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Looking Back a reflection from Revd Paul Lanham

Can you remember 6th February 1952?  Not many of us can remember the young queen in black descending the steps of the de Havilland Comet (I think) from Kenya 70 years ago.  I was starting my first term at boarding school a few days later and my memory of that is clearer.  I saw the tail lights of my parents' Austin Ten vanishing down the drive and feeling utterly alone;  it vividly remains with me to this day.  The princess becoming a queen was irrelevant to a nine year old boy in short trousers.  Just that car vanishing down the drive with its lights vanishing and entering a strange new and frightening world.

Remembering the Coronation, 2nd June 1953.  A tiny flickering black and white television, the event going on for ever and incredibly boring.  Our friends had one and we only had a radio.  Their son was a friend called Ronnie Ring (I wonder what happened to him?).  He had bicycle pumps which we filled and refilled from a water butt.  We spent the Coronation hosing one another with these pumps and from time to time reminding our parents that we were still alive.  Then back to prison in Bath (I hated school).  In 1954 we watched a film called 'A Queen is Crowned' (remember that?!) and colour film was new to me.  The Bishop of Bath and Wells who had played a key role in the Coronation later confirmed me.  His chaplain wanted to borrow the Bishop's confirmation sermon the next week at Gloucester Prison but found himself unable to do so because my clergy father was at both services, being the prison chaplain - that's another story! 

Now 70 years later we remember the same dedicated queen who has broken every royal record for longevity.  Always Queen Elizabeth, unshakeable, always there.  This month we remember her with thanksgiving as arguably the greatest lady the world has ever known, the most loved and respected.  This year will hopefully be a time when we can give thanks for her and rejoice with her - not as a duty but as someone we genuinely want to celebrate.  This is my first columnfor 2022.  The lasttwoyears have been difficult;  if these celebrations can shine a brighter light on this year, then we can look forward with optimism.

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Forgive my sentimentality but illustrating these memories may show how far we have come since the young queen came down those steps.  That aircraft, that car and the television were all state of the art, now they are only seen in museums - even the 'water pistol' is a far more sophisticated weapon of mass saturation than the one that Ronnie and I improvised to the despair of our parents 70 years ago.  It is as though we are experiencing a second (or even third) Industrial Revolution and the world changes at an astonishing speed year by year - my five year old grand daughter is teaching me things that I can never understand while I speak of slide rules and logarithms (remember them?) to people who have no idea of what I am on about.  Queen Elizabeth has remained constant while the world has changed in a way that children who watched the Coronation could never have visualised as such future things.  After all, remember Dan Dare from 'The Eagle'?  At least The Beano remains.

But not even she can last for ever while God is eternal.  Remember that hymn - 'Change and decay in all around I see, O Thou who changest not abide with me'.  God never changes, nor does His love for us.  2022 may be a difficult year for organised religion and for the Church of England as a whole, but He will always be with us, a spiritual rock in what lies ahead. That is our hope and we have confidence in Him.

                                                                                        Paul Lanham

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ABOVE THE EYEBROWS - A thought from Rev Paul Lanham.

Sunday 10th October is World Mental Health Day.  Having in the past been a Trustee/Director of a mental health charity for over 20 years and currently being the patient representative on a multi-university mental health research project it is an issue dear to my heart.  People prefer not to talk about it, and dark grim psychiatric hospitals (such as Fairfield once was) sum up how it has always been seen.  Those with experience of any form of it are often scarred by it;  all but the mildest forms are horrific to experience. 

I reject the term 'mental illness'.  We do not talk about physical illness, only types of physical illness.  To lump all forms of mental disorder together in one to cover every condition from a mild phobia to paranoid schizophrenia (to name but the obvious) is ludicrous.  Like physical illnesses every form of mental illness needs a different type of treatment, a different type of drug, a different type of analysis, a different type of therapy. 

Furthermore, the very term 'mental illness' has overtones of stigma and being belittled.  We have come a long way since I became interested (and involved) in this field.  More treatments have become available, more research is being done, the stigma is being eased, society is becoming more tolerant and compassionate. But we still have a very very long way to go.  People are still being stigmatised, belittled, even penalised.  To me the belittling of those with conditions of the mind is inappropriate to a society in which all form of discrimination is rightly abhorrent.

It seems at times that we have drawn an arbitrary line just above the human eyebrows.  To suffer from a condition below that line is acceptable and evokes sympathy;  to suffer from one above it is to evoke scorn and even revulsion.  Yet every kind of illness demands and deserves equal sympathy and care.  Depression and diabetes - schizophrenia and sciatica are equally valid conditions and must be seen as such.  To meet someone with a mental illness may make us feel vulnerable, aware of our inability to be in control - and nobody likes that.  On the other hand it's scarcely a bag of laughs to have such a condition because (at least with some conditions) one does not lose total touch with reality.  One gets torn between reality and unreality, knowing that the latter is winning.

10th October is a day for focussing our thoughts on this issue, and it is one that society (including the Church) must take more seriously.  Christ performed many acts of healing the mind as He did of healing the body.  We must work together for greater de-stigmatising of 'illnesses above the eyebrows', and for more compassion for those who have them.  We are on a long road towards lifting this darkness.  As Christians we owe it to God and to our fellow men (who are after all children of God) to do so.  If we do not believe, we owe it to society to try and make mankind more civilised.

Very best wishes,  Paul

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A thought from Revd Paul Lanham

COINCIDENCES ?

Since writing the last column I have changed our car.  The decision was forced on me by its predecessor which developed a quirk of deciding when it would start and when it would refuse to start.  Everything was checked and there seemed nothing wrong with it but the problem persisted.

Then it excelled itself.  We were on our way to a gathering of retired clergy with the Bishop of St. Albans and had reached the city centre.  Half way up Holywell Hill in heavy traffic it stalled and no amount of effort could get it going again.  Eventually I got out to apologise to the van behind - only to find it was a breakdown vehicle. The gentleman had a fiddle, got it going and refused payment;  we slunk out of the city praying it would not happen again and cringing with embarrassment.  This was the last time we drove it.  The garage still could not find what was wrong with it and as they had a model that was ideal for our purposes we broke the piggy bank and exchanged it for one that actually worked.

Ever since then I have wondered why when I finally apologised for holding up the traffic a car mechanic should have been directly behind us.  It was about as likely as Judy's Premium Bonds ever coming up - she has had a few for over 55 years and has won two tiny prizes, the last about 30 years ago.  Some might say that it was a bit coincidental that it was just outside the Abbey and I am a priest.  I don't buy into this, not least because at the time I was torn between frantic prayer and despair, a sense of utter helpless fury (shades of Basil Fawlty lashing his recalcitrant car with a branch in Fawlty Towers) I was not so much praying as massaging the Almighty's ear with a shovel.  In any case, life doesn't work like that.  God does not look after His own in ways like this, as though Christianity is a kind of insurance policy against the trials of life.  Being a Christian may help us to cope with trouble;  it does not protect us from it.

It was all so improbable.  But we expect God to have our standards of tidiness.  In a world of logic and reason everything has to add up, to fit certain patterns.  We expect God to conform to them when in fact we are human and He is divine.  Coincidences help some people, they harm others;  this is how life is.  We have to come to terms with the concept of an untidy and mysterious God.  One of my favourite parts of the Bible is the closing chapters of the book of Job.  Job wants to know why he has suffered so badly.  Then dramatically God answers Job out of a whirlwind.  His answer is that Job is human and has no right to know the mind and workings of the divine.  The book ends with Job accepting that there are no answers to the questions he is asking and finding peace there.  I would commend this amazing part of the Bible to you (if you read it in the Authorized Version you will also be swept away by some of the most majestic writing in all literature).  We have to allow God to be mysterious, to see Him as He is, and to love Him without understanding His ways.

So I am left wondering why I got out of the car at that moment and found help so improbably.  I do not believe that God sent that gentleman to help me - but my blood runs cold at the thought of how I could have got out of that mess without him.  In the last resort I was just incredibly and irrationally lucky.  The mystery will always remain.

       Very best wishes, Paul  

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PAX September 2021

Pax                 SEPTEMBER  2021

 

 

The Parish Magazine for the Benefice of St. Ippolyts with Great and Little Wymondley

VICAR

 

The Reverend Ginni Dear, The Vicarage, Stevenage Road, St. Ippolyts SG4 7PE                   01462-237032

Email:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

CHURCHWARDENS

St. Ippolyts

Jane Veasey, Gosmore Cross, Newlands Lane, Gosmore SG4 9BD                                        01462-434254

Clare Reid, 6 The Bury, Codicote SG4 8GG                                                                           07765-264452

 

Great Wymondley

Cherry Carter, 2 Church Green, Great Wymondley SG4 7HA                                               01438-724919

Caroline McDonnell, 1 Graveley Road, Great Wymondley SG4 7EX                                                07975-798132

Little Wymondley

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

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COINCIDENCES ?

Since writing the last column I have changed our car.  The decision was forced on me by its predecessor which developed a quirk of deciding when it would start and when it would refuse to start.  Everything was checked and there seemed nothing wrong with it but the problem persisted.

Then it excelled itself.  We were on our way to a gathering of retired clergy with the Bishop of St. Albans and had reached the city centre.  Half way up Holywell Hill in heavy traffic it stalled and no amount of effort could get it going again.  Eventually I got out to apologise to the van behind - only to find it was a breakdown vehicle. The gentleman had a fiddle, got it going and refused payment;  we slunk out of the city praying it would not happen again and cringing with embarrassment.  This was the last time we drove it.  The garage still could not find what was wrong with it and as they had a model that was ideal for our purposes we broke the piggy bank and exchanged it for one that actually worked.

Ever since then I have wondered why when I finally apologised for holding up the traffic a car mechanic should have been directly behind us.  It was about as likely as Judy's Premium Bonds ever coming up - she has had a few for over 55 years and has won two tiny prizes, the last about 30 years ago.  Some might say that it was a bit coincidental that it was just outside the Abbey and I am a priest.  I don't buy into this, not least because at the time I was torn between frantic prayer and despair, a sense of utter helpless fury (shades of Basil Fawlty lashing his recalcitrant car with a branch in Fawlty Towers) I was not so much praying as massaging the Almighty's ear with a shovel.  In any case, life doesn't work like that.  God does not look after His own in ways like this, as though Christianity is a kind of insurance policy against the trials of life.  Being a Christian may help us to cope with trouble;  it does not protect us from it.

It was all so improbable.  But we expect God to have our standards of tidiness.  In a world of logic and reason everything has to add up, to fit certain patterns.  We expect God to conform to them when in fact we are human and He is divine.  Coincidences help some people, they harm others;  this is how life is.  We have to come to terms with the concept of an untidy and mysterious God.  One of my favourite parts of the Bible is the closing chapters of the book of Job.  Job wants to know why he has suffered so badly.  Then dramatically God answers Job out of a whirlwind.  His answer is that Job is human and has no right to know the mind and workings of the divine.  The book ends with Job accepting that there are no answers to the questions he is asking and finding peace there.  I would commend this amazing part of the Bible to you (if you read it in the Authorized Version you will also be swept away by some of the most majestic writing in all literature).  We have to allow God to be mysterious, to see Him as He is, and to love Him without understanding His ways.

So I am left wondering why I got out of the car at that moment and found help so improbably.  I do not believe that God sent that gentleman to help me - but my blood runs cold at the thought of how I could have got out of that mess without him.  In the last resort I was just incredibly and irrationally lucky.  The mystery will always remain.

       Very best wishes, Paul  

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SERVICES FOR SEPTEMBER

 

SUNDAY 5th SEPTEMBER

8.00am.          Holy Communion (BCP)                                St. Ippolyts 

9.15am.          Holy Communion (CW)                                 Great Wymondley Village Hall

SUNDAY 12th SEPTEMBER

9.15am.          Holy Communion                                           St. Ippolyts

SUNDAY 19th SEPTEMBER

9.15am.          Holy Communion                                           Little Wymondley

6.30pm.          Evensong                                                         St. Ippolyts

SUNDAY 26th SEPTEMBER

9.15am.          Holy Communion                                           St. Ippolyts

 

SUNDAY 3rd OCTOBER

8.00am.          Holy Communion (BCP)                                St. Ippolyts 

9.15am.          Parish Praise                                                    Great Wymondley Village Hall 

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PAX IS BACK!!

I’m sure you will be delighted to hear that we intend to resume the printed edition of PAX from October 2021……with a few changes!!

We know that the pandemic has caused a lot of difficulties for everyone, and charities have been particularly affected.  We thought we would like to do a little bit to help so we have decided to put the price of PAX up by 10 pence to 50 pence per copy from February 2022.  The annual subscription will therefore be £5 and subs will be collected in February as usual.  All the profit we make will be donated to charity.  We have also found a printer who will cut the cost of our printing by about ten pence per copy so we should have a healthy donation to make each year.

We hope you will agree that a nice round 50 pence (or £5) is easier to collect and we would like your input as

to which charity we should support.  Please do let Reverend Ginni know if you have a charity suggestion (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and we will go with the most popular for the first year and pick another each year after that.

For everyone who previously had Pax delivered to their door it will once more be brought to you by our intrepid volunteers or distributed at Wymondley Chapel.  Anyone who would now like to have Pax delivered please contact Clare Larsen (email:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or telephone 01462-453541).

                                                                                                                                              Reverend Ginni

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BIBLE STUDY GROUP

The Bible Study Group will resume face-to-face meetings on Wednesdays 8th and 22nd September and we will be continuing our study of The Acts of the Apostles.  We will meet at 2.30pm. at Oakhurst (behind Kingshott School) home of Margaret Edmonds.  Refreshments are served after the meeting.

We would be very pleased to welcome new members to our small friendly group.  For further information please contact Margaret Edmonds (01462-452340) or Clare Larsen (01462-453541).

    Clare Larsen

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HERE AND THERE

LINK TO HOPE 2021 SHOEBOX APPEAL

Link to Hope will this year have been doing their wonderful work for 30 years, but what a year they have just had.  They tell us that despite having their fund-raising events and shops shut down for most of the year, they have still managed to move their HQ to smaller premises in Ferring (still retaining the same telephone number), whilst at the same time sending out over 20,750 shoeboxes to Eastern Europe last Christmas.

They go on to say:

‘We were really blessed when we received all of the shoeboxes to send out at Christmas.  Considering we all spent most of last year shut down we were delighted.  Even more delighted were the people who received them.  People who already live hard lives are living in even harsher conditions as work dries up and costs increase.  So, your shoeboxes, which are usually a source of great excitement, became more than that as toiletries, stationery items, woollen hats, razors and other items came out of them this year.  They became extra special gifts that not only showed love, but were also a practical help in people’s lives.’

That is why, once again as in previous years, we shall be supporting Link to Hope by filling shoeboxes with items for families or elderly folk in Eastern Europe in time for this Christmas.  As last year, the charity is again offering four different ways to support them:

  1. By filling a shoebox in the usual way and returning it to them.
  2. By giving a donation of around £20 they can fill a shoebox for you, put in a card (if you would like one), wrap the box and send you a photograph of the finished box.
  3. By donating money directly to the appeal.
  4. By donating items in bulk (i.e. more than one or two) from the list on their leaflet for them to use in shoeboxes.

If you would like to support the appeal, could you please download and print a leaflet from the Link to Hope website (if you are able) and then choose one of the options above.  Remember, each filled shoebox must be accompanied by its own completed leaflet.  Should you not be able to download a leaflet, we have some available (or we could email one to you if you prefer).  We also have our usual supply of empty shoeboxes so,

if you need leaflets or shoeboxes, let us know and we will get some to you.

All filled boxes have to be returned to the charity before Friday 5th November.  Christine and I will be filling some boxes ourselves as usual and will be aiming to take them to the area organiser at the beginning of that week.  (i.e. around Monday 1st November).  If you decide to fill a box and would like us to take it for you, please could you get it to us (or let us know) well before that date.  Thank you.  (Our telephone number is 01462-459145.  Please contact us if you need any further help or information).

Your response in previous years has always been amazing.  Please support us once again in these difficult times if you possibly can.  It really does make a huge difference.

                                                                                                                                                Arthur Sibun

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NEWS FROM THE WYMONDLEYS

ST. MARY’S LITTLE WYMONDLEY

A NEW BEGINNING……….

With lockdown restrictions easing, the joy of being able to sing in church again is wonderful.  I feel this is an exciting time for St. Mary’s, thanks to Reverend Ginni’s services online, which have proved very popular with Little Wymondley residents, and we are pleased to be hosting three weddings this year.

The churchyard is once again looking immaculate, thanks due to our long serving, regular grasscutters and keepers, and to Jayne and Andrew of Church Path who have spent a week of their holiday to get the rest of the grass down to a manageable level again.  If we all work together and do a little area when we can, the task will

be easier. 

I was very heartened on my recent trip to church.  I got there to find the church was open, Reverend Ginni 

was there to meet Zac who is keen to start a martial arts class for children in September, Jayne and Andrew

were working in the churchyard, and it just felt good to see the church buzzing again.  I know Reverend Ginni has some new ideas to welcome folk into the church, there’s a relaxing reading area and provisions for making

a cup of tea to come.  It’s all a bit different, but the church must evolve if we are to keep it, and we all want to

do that.

GARDEN UPDATE

Every year the seasons present us with different conditions.  This year, with all the rain and sunshine, our garden has looked really lush, the lawn mower has certainly earned its keep.  We have had the best sweet peas I have ever known, I have been picking them in quantity every week and they are so lovely to look at and the perfume has filled the house.  All the shrubs and trees have enjoyed a serious growth spurt, so the next task is pruning, but that is the joy of a garden and the approaching autumn. 

All the hedgerows and meadows around us are a profusion of colour with all the wild flowers.  We have also had a bumper crop of ducks, a family of thirteen, which have all reached maturity, a five, a three, and just when we thought that was it, another clutch of eight have arrived, so a good year.

                                                                                                                                          Rosemary Stratton

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WYMONDLEY PARISH COUNCIL

The next Parish Council meeting is on Monday 6th September at 7.30pm. taking place at Wymondley JMI School, Siccut Road, Little Wymondley.  The agenda and supporting papers will be available on the Parish Council tab of the Council's website (https://wymondleypc.org.uk) shortly.

Sharon Long

Clerk to Wymondley Parish Council

Phone:   07733-853263

E-mail:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  www.wymondleypc.org.uk

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ST. MARY’S GREAT WYMONDLEY

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CHURCH BUILDING WORK

The PCC is busy applying for Grants from various Charitable Trusts to assist with funding for the work that has still to be done to enable the church to be open again.  To be in the middle of extensive building work at the start of the Pandemic with a closed church and lockdowns has made progress very difficult.  There have not been the usual opportunities for fundraising until recently with the Tabletop Sale.  Hopefully the next few months will show some signs of development within the building project.

 

TABLETOP SALE

The Tabletop Sale on Saturday 21st August was a great success in spite of the damp weather.  The Sale was held in the dry in the Village Hall and the refreshments on the Green under two gazebos.  A total of £305 was raised for the Church Restoration Fund.  A three-way benefit for the Church, people in the village who were able to

de-clutter and various Charity Shops and Depots where the leftovers were taken afterwards.  Even left-over cakes were taken to the Community Garden where some people met up for tea and cake the next afternoon. 

BICYCLES FOR SYRIAN REFUGEES

On Monday 9th August a van came from The Bike Project to collect 21 bikes that we had collected from people in the village and friends in the area.  The Bike Project has depots and workshops in centres in UK.  They repair and re-cycle bicycle parts to enable them to give bicycles to Syrian refugees who have come to this country and need transport to go about their lives.  Ours went to a depot in London.  It was a really worthwhile thing to do and we hope our bikes will all have a new life in some form or other.

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CHURCHYARD

The two wildlife areas in the churchyard have been a mass of ragwort this year with a sea of yellow which had

to be pulled up before it seeded everywhere.  One plant is capable of producing 60 thousand seeds and the seeds can lie dormant in the soil until conditions are right for germination.  They are luckily shallow rooted but it was still hard work to pull them all up apart from a few which had Cinnabar Moth caterpillars on them as they are the moth’s food source.  It is a good plant for pollinators and is an important part of the native flora of Britain

so it was good to leave a few plants.  Ragwort has been so prolific this year in the fields and roadsides.  It is especially poisonous to horses but also to other livestock.  The plants were taken wrapped up in sheets in two journeys to the tip to go in the green waste skip.  A good job done which hopefully will stop the churchyard having so much next year.

                                                                                                                                                Cherry Carter

BIKE ‘n’ HIKE - SATURDAY 11th SEPTEMBER

The Herts. and Beds. Historic Churches Trust is there to support, via grants, the care and repair of churches and chapels in the area and the Bike 'n' Hike event is a very important event for fund raising.  We aim to have some riders from Great Wymondley again this year and would love your support though the Just Giving site, https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/nicola-gilbert23.  It would be great to have a rider or walker from Little Wymondley?  Both churches will be open to greet the visitors.  Let’s hope for good weather.

If you want to be involved, please contact Nicky via email, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

                                                                                                                                                Nicky Gilbert

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WYMONDLEY BAPTIST CHURCH

We've had a summer of sport, what with football, tennis, the Tours de France, the Olympic Games and more. The dedication and enthusiasm of the players and participants has been very evident and the excitement of a trophy or a medal has been shared among us all and has made all the hard work and training worthwhile.  

The Apostle Paul spoke of the Olympic Games as we read in his first letter to the Church at Corinth, comparing the races to the Christian life:  'Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize.  Run in such a way as to get the prize.  Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training.  They do it to get a crown that will not last;  but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.' (1 Cor: 9:24)  We saw the importance of teamwork in the Games and the exuberant joy shared when the goals were scored or the race won.  Even in tennis, what did we hear when the speech came following victory?  Thanks to all who helped, inspired and supported them and we hear the special words, 'especially to my team'.  This speaks to me of the importance of teamwork, especially in the Church.  It is a good feeling to know that whatever we do we have the support and encouragement of 'the team' who are as eager as we are to see God's hand at work.  As Paul wrote to the Church at Philippi 'Make my joy complete, by being one in spirit and purpose.'

We are delighted that on Monday 6th September 'It's Monday' will be restarting at 10.30am. after a long wait

due to Covid - 19.  We look forward to having a varied programme and it will be a joy to meet up together again each Monday morning.

Tuesdays we have met for coffee and discussion each First Tuesday on Zoom but this could change and we may soon be back at The Orange Tree.  We will let you know what will be happening on 7th September.  Tuesday evenings will be our Prayer Time and this will sometimes be on zoom and other times we will meet together.

It will be announced.  But it has been good to pray from our homes over the months from 7.30pm. with people near and far.

Bible Study Groups will meet fortnightly on Wednesday at 7.30pm. and on Friday at 11.00am.  The Community Bible Study Group will meet at Oakhurst (Margaret Edmond's home) on 8th and 22nd September

at 2.30pm.  A warm welcome to all who would like to join this group.

It has been good to have the Church open for services over these past months and we also have the opportunity to attend the services on zoom.  You are very welcome to attend the Chapel or to join us on zoom.  If you wish to join this, dial in at 10.30am. for a 10.45am. start on 0131-4601196 or 0203-0512874.  Please use the link https/zoom.us/j/86757525648 or download the zoom app. and join using ID8675752648.  Any problems phone 07531-081621.

Our thoughts and prayers are with all who are feeling unwell at this time and for those mourning and missing loved ones.  We are forever thankful for the vaccine and pray for the Government for wisdom in all decisions as we still exercise caution and pray for the countries still struggling both with the virus and with other strife and suffering.

Speakers on Sundays in September at 10.45am.

5th        Dr Barry Funnell

12th      Rev. David Ronco

19th      Kieran Murphy

26th      Will Andrews  (Harvest Thanksgiving)

Marjorie McCarley  (01438-727050)

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NEWS FROM ST. IPPOLYTS

COFFEE MORNINGS

Come for a cuppa on a Monday morning after School drop-off!  All welcome.

From Monday 6th September and every Monday during term time join us for a drink and a chat in the church once you have dropped your children off at School.  A chance to catch-up with old friends and meet new ones. Younger siblings welcome.

                                                                                                                                                        Dee Soden

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MOVING ON

As many of you know, I will be leaving St. Ippolyts and Hitchin after 49 amazing and mostly happy years.  The used postage stamps you have been collecting for the Leprosy Mission have been most gratefully received.  Why that particular charity?  Well I was born in a leper colony in India many, many years ago!  Thank you for the stamps, and it would be so good if someone involved with a charity collecting them could take over from me.  Please do get in touch if you could help in this way.

                                                                                                                        Liz Cowlishaw  (01462-459104)

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HORSE BLESSING SERVICE

A huge thank you to all who attended the Horse Blessing Service on Sunday 15th August at St. Ippolyts Church where avery generous amount of £259 was donated in aid of Riding for the Disabled.  This will benefit many of our local special needs children.  This year, the service was as popular as in previous years with 17 horses attending and many people congregating in the church yard to join in the service.

Reverend Ginni welcomed everyone and explained the history of St. Hippolytus the patron saint of horses and the reason for the Horse Blessing Service.  We all sang a hymn and said prayers together and Reverend Ginni blessed each horse in turn, also treating them to a slice of carrot.  There were refreshments on offer and with the help of the sunshine the afternoon was a huge success.

                                                                                                                                                Joan Pinkstone

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ST. IPPOLYTS PARISH COUNCIL

The next meeting will take place on Monday 13th September at 7.30pm. in St. Ippolyts Parish Hall.  A copy of the agenda will be displayed on the notice boards and website:  www.stippolyts-parishcouncil.org.uk.

There is always an agenda item for Public Participation where residents can ask questions and raise issues. Please contact Susan Mears on 01462-421409 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The Autumn Magazine

If you would like to write an article or sponsor this magazine, please contact Susan.  Deadline for entries

Friday 24th September.

                                                                                                                                                        Pam Skeggs

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ST. IPPOLYTS PARISH HALL

The next management meeting will take place on Wednesday 29th September at 6.00pm. in the committee rooms.  User group representatives are welcome to come along.

For enquiries, please contact Sam Kelly, Bookings Secretary, on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone

07389-891417 or visit website www.stippolyts-hall.co.uk.

Diary dates:

Christmas Fair with user groups and trustees raffle: 

Saturday 27th November 2021 from 2.00pm. to 4.30pm.

AGM

Tuesday 22nd March 2022 at 6.00pm.

                                                                                                                                                        Pam Skeggs

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PARISH CHURCH REGISTERS

ST. IPPOLYTS

Marriages                  15th July:         Dean John Aylott and Stacey Ann Malone

                                    24th July:         Ryan John Hardiman and Heather Louise Beard

                                    24th July:         Jonathan Edward Pike and Charlotte Olivia Amy Odell

                                    19th August:     Derek Raymond and Tracey Baldock

Burial of Ashes          7th July:           Sarah Brooker

                                    7th July:           Janet Brooker

Funeral and Burial               13th July:         Shaun Glasgow

LITTLE WYMONDLEY

Baptism                      24th June:         Jesse Moffat

Marriage                    7th August                    Paul Cooper and Jodie Stokes

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100 CLUB

The winners for July were:

No. 59                         Carolyn Marsh            £20

No. 24                         Frank Harding             £15

No. 75                         Andrew Sheach            £10

And for August:

                        No. 80             Liz Cowlishaw             £20

No. 55             Jane White                   £15

No. 16             Mary Blaksley             £10

                                                                                                                                                Shelagh Cox

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DEADLINE

Material for the OCTOBER issue of Pax should reach Clare Larsen, 24 Ninesprings Way, Hitchin SG4 9NN (tel. 01462-453541 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) by WEDNESDAY 15th SEPTEMBER please.  Or given to Rosemary Stratton by Sunday 12th September.

If you have an article to contribute please make sure that it reaches me on or before this deadline in order to

fit in with our new printer’s working timetable.  Thank you.

                                                                                                                                                Clare Larsen

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Heroes, a thought from Revd Paul

HEROES

As a boy in the early 50’s I had my heroes.  Roger Bannister who ran the world's first 4 minute mile.  The

soccer players Stanley Matthews and Nat Lofthouse;  many years later I visited the latter's mother in the care home near Bolton where she resided.  Two cricketing heroes - one was the dashing Keith Miller - heretical because he was an Australian and the rivalry over the Ashes was intense.  Above all, Tom Graveney of my beloved Gloucestershire;  I once cycled to Cheltenham to watch him bat but he only made two runs.  Funny having such heroes when I hated soccer and was totally useless at sport.....

These days I have four Bible heroes and being me they are probably unusual.  First there is Elijah, seemingly

the first recorded sufferer from manic depression.  Look at his antics at Mount Carmel as he taunts the prophets of Baal.  First bringing down fire from heaven, then after massacring them, outrunning King Ahab's chariot to Jezreel, a feat that would leave modern day marathon runners far behind.  Then sinking into a deep depression as he realises that he has seemingly achieved nothing and Jezebel was after him with malicious intent.  The second hero is Job, another sufferer from depression albeit a different type.  He was a huge influence on me when I suffered from the same condition after having to retire early;  the final chapters of his book about

human suffering are among the most wonderful in all literature.

Then in the New Testament two of the disciples.  First there is Andrew, Peter's kid brother.  The approachable open minded disciple who never seemed to object to being the only one of the four fishermen (the other two being James and John) who was not in Jesus' closest circle, and who was quite happy being in Peter's shadow. Above all, Thomas.  His 'day' falls in July and while I doubt if it will be marked extravagantly in the parish the least I can do is to make him the topic of my column this month.

'Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails and place my finger in the print of the nails and place my hand into His side I will not believe'.  I always want to change one word of that - 'I CANNOT believe' rather than

'I WILL not believe'.  He desperately wanted to believe that Christ was alive and we find Christ being very sensitive to this.  Far from being Doubting Thomas he was in fact among the most loyal and bravest of all Christ's disciples as we see in other references to him in the gospels.

Searching Thomas rather than Doubting Thomas.  He wanted proof in the way that Job wanted answers.

That is what unites my two greatest Bible heroes.  The trouble is that Christianity is not like that because

religion is about faith rather than proof.  That may be one of many reasons why it is so out of fashion in a

world where everything has to add up.  We want God to be tidy and that is not how God is - because tidiness

is a human concept and God is above that.

I embrace the idea of an untidy God, one who does not provide easy answers and cannot be categorized.

I admire and respect those who have a secure and stable faith.  But to me the Christian life is a pilgrimage into God, an eternal search for God.  It is not stable, it does not conform to what Thomas aspired to having.  God

by His very nature is mysterious and we must allow Him to be.  Thomas had the courage to ask questions;  that is why he is my greatest hero and why I seek to be like him.  Asking questions of God is not wrong, doubt is not wrong.  Questions are part of the search for God that we should all have, part of the Christian pilgrimage.

Very best wishes, Paul

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