REFLECTIONS ON OUR TRAVELLINGReverend Ginni is on her holidays at PAX deadline time so you have to make do with me again! It is very much the time of year that we turn our minds to travelling, whether it be within the UK, a little further afield with our European “friends” or on a long-haul voyage of discovery. I was reminded of just how much many of us travel by our village What’s App group at Easter. Someone sent Easter greetings from their holiday destination and before long many others joined in from near and far. Luckily, we left some at base camp to oversee the Easter Vigil. We are not alone in travelling, if we reflect on the New Testament, so many of Jesus’s experiences, teachings, miracles and conversions happened as he travelled. The distances might not have been as far but it needs putting into the context of travelling on foot with no other means of communication than word of mouth. Jesus’s three-year travelling ministry was no more than 100 miles from his home but on those journeys, amongst other things he met his disciples, healed the sick and calmed the storms on the Sea of Galilee. Whilst Jackie and mine own adventurous travels are curtailed at the moment, a wonderful three-week family holiday a few years back in Sri Lanka was brought into sharp focus with the news of the terrible tragedy that the country has suffered. At the time of our visit they were still badly affected by the internal conflict but their people were friendly, welcoming, generally peaceful and very stoic. It is very sad that having put their historic problems behind them and reopened so much more of the country to visitors they have been hit by such a horrendous attack. I feel our time there means we have an even greater sense of their loss and I am sure the same applies to many who have travelled to parts of the world and met inspirational people who then are faced with natural or human created tragedies and disasters. This brings into sharp focus that whilst we attend church, we trust in safety, so many Christians around the world do so in fear of persecution. How we return from our travels and reflect the experiences we have had or the cultures we have seen is very varied. We reflect on this each Christmas at St. Ippolyts Church in the wonderful array of nativity sets that have been collected from around the world and brought back to enhance and broaden our understanding of how others see Christmas. Also, each year the Women’s World Day of Prayer, held this year locally at the Baptist Chapel in Little Wymondley, shares the experiences of a different country and the challenges particularly for the women. This year women all over the world were praying and learning about life for the women in Slovenia. What is important is that we return and share our experiences and broaden our church and communities’ understanding of the wonders and the challenges facing people around the world. Travel related experiences certainly play a major part in the debates that we have at our village Men’s Breakfast Group. Our next breakfast is rumoured to be Lebanese. It is important that our travelling experiences are reflected in our PCC decisions, our church activities and prayers, helping us to think outside our own local issues to the challenges of others around the UK and the rest of the world and in so doing enriching our churches and communities. I will close on that note and await the pearls of wisdom Reverend Ginni has to relate to us on her return from Norfolk, which incidentally is about the same distance from home that Jesus travelled on his ministry. Paul Harding
Congratulations to Elizabeth and Nicholas Watson for their 60 years of marriage. At the 09:15 service on Sunday Revd Ginni paid tribute to our happy couple by presenting them with a gift specially wrapped by Michael and Gordon. The only trouble was that their hands were tied (with a pink scarf!) and the wrapping was far from elegant!!
BIBLE STUDY GROUP
The Bible Study Group meetings will continue on Wednesdays 8thand 22ndMay. We are studying The Acts of the Apostles. Meetings begin at 2.30pm. at Oakhurst (behind Kingshott School) home of Margaret Edmonds. There are refreshments after the meeting.
New members would be most welcome so do come and join us. For further information please contact Margaret Edmonds (01462-452340) or Clare Larsen (01462-453541).
ST. IPPOLYTS PCC
Our PCC for the coming year will be made up of the following people:
The Reverend Ginni Dear - Vicar
Jane Veasey: Churchwarden
Michael Hooper: Churchwarden, Treasurer and
Deanery Synod Representative
Roger Cox: Secretary
Howell Davies: Reader
Andrew Russell: Deanery Synod Representative
Jenny Sheach: Safeguarding Officer
Dee Soden (co-opted)
CHRISTIAN AID WEEK - Sunday 12thMay to Saturday 18thMay
‘All Mums Should Live’
Sierra Leone is the world’s most dangerous place to become a mum. Every day 10 women die from giving birth. In Sawula district the community struggles with a clinic which has no electricity and only two delivery beds. This Christian Aid Week, together, we can make childbirth safe for mums and babies. Through our gifts and prayers we can help give the world’s poorest mums a chance to live.
The community in Sawula dreams of having a health centre that can meet their needs. Their current health centre is the size of a small bedroom. Operations, deliveries and baby check-ups all happen in one single room.
Please give generously when the familiar red envelope is delivered to your door. Thank you for your support.
FRIENDS OF ST. IPPOLYTS CHURCH
During Lent, we enjoyed a selection of delicious homemade soups with a variety of wonderful flavours. These were made and served by our loyal team of Friends. Thank you also to the 'setting out' and 'putting away' of tables and chairs team. We appreciate all the help offered to make these occasions come together. Thank you so much.
Our Lent Lunches raised the magnificent sum of £349 which will be divided between the USPG and the Motor Neurone Disease Association.
Thank you to Friends who always give time to make St. Ippolyts church look so beautiful and especially for our Easter celebrations. There were not as many arrangements for Easter this year but the church still looked wonderful. This was enhanced by Reverend Ginni's uplifting service supported by the 'Melodic Miracles' singing to their hearts content along with Howell Davies and Jeff Phillips.
Dates of next meetings:
Monday 8thJuly - 2.00pm. - to discuss arrangements for the Flower
Tuesday 10thSeptember - 10.30 for 11.00am.
Both meetings to be held at Little Almshoe House.
Frances Williams, Carol Scott and Joan Pinkstone
THE ALPHA COURSE
Food, Film and Chat - book your FREE place.
Starting on Wednesday 1stMay from 7.00pm., and over a series of weeks, you'll find out about the basics of the Christian faith. We'll catch up over a meal, watch a short video and then it's time to say what you think. It’s fun, relaxed and free, and you can ask anything you like.
The Alpha Course is for everyone and ALL are welcome. The course is being organised by Churches Together in Hitchin and is being held at Christchurch, Bedford Road. To book your free place or to find out more call or email:
PSALM 23 - A PARAPHRASE
When Reverend Don Dowling came to St. Ippolyts a while ago he introduced us to his paraphrase of the 23rdPsalm as follows:
‘The shepherd was a familiar figure in Bible lands and times. However, it is somewhat different for us. Most of us live in towns where we rarely see a sheep. And even in the country the practice of sheep rearing has markedly changed. Nowadays in Britain a shepherd is typically someone who herds sheep from a quad bike with dogs! Climate and topography are quite different too. Consequently I have tried to paraphrase the psalm in a way that is less dependent on images of sheep and shepherding. Whether it works you can judge for yourself.’
The Lord, I am safe with you;
You do not let me down.
You watch over me when I sleep.
You refresh me when I’m awake.
You are my provider.
When I am weary you sustain me,
When lost you put me back on track.
Constant in your loving care
You are my guardian and my guide.
At times the darkness would overwhelm me
Were it not for your presence, Lord.
You walk with me in the night of fear
So I don’t fall or stumble.
You are my protector.
When I’m threatened by danger on all sides
There you fill my cup of blessing to the brim;
Making me the guest of honour at your feast.
You are my gracious host.
All my life I will know your goodness
All my life I will experience your mercy,
For I will live as your child in your family.
You are my home and my Father.
HALLELUIAH ! CHRIST IS RISEN !!
By the time you read this, Easter will have come and gone and for those of you with young (and not so young!) children in the house, the only reminder will be the recycling bin overflowing with discarded Easter egg boxes!! This is the first year I haven’t bought my own children any eggs....I thought that at the ages of 22, 24 and 26 respectively, they had pushed the boundaries of childhood far enough!! It wasn’t a popular decision!!
It occurred to me as I was mulling over the last few weeks that we humans often think of things in terms of ‘deadlines’. We say, ‘let’s get Christmas out of the way and we’ll think about our holidays’ or ‘after the children go back to school, we can.....’ or ‘when the nice weather arrives....’ and so on. One of my clergy colleagues said that the church even has a new liturgical season.....it’s called ‘I’ll do that after Easter’ and it usually starts just after Christmas!! And here I am, starting my letter for PAX with a sentence that puts Easter firmly in the past!
But the thing is, that as Christians, Easter is always in the present. We are called to be ‘Easter people’, people with hope, every day of the year. Because of Jesus Christ that hope is with us always. There is no emotion we can feel, no height nor depth we can reach, no mountain we can climb or wilderness we can feel lost in, where Jesus hasn’t already been......and still he is with us, walking with us and offering to share the load. But how often do we fail to recognise that and what would our lives look like if we lived each day filled with the joy that hope brings us?
Now, don’t go looking to me for answers, I’m just the Vicar, but it is worth contemplating how we present ourselves to the world as Christians! (Note to self: remember to try to look more hopeful!).
And talking of hope....it’s looking like the weather is warming up in time for my annual holiday shenanigans with my mum!! We’re off to Norfolk again at the end of May, along with my friend Tracy and her mum Wendy so I should have some tales to tell you when I get back!! As you may recall, this holiday usually involves Tracy and I laughing a lot - at the expense of our mothers - but before you feel too sorry for them, remember that they do still insist on coming with us and I’ve got a funny feeling that they are planning a little revenge this year!! I’ll let you know what happens!
With love - Ginni
“The Annual Parishioners Meeting” (to elect churchwardens) and “The Annual Parochial Church Meeting of the Parish of St. Ippolyts” will be held in St. Ippolyts Church at 7.00pm. on Tuesday 9thApril. Everyone is welcome to attend but only those on the St. Ippolyts Church Electoral Roll may vote at the second meeting. The meeting is the Church’s AGM and there will be a review of 2018 with reports from the Churchwardens, our Treasurer, and St. Ippolyts School, as well as the appointment of officers, sidesmen and independent financial examiners. To make the evening ‘go with a flow’ there will be wine, soft drinks and nibbles available.
We are looking for new members of our Parochial Church Council. If you are interested in playing a key role in the future of our church please consider putting yourself forward for election, it is not a particularly onerous task! Those wishing to be elected can put their names on the election list at the back of the church. In addition we are still seeking a treasurer to take over from Michael. If you feel you could spare the time to play an important role in the life of our church please consider taking on this task.
FRIENDS OF ST. IPPOLYTS CHURCH
Lent Lunches continue from 12.45pm. till 2.00pm. in St. Ippolyts Parish Hall up to and including Wednesday 17thApril. A minimum donation of £2.50 per serving is requested, with donations for seconds. Proceeds will be shared between USPG and the Motor Neurone Disease Association. Come and enjoy our delicious homemade soups and fresh bread.
Please don’t forget to come and help us decorate the Church for Easter on Saturday 20thApril from 9.00am. Everyone welcome to bring flowers to arrange in the Church and pre-arranged baskets will also be appreciated. Tea, coffee and Hot Cross Buns will be served. Be sure to come and remove your arrangements and containers when the flowers have faded.
Frances Williams, Carol Scott and Joan Pinkstone