Thoughts from the Vicarage 76

Dear friends of The Valley

Belinda Churchmouse

Belinda

Belinda

Lockdown 3 sees the return from her travels of Belinda Churchmouse! For those who missed her lively comments previously, here she is! Belinda, having grappled my keyboard from me writes … Hello everyone – I’m feeling a bit down about having to face another lockdown and am going to miss seeing you all, not to mention these cheesy morsels! But I am determined to keep being kind, to ring my friends and to be as positive as I can be. I ‘m still here and have lots of good things to be thankful for like this piece of delicious cheese… and I think that God can still use me to help others. Talking of the lockdown I’d better give the keyboard back to Julie because she has important news!

The third lockdown

Yes indeed! With the third lockdown, the closure of schools, the ‘stay at home’ message and the rising infection rate I decided we should think carefully about continuing worship in person. The present restrictions allow it, but I felt it was necessary to re-assess the risks. To that end I met the churchwardens of St Michael & All Angels, the representatives of All Saints and St James and it was unanimously decided to suspend worship in person. Online services are highlighted on the attached Sunday sheet. Morning prayer and Compline continue – please do join us or ask me if you’d like to know more.

As I am sure you will agree with the rising incidence of infection in our communities, the Church should signal a change alongside those being made by the rest of the community in the lockdown.

Churches remain open

Our churches will remain open daily for private prayer and for funerals. Many have commented to me about the joy of our churches being open as places of comfort, of peace and of a reassuring presence in these everchanging times. It is indeed a joy for myself as a priest that this is the case. Please do not hesitate to be in touch with me if you would like prayers, receive communion or have a doorstep blessing of yourself or your house! Churches will be quarantined for a period of at least 48 hours before any funeral when the church will be closed. The funeral dates for this week are on the Sunday sheet attached.

Lambourn CE Primary school

Lambourn CE Primary school began term with an INSET day followed by home schooling which began on Wednesday. Tuesday saw me joining with the Principal, Rachel Perkins and the staff in school as we prayed for the safety of all families, school staff and the wider community. We chalked a blessing near the entrance to the school to remind us of God’s presence even in challenging times. The meaning of this practice is … the numbers form the year, while the letters take a two-fold significance: last Sunday was the feast of the Epiphany – C, M and B are the initials for the names of the Magi (Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar). They are also an abbreviation of the blessing “Christus mansionem benedicat”. May Christ bless this house. Together, they represent the hospitality of the Holy Family and our invitation to God’s presence to come and dwell in our school, our homes & churches over the year.

2021

2021 began with unwelcome news but for the redoubtable Bernadette Downing of East Garston it was heralded with a whole 5 minute total immersion into tub of freezing cold water … yes, I know, I have the shivers just thinking about it but brave soul she did it … and all in aid of the roof repairs at All Saints church. Sponsorship presently stands at £1,368.75 – how brilliant is that? If you’d like to contribute please do by clicking here:

https://tinyurl.com/yxwl5z3l

Bernadette was not alone as Sharon Turner ran a brilliant online Christmas Market when she realised that we couldn’t hold the usual one, and raised over £700 for St Michael & All Angels while the team in Eastbury had the inspired idea of running an ‘Everyone Wins a Prize Grand Christmas Raffle’ across the village which resulted in not only cheering everyone up but made the princely sum of £1500!

While on the subject of fund raising a humble and hearty thanks for all that was raised last year throughout the Valley – and if you are able please do think of further wonderful ways to raise funds! I gather that there is soon to be a ‘Lambourn’s Got Talent Competition‘! Sounds fascinating and all will be welcome!

Sunday January 10th Services

The Baptism of Christ Sunday January 10th Services are on the Sunday sheet attachment with these Thoughts.

Finally…

Finally… readers who recall the halcyon days of Summer lockdown will remember the exciting content of these Thoughts from The Vicarage! Unfortunately, the Vicarage is clean out of hedgehogs – who have the audacity to be hibernating just as we need more cute photos. Worse still the Vicarage gardener has been having a little rest – do not fear we will have photos in the next Thoughts! This week we have a super I Spy attached from https://www.plantlife.org.uk/uk for when you are out and about on your daily exercise. As in last lockdowns please do share your photos and tell us where you’ve been!

Really finally

Really finally – a few of our readers asked about the poem snippet from UA Fanthorpe I used last week. The poem is BC:AD by UA Fanthorpe and speaks of The Epiphany

This was the moment when Before
Turned into After, and the future’s
Uninvented timekeepers presented arms.

This was the moment when nothing
Happened. Only dull peace
Sprawled boringly over the earth.

This was the moment when even energetic Romans
Could find nothing better to do
Than counting heads in remote provinces.

And this was the moment when a few farm workers and three
Members of an obscure Persian sect
Walked haphazard by starlight straight
Into the kingdom of heaven.

With best wishes for the week ahead,

God bless

Julie