone for all their hard work, it certainly was an excellent Christmas Lunch.
The 2016 St ippolyts Church Crib Festival held on Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th December has been another brilliant success with a steady stream of enthusiatic people wanting to see our wonderful display of nativity cribs. This year we had on display over 160 cribs from all over the world. Visitors enjoyed the splendid variety of cribs and stayed for tea and cake.
Thanks to everyone who helped over the weekend by either lending their cribs, baking cakes, stewarding, serving teas, selling raffle tickets etc etc.
All money raised goes to our church funds.
More photois in the gallery of this web site.