The Parish of Burchetts Green
It seems an age since I did the last Catch up. In these past weeks much work and planning has gone into the Collation and Induction service for our new vicar Revd.Tom Etherton on the 1st February. The service is just days away. We have acceptances from our three churches, Tom’s old Parish, clergy from across the Deanery and of course, Tom’s family and friends. The Mayor will be coming as will representatives from our three parish councils. So far we acceptances from 110 and this may well increase. . It has taken quite some effort on the part of the Church wardens, the Area Dean and Tina to reach this stage and our rehearsal last night, was a success.
This is the first time St John’s has been used for a licensing and we should be proud to show off our church to such a wide congregation. I know on the night the church will look spectacular....our flower group are dressing the church on Monday... I have even cleaned the brass work this morning!!. Parking has been addressed and Rowena Westacott has offered her Drive at Ffiennes Farm. I am also grateful to Mark Peacock who, with friends, will be acting as Parking attendants to help those arriving.
After nearly 2 years without a vicar, we look forward to Tom’s first Eucharist service at St John’s on Sunday February 6th 9.15. It is so appropriate that the Sunday Club will be meeting that morning so that many young families will be present to welcome Tom and his family to our church. Please do put this date in your diary and come and join with us as we celebrate the arrival of Tom, Hannah, Alice and Robyn.
Helen tells me that they have such exciting plans for the Sunday Club and the next meeting on 6th February at 9.15 will be fun for all. As we have said before, the Sunday Club welcomes all children from 3years to 11 years, meeting on the first Sunday each month. It is a chance for parents to enjoy our service whilst the children are next door. With Tom in place, we will be discovering how we can develop the service to involve the younger families in some way. So, even if your little one has not yet attended, just turn up on the 6th and they will be led out during the first hymn, returning during the last hymn.
So, looking forward our services are as follows:
Sunday 3oth January. 9.15 Family Eucharist. Tina is taking this service and we have Eleanor playing the piano for us. Please do come along and join us.
6th February: 9.15 Family Eucharist and Sunday Club lead by Tom with Nigel playing.
13th February 4.pm All Age short service for all especially the young ones. Tom will be taking this service for the first time and it would be good if as many as possible can join us. I know Tom will want to develop this service and will welcome input from you all.
20th February 9.15. Family Eucharist 9.15. Tom leading and this time, Jenny Hopper playing the organ.
2th February: NO SERVICE.
As always, our church is open every day from 11am to 4pm . I have lights on and music playing...at the moment Elizabethan choral music is playing...very relaxing if you want a few moments of peace sometime.
On a more practicable note, we have now instructed the Stone Masons to carry out the replacement stone works highlighted in the latest Quinquennial Report. I am expecting this work to be carried out in May.
The churchyard team have now stopped until May so that the hundreds of bulbs can pop up and bring colour to the churchyard.
An exciting time for us all and let me finish by wishing TOM, HANNAH, ALICE and ROBYN every happiness in their new home and Parish . I know you will look forward to meeting them in the weeks ahead.
God Bless, and....Stay Safe.
Christmas and Epiphany Catch Up
I hope you and your family enjoyed your Christmas celebrations? At St John’s although we had to cancell the Crib Service on Christmas Eve, we did enjoy a lovely Carols by Candle light service on the Sunday before, as well as a really special Christmas day service led by Tina.
I can report that the Stable in the lychgate, was fully occupied by Christmas day, so thanks to all of the children, however old!! Who contributed to the display. I was pleased that the led lights also performed well over the holiday break. Our Carol singing at the Chricketers was very well attended with over 30 singers. The mulled wine went down well! thanks to Nigel and Rowena for their hospitality. We collected over £115 for the Children’s Society.
Our church looked splendid with the Christmas stable, tree and large star over the pulpit. Yvonne, Leslie, Gale and Lyn dressed the church with the most beautiful displays and these are still in full bloom. So, if you want to pop in any day you can see for your selves. At the same time the children can see baby Jesus in the manger. I have carols playing on the sound system.
The illuminated star over the pulpit reminds us that the Three Wise Men ( Kings) have yet to arrive. The feast of Epiphany, which falls on the 6th January, commemorates principally the visit of the Magi to the Christ Child, and thus Jesus Christ’s physical manefestation to the Gentiles.
So, our Christmas decorations and stable will not be taken down until the 7th January.
This Sunday 2nd January we will have our third session of Sunday Club at the 9.15 Family Eucharist. Rev. Kevin Colyer is leading us and Nigel will be playing for us. Carols will replace hymns, so please do come and join in. I know that Sally and Helen have been planning for the Sunday Club. All children between 3 and 10 are very welcome to join in, whether they have been before or not. What a lovely way to start the New Year!
As we wait for the arrival of Rev. Tom Etherton and his young family..... he will be licensed in St John’s by the Bishop on the 1st February... we have planned services across the parish with some changes.
Sunday 9th January see’s Tina leading our 9.15 service followed by the Baptism of Jenny and Keith’s second Grandson Jack.
We have no services at St John’s on the 16th or 23rd although the church will be open between 11am and 4pm. There will be service in one of our other churches on each of these Sundays, details on the web site.
Our last service in January will be our 9.15 on the 30th January and Tina is again leading us and this time, Eleanor will be playing the piano in Nigel’s absence.
With Tom’s licensing on Tuesday 1st February, we will need to prepare for our February services with input from Tom. I will be meeting him on the 18th as part of the planning for the Licensing and will discuss services with him.
We said good by to Father John at our Carol Service, this being his last service in St John’s. As well as thanking him for all he has done for us and the wider parish, we made a presentation to him, from all at St John’s. He was presented with a book on “Walks with your dog in the Chilterns” and a cheque for just over £300.
Looking forward, I really hope and pray that we will not face new restrictions so that we can restart some of our other activities, not least , being able to serve refreshments after our services. In any event, we will always have your safety in mind. So, for now we retain our three sanitasion points and the use of face masks in church is now required, although, if you want you can remove for singing.
Finally, In the New Year, I would like get a few of us together as a church group, to meet occasionally to discuss the way forward for our lovely village church. During lockdown we have lost quite a few of our volunteers and I think we need to be looking beyond the few who now do so much!! I envisage this group being more of a planning group, so if you would be interested in joining me please let me know. I really would be very grateful.
Well, that just leaves me to wish you all a very Happy, Healthy and Covid free New Year.
What do you want first..................................
Let’s start with the GOOD NEWS. This Sunday we are having our carols by candle light service at 5pm. I have the lanterns placed on the foot path from the lychgate and they are now on until after Christmas. I will also have some new led lanterns to aid you further in the dark. This will be a really lovely service with all of your favourite carols. I do hope you will join us. This will also be the last service that Fr John will take in St John’s and we plan to make a presentation to him at the end.
AND THE BAD NEWS?.... It is with such sadness that Tina, Jenny and myself have made the decision to cancel our Crib service on the 24th. 4 days ago, we were all very much looking forward to the service and had put in place a few additional measurers to keep you all safe. If a week is a long time in Politics ....a few days is in the Pandemic!! By last night, with the news of the rapid spread of infections, and the prospect of a very full church.....usually well over 120, we made this decision with a heavy heart. I hope you will understand.
Also, with your safety in mind, we have moved the Carol Singing in the Cricketers on Wednesday the 22nd, to the outside. So come along at 7.30, Tina will supply the Carol sheets, just bring a torch.
STILL looking on the bright side, and I don’t mean the 600 LED lights in the lychgate, the stable is filling up nicely. How about getting the children to decorate the area and fill it as they like...you can also tell them the story of the Nativity at the same time. I know others in the village will really enjoy the magic created!!
More good news...... Our Christmas Day service will still go ahead as planned at 9.15.
If anything changes I will let you all know,
Please stay safe and I wish you and your families a very safe, peaceful and Happy Christmas.
St John's Catch Up...THE LYCHGATE CHALLENGE!
“ Did you see the twinkle, in the corner of the Green,
The lights came on this week, so the Lychgate could be seen.
The stable in the corner was empty when seen last night,
Children, would you like to fill It and make a lovely sight?
As I walked through this morning, an Angel has come today,
And in the corner, smiling, I saw a sheep, busy eating hay.
And sitting rather proudly, two mice are standing guard,
Alas, the scene is not yet like, a sparkly Christmas Card.
So let’s get the animals, the wise men and shepherds too,
Don’t forget Mary and Joseph, which one will YOU do?
Finally some decorations, to brighten up the place,
Why not do a painting, and pin in this magical space!
With stable full ,decorations up, and paintings pinned as well,
You will bring such happiness, to those who stop and dwell.
This will be a wondrous place to sit and think and pray,
As we celebrate the birth of Jesus on this year’s Christmas Day!”
We will need baby Jesus to be added on Christmas eve, ready for Christmas day, see if you can spot him on your way to our Crib service !
A LITTLE NOTE FOR YOUR PARENTS......
Our Christingle service was a great success with over 70 in church. Fr John did a lovely service and the children loved their Christingle oranges and the chocolate angel as they arrived at the start. It was magical as the lights dimmed and the church was lit by the many Christingle candels.
This coming Sunday at 9.15 we will enjoy Dilys leading us in our Family Eucharist, and then on SUNDAY 19Th at 5Pm we will have our Carol Service by Candle light, followed by mince pies and mulled wine. We have 5 readers from village groups reading the lessons.
We are singing Carols in The Cricketers on Wednesday 22, at 7.30pm.Then it’s Crib at 2pm on Christmas Eve and our Family Christmas Eucharist on Christmas Day at 9.15...more about these later.
THE REV. TOM ETHERTON.
Whilst I was hanging the lights in the Lychgate last Friday, I received a telephone call from Oxford, asking if they could use St John’s for the Licensing of Rev. Tom on the 1st Feb. Well, what an honour for our village church, to be chosen for Tom’s Licensing. The Church Wardens from the three churches have formed a small group and will, with Tom and the Area Dean plan the service. I will keep you informed as we look forward to having our new vicar and his family, join us.
You will have heard that Covid regulations are again changing. At the time of writing, I have not heard from Oxford but can confirm that from Tomorrow, we all need to wear masks in places of worship. So, that will include pews. However, they have also said that masks are not required for singing...we are waiting to find out if that will be the case in church. Our church has sanitisation points and we are very mindful of safety. I know you will all help us to keep safe. I do expect an update from the Diocese soon and will let you have any confirmed changes as soon as received.
Finally, just to remind you, our church is open, with lights on, each day between 11am and 4 pm. Throughout December, I will have Carols playing on the sound system, so why not pop in for a little peace and enjoy them The tree is up as is the Stable and Crib.
St John's Catch up........
We are kicking off our Christmas celebrations with the Christingle service this coming Sunday. The service follows the kick off to Christmas village lunch and starts at 2.15. Jenny and team have been busy preparing the Christingle oranges for the children. Those at the lunch will have a quiz to solve as they walk from the hall to church. Others will make their way from home. So, if you can please do join us. The collection at the service will be sent to the Children’s Society.
This is the service where you can bring a children’s toy, new please and wrapped. Could you please mark boy or girl and indicate an age group. All toys are being donated to Social Services, who will distribute them to less fortunate children.
The word Christingle comes from the German word Christkindl meaning “Little Christ Child” and celebrates Christ as the “Light of the world” I am sure Fr John will be explaining the meanings behind the various symbols on the orange.
This week we dressed our Christmas Tree, sitting in front of the book cases, and erected the Crib in the centre of the aisle. Oh... I also have Christmas carols playing on the sound system. I could almost smell the mince pies and mulled wine! Speaking of which, I understand that we will be providing the mince pies and mulled wine after the Carol service on the 19th Dec.
Our Parish Christmas Card is being delivered this week, detailing all of our services , including the Carol singing at the Cricketers on the 22nd at 7.30. but just to remind you they are as follows:
5th December 2.15 Christingle and Toy Service.
12th December 9.15am Family Communion.
19th December 5.00pm Family Christmas Candle lit, Carol Service: mince pies and mulled wine being served afterwards!
22nd December 7.30 pm Carol singing at the Cricketers...all monies collected will be donated to The Children’s Society,
24th December 2.00pm Crib Service..that’s the one where Mary rides to Church on a ‘ donkey’ read horse, and all the children dress up to tell nativity storey. Jesus is being played by 8 week old George..we recruit them young at St John’s!!
25th December 9.15 am Family Christmas Eucharist... when we celebrate the Birth of Jesus .
THE LITTLEWICK LYCHGATE CHALLENGE
I am again going to place an empty Stable in the Lychgate, illuminated with 600 led lights. We challenge all the village children to fill it with the animals, Mary and Joseph, the Shepherds, wise men and of course Jesus and Angels all before Christmas Day. Decorate the area as you like and why not pin up drawings and paintings on the pillars? Let’s make this a wonderful celebration of the Birth of Jesus. Perhaps a few Mums and Dads would like to contribute?? I will place the stable there by this weekend, so keep an eye out and let’s get cracking!
Could we please ask you to come to church with a mask and sanitize your hands at the entrance. We are not asking for masks in the pews, that will be down to you but please wear them as you walk around the church.
As you know, our lovely village church is open 7 days of the week. I went in to lock up this week to find a “Lady of the Road” enjoying the relative warmth and the music. She left a note in our visitors book and on looking back I see that she visits us once or twice a year. She tells me that she has travelled across the country, sleeping when it gets dark and waking with the dawn. How wonderful that our church can offer such peace to someone who wrote, NFB in the book.....God Bless Her..
Thanks and God Bless you too.
A HAPPY AND Peaceful CHRICTMAS.
p.s. this week I pressed the wrong button and deleted my Catch Up contacts...having found a way to recover it, or I think I have, could a few of you acknowledge this email so that I know I was successful!!
A SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT CATCH UP From St John's.
It is will such joy that I am able to announce that after some 18 months since Keith left us, the Rev Tom Etherton has been appointed as the next Vicar of Burchetts Green. I have attached the actual notice that was read out in all three churches yesterday, as well as in his own church in Hampshire.
Tom and his wife Hannah, with their two children Alice(5) and Robyn (2) will move into the vicarage in January ready for his Licensing on 1st February. I hope to be able to send you more information about Tom and his family over the next few weeks and also details regarding the Licensing service.
We now look forward to welcoming Tom and his family to St John’s and our Parish.
We have been so lucky to have had Fr John with us for the whole of the Interregnum. Jenny and myself are indebted to Fr John as he has ensured that we have been able to hold a normal pattern of services as well as Baptisms, and Funerals. The Pandemic created many problems for us and Fr John has steered us through this most difficult of times.
He has decided to finish his ministry with us at the end of December after which he will be joining the ministry team at All Saints Boyne Hill. His last service with us at St John’s, will be our Carol service on the 19th December at 5pm. Having thanked Fr John, after I read out the announcement yesterday, the congregation spontaneously applauded him.
So, may I ask that we keep both Tom and his family as well as Fr John, in our prayers as they prepare for their moves.
We had a very moving Remembrance service on the 14th, attended by just over 100 people. It was nice having the Littlewick Scouts with us as well as representatives from White Waltham Parish Council , Hurley Parish Council and Littlewick Green Society, who all laid wreaths at the war memorial as did Sandra, representing St John’s.
Yesterday, we enjoyed our Family Eucharist and it was lovely having Eleanor with us, playing the Piano.
Now that brings me to a request for help!
We are very lucky to have Nigel playing for us each week and usually when he cannot, Eleanor plays the Piano. However, in planning our December services, and finding music for most of them, I am unable to find anyone available to play at the Crib service on the 24th December at 2pm., Both Nigel and Eleanor are otherwise engaged.
The crib service is a wonderful celebration of the Nativity and we sing the story through our Christmas Carols, whilst the little one’s act the story...Mary will arrive on a horse and our little Jesus will be 7 week old George, who was baptised yesterday.
IS THERE ANYONE IN THE VILLAGE WHO COULD HELP US OUT AND PLAY THE PIANO, OR DOES ANYONE KNOW SOMEONE WHO COULD. THE MUSIC WILL BE OUR FAVOURITE CHRISTMAS CAROLS. (tel: 01628 822282 or email me)
More details about our Christmas services will follow later and we will also be sending out a Christmas Card in the village, with all details included. As a summary and for your diary..................
5th December 2.15 pm Christingle service.
12th December 9.15am Family Eucharist.
19th December 5.0pm Family Carol Service .
22nd December 7.30pm Carol Singing in The Cricketers.
24th December 2.0pm Crib Service.
25th December 9.15am Christmas Day Family Eucharist, when we celebrate the birth of Jesus.
Sandra’s Traidcraft event was very successful, particularly on the Saturday and her stall will appear again at the Coffee morning at Stubbings on 1st December. Sandra would like to thank all of you who continue to support Taidcraft.