Thank you – All Saints’

 

As the song goes ‘We’ve been together for forty years and it don’t seem a day too long’! Well it was 40-years in January and I then decided it was time to retire from the post that I took on, together with Colin Bessant, in January 1977. For four years previously I had been assistant to former organists.

This was for the Induction Service of the Revd Jack Whittaker, who came to Faringdon along with Joan and their three boys, followed in time by Roger Hoare, Andrew Bailey, Charles Draper and now Steve Bellamy.

April 23rd – St. George’s Day – Civic Service – my retirement. What a day to go out on a high with!

We had a wonderful service filled with worship, praise, singing, music and words. The service led by Steve was attended by the Town Mayor, Mike Wise, together with the Lord Lieutenant and High Sheriff of the County, together with Town Councillors and many representatives from activities and groups within the town. As Steve said “We were thanking people for offering their gifts and skills to support the community”.

After the music group and choir had sung the Anthem, ‘I will dwell in His secret place’, a presentation was made to myself, and the Church Choir all wearing a red rose given by Petra, joined me on the dais together with Steve and the Churchwardens.

Andrew Bailey happened to be in Faringdon that weekend and he was asked to say a few works regarding my work with the Celia Walker Trust and service to the church.

A bouquet of pink roses and lilies was presented by Jim McGowan; the glass bowl originally presented after 25-years had been re-engraved with the years 1977 – 2017 and the number 40. on the reverse side, presented by Katie Foot.

The Vicar then presented a cheque for the British Heart Foundation and a card, signed by himself and the Wardens, together with a message from Luke Williams, (then Head Coach of Swindon Town Football Club) ‘Congratulations on an amazing achievement’.

As well as these gifts I received a posy of garden flowers and later a silver framed photograph of the members of the choir, around the Organ Consul with me at the “controls”, taken after the Civic Service.

At the end of the service, I played the choir out to Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’. This was followed by a cake cutting ceremony in the Barber Rooms with a cake made by Denise.

I also received many good wishes and cards from church members and some further afield, and wish to share some of these comments with you:

‘You have had monumental pleasure from playing the organ for many years, it has been a big part of your life’.

‘Thank you for the years I have been in the choir, going to other churches to sing, including St George’s Chapel, at Windsor Castle’.

‘Many many thanks for your 40 years of faithful service, we will miss you’.

The card signed by all the members of the Choir, on the front – Thank you dear Joy! – with a picture of an organ pipe at the side – how appropriate.

‘Thank you for the music’.

‘You’ve done a great job’.

‘I was there when you took up the role of Organist at All. Saints’. I have appreciated all you have given to the worship in the church which is considerable. Your gifts have blessed many people including me’;

‘We thank you for your faithful and generous service to All Saints’. You have been unstinting in your giving and we thank God for you’.

‘Keep playing and singing whilst enjoying your retirement, open all the stops and have fun’.

At the end of the presentation, I said I had given my thanks to so many people in January, but asked everyone to take away with them words from Psalm 111: Praise the Lord. I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; in the company of the upright, in the congregation both past and present. Great are the works of the Lord and his praise endures for ever.

This is the word of the Lord – THANKS BE TO GOD

Joy Blake

Church Bell

On the 22nd March Norman and myself were invited to Whitechapel Bell Foundry London where a Bell was being cast for Norman, his twin brother Dennis and a very good friend Frank White (Dennis and Frank both deceased). The Bell was one of the last two to be cast at Whitechapel as the foundry is closing at the end of May this year after 500 years of bell casting.

This trip was only possible due to the kindness of Mr & Mrs Frost, who donated the Bell to go as a Treble with the remaining five bells after restoration is completed at Longworth Church. The Frost family has worshiped at Longworth Church for a very long time.

Mr & Mrs Frost came to the Bell Foundry with us, and we all thoroughly enjoyed the day.

Norman and myself felt very privileged –a day to remember with excitement and emotion.

Doreen and Norman Leslie

(All Saints’ Bellringers)

APCM 2017

All Saints’ Annual Parochial Church Meeting

All Saints’ APCM was held after the 10.30am service on Sunday 2nd April.  At the APCM the officers are elected for the coming year, the Annual Accounts are accepted and the reports from the previous year are presented.

The following people were elected:
Church Wardens:               Katie Foot and Jim McGowan
Assistant Warden:             Andrew Sargent
Deanery Synod Representatives – to serve from 2017 to 2020:
Peter Foot, John Seedell, Margaret Starr,
David Wilson
PCC Members – to serve 2017 to 2020:
John Coleman, Kate Crebbin, Joanne Raybone,
Wendy Tynan

PCC members already serving are:
Until 2018:                  David Barber, Jon Chamberlain, Geoff Edgington
Until 2019:                  Kate Butcher, Julie Campbell, Elaine Cox,
John Hignett, Ibby Southerden, Peter Southerden
Invited to attend:       Bruce Garfield  (Buildings Consultations)

Our Licensed Lay Ministers also serve on PCC:
Graham Scott-Brown and Helen Wilson

The bi-monthly PCC meetings are chaired by the Vicar

Independent Examiner:       Gill Garrard was appointed

A short meeting of the above members took place after the formal meeting and the following were appointed:
Honorary Treasurer:            Dave Wilson
Secretary:                              Beryl Begg

In his summary of the Annual Accounts, the Treasurer, Dave Wilson, said we are recovering well from the building of the Barber Rooms in that the loans are now paid, the Parish Share of £63,248 was paid in full, we made donations to Missions and Charities which were over 10% of our income, and with improvements in the value of investments in the Stock Market we are now in a good financial position.

However, we should not be complacent as in the coming year we face an increase in the Parish Share, Quinquennial repairs to the Church, and the need for a new heating boiler before next winter.  Dave asked everyone to carefully consider their giving, and maybe continue with pledges made to the Barber Rooms, which would enable us to deal with the maintenance of the Church and outreach to our town.

In his report to the meeting, the Vicar the Revd Steve Bellamy, thanked everyone for the warm welcome he and Wendy had received on their arrival. Thanks were also expressed to all those who help with the running and outreach at All Saints’, particularly Joy Blake, who is to retire after 40 years dedicated to the music at our Church.

Steve urged us to look forward to where God is leading us, and to identify His mission for us. This may mean changes that we will need to dig deep to fund, and work hard to fulfil, but by being committed, prayerful and open to the Holy Spirit we can achieve great things together, as we witness to the people around us.

Joy Blake’s Retirement

At the Civic Service on Sunday 23rd April, Joy Blake was presented with a crystal bowl by the Church Wardens to mark her retirement after 40 years as Organist and Choirmaster.

There was full congregation of Church members and many civic dignitaries to thank her for all she has so willingly offered to God and his people at All Saints’ over the years.

We all wish Joy all the best in her retirement

Retirement of Joy Blake

After 40 years’ of dedicated and much valued service at All Saints’ Joy Blake is retiring as our Organist and Choirmaster in April, when we will have the chance to thank her for all she has so willingly offered to God and His people here.

“Dethroning Mammon” by Justin Welby

Every day the media and advertisers parade before our eyes and ears ‘must have’ gadgets, expensive fashions and accessories, luxurious holidays, new models of cars, offers of loans and credit . . . Do you feel that modern life is a maelstrom of information and news related to money, finance, economics, giving the impression that this is the most important, perhaps the only, area of life worthy of our attention? Do you ever stop to ask yourself, “How does all this relate to my Christian faith?”

In this book, his first full-length one, the Archbishop of Canterbury looks at several incidents as Jesus travels to Jerusalem towards the crucifixion. He argues against a tendency to judge success and worth purely on the basis of what can be measured financially. He feels strongly this has distorted and corrupted society and has led to a fundamentally unchristian view that a healthy bank balance or even a strong economy is “the goal”, an end in itself, rather than to be used as a means to do good. The Archbishop believes that the more interconnected the world becomes, the greater the tendency for power to be held over individuals and nations by economics, by money, by flows of finance; these are forces which he defines collectively as “Mammon” a word, derived from Aramaic, and used in the New Testament to mean the power of wealth or riches.

The book is intended mainly for individual devotional use during Lent and is a challenge to Christians—and non-Christians—about their attitude to and use of wealth. But the Archbishop also makes comments applicable to the UK in the light of Brexit, when he says: “It is essential that the new United Kingdom outside Europe is not built to a design drawn by Mammon . . . materialism is not the answer to the challenges we face. Rather we need a deep sense of the priority of the human person, whoever they are and wherever they come from. We need to remind ourselves that Mammon always deceives his followers. A campaign fought on his agenda will lead to division and despair.”

He finishes the book with a challenge to each of us: “Who is on the throne of your life: Mammon or Christ? What might God be calling you to do next?”

Definitely worth reading—hurry to the Mustard Seed and buy your copy!

Review by Keith Thrower.

Dethroning Mammon; ISBN 978-1-4729-2977-8 (Pub: Bloomsbury Continuum)

Faith For All Seasons: Jeff Lucas

This new book by Jeff Lucas, published this year, is a commentary on the life of Elijah. One of the most important men of the Old Testament: some said that Jesus was Elijah returned from the dead, Elijah was there at the Transfiguration of Jesus, but he was no super hero, always triumphant. He had a period when he hid in a cave, fearful of death from his enemies and wishing he could die. But God was there, always calling him forward, saying, I am here with you, take courage, follow me.

This book is an encouragement to those of us who have periods when we feel disheartened or that God is far from us. The motto of the school in Uganda where I taught for a few years, was “Never give up”. That too was true of Elijah, who learned that, whatever he felt like, God never left him.

Joan Plumptre

Good News for the New Year

GOOD NEWS for a New Year
UK ratifies Paris Climate Agreement

In November, during the UN climate talks in Marrakech, the UK government ratified the Paris Agreement. Let’s celebrate!

A quick catch up

One year earlier in Paris, 197 countries met at the UN climate talks. They collectively agreed the Paris Climate Agreement, which was to limit the global average temperature increase to well below 2°C, although they hope to further limit that to 1.5°C.

So far 110 countries have ratified the Paris Agreement, including China and the US, two of the largest polluters. In November these nations once again gathered for another set of UN climate talks, this time held in Marrakech, Morocco. It was hoped that these talks would put action to the promises made in Paris last year.

This is an incredible achievement and presents us with a great opportunity to congratulate the UK – Theresa May and Nick Hurd, Minister of State for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy – on their commitment to ratifying the Paris Agreement.

But what does this mean?

The Paris Agreement is a commitment to move faster towards a clean energy future so that the poorest communities can thrive. Our ratification is a great step in turning that promise into action.

While it is great to celebrate this achievement, the announcement also gives us a great opportunity to show we support our government in making this commitment to tackle climate change, and to stand in solidarity with those who are most vulnerable to the effects of a changing climate. We can do this by thinking about they way we live.

Is our lifestyle aligned with the commitment our government has made? How can we show love and respect to those living in poverty who are particularly vulnerable to climate change?

If you are looking for some ways to do this why not check out www.lifestyle.tearfund.org

From EARTH & FAITH (edited from Tearfund)

Book Reviews

Books reviewed this month The Way of Blessing and Life to The Max

The Way of Blessing by Roy Godwin

In The Way of Blessing you are invited into a spiritual pilgrimage to the windswept hills of Wales, and to the small praying community of Ffald y Brenin, where the deaf hear, the blind see, the lost are found and the broken receive healing.

Roy reveals how God longs to bless us and has given believers the authority to bless others, and teaches how to do it. He shares how this ministry began, stories of miraculous healings, and ways you can usher God’s manifest presence into your community.

Price: £9.99 available now from the Mustard Seed

Life to the Max by Jon Cox

This is a life story of the founders of the organisation Adventure Plus, based now in Clanfield, which aims to help young people to experience the fun, the challenge and the fulfilment in a life of following Jesus Christ.

It begins in 1986, when Jon was in his early 20s chatting to a friend, also in his 20s. His friend said “there’s got to be more to life than this”. Jon thought, how terrible to be bored with work and life in your early 20s and he thought of the many youngsters, also drifting through life with the same feeling. He felt that God was calling him to encourage people to ‘live the adventure of faith’.

From that day on he tested that calling, looking to positive guidance in his daily bible reading and his specific prayers for God to give him the ability he needed. His whole journey has been an adventure, experiencing amazing answers to prayer. It has taken him to the Sudan, Canada and different parts of the UK and now to Clanfield, where he runs adventure weeks for many young people, reaching a few thousands each year, and encouraging them to ‘grab life and live boldly’.

It is making a difference to these young people, because Jon and his helpers are learning to make room for God and to rely only on him in their busy lives.

As Adventure Plus is near to Faringdon you could easily see more of what they are doing in Clanfield. The book, which will inspire you and can be ordered from the Mustard Seed, costs only £7.

Thank you from Wendy & Steve

Wendy and I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who was involved in planning for my induction service and taking part in any way. We so grateful for the warm welcome we’ve received, for all your cards and many expressions of kindness and promises of prayer as we settle in to this new calling. Some fantastic work has been done by a dedicated band of folk who have worked so hard inside and out of the vicarage to prepare it for our coming, thank you for that labour of love which has been such an obvious sign of welcome.

Special thanks also to our churchwardens and the parish reps, not only for the great job they’ve done during the interregnum for also for the way they were so helpful in our initial discernment about coming. And I know how grateful everyone is to our dedicated ministry team and all who’ve worked alongside them in keeping on faithfully serving God through the work and witness of All Saints’ and St Mary’s during the interregnum, thank you for all you have done and continue to do in sharing the good news of Jesus.

Wendy and I look forward very much to getting to know you all and to settling in to this community. We’re delighted to be with you and we believe that God has good things in store for us to enjoy as we work together to connect new people with Jesus.