Thoughts from the Vicarage 64

Good afternoon friends,

Three important things

Three important things to note for this weekend.

  • The clocks all go back on Saturday night – enjoy your extra hour under the duvet!
  • Due to the ongoing building work there will be no service at East Garston on Sunday
  • St Michael’s will be holding the APCM in church following Sunday’s service – please wear warm clothes – you’ll recall the boiler is not roadworthy and do bring extra if you are staying for the APCM. Blankets and duvets will be perfectly acceptable!

Remembrance

We have a great deal happening over the next couple of weeks so please do put the dates in your diary and share what’s going on with friends and neighbours in the villages!

  • Churchyard Remembrance Trail in St Michael and All Angels churchyard – do take part and if you have family in the village it will be an excellent half term activity. Out in the fresh air with 4 prayer stations at which to stop, think and reflect.
  • An All Saints Benefice service is due to take place in All Saints, East Garston on Sunday November 1st at 10.30 – all will be welcome but due to the ongoing building work please check before going along.
  • This year we will be keeping All Souls’ Day on Sunday the 1st of November. A Service of Remembrance and Thanksgiving will be held at 3pm in St Michael & All Angels. During the service, the names of those we wish to remember will be read out with a chance to light a candle towards the end. All are welcome and if you would like the name of a loved one to be read out please add their name (legibly) on the sheet in church or telephone/email me please.

The Empty Chair in St Michael and All Angels Lambourn

When someone we love dies they leave a gap in our lives. We miss them.
Is there someone that you miss? If you’d like, write the name of the person onto one of the labels and attach it to the chair. Say a quiet thank you for the good memories that you have of them. Maybe light a candle to remember them. If you want, share your sad feelings with God – tell Him how you feel; take your time. We will collect the names and pray at Morning Prayer each day that you will find strength and comfort. We will pray that your loved one may rest in peace.
Go into church, just push open the oak door, turn right and walk ahead – you will see the Empty Chair just ahead of you.

The Vicar will be on Tour

this coming week – all are welcome. East Garston Monday 26th October 2.30 – 3.30 & Eastbury on Tuesday 20th October 2.30 – 3.30.

Poppies

will be on sale from tomorrow Saturday October 26th. As there are changes to the way in which they are being sold this year please do look out for selling both in the shops and at St Michael’s Lych Gate.

Poppies will be on sale

from 8am to 10am and on Market Day Fridays and Saturdays from 8am – 2pm There are the beautiful traditional poppies plus a whole range of other items to buy. It is my privilege to be Chaplain to the local branch of the British Legion and have learnt a great deal about the work of t he Legion nationally. Please give generously!

Remembrance Sunday

will soon be upon us. Provisional plans are under way for a short service of remembrance at the War Memorial. We are planning to use knitted and crocheted poppies to surround the War Memorial this year. Thank you to all those who have been knitting and crocheting.

Thank you

to each and every person who has donated to the Lambourn Gift Day – I have been so touched and thrilled by your generosity, your little notes and your conversations. Amanda and Bruce as Church wardens will be writing very soon with further news about keeping warm in church! Meanwhile, many, many thanks from me.

Harvest celebration thank yous …

Thank you for all the harvest celebrations and gifts this year expressing thankfulness for the harvest of God’s creation that we are able to enjoy. How wonderful to think of the Valley’s generosity spreading out to Tanzania, The West Berks Foodbank and our own in Lambourn. And here’s Brian seeing the produce off in the W Berks Van. Thank you Brian for organising the collection!

And finally …

Autumn is often a truly beautiful season – the colours change and brighten the cooler days. Soon, the golden leaves will fall, the mighty oaks will bare their arms defiantly against the coming of winter. For these few weeks, we enjoy the “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” of which John Keats wrote.

Our own existence has autumn seasons too. Decreasing light levels mean we will be indoors more, swathed in jumpers, woolly hats and scarves against the cold winds and creeping frosts. Autumn is a time to reflect on successes, ponder our failures, make plans for next Spring even in the midst of a pandemic.

As we look at the garden I think of endings, fadings, harvesting- and sowing. The gorgeous Vicarage alliums will be snuggling in the moist warm earth, and next year’s hardy annuals will be sown as seeds in place of the distinctly shabby show of marigolds and poppies. A time of change, a period of rest, the first signs of hope for a new year in the garden.

Resting, as Nature does, is very important- we cannot run at full speed seven days a week, 52 weeks per year. We’re in a demanding season and it’s vital we set a pace that is sustainable.

Autumn reminds us to take stock. The temporary will pass, the completed can be laid aside, and only the important needs our attention now. Next year’s fruitfulness will depend on our rest and recovery now.

Isaiah the prophet summed things up rather well – and added the crucial reminder which we forget at our peril. Life changes… but God does not. Isaiah reminds us in chapter 40 verse 8:
The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever

Time then to listen. What is God saying today? His eternal Promise stands; the Kingdom of God is among us, and the Reign of Christ the King has begun. What purpose does God hold in front of us next? How will we be fruitful next year?

Enjoy the autumn glories! Listen to the Word of God, know of His great love for you and give thanks in all things and pray as in this week’s collect:

Merciful God,
teach us to be faithful in change and uncertainty,
that trusting in your word
and obeying your will
we may enter the unfailing joy of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen and with prayerful best wishes,

Julie