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Face Coverings in church compulsory from 8th August

Face Coverings in church compulsory from 8th August 

Further guidance has been issued on the wearing of face coverings, more details will follow. However, it is clear that ministers who can remain suitably distanced from their congregation not need to wear face coverings all the time during services. The advice also confirms that the minister, bride and groom are exempt from wearing face coverings during the wedding service. 

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Good News, there will be a service in St Ippolyts Church this Sunday 12th July 2020!

Fab News!!!  We are in a position to open our church at St Ippolyts this Sunday. 
The service will be in the traditional language of the Book of Common Prayer and will begin at 9.15am but we ask that you arrive by 9am at the latest.
We will still live-stream the service on Facebook.
We can only socially distance 22 people so please do not be offended if we are full when you arrive.  A guide to what will happen if you choose to attend church is at the end of this blog
The PCC's have decided to have one service per week in the Benefice - always at 9.15am - during July and August to see if we can effectively manage the government's social distancing restrictions.  This will be reviewed at the beginning of September.  There will be two services per month at St Ippolyts and one each at the Wymondleys.  Please see the attached rota and pay close attention to where each service is being held.
St Ippolyts Church will also be open on Sundays between 12 noon and 6pm for private prayer.
EVEN MORE GOOD NEWS!!!  Our annual Horse Blessing Service is GOING TO HAPPEN!!!  It will be on Sunday 16th August at 3pm.
Our Reader, Howell Davies is preaching this week so he will preach live on Sunday.
The link to our after-church cafe is as follows
Ginni Dear is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: After-church Cafe
Time: Jul 12, 2020 10:30 AM London

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Password: 759939
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Much love


Welcome Back to Church!!

Please do see this as a guide to help you understand what will happen and why when we reopen our churches for the first time after lockdown, rather than yet another list of do’s and don’ts designed to drive you mad!!

We want to welcome you so we can worship God together but we also want to keep you safe, follow the government guidelines and minimise misunderstandings.

We can safely seat and socially distance 22 people in St Ippolyts Church and St Mary’s, Little Wymondley and 12 in St Mary’s Great Wymondley.

Whilst we cannot sing hymns (as singing increases the transmission by aerosol and droplet), we can listen to music.  We can also receive Holy Communion (bread only), although please do not feel that you have to.  We can share the peace but without physical contact.

What will happen when I arrive at church?

It is very important that you arrive at church by 9am.

You will be greeted by a Steward who will ask you for your name and contact details (so we can Track and Trace any cases of Covid, details will be kept for 21 day and then destroyed).  

You will then be asked to use the hand sanitiser and shown to your pew – your service book will be on your seat and we ask that you leave it there when you leave so that we can clean it properly before it is used again.

Please remain in your pew for the entire service and wait for the steward to tell you when it is appropriate for you to leave afterwards.  This is so that we can manage social distancing effectively.

Although it’s really tempting to join in with the hymns when the music plays, please resist the urge!  Entertain yourself by watching your neighbour’s eyebrows wiggle and lips twitch as they too try not to burst out into song!!

The Vicar will bring Holy Communion to you in your pew should you wish to receive it.  She will have sanitised her hands immediately prior to doing this and will wear a glove but please do not feel you have to receive Holy Communion if you feel vulnerable.  It is YOUR decision and your right to decide what is best for you.

The entire service will be live-streamed directly to Facebook.  This is so that those who cannot come back to church at this time are able to worship with us.  The camera will be positioned by the organ and will only focus on the Sanctuary.  At no point will any of the congregation be filmed, however, please do be aware that it is also recording sound so there is a possibility that anything you say may be broadcast and we ask that you keep any conversations inside the church to a minimum.

Unfortunately, we are unable to gather inside the church to chat after the service but you are more than welcome to socially distance yourselves in the churchyard to catch up with friends. (You can bring your own coffee too if you like!)

Finally....PLEASE, PLEASE don’t be offended if we are full when you arrive.  It will break our hearts to turn you away but we absolutely have to follow the guidelines issued by the government.  We’ve worked really hard to make our churches as accessible and safe as we can and if we work together on this then hopefully we’ll see a further easing of restrictions soon.

Thank you for your support.

With much love

Revd Ginni and the PCC’S from St Ippolyts, Great Wymondley and Little Wymondley.

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Weekly Pew Sheet, Fourth Sunday after Trinity 5th July 2020

.200705 SundayRed July2020

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PAX July and August 2020










Pax         JULY and AUGUST  2020

Price:  40p.

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

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


St. Ippolyts

Michael Hooper, Hillrise, Stevenage Road, St. Ippolyts SG4 7PE                                           01462-457350

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

Great Wymondley

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

Paul Harding, The Old Rectory, Church Green, Great Wymondley SG4 7ES                                    01438-729219

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 -





Dear Friends,

Ginni asked me to write this column at very short notice on Tuesday 23rd June, the day when the Prime Minister announced that churches could reopen as from Saturday 4th July.  We discussed the situation in the benefice (as we saw it) before I put fingers to computer keyboard (as opposed to pen to paper), so this is as much from her as it is from me.

Our main priority will be ensuring the safety of those who use our churches while attempting to provide as meaningful a pattern of worship as possible.  During these past months the clergy have been provided with extensive guidance from the diocese and this has been a huge help.  Like the current situation this guidance is on-going so anything I write may be out of date by the time you read this.  Please therefore keep up to date by watching the church website which will inform you about services and church life in general - or by reading notices in the village.

It may be that in future this three month period of lockdown will be seen mainly negatively.  Many people have lost loved ones from the virus and others (including my younger daughter) have suffered from it but recovered. Many of those pillars of normal existence have been undermined or even destroyed, and if there is going to be a return to normality (whatever that is) it may well be slow and even painful.  It has been an earthquake that has shaken our security to its foundations, the more so because it came without much warning.

This has also been the case in the Church.  We have not been able to worship together since March and as a priest I have missed this very deeply.  Now however the light is starting to shine again and some kind of worship will hopefully begin in the near future in all our three churches.  All we know at present is that hymn singing cannot take place for the time being and some kind of social distancing will be needed.  In other words we cannot immediately turn the clock back to (say) February and have things as they were.  Decisions will be taken shortly about the nature of worship and indeed of ministry within the benefice;  as soon as they are they will be announced.

There has however been one very positive aspect of the lockdown which needs to continue and indeed to be developed.  Facebook and Zoom services have taken place and have been very widely supported.  Sadly I have not been able to take part in these because of computer deficiencies but they have been an enormous help to far more people in the benefice than could ever have been envisaged.  Any future pattern of worship will involve these continuing parallel with those in the churches.  They will not be an alternative to coming to church but 

will be especially for those who for one reason or another are unable to do so or who would prefer to worship privately in their own homes.  It is not clear how this will work in practice and it must be practicable for those organising it.  Again, watch this space.

These are challenging but also exciting times.  Organised Christianity may well come out of this experience stronger than it was before the virus hit us.  But whatever develops, remember that the Church is still there for you.  A mere virus cannot destroy its mission, its worship and its ministry.

With love and best wishes, Reverend Paul Lanham








With the reduction in traffic through the village high street, I was very surprised to see two Muntjac deer playing in a front garden and then skipping out onto the street, where normally you take your life in your hands opening the car door to venture to the Post Office.  That’s not the only place I have seen them;  one or two (difficult to be sure) have taken a fancy to our garden.  The first time we noticed one, we were quite thrilled and sat watching for a while as he nosed around the tree near the bird table.  Thinking about it later, I wondered what the attraction was, whilst they look lovely, they do have a voracious appetite, and we are quite fond of our shrubs. We checked the fences and discovered a gap under some wire, blocked that off and thought we had solved the problem, only to see a deer wander down one evening while we were still sitting outside, he wasn’t afraid of us, he looked at us as if to say, ‘What’s your problem?  I’ve just come for my supper’.  I followed him back up, I thought they were timid creatures, but I was easily within a few metres.  I watched him squeeze through again, more reinforcement to fence followed, but he was determined to come in, I can’t help feeling he was on a reconnaissance trip.  A few days absence and we thought we had succeeded, but no, there he is again, we have given up now, he comes and goes as he chooses, appears to be eating grass cuttings which have probably matured into silage, so he is very welcome to that.

We have two nesting ducks in the garden, the one at the back comes down early in the morning and makes a terrible fuss until we go out and feed her.  The other is under a hedge in the front, she has me very well trained.  I deliver two meals a day to her side, she only has to step out to eat.  I stand guard to keep pigeons at bay and she just steps back in.  We expect them to hatch any day now and there will be many more mouths to feed, but

it is lovely to see them.

We have a bay tree opposite where we sit.  There are at least three pairs of pigeons nesting in it, they are setting up a tower block of apartments, it’s quite funny watching them coming in and out at different levels.  The swifts are back, busy picking up water from the pond to construct their nests, so we have plenty to keep us amused and entertained.

                                                                                                                                            Rosemary Stratton







It is anticipated that there will be a remote meeting of the Wymondley Parish Council on Monday 20th July at 7.00pm. utilising Zoom.  Members of the public are welcome to attend the meeting and should email

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for further information.

      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.




What strange times these are for us all.

Does anyone else find the days and weeks flying past so fast?  So much to do and summer needs to stretch out before us to compensate for all the turmoil that Covid-19 has caused.

Here in Great Wymondley life carries on.  

The church is still closed awaiting renovation though the porch is open for Jam and Marmalade sales.  People are coming from all round the surrounding area on their walks and cycle rides and seem to enjoy choosing which varieties to get.  The Barbecue Sauce has done well too.

The swifts are nesting in the roof on the north side of the apse.  They are a joy to see during the day and in the early evening as they soar and dive catching insects in the skies over the village.  A pyramidal orchid is growing in the churchyard in a new place and narrowly missed being mowed down by the grass cutters.  It was in a different place from the one that appeared last year so we hope that they will spread.

The Community Orchard is thriving apart from one Conference pear tree.  This we think was the one tree, that when they arrived bare-rooted, had just one bit of root.  It will be replaced.  The paths are cut through the orchard and in the longer grass around the trees the Bee Orchids have bloomed.  There are fruits on a few of the trees but we need to remove them in the first few years as this encourages them to put their energy into developing a good root and branch system.  The Gaping Lane trees are a little bit older so we will leave a few apples on them so that we can try to identify what variety they are.

The Community Garden on the Garden Plots has had more clearance work done though there is still more to do.  If you are interested in helping please contact Rebecca Ullah at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  There are beds with a good variety of vegetables growing there and two enormous piles of wood chippings for creating the pathways.  Donated plants are on a table for passers-by to stop and buy plants.

The Garden Plots/Allotments have a licence between Settle and Wymondley Parish Council.  There will be vacant plots and part plots available to people within the parish to work and grow crops.  If you are interested you need to apply to the Clerk at Wymondley Parish Council - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  The plots have been designated as a Green Space on the Neighbourhood Plan and as Assets of Community Value. 


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The Stall on the Green has been doing a very good trade in vegetable and flowering plants on the days when it is put out.  Many people are developing their gardens during the lockdown and plants are not always available in the garden centres.

Technology has really come into its own as Services are shared with the three benefice churches on Facebook each Sunday at 9.15am. followed by a Zoom Café at 10.15am.  Then there is Morning and Evening Prayer Mondays to Thursdays at 9.00am. and 6.00pm.

The PCC’s of all three parishes in the benefice have held an important Zoom meeting to discuss the dire financial situation that all the churches are in because of the Pandemic.  There are at present no services, collections or fundraising events to bring in an income and yet there are still bills to pay.  St. Marys PCC here

in Great Wymondley has also had a Zoom meeting to discuss the way forward for the church here in the village.

                                                                                                                                           Cherry Carter




Did you see the description in the Comet recently about the Wymondleys?  Our villages were treated to a whole page which started like this "Nestled between the thriving towns of Hitchin and Stevenage are Little and Great Wymondley - two compact villages in North Hertfordshire that cram convenience and spirited community into 1.4 miles of glorious countryside."  Wow! We certainly live, according to that description, in a wonderful area. However accurate we think those words are, we have to admit that we do live in a good place and we have much for which to be thankful.

We have our Churches, and all through the Pandemic we have been able to link in to a Church service, on zoom or Facebook, or communicate with our Vicar or Chapel member by phone or e-mail.  We also have the Wymondley Scrapbook on line which Robbie Howard has provided, and friendly neighbours.  The local pubs have provided take away meals, our Parish Councillors look after things for us and we have a village school whose motto is 'Responsible, Respectful and Remarkable'.  And these are just some of our blessings.

On Sundays at Chapel (on Zoom) we have been doing a series on 'Restoration', starting with the rebuilding of the temple through the people who had been suffering for years in captivity.  This restoration resulted not only with the temple in Jerusalem but also the restoration of the people whose willingness, generosity and devotion renewed their faith as well as getting the job done.  We read in Ezra that 'many wept aloud while many shouted for joy when they saw the foundations of the temple being laid'.  Worship and praise of God resounded through the city. 

Our pandemic cannot be compared to the exile of God's people, but as we move into the next stage with the beginning of a kind of new normality, we can feel the joy and optimism that they had when they saw what could be accomplished. 

Over these weeks we have prayed in our homes but all together on Tuesday evenings at 7.30pm.  As soon as we are able to use our church building and hall we will make sure that we let everyone know.  With social distancing still an issue our services will continue on zoom until further notice. 

Our prayers are for all who are ill and for those mourning and missing loved ones.  We continue to pray for our Government and for the Queen and for the NHS and for those suffering with this virus in parts of the world where there is extreme poverty, and for the Covid-19 to be over once and for all. 

Our speakers for July:  Link in at 10.30am. for a 10.45am. start

5th        Kieran Murphy

12th      Phil Jackson

19th      Bryan Field

26th      Will Andrews

And August:

2nd       Pauline Wade

9th        Bryan Field

16th      Dr. Barry Funnell

23rd      Ian Merrick

30th      Derek Peterson

Link in on https// or download the zoom app and join using ID8675752648.  You can also dial in on 01314-601196 or 0203-512874.  Any problems phone 07531-081621.  This link can also be used for Bible Study on Wednesday evenings at 7.30pm. (weekly) or Friday at 11.00am. (fortnightly)

Marjorie McCarley  (01438-727050)




I am writing this as it seems that the lockdown is being radically eased.  To be honest I have suffered rather badly in the last three months from a non-medical condition that might be called Lockdown Inertia.  I have read countless books (of dubious literary but great entertainment value), attempted innumerable crossword puzzles, spent countless hours in a very comfortable armchair watching repeats of old television programmes (how have I lived without Van der Valk, Rumpole of the Bailey and The Bill, and why can't programmes of that quality be produced these days?) and lain luxuriously in bed knowing that I don't have a sermon to write so I can get up when I like.  It has made me feel rather guilty.

But apart from the negative aspect of the lockdown there has been a positive one, in the shape of the garden which is rather large.  The start of the lockdown coincided with the start of the growing season so when I took the resulting debris from weeks of hacking back bushes and grubbing up weeds to the tip in mid-June I could not have got a single weed more into the car.  I wouldn't say that the garden is pristine but it's less overgrown than it might have been.

But it has also been silent.  No aircraft screaming past on their way to Luton Airport as they normally do.  Fewer cars on the local bypass, which can clearly be heard from half a mile away.  Just bird song and silence. This has given me a chance to sit on our beloved swingseat - and listen to silence.  As a countryman born and bred (despite an interlude ministering in urban Lancashire in the 1970’s) I love peace and silence;  even in Lancashire I could go up onto the moors and find solitude.  We never seem to have time to be still these days; we always have to be doing something.  For some this has been a time of deep loneliness, reminding us that social inter-relating is part of what living is all about.  But for many it has also been a time when we can pause and ponder about things that might otherwise be crowded out.  'What is this life if full of care, We have no time to stand and stare?' wrote the poet W.H. Davies.  Perhaps I am lucky in that my formative years included days spent on the Cotswold escarpment near Gloucester;  I could gaze out over the glittering River Severn to the Forest of Dean and the distant Welsh Mountains - marvel at that amazing view - and wonder.

Sitting on that seat (and gently swaying) has also given me an opportunity to do something that I would otherwise never dream of doing, namely meditating.  Emptying my mind and just being still.  What do I really believe?  What is the purpose of my being on earth?  What are the things which are most important to me?  What for that matter do I make of a garden where scientifically everything fits together in such an intricate way? Then after dark to sit on that seat and look at the stars and wonder about Creation.  As someone who (even at my age) always wants to be doing something, it has been a fascinating thing to do and I must go on doing it if the weather is kind.  We need to pause and be still from time to time.  Regardless how the rest of the summer works out, this time of the year is the ideal opportunity.

       Very best wishes, Paul Lanham





It is with regret that due to Covid-19, the Fund Raising Committee has taken the decision to cancel the

Flower Festival which was due to take place in August. 

                           Mary Hooper



The next meeting which takes place on Monday 13th July at 7.30pm. will be on Zoom.  Copies of the Agenda and Approved Minutes are displayed in the council notice boards and on website  There is always an Agenda item for Public Participation where residents can ask questions and raise issues.  Please contact clerk on 01462-421409 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your questions if you would like to join this meeting.  There will not be a meeting in August. 

Thank you to Ginni for hosting our Zoom Café.  It is good to see and chat with others. 

                                                                                                                                                     Pam Skeggs



One of the sanity-saving activities I have pursued during the Covid 19 lock-down has been the taking of regular extended country walks.  I always enjoyed a walk but one of the positives from this wretched pandemic ……. and YES, there have been positives amid the pain and disruption ……… is that I have extended my normal strolls into countryside safaris and have “yomped” much more than ever before, eating up miles of country roads, paths and bridleways and considerably extending my knowledge of the local geography.

It may be that growing up in an industrial city environment, as I did, makes me appreciate the serenity of the countryside the more and I must even confess to feeling a sense of “ownership” at times, when I get a lovely landscape all to myself.  My preference would be to tread paths and bridleways - even if they are sometimes muddy, rutted and occasionally decorated by early morning equine traffic.  Country lanes with their high hedges and leafy overhangs are charming but the tarmacadam surfaces are less appealing.  However, it was something I noticed in these country lanes which set me wandering …… and rambling.

Hard road surfaces usually require run-offs to carry away the rainwater; ….. gutters and drains …… placed at strategic points to prevent flooding.  And here is the nub of this “ramble”.  I noticed that nearly all of those grill-like apertures in the roadside are blocked and unable to do the job for which they were intended.  It was here that my mind went back to my boyhood and those back-to-back terraced streets running down to the railway yards, and a little man called Jim. 

Jim was road sweeper - quite small in stature - whose long handled broom somehow seemed to me to be taller than the man himself.  His barrow, I recall, also had various other tools for raking and scraping and with these implements Jim took great pride in keeping the gutters free flowing, raking out the alien tufts of grass which dared to spring up and ensuring that those wrought iron grills in the gutters were open for business.  The rains might come but Jim had made sure that the channels were open and ready to cope. 

Walking on I reflected on the pandemic and all the worry, distress and anxiety it had generated.  How so many people were choked either by immediate problems or mired at the thought of what might lie ahead.  For some the pressure seems to have built up as the weeks passed by and there was no sign of release.  Perhaps the drains were blocked?  The channels to get things moving again were cluttered.  We needed a Jim to perform his magic, to help shift the mental detritus and make us able to feel free-flowing again.

Those of us sharing the Christian faith know that we have a “Jim” who is constantly with us, helping to sweep the road clean, helping us to shed unnecessary mental clutter and we are grateful for that.  But it is also up to us to play a part in keeping the daily path easier to travel.  Perhaps we should all become “little Jims”, and offer to help sweep the path for fellow travellers who are experiencing difficulties at this present point on life’s journey.

George Herbert, a poet and clergyman writing in the 17th century seems to have appreciated the value of a broom in good hands:-

“A servant with this clause makes drudgery divine:

Who sweeps a room as for Thy laws makes that and the action fine.”

John Edwards





Funeral & Burial                  20th May:         Susan Christine Lafferty

                                                18th June:         Graeme Shirley Kidd

Cremations                21st May:         Wendy Marian Gray

                                    27th May:         Dennis Frederick Stokes

                                    4th June:           Anthony Pugh


Burial             3rd March:        Derrick John Silver

Burial of Ashes                      16th March:      Carole Howman

                                                                        Ronald Howman


Funeral & Burial                       19th May:         Dalia Asher


100 CLUB

The prize draws for the ‘100 Club’ have been made as usual for the months of April to June, but due to being in lockdown and the difficulties of getting cheques sorted out, the cheques are only just being issued.

There are also some subscriptions which are now overdue for the same reason.  In the near future, people who pay by cheque or cash in the first half of the year will receive a request to pay.  If this applies to you, rest assured that your numbers have remained in the draw!

The winners for April, May and June were:


No. 16             Mary Blaksley                         £20

No. 52             Doreen Smith              £15

No. 51             Doreen Smith              £10


No. 21             Frank Harding             £20

No. 50             Sue Sykes                    £15

No 167                        Ryan Butcher               £10


No. 33             Carole Zimmern          £50

No. 84             Luan Cowlishaw          £30

No. 169           Saskia Weiss                £20

No. 65             William Steel               £20

No. 156           Becky Furr                  £10

                                                                                                                                                Shelagh Cox



Material for the SEPTEMBER 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 Saturday 15th August, please.  Or given to Rosemary Stratton by Wednesday 12thAugust.



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Weekly Pew Sheet, the third Sunday after after Trinity, 28th June 2020

.Pew Sheet 28th June 2020

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Church opening, news from Rev Ginni

I hope you are all well.
Good news!  We are getting close to being able to open our churches again!  Although we will be restricted by what we can do, (no sharing of the peace, no singing and possibly no Communion) we will be opening our doors at St Ippolyts on Sunday 12th July at 9.15am.  We can only socially distance a maximum of 30 people and we have still to finalise some details and arrangements so please do check St Ippolyts Church website and also the benefice Facebook page nearer the time.  The service will still be live-streamed to Facebook.
We plan to live-stream tomorrow's service from St Ippolyts Church to see how well we can manage it so do please bear with us if there are any glitches.  More good news though......there will be music!!  The words are printed below
Very much looking forward to seeing you all soon.
Much love

1st Hymn – All Creatures of our God and King.

All creatures of our God and King, 
lift up your voice and with us sing 
alleluia, alleluia! 
Thou burning sun with golden beam, 
thou silver moon with softer gleam, 
O praise him, O praise him, 
alleluia, alleluia, alleluia! 

Thou rushing wind that art so strong, 
ye clouds that sail in heav'n along, 
O praise him, alleluia! 
Thou rising morn, in praise rejoice, 
ye lights of evening, find a voice, 
O praise him, O praise him, 
alleluia, alleluia, alleluia! 

Thou flowing water, pure and clear, 
make music for thy Lord to hear, 
alleluia, alleluia!
Thou fire so masterful and bright, 
that givest man both warmth and light, 
O praise him, O praise him, 
alleluia, alleluia, alleluia! 

Let all things their Creator bless,
and worship him in humbleness,
O praise him, alleluia!
Praise, praise the Father, praise the Son,
and praise the Spirit, three in one, 
O praise him, O praise him, 
alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

2nd Hymn – Praise my soul, the King of heaven.

Praise, my soul, the King of heaven;
to his feet your tribute bring.
Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,
evermore his praises sing.
Alleluia, alleluia!
Praise the everlasting King!

Praise him for his grace and favour
to our fathers in distress.
Praise him, still the same as ever,
slow to chide, and swift to bless.
Alleluia, alleluia!
Glorious in his faithfulness!

Father-like he tends and spares us;
well our feeble frame he knows.
In his hands he gently bears us,
rescues us from all our foes.
Alleluia, alleluia!
Widely yet his mercy flows!

Angels, help us to adore him;
ye behold him face to face.
Sun and moon, bow down before him,
dwellers all in time and space.
Alleluia, alleluia!
Praise with us the God of grace! 

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Weekly Pew Sheet, the second Sunday after Trinity, 21st June 2020

.200621 A4red21-6 2ndsunaftTrinity

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Happy Birthday and Congratulations to Mrs Andrews on her 90th Birthday.

.IMG 7387 Mrs Andrews

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Weekly Pew Sheet, First Sunday after Trinity - 14th June 2020

.200614 Pew Sheet 14th June 2020

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Sermon by Howell Davies, Sunday 14th June 2020 - St Barnabas

Trinity +1                                                                                                                             14 June 2020

St Barnabas


        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.

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Weekly Pew Sheet - Trinity Sunday 7th June 2020

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JUNE 2020 - PAX






Pax                                                       JUNE  2020



Price:  40p.

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

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


St. Ippolyts

Michael Hooper, Hillrise, Stevenage Road, St. Ippolyts SG4 7PE                                           01462-457350

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

Great Wymondley

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

Paul Harding, The Old Rectory, Church Green, Great Wymondley SG4 7ES                                    01438-729219

Little Wymondley

Mike Allardyce, 81 Whitney Drive, Stevenage SG1 4BL                                                        07967-831968

David Palmer, 198 Cleveland Way, Great Ashby SG1 6BY                                                    01438-367912

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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









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, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call HertsHelp on 0300-123-4044.

  • 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

            Barbara Thomas










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…

Lock down!

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. 

                                                                                                                                          Rosemary Stratton











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

or lonely.

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. 

                                                                                                                                                   Cherry Carter










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  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)












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.




The Annual Meeting followed the above meeting on Zoom.

The next meeting takes place on Monday 8th June at 7.30pm. and will also be on Zoom.  Copies of the Agenda and Approved Minutes are displayed in the council notice boards and on website  There is always an Agenda item for Public Participation where residents can ask questions and raise issues.  Please contact the clerk on 01462-421409 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your questions if you would like to join this meeting.




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 or

Thank you very much to Ginni for her emails and services on Facebook, they are much appreciated.

                                                                                                                                                     Pam Skeggs






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.

                                                                                                                                         Barbara Thomas


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


200601 Pax June photo







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, 

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 Monday 15th June, please.  Or given to Rosemary Stratton by Friday 12th June.

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.

                                                                                                                                                Clare Larsen



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Weekly Pew Sheet- 31st May 2020, Pentecost


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Ascension Day – 24th May 2020 - A sermon from Revd Paul Lanham

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.

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Weekly Pew Sheet, 24th May 2020

.200524 Sunday Pew Sheet

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Weekly Pew Sheet, Sixth Sunday after Easter, 17th May 2020

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Weekly PewSheet - Fifth Sunday after Easter, 10th May 2020

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2nd May 2020 - A message from Revd Ginni

How are you?  I do hope you are all keeping well.  It's lovely to see so many of you joining me for our Facebook service on Sundays and also Morning and Evening Prayer during the week.  Seeing you pop up on my screen makes my day and keeps me feeling connected to you all.  If you haven't yet 'braved' Facebook, please do try - you don't have to do anything on it other than join in with our services.
Please find attached the Revd Paul Lanham's rather splendid sermon for the service for tomorrow - he has focused on the Psalm set for tomorrow (Pew Sheet with readings and psalm also attached) and I have to say it really did encourage me (Thanks Paul!)
If you have received our magazine, PAX, then you will have noted that this is the last one we will be doing 'on paper' until lockdown is over.  This issue plus future issues will be available for you to read or print off on our St Ippolyts Church website PLUS if you look up May's issue on the website, you will find that there is a bonus article from our lovely friend Charmaine Sabey-Corkindale which is well worth a read (Thanks Charmaine!).
Keep going, stay safe and remember that all things pass and we will be together again really soon.
Much love
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Revd Paul Lanham's sermon for Sunday 3rd May 2020 - Psalm 23 v. 1. The Lord is my Shepherd

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.


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Weekly Pew Sheet, the Fourth Sunday after Easter, 3rd May 2020

.200503 Church Readings

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