Reflections Blog

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Our second Jubilate! Choir Concert at St. Ippolyts Church will be on Thursday 30th March at 7.30pm.  The programme will include folk songs and songs from stage and screen and the choir will be directed by John Edwards.

Tickets will be on sale from the beginning of March from Mary Hooper (01462-457350) and Jane Veasey (01462-434254) priced at £6 to include a glass of wine and nibbles.

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There will be Lent Lunches in St. Ippolyts Parish Hall every Wednesday during Lent starting on Ash Wednesday, 1st March, from 12.45pm. till 2.00pm.  A minimum donation of £2.50 would be appreciated (additional donations for second helpings).  The proceeds will be shared between the USPG and the Motor Neurone Disease Association.  Everyone welcome so do come along and enjoy our tasty homemade soups and fresh bread.


The Friends of St Ippolyts Church

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Following my manic exploits during the Christmas period, I am pleased to report that life at The Vicarage has calmed a little over the past couple of weeks and I am starting to lose the ‘rabbit in the headlights’ look that I seem to have had since I joined the Benefice in August!  I can’t believe that I’ve been here six months already and I’ve been reflecting on all that’s happened since I arrived, the expectations I came with and the reality of the life I now live.

If I’m honest, I didn’t know what to expect when I got here, but I was very scared!!!  If the stories about parish life, as told by some of my ‘seasoned’ and possibly slightly sadistic, vicar ‘friends’ were to be believed, then I had better brace myself, develop a thick skin and learn to appreciate the therapeutic value of a large gin! 

I’m pleased to report though, that the reality of being your vicar has been a wonderfully positive experience so far - and I haven’t yet resorted to gin!

One of the things I was most worried about when I got here was my much documented lack of singing skills.  Whilst I am happy to make a joke of my ability to make ears bleed when I burst into song, the reality is that it is a very real challenge when part of your job is to lead others in worship.  You can only lead when you know where you are going.....and believe me, my singing voice was never on the map in the first place!!!  I did ask God more than once for a little bit of help, perhaps quietly hoping that I might wake up one morning with a voice like Whitney Houston or Katherine Jenkins, but I also know that God gives us what we need, not necessarily what we want!!

You can imagine my delight then when my plea for singers to help me yielded a great response.  I now have a bunch of 16 singers who I have named the Melodic Miracles and who accompany me, in groups of 6-8, into 3 care homes every month for a short service of Holy Communion with hymns.

The newly formed Melodic Miracles met at The Vicarage in January to enjoy a social get-together and to plan for the next few months.  Wine flowed and nibbles were munched and hymn books passed around and before too long, huge lists of favourite hymns were compiled.........and then they started singing!  I think there may have been a correlation between the increase in noise volume and thedecrease in the quantity of wine but it was so lovely to see people from all three parishes working together and having fun.

The following week we headed off into the care homes where we were warmly greeted by the residents who told us that they had been eagerly awaiting our visit.  One lady told us that she had been a member of her church for 43 years before she had had to move into the home and how she so missed her church family.  She said that when we came it felt like we

were bringing church to her and she felt part of a worshipping community again.  Others said that our visits made them feel that they mattered to the ‘outside world’.  I don’t think that any of us realised the impact that the simple thing we were doing would have on both the care home residents and us until that moment.  It was both a joyful and a humbling experience and, for me, an unexpected answer to my prayers.

So now that the Melodic Miracles have taken care of my little singing ‘issue’, what next?  Well, the season of Lent begins on 1st March and marks a time when, as Christians, we take stock of where we are at in our lives, a time for reflection and change and a refocussing on Christ. 

Traditionally the forty days in Lent were marked by fasting, both from foods and festivities, and by other acts of penance.  The three traditional practices to be taken up with renewed vigour during Lent are prayer (justice towards God), fasting (justice towards self), and almsgiving (justice towards neighbour).  However, in modern times, observers often give up an action of theirs considered to be a vice, add something that is considered to be able to bring them closer to God, and often give the time or money spent doing that to charitable purposes or organisations.

I think that, in light of my reflections on my first 6 months here, perhaps this Lent, I should give up worrying, add a renewed determination to trust in God’s provision for me........and give my ‘gin money’ to charity!!!

Whatever discipline you choose to give up or take up this Lent, my prayer for all of us is that we find the time to build on our relationship with God, to learn to ask for help when we need it and to trust that God will give us what we need.

    With love - Ginni

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Weekly Pew Sheet, the Second Sunday before Lent, 19th February 2017

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Weekly Pew Sheet, the fourth Sunday after the Epiphany, 29th January 2017

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Christmas Reflections by Revd Ginni Dear


“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

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Weekly Pew Sheet, the third Sunday after Epiphany, 22nd January 2017.

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Weekly pew Sheet, Second Sunday after Epiphany, 15th January 2017

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Change of Service times from 1st March 2017!!!!!!!!

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

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'Bible Study Group'

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

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Weekly Pew Sheet, the first Sunday after the Epiphany, 8th January 2017

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Weekly Pew Sheet, 1st January 2017. The Naming and Circumcision of Jesus.

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St Ippolyts Church Quiz 2016

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
12 10,9,8,7….3,2,1. (9) Countdown
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
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Our next Services

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

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Weekly pew Sheet- Christmas Day, 25th December 2016

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Christmas Services, come and join us at one of our many services

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Weekly Pew Sheet, 4th Sunday of Advent, 18th December 2016


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Weekly Pew Sheet, Third Sunday after Advent, 11th December 2016

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IT IS CHRISTMAS - A thought from Revd Ginni.


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

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Weekly Pew Sheet, 2nd Sunday of Advent, 4th December 2016


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