St Maryâ€™s Parish Magazine
Volume 3, Issue 9
Autumn 2012 www.stmaryswoodford.org.uk
Being a Transforming Presence What a summer! Never mind the joys of the Queen’s Jubilee, and the oddities of the weather – the Olympics and Paralympics will be remembered for decades to come. Many have expressed amazement at how well things turned out – not just in terms of GB medal success, but regarding the efficient organisation and the friendly welcome offered to the world. We, and other churches, had been praying about the Olympics and Paralympics for months beforehand. God answered our prayers; and partly, I am sure, by the ‘transforming presence’ of many Christian volunteers. The events we put on at St Mary’s, linked to the Olympics, were also successful – congratulations to those who worked hard to organise them! It was particularly good to hear people say, at the Jazz Concert and the history tours, for example, that this was the first time they had entered our church. Since then we have launched our new Saturday evening service, for those who can’t get to church on Sunday. The first few have been wellattended. Please tell friends and neighbours about this new opportunity, and pray that this congregation will grow. By the time you read this, the Church Council and others will have met with the Archdeacon of West Ham to discuss Bishop Stephen’s Transforming Presence proposals. We will be asking how God can transform his church, both here and in the Diocese of Chelmsford, to be a presence that transforms the life of all who live in Essex and east London. Let us be encouraged by the Olympic summer to hope for more good things from God – and be open to making our own contribution as he calls us deeper into service. Ian The picture on the front cover is of St Mary’s decorated for London 2012. Read on for the many ways we marked this memorable summer
Parish Register Welcomed to the Family of God by Baptism 1st July Remy Ward-Lindsay Weddings: 7th July Samuel (Kwame) Ntiamoah & Catherine Warburton 17th August Steven Shaw & Clare Tapper 8th September Ricky Reeves & Clare Wilson
Clare Wilson arriving for her wedding to Ricky
Funerals: 22nd June Terry Taylor (see pages 15 and 16 for tributes to Terry) 26th July Ian Bruce 2nd August Charles Rowell 6th August Mary Keliris 11th September Charles Turner May they rest in peace and rise in glory
London Calling We celebrated and supported the Olympic and Paralympic Games in many ways. Surrounded by Prayer The week before the Games we received the Woodford Prayer Torch - the last leg of a Woodford Church relay keeping the Games under divine protection. Inspire a Generation Andrena Palmer writes about the Senior Holiday Club - a week of Decathlon I can honestly say that this was the most challenging week that I have had during my year as Parish Youth Worker at St Mary’s, but I am so blessed; as an answer to prayer we exceeded above all expectations and feel that we achieved so much! Every morning the leaders arrived early to set up the hall (putting the tables and chairs out around the room, setting up the table games, preparing the “Toast station” (Bread, toaster, toppings, plates, knives etc.), preparing drinks and to pray/ speak about the day ahead. I was very pleased to welcome eleven young people to Decathlon: four guests with seven young people who currently attend Quest at St Mary’s J Audrey Kaminski ran our main sporting activities throughout the week. Bridget Webb introduced the young people to an Art Project, and some of this work was displayed in Church. We welcomed Viveca Dutt who came along wearing her Olympic uniform and spoke with the young people about her role as a Games Maker. The young people had lots of questions to ask her, and seemed genuinely interested in hearing about what she was going to be doing, and were very keen to pray for her and for the other volunteers, as well as for the athletes and officials. Wednesday was the day I was most nervous about because we were taking the young people to do athletics at Churchfields Recreation ground. I am pleased to report that they all ran 100m, 200m, 400m and 4x200m relay! They were coached and warmed up by Audrey and Chris Winward, and asked them questions about their experiences of running marathons. During the week Bridget, Carol Winward, Bev Fuentes and I spoke about what it was like when we were 12. Bridget spoke about her “book for boys”, Carol spoke about her friends, Bev spoke about her love of The Beatles, and I showed a clip of my favourite tv show, Knightmare. I hope that by learning about the leaders lives, what we were like when we were 12 and that our stories are not too different from their own, the young people will think about their futures.
We ended the week with a medal ceremony and presentations. I am so grateful for all the support that I had: Audrey, Bridget and Peter, Joe, Chris and Carol, and Bev. I am grateful to Viveca for coming and sharing her experiences of being a Games Maker, and for the support received from Ian and Clare, as well as the prayers (and sleep masks!) of the congregation. As a first attempt at running a holiday club for those aged 11+ I do think that this was a total success, and I am already hoping to do something similar next year! Some of the young peopleâ€™s work from the Holiday Club displayed in Church and during the all age service
Our own Olympic race and Games procession
Jack Tuominen (member of Quest, aged 12) writes about who inspired him during the games. I found the Olympics inspiring and it has made me think about sport more than I used to. I enjoyed watching swimming and mountain biking best. I The magnificent Velodrome didn’t picture a cycling track like the Velodrome and I really liked the architecture of all the venues. My favourite Olympians included Usain Bolt, Tom Daley and Victoria Pendleton. I think it’s amazing that people who have lost limbs or have a disability can compete as well as any one and I’m glad we had the Paralympics so all the people competing felt they’d made such a huge contribution. I think it’s made the world realise that they can still take part and surprise us. My favourite Paralympians are Ellie Simmonds and David Weir. I will be looking out for them in Rio in four years time. Penny Freeston reflects on the Games before they started and the effect on London during the summer Thought for the Day Since I stopped driving to work I do not catch ‘Thought for the Day’ on Radio 4 as regularly as I did. Many a frosty morning was spent in a school car park listening to the speaker before bracing myself to go in and face the day ahead. But on the morning of the Olympics opening ceremony in July I heard the familiar voice of Canon Duncan Green on the car radio, known to us all when he used to preach at St. Mary’s during the last interregnum. How quickly that time has gone since he first told us of his appointment as head of Multi faith chaplaincy for the London Organising Committee. It was fascinating to hear how the Multi faith centre, at the heart of the Olympic village, housed prayer rooms for the different faith communities. ‘A team of over 50 chaplains was on hand (ed note – including our own Annie McTighe) working on shifts to offer spiritual refreshment and help support and befriend Watching in harmony
the Games community which consists of 16 and a half thousand athletes and officials, 200,000 staff and volunteers and 20,000 media broadcasters.’ As athletes from 200 hundred nations prepared to take part, Duncan finished his broadcast by saying: ‘I pray that the world may watch and learn to live in Harmony’, in keeping with the true Olympic spirit. He reminded us of St. Paul’s words: ‘May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another’. You can read a full transcript or listen to Duncan’s address on www.bbc.co.uk Like Duncan we too have seen the Olympic site grow from ‘a brownfield construction area into a park providing world class sporting facilities and beautiful riverside parkland’. If you still haven’t, then glimpse the view from the third floor of John Lewis at Westfield for free. You may also like to read Bishop Stephen Cottrell’s address at the Service in Celebration of the London Olympic Games, held at Westminster Abbey on July 16th. www.westminster-abbey.org He mentions ‘an ancient tradition of an Olympic truce, a time when around the Games, arms were laid down, disagreements set aside’. ‘Oh, how our confused and compromised world needs this peace. But we cannot achieve it in our own strength. We need the peace that comes from Christ.’ London Pride Like many Londoners I went from being mildly interested to becoming totally absorbed by the arrival of the Games on our doorstep. Having watched international basketball, diving and athletics in the London Prepares series and been there at the opening of the stadium one chilly evening in May I was content to take a backseat. Instead I found myself glued to watching the events on TV with London at its best our grandchildren, ordering games of flags for them on the internet and wishing I’d been at the Velodrome to watch such amazing results. Martin and I enjoyed a day at the Stadium on Day 8 of the Paralympics, sitting close to the burning cauldron of flames before walking round the landscaped park we’d last seen as a building site months before. We went up the viewing platform of the Orbit from where we could see Epping Forest and Whipps Cross Hospital and strolled round Eton
Manor and the Riverside Area Martin barely recognised from his youth. We even had our photo taken with the Olympic torch! I had planned to avoid central London for the duration but soon changed my mind when travelling was noticeably less congested than predicted. I loved being in London with the rest of the world in tow: my home city where generations of my family were born and I have no desire to leave. Two days before the final events I took part in a Trinity of Reflection, an organised walk from Westminster Abbey to St. Paulâ€™s, then to Southwark Cathedral stopping for prayers at each place of worship. The London skyline looked spectacular on that warm, balmy evening; I felt so thankful that all had gone well. Seven years ago we were apprehensive, to say the least. A view from abroad Being away during the Olympics we saw them through the eyes of the Italian press and it was good have an outside independent view. They thought the Queen as a Bond girl was a masterpiece of English humour. She brought the London Games to the attention of everyone. Charles and Camilla were seen as put on one side and William and Harry and Kate placed at centre stage. They were very good at fitting naturally in the crowd and they were always enthusiastic supporters of Team GB. They thought the volunteers were wonderful. Hard working and available everywhere with good advice. They liked the dedication and success of the British athletes because they were ordinary members of the public not like many Italian athletes who had the advantage of being members of the military. Dick and Mitzi Walker A final celebration Chris Meikle asks: Can you spot St Maryâ€™s members in action at the Joint Churches Picnic at Ashton Playing Fields? None of them won their races but of course it's not the winning but the taking part that counts! Isn't it? If you weren't there, you missed a good afternoon. The adults enjoyed their races at least as much as the children, although some people were more competitive than others! There was good fellowship and I for one had conversations with people I'd never spoken to before.
Helping Make the Games Members of St Maryâ€™s were 2012 Games Makers. Sarah Reynolds was looking after important visitors and officials: From the moment I started my first shift and met my team at the Olympic stadium on Opening ceremony of the Olympics night and every minute inbetween to the closing ceremony of the Paralympics and the not to be missed Parade- the most amazing thing for me were the people Everyone!!! - My fantastically dedicated and hard working teams in the Olympic Stadium and the Athletes village, ever single volunteer I encountered, the athletes and officials and security teams and to all the great British public we showed the world exactly who we are and what we can achieve as a nation and crucially as one of the greatest cities in the world - I am so proud and blessed Ellodie and Josephine with to have been a part of London 2012. Sarah at the athletes parade Tomoya Yamaguchi writes I worked at the Paralympic (wheel chair tennis) and Olympic Games(shooting) as a sports massage practitioner in the medical team. I treated athletes both before and after their events so they could stay in top condition for the games. I had a brilliant summer and a lot of amazing memories but my best memory was when the Japanese wheel chair tennis team gave me their team t-shirt and the day after took gold. In my opinion the Paralympics was much more moving than the Olympics because they had such a diverse range of disabilities but they push themselves to do just as well as the non disabled
Tomo with gold medallist Shingo Kunieda
Olympic athletes and they are very friendly and have the best personalities I have ever seen. Even if they lost or their countries were troubled or in conflict they were still smiling and looking up. I was very impressed about the amount and quality of the coverage of the Paralympic games on channel four. It was certainly just as good as the BBC coverage of the Olympics. I think that Great Britain has really set a new standard for other countries to follow. Hopefully the games will be even more successful in the future. Sally Barton took part in ceremonies and was an interpreter What will I remember? The hours spent on tarmac at Dagenham with 1000 other would be drummers; the first rehearsal in the stadium; the lighting of the Olympic flame and watching it rise the first time. I have many memories - too many to list here but the most enduring will be the many relationships I formed. These include time spent with Kenyan athletes and their coach talking Swahili â€“ a short time but long enough to hold a silver medal and to be phoned at 7.30am last week from Eldoret! I spent most time with my group 43 drummers â€“ what was wonderful about this group was the way we were united even though we came from different backgrounds, different ages and many different jobs. We are already talking about reunions. We will have our own legacy. Want to know more? Came and hear Viveca and I sharing on November 14th. Woodford Wives will provide refreshments and all are welcome.
Viveca with one of her BMWs
Viveca Dutt was a driver during both Games. As well as getting to drive a shiny BMW in the official Games Lanes I met a huge range of overseas visitors; from a Prime Minister to Paralympic tennis officials and every one between. It was a fantastic chance to welcome the world to our own doorstep and show them how friendly London can be (and most of them remarked on that unbidden). It
was great working with people from all over the country who had given up a lot of time and money to volunteer, which showed how much the whole country embraced the Games. We did have some friendly competition about our passengers - on the very last night of the Paralympic Games my boast that I had just dropped the Lord Mayor of London at his Mansion House home was well and truly trumped by another driver who had just driven Oscar Pistorious after his gold medal! Apart from that my main memories are of the wonderfully happy atmosphere in the Olympic Park every single day and night, (including very late nights and very early mornings). And the stunningly beautiful Olympic Park which I had the privilege of walking through many times. It will become a fabulous legacy for London, but a couple of German visitors summed it up when they said that the greatest legacy for Britain from the whole of London 2012 was that we have realised we can do things very well and very efficiently and in a very welcoming and quirky British way—who else would have their Head of State come to the Olympic Opening Ceremony by jumping out of a helicopter! Penny Freeston concludes our London 2012 section by looking back at an Olympian who also inspired a generation by his commitment to Christ. Race of Life On a crowded street corner in Westminster on Day 12 of the London Olympics I was handed a free booklet that told the extraordinary story of Eric Liddell who, in 1922, ran the 100 metre in 9.7 seconds – a British record that lasted 35 years. His life was celebrated in the award-winning film, Chariots of Fire, in 1981. Born in Tiensin, of missionary parents, Eric returned to Great Britain to be educated at boarding school and Edinburgh University where he excelled at Athletics and went on to win a gold medal at the Paris Olympics in 1924. Soon afterwards, following more successes, he returned to China in his parents’ footsteps and taught at the Tiensin Anglo-Chinese College. When War broke out his missionary wife Florence, who was expecting their third child, returned to Canada with their children while Eric stayed behind. He was later imprisoned in a Japanese internment camp in Weihsien, China where he gave his Olympic running shoes to a boy who had no shoes. Later this boy said, ‘Eric gave me two things. One was his shoes…the other was his example of forgiveness. He taught me to love my enemies and to pray for them.’ Eric wrote, ‘One thing stands out from all others as the guarantee to knowing God, to having His peace in your heart; it is to obey God.' Having given up the chance to be released from prison in an exchange with Japanese prisoners, Eric grew weaker, suffering from an inoperable brain tumour. He had given his place to a pregnant woman instead and never saw his family again. Aged 43, in 1945, five months before the camp was liberated, his last words were, ‘It is complete surrender’.
Eric ‘s faith in Christ had filled his desire for acceptance, peace and permanence, remembering his father’s words that the greatest race was the race of life and that the greatest prize was heaven and eternal life. His grave was marked with a small cross but was rediscovered in 1989. Two years later, a memorial headstone was erected there on behalf of Edinburgh University inscribed with the words from Isaiah 40:v31: ‘They shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary.’ Eric’s memory was honoured at the Bejing Olympics in 2008; he was one of very few Westerners to be acknowledged in China. His courage, commitment and self-sacrifice inspire us all to be better, not to be confused with aspiring to be bigger or grander. Lord Puttnam, the director of Chariots of Fire, gave a lecture at Edinburgh University earlier this year citing Eric as showing the best in human spirit when faced with making difficult choices. The Eric Liddell Centre in Edinburgh is dedicated to inspiring, empowering and supporting people of all ages, cultures and abilities as an expression of compassionate Christian values with special focus on people with a diagnosis of dementia and their carers. www.ericliddell.org
Mother and Toddler 35th Birthday Jan McGown writes about a group celebrating a special year When we celebrating the 40th anniversary since the opening of St Mary’s after the fire, it seemed an appropriate time to remember the people who were involved in the development of the Mums and Toddler group. I felt it important to give thanks for their contribution to the group in various roles, especially as so many of them are not alive today. Rev. Bob Birchnall had wanted to start a Mother and Toddler Group; however the church at that time wasn’t suitable. After the fire he was determined to have a group. The task of setting it up was passed to Kathleen Whitfield- Church Warden at the time. We are very grateful to Val Creedon who was asked to run the group and did so for three years by which time St Mary’s mums attending the group offered to run it. Members and voluntary helpers over the 35 years joined us for a Thanksgiving Service this year, remembering those who, from its conception, gave so generously of their time and are now departed from us, also those who are now elderly and frail living in nursing homes. We lit a candle for each person remembering them by name. We also remembered those who have contributed enormously to the group but were unable to attend the celebration today. A number of people commented how moving the service was, they were close to tears as they remembered their friends. We offer our grateful thanks to the Rector who directed the very moving service.
Very few of us knew of Val’s involvement with the group so we asked her to join the group in the Gwinnell room and cut the cake made up of 4 hearts. It was also an opportunity for Val to meet some of the present members and to see how the group has developed over the years, purchasing a new slide, safety mats, toddler’s tables and chairs. Val was delighted to meet one of first toddlers Helen Bloom with her two young children Grace and Jack. Grace is a member of Seekers. We finished the morning with a reunion lunch, which gave us the opportunity to have a good chat with people who have moved away from the area. Many times I have been thanked for the friendly, caring and supportive nature of the group to both toddlers and adults. This has been quite noticeable over the past few months. An important point about the group is it is run in accordance with a constitution written by a group of members and endorsed by the PCC during the early 1990’s. This clearly states the aims of the group and help make it the successful and popular group it is today. The Group is also well known in the community and also offers the opportunity for people to learn about the Christian Faith if they so wish.
A first anniversary reflection Andrena Palmer writes about her first year with us. I AM BLESSED – and so happy as I write to you and reflect on my first year as parish youth worker! During this year I have mainly been working with those aged 14+ during the Sunday morning service. We have relaunched and renamed the group “SHaPE” and we have 10 young people on the register. We have led worship for 2 all-age services; November and February, and joined forces with Quest for the June service. Attendance before Christmas was excellent, but this number steadily decreased throughout the spring term, and after Easter we met together with Quest. On some Sunday evenings I ran the Youth Alpha course, and three young people from Quest attended. I was assisted by Joe Roberts as
small group leader. Our three young people joined me and several other groups from the Deanery for a part weekend away on 23rd – 24th March 2012. It was a fantastic weekend filled with fun activities, games and challenges, food, film, “sleep” (apparently!), and I lead two sessions on the Saturday morning looking at how we tell others about our faith. I have found it difficult to organise midweek evening events as our young people have such demanding school and personal lives. Rather than this, we have put on events throughout the school holidays, which have been well attended. These events have included a “Cosy Christmas”, a Valentine’s craft day and a “Film Club” during the Easter break. I invited the young people to several deanery events throughout the year; but these proved unsuccessful. We had Decathlon, our first senior Holiday Club in July – and it was a great success (please see separate report). I am very pleased that several members of SHaPE helped with the Junior Holiday Club. In order to engage with young people not yet involved with the church I have been volunteering at Woodbridge High School, and I have been mentoring a young lady. I hope that this year I will be able to do some assemblies at the school, as well as help at a lunch time/ after school club. This year I have worked alongside several volunteer helpers; Roberta Flynn, Lizete Teofilo, Bridget and Peter Webb, Bev Fuentes, Chris and Carol Winward, Audrey Kaminski, Joe Roberts, Bob Pamplin, as well as pastoral support from Ian. Lesley Blacker has continued to lead Link. I know that volunteers are so important to bring out the best in our young people and I could not do my job without their support – and I thank you. I hope that others feel inspired to join the youth work team, and I would be pleased to meet anyone for a coffee and discuss further the plans that I have for work alongside the young people this year. I am grateful to the congregation for the warm welcome and acceptance that I have had, and I really look forward to the challenges that youth work will bring this year.
A new picture for you? Peter Webb has been painting portraits with the proceeds going to the Memorial Hall appeal fund. Would you like him to paint one for you? Adults, children and any other subjects welcome! Here are a couple of samples to whet your appetite. Contact Peter on 8531 0511
Penny’s fiendish coronation quiz Here are the answers. How did you do? 1. Horace Walpole 2. an emergency operation for appendicitis 3.Queen Victoria’s coronation 4. Archbishop Geoffrey Fisher 5. five months 6. 2,000 peers’ chairs needed 7. Norman Hartnell 8. Vaughan Williams: ‘O Taste and See’ 9. the small stool on which the peers had knelt went missing 10. Revd. Canon Eric Jay, the Archbishop’s Chaplain Thank you for supporting the quiz on September 8th which raised about £500 shared between the Paralympics and St Mary’s, and for your generous gifts in kind and money for the Manna Centre at our Harvest Festival.
A much loved dad and Granddad Terry Taylor, the best dressed man in South Woodford, died from a sudden heart attack on 7th June 2012 aged 80. He was cremated and his ashes were yesterday placed next to his mother’s and sister’s in the Memorial Gardens at the City of London cemetery. On 22nd June we had a tremendous send off for Dad at St Mary’s and it was wonderful to see so many of his friends. We will all miss him because he was so loving, warm and amusing. Terry came to London from quiet rural Cambridgeshire and he never really wanted to go back. He made constant use of the tube to get to the bright lights and best shops. In the 60s Candace and I were quite at home in Carnaby Street, getting kitted out in Take 6 or Lord John where Dad was a regular customer. Dad would buy two singles a week from Fred’s record shop and although opera was his last love his first was the Four Tops, Marvin Gaye and Chairmen of the Board. He would play them in the attic and give us dancing lessons so we could imagine we were at the latest rave up. Derby Road was actually THE centre of swinging London. I remember the muffled beat from the dansette pumping out the Motown hits. Mini skirts, floral shirts, winkle pickers and hipsters; party sevens and sticky carpets and lots of laughter from Dad. A magical time and long lasting friendships. A real feeling of community. In 1975, thanks to the rich source of material that was Dad, I won a school literary competition. I wrote about him, his passion for the past, collecting antiques and his eccentric ways. I wrote of wheeling finials and cast iron urns from demolition sites in my pram and getting dragged around antique shops on summer holidays. Dad didn’t drive so my Grandpa’s car was often heavily laden with objects and roof rack weighed down with heavy sideboards or corner cupboards! And of the disasters we caused as children like sending a sledge down the stairs to
smash into a satinwood whatnot. Or putting a huge rip in a favourite Edwardian oil painting. After understandable initial rage Dad was very quick to forgive us. And I wrote of his sweet tooth and his ingenious way of receiving free crates of Mars bars by crafting masterpiece complaint letters when he found an aging bar in Wetheralls or Woolworths – which was quite often (before sell-by dates remember)? Dad was a great teacher. If I was ill enough to miss school I would often get taken to work with him at Beal so I could watch him in action. He had the knack of enthusing his pupils and making them laugh. It was obvious that Art was the favourite lesson for many of them. He was so happy to be appointed as Head of Art at Woodford County High and I have been contacted by many girls who say they will never forget him. Terry doted on his grandchildren and would always agree to baby-sit and help them with homework. Our annual holidays were full of joy, centring round life in the beach-hut and laughing, joking, reminiscing and people-watching with Dad. We will think of him when we see his collection of antiques, his vast wardrobe of clothes, when we smell his aftershave, when we visit a stately home or Frinton-on-Sea, when we watch repeats of Top of the Pops or hear a popular piece of opera. We will remember him with love. Curtis Taylor, 22nd August 2012. This poem was written in tribute to Terry by Sylvia Ayling and read by his daughter Emma Liebeskind at his funeral on 22 June. Whenever the day dawns bright, We’ll think of you. Whenever we see a thing of beauty, We’ll remember you. Whenever we celebrate your joyful presence, We’ll imagine you. Whenever we reflect on your kindness We’ll heartily thank you. Whenever we dream of a joyful and beautiful world, We know that you are only a breath away. And whenever life needs an uplift, Our thoughts can turn to you. ‘Why ever?’ is not the question, ‘Why ever NOT to praise you?’ Needs no answer.
Kenya update May we introduce Eric, and his Arsenal scarf? He is at present the nurse in charge of the dispensary at Muchunguri, which was built with funds mostly sent by St Maryâ€™s. It opened in January 2011, a few months after our Parish visit. When we visited them this August, so far this year an average of 20 children and 73 adults had been seen every month. A shelf had a good range of medicines for the diseases common there. It has not been easy to get a new dispensary going; in the last year a piped water supply has come to the area, but does not always provide water. The long hoped for electricity supply, which would be a big bonus for the dispensary, is still a promise. David and Wendy Littlejohns
Ants Go to Picnics Chris Meikle on how ants show Godâ€™s care in creation Someone said that "The ant is the busiest creature in the world but she has time to go to every picnic." Not only do they hunt out every picnic but they seem to seek out every pantry. They rejoice in sugar and syrup and are not easily kept out. They are most diligent and tireless in their labours. Apparently all ants who go to picnics are female. The male ants remain in the ground, presumably taking care of the babies and doing the housework! When an ant comes across a piece of bread, she will take what she can carry and make the other ants aware of the location of the food. They, in turn, will collect what they can carry. Each ant respects the rights of others and disclaims all selfishness. They never steal from each other but simply pass on the good news of the find. So God's gospel is spread. One comes to the Bread of Life and feeds on it. Then he goes on his journey to tell others of the wonderful treasure he has found. By tongue and by pen, the news is spread that Jesus Christ is the Bread of Life. So thousands upon thousands have come to him and others are still coming. Each ant has four pairs of ears. God has graciously gifted this tiny creature with unusual hearing ability in order to help it protect itself from danger. God shows care for the ants as well as the elephants.
He cares for you too. He cares for every moment of your life, and wants all your devotion and your trust. The ants are diligent in summer because they know that food will be sparse in winter and they dare not venture out when the temperatures are freezing. When did the ant become so wise? Moses was commended of God because he believed in future judgement and prepared for it. He obeyed God and applied the blood of the lamb to his door posts so that his house might be passed over by the angel. Noah too was commended because he believed that there was trouble ahead and he prepared for it. He obeyed God and built the ark as instructed. Let us be wise as the ant and store up for our future with the Bread of Life.
Wrapped In Prayer On Sunday June 24th, the church was ‘wrapped in prayer’ for the third time. Although the youth groups did the wrapping, we wanted to involve the whole congregation, and were very pleased with the response; we received 150 prayers, equalling last year’s total. Thanks to all who contributed. The prayers were retrieved, read and prayed by members of Quest and SHaPe and their leaders. Space does not permit us to reprint them all here, but we asked the young people to choose 10 of their favourites to share with a wider audience. Here is their selection: 1. Dear God, We pray for all the people in this world. We pray for the homeless and sick. We pray for the old and disabled. We pray for the animals and creatures. We are sorry for our sins. We thank you for making all of us. 2. Lord, do not let us forget the places where there is poverty. 3. Thank you for animals and rainbows. 4. For all who need our prayers – we think of you now and hope that in days to come you may be here with us. 5. Dear Lord, pollution is killing animals such as fish, therefore worldwide famine is taking place. Please help.
6. Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of having our young people and their commitment to you. Help them to build on what they have, with our support, so we can work together for your praise and glory. 7. Dear God, please make my cat Minnie very happy in heaven. Amen. 8. Father, we pray for those who don’t feel they can face another day, for those who are sad, sick in hospital or just depressed. Jesus comfort them. Amen. 9. Thank you for the teddy bear that keeps me snug at night. Thank you for the Lego, it is very fun. Amen. 10. Lord, let the flame of your Holy Spirit burn brightly in this church. Seekers leaders
CIRCLES OF PRAYER This intercession takes the circle of prayer beyond the church wrapped by our young people to the whole world of which we are part. Let us think of our prayers as being like circles in a pond made by throwing a stone into the water. The surface of the pond is still and silent; the stone drops into the middle and we see the first circle emerge. In this circle are people closest to us-family and friends-the irreplaceable ones. There may not be many in this first small circle but we know them well-their strengths and their struggles, their enjoyments and their present needs. Let us pray for them. The circle spreads a little. Here are the people we know quite well, perhaps work with. Here there may be more distant family members and friends whom we don’t make contact with as much as we ought, but we care for them nonetheless. Here too are people sitting around us in church-some we know quite well-some we don’t and would like too. Here too are the people who quietly but conscientiously make this church service possible; we give thanks for their commitment and their skills and we pray for all in this circle. The circle spreads again. Look now at the people we know less well. Our neighbours, the people we see and smile to at the supermarket-in shortthe people of this community. There are hundreds of people out here in this circle, too many to pray for individually. In any case, we don’t know their needs. But they are known to you Lord so let them be washed by these circles of prayer. The circles spread further to those who suffer in body, mind or spirit. Some are known to us here at St Mary’s, some are known to us only personally but all are known to you Lord. And this circle includes all those who care for them. We think of the demands made upon medical skills and caring qualities and we pray for all those in this circle that they may be sustained according to their need.
The circles spread out further to the edge of the pond. Our prayers extend to the ends of the earth, for all God’s creation is the object of his mercy, and we include those in other lands that we know particularly Dr Ruth Huelser in Tabora , Tanzania. We picture her in this circle working in her healthcare projects with limited medical and human resources to care for the people in her various village clinics. We pray Lord that she will find the resources both physical and spiritual to enable her to do her most valuable work. In this circle Lord, we picture too the people of Syria whose faces we have seen on our TV screen-faces marked with pain and anguishdesperate to live, as we do, in security and peace and in a true democracy. God our father, this prayer is an act of love for the world. Let us delight to encompass all things within the circle of your extraordinary care and keeping. The final circle spreads beyond the pond-edge beyond the time and space of this world and into the next. We pray for those recently departed this kingdom for your heavenly realm. . . . . and in this circle Lord, we remember and pray for those personally dear to us who have gone before into your eternal care. . . . . . . . . . . Lord God our father, our prayer is but a small pebble thrown into a large expanse of need. We thank you that your love is greater still and we entrust every circle of our prayers to your grace.
Where they are now Two of our young people tell us about life in Cambridge Hey, I’m Jess and I’m currently going into my 3rd year of studying Veterinary Science at Cambridge University. I’m a part of Girton College, which is the furthest college out from the city centre (about 2 miles) which means I have very good leg muscles from all the cycling to and fro!! My college is a Victorian building, with lots of grounds (one of the pros of not being central) and used to be an all girls college; however it has fairly recently been changed to also include males. In the very, very little spare time that I have at Uni, I manage to pack in some sport, being a member of the Cambridge University Tennis Team. This year we hired a minibus and headed to Oxford for our varsity match.
Unfortunately we were beaten, but we put up a good fight and it was great fun. I’m also on the Girton Mixed Netball Team, which is a sport I used to play for Essex Open Netball Club and I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the new experience of playing with males as well (which can be quite brutal sometimes!) Another interest I have is in music, obtaining grade 8 in both the piano and the flute and grade 4 in the cello. 3rd year of my course is meant to be one of the easier years so I’m planning on hopefully joining an orchestra of some sort to keep up this interest as well as the sport. I really enjoy spending my Uni life in Cambridge, it’s such a lovely city with so many old colleges and buildings to explore. The chapels are spectacular, I visited St John’s chapel recently which is massive and definitely worth Amy and Jessica Vernon visiting. I can’t say that Girton’s chapel quite matches the high standards of some of the other colleges, but it is very homely and unique even though it may not be as glorious as the others. Jessica Vernon I am a Psychology student at Anglia Ruskin University and I have just finished my first year. It is situated in the beautiful city of Cambridge. I lived in halls on the university campus. The first week was quite daunting being away from home and not knowing anyone but I had a great time going to the Cambridge clubs at freshers week. The university has its very own theatre called the Mumford Theatre where most of my lectures took place. I found the lectures very interesting, especially my first ever one which was about happiness. I spent some of my free time punting on the river with friends and enjoyed looking at all the interesting historic buildings and colleges. I went to the freshers fair and decided to sign up for as many things as I could because I thought there was no harm in at least trying them out. One of the societies I had never heard of before was Ultimate Frisbee which I instantly fell in love with. I decided to only carry on with this society so I could focus all my energy
and attention into it. I never expected it to be anywhere near as competitive and strenuous as I thought it would be when I first went. We train every Wednesday on a big green next to the university called Parkers Piece. There are about twenty of us on the team. As the sport involves a lot of running, we have to attend fitness training every Monday; being able to run fast and for long periods of time is vital for this sport. Every weekend, we compete with other colleges in Cambridge, usually on Parkers Piece. Sometimes we play matches on the grounds of the colleges we compete with, for example Churchill College. Playing the sport has kept me fit and helped me meet lots of new people. Living in Cambridge and admiring the Cambridge colleges had always made me want to experience what it would be like inside the buildings. Luckily, one of my best friends is at Corpus Christi College and she invited me to have lunch one day with her in the lunch hall. After eating, she gave me a tour of the college which I found extremely interesting. Another reason why I love Cambridge so much is because it is full of lots of shops and markets so there is always something to do. I have thoroughly enjoyed my first year and look forward to going back and reliving the experience! Amy Vernon
A varied and interesting trip Jean Morgans describes an action packed Townswomenâ€™s guild meeting Along with my sister and four other ladies from St. Mary's, I was fortunate in spending a few days in the Midlands at the end of June. Organised by the South Essex Federation of Townswomen's Guild, the purpose of the trip was to attend the N.C.M.of the movement in the Conference Centre in Birmingham. The two days prior to that were full of interest and surprises. We first made a visit to the small town of Much Wenlock. Visiting the museum we learned that a resident of the town had been instrumental in starting the modern Olympic Games in 1896, hence one of the mascots named Wenlock. The next day we visited the National Arboretum at Alwres, a beautifully laid-out park dedicated to all those who served in the wars.In the grounds is a museum dedicated to prisoners of war in Japan and Singapore. I particularly wanted to visit it as we were told you could research into individual cases. A long-time member of SS Philip and James and St. Mary's, Ron Wingham, was a prisoner of war in Japan. Sure enough, on the screen came G.C. Ronald Victor Wingham. I was told that G.C. indicated George Cross. Ron never spoke of his war-time experiences and I wondered if anyone knew of this award? The N.C.M. proved to be the 'icing on the cake'. Some 2,000 ladies were present from all over the country, dressed in red, white and blue in honour of the Diamond Jubilee. A warm welcome was received from the Lord Mayor of Birmingham and then followed a parade of banners representing every
Federation in the movement. Brenda Denhard proudly carried the banner from SW Essex. The serious part of the day was discussing two mandates, one urging H.M. Government to do something about 930,000 derelict houses in the country, the other to ensure that money donated overseas through various charities is spent Brenda Denhard and the SW Essex banner only on projects connected to the cause. We had an excellent talk from Esther Rantzen C.B.E who plans to launch Silverline in the comig year. It is 25 years since Childline was formed and Silverline will cater for older and vulnerable people.This will get backing from T.G. The other speaker was Eric Knowles who gave an amusing illustrated talk on his interest in antiques; he was always more interested in their social history than their value. The day ended with a 30 minute entertainment by a musical trio who led us into a rousing finale reminiscent of the Last Night at the Proms.
What would happen if we treated our Bible like our mobile phone? ♦ What handbag? ♦ What ♦ What behind? ♦ What text? ♦ What
if we carried it around in our pocket or if we flipped through it several times a day? if we turned back to get it if we'd left it if we used it to receive messages from the
if we treated it like we couldn't live without it? ♦ What if we gave one to our children/grandchildren as a gift? ♦ What if we used it when we travelled? ♦ What if we used it in case of an emergency? Maybe this is something to make you go . . . hmmm . . . . . when do I rely on my Bible? And we don't have to worry about our Bible running out of credit because Jesus has already paid the bill. Makes you stop and think, "where are my priorities?" When Jesus died on the cross He was thinking of YOU. Thanks to Chris Meikle for this
From Portsmouth to Africa Barbara Duncan writes about a challenge in Uganda
Clockwise from left: Wynne, Anne Merriman, Mat from Canada and Barbara
Many, many years ago I remember sitting in the Royal Marine Barracks church in Eastney, Portsmouth, where my mother used to take my sister and I. I was about eleven years old. The sun shone through the stained glass windows creating coloured patterns on the golden brown wood of the pews. A thought came into my head, “I want to be a missionary nun in Africa!” Where it came from, I’ve no idea. I’ve laughed to myself at the memory now and again. I became a doctor, married, had children. I’ve always told people I knew I wanted to be a doctor since I was 11. So what
happened to the missionary nun? My inspiration to be a doctor was my father who became a GP after the Second World War. He was ordained as a priest late in life and worked in non-stipendary posts until shortly before he died. He became an oblate of Alton Abbey long before that. For those who aren’t sure what an oblate is, it’s like being an associate member of the Benedictine order. In February of this year I became a novice oblate of West Malling Abbey, an Anglican Benedictine order for women. It’s a most beautiful place with buildings from the eleventh to twentieth century. So, I’m a probationary member of an order of nuns. Hmmm! My ambition in becoming a doctor was to be a GP like my father but training in general practice wasn’t as well established as it is now. I trained as an anaesthetist and specialised in chronic pain management. Along the way I spent a few years in palliative medicine working at Meadow House Hospice in Ealing. Right from the start of my training I wanted to work overseas in developing countries. For years I’ve dreamt of retiring soon enough to work overseas. It’s a dream I’ve shared with my husband, Wynne, who’s an anaesthetist. Last year he worked in Ethiopia for 3 months teaching in Gondar. Now I’ve retired it’s time to set foot into the wide world. I was put in touch with Anne Merriman, founder of Hospice Africa, through the British Pain Society. Anne was inspired by Cicely Saunders who brought the hospice movement to the forefront of medicine in Britain. So, earlier this year I visited Anne in Uganda and saw the
hospice movement in action. Hospice Africa Uganda website is http:// www.hospiceafrica.or.ug for those interested in finding out more. Many countries ban morphine from fear of addiction. The key aspect of growing the hospice movement in the developing world is to persuade governments to allow morphine into their countries at affordable prices. Anne has succeeded in doing this in a number of African countries by working with politicians, educating health care professionals and patients and being able to supply morphine at low cost. A litre of morphine solution, which can last a patient 10 days, costs the same as a loaf of bread in Uganda. Hospice Africa Uganda supplies free medication and health care for those with incurable diseases such as cancer and HIV/AIDS. The main site of Hospice Africa Uganda is in Kampala and has on outpatient clinic, pharmacy, day care centre, educational institute and two guesthouses for students on courses or visitors. There are a number of training courses including a BSc in palliative care. There are two other hospices in Mbrara and Hoima. The running costs of an in-patient hospice is prohibitive. All patients are visited at home. Community Volunteer workers are trained to support people at home and liaise with the Hospice team. When I visited in April I went out with the team on visits. The team consisted of a doctor, nurse, social worker and driver. The most memorable visit was the last of the day. It was hot and I knew my stomach was objecting to something I’d eaten. We arrived at the door of a brick hut that was used for herbal medicine rituals by the patient’s father. It was filthy. Chicken feathers lay on the floor. There was a curtain and a rush mat inside, nothing else. Sitting on the floor was our patient, a lady in her thirties. Her stepmother showed us to her. She’d been put in this shed away from the family. She was emaciated with barely any hair on her head. A sickly, putrid stench came from the pus of an ulcer on her shin that showed the flesh rotting under it. Ludovic, the doctor, started talking to her. She was smiling, so pleased we were there to help her and eating a piece of dried fruit. I stood at the doorway and started to feel faint. The heat, the smell, the sight of the ulcer, my stomach churned. This feeble, frail m’tzungu (white woman) couldn’t stand at the door any longer. I returned to the van, sat down and came out in a cold sweat. They expect her to do well. She was taken to the HIV clinic to start antiretroviral treatment . Crushed metronidazole tablets on the infected ulcer had improved the infection. She is supported by a community volunteer worker to ensure she takes her medication and has enough to eat. The hospice can provide basic food supplies of sugar, flour and maize. By the time you read this I will have left for Africa and, to prepare for a challenging 3 months, started with a holiday in Kenya where my husband Wynne grew up. We will have reached Kampala by late September where I expect to stay for a few weeks before going to Mbrara or Hoima. Who knows where this will take me?
Time to read Some book reviews for autumn days John Ortberg - If you want to walk on water you’ve got to get out of the boat What is the most common command from God in the Bible? Rather to my surprise it is to not be afraid. John Ortberg thinks that the command “fear not” occurs so often because fear is the number one reason human beings are tempted to avoid doing what God asks them to do. Attempting to walk on water is clearly dangerous. In his book, ‘If you want to walk on water you’ve got to get out of the boat’, John Ortberg takes us step by step through the familiar Gospel reading (Mathew 14:22). Ortberg points out that Peter’s actions are not mere recklessness. Peter only makes the attempt when instructed to do so. Jesus says, “Take heart, it is I; have no fear.” Peter answer, “Lord, if it is you, bid me come to you on the water”, to which Jesus answers, “come”. Peter is at first successful but then sees the wind and is afraid, Jesus saves with the famous words, “O ye of little faith, why did you doubt?” Ortberg describes these closing remarks as being compassionate and as part of Peter’s growing in faith. Ortberg particularly draws attention to the rest of the disciples who stay in the boat. That is how he describes most of us. In his view it is a particular preoccupation of the current age to seek safety and avoid risk when paradoxically, for those in the developed world, life is safer than it has been in the past. For Ortberg it is in this whole process of meeting and solving problems that life has its meaning.’ This is how we grow. Developing his theme, Ortberg has interesting things to about resilience, referring to the experience of David and Joseph as to why we can suffer. Ortberg asks, why is it that for some people failure is energising, while for others failure is paralyzing? This takes the book periodically to a parallel self-help American style secular narrative, for me less convincing and clearly influenced by Daniel Goleman’s book, ‘Emotional Intelligence.’ I would rather this secular strand had been omitted but others who read Ortberg’s book in a local Christian book club found this secular strand of the book complementary and helpful. For me the strength of this generally easy to read book is the way it makes some very valid and usable points. Ortberg encourages us to ‘get out of the boat’ a little every day. Begin the day by asking God for wisdom about where you need to get your feet wet that day. Call someone whom you have been avoiding out of fear. Express your faith to someone who does not know about your beliefs. Make a gesture of friendship toward someone when you are tempted to hold back. Try reading Ortberg’s book. Peter Wall
Each Day and Each Night - Celtic Prayers from Iona by J. Philip Newell . Wild Goose Publications www.ionabooks.com My favourite spiritual place has to be Iona, where Saint Columba established his mission from Ireland in the 6th century. We have visited this tiny island in the Inner Hebrides several times in the last forty years but six years ago I travelled there alone to take part in a retreat/pilgrimage led by the former Archbishop of York, David Hope. I look back on that week as a truly wonderful experience. It allowed me to explore, renew and refresh my faith, walking to a different deserted beach each day and meditating on all we had learned. I spent many hours watching opal waters wash on to bleached white sand, where, to quote 4th Century Celtic teacher Pelagius, ‘shafts of divine light penetrate the thin veil that divides heaven from earth’. With thanks to the spiritual guidance and fellowship I experienced there I came home feeling more content than I had ever felt before or since. I longed to go back but it is a long journey: nearly two days travelling including two ferries and coach journeys; accommodation can be scarce and expensive. Life gets in the way but there is no doubt I will return to Iona one day. Meanwhile this little book has kept me company ever since. I only have to close my eyes and remember that holy place and the serenity I found there. Each day, morning and evening, from Monday to Saturday a lectionary of Bible readings accompanies prayers based on the Carmina Gadelica, the traditional Celtic ‘songs of the Gaels’. Recurring themes are Justice and Peace, Healing, the Goodness of Creation and Care for the Earth, Commitment to Christ, the Communion of Heaven and Earth and Welcome and Hospitality. Intercessions (Saturday evening) Watch now, O Christ, With those who are weary or wandering or weeping this night. Guide them to a house of your peace and lead me to be caring for their tears. Penny Freeston Glimpses of Fiction The clergy and the church often feature in fiction and add to enjoyment of reading and the exploration of some of life’s greater and less great themes. For those who like a light read with clerical themes mixed with crime I would recommend “Sydney Chambers and the Shadow of Death” by James Runcie, the son of a former Archbishop of Canterbury. It was published in May this year and is set in Godmanchester, a place I first heard of when visiting a former chorister from St. Mary’s. Sydney Chambers is a 32 year old bachelor and the Vicar of Grantchester. While
praising God and encouraging his flock to do the same Sydney finds himself embroiled in investigating crimes and solving mysteries. There is the suspect suicide of a Cambridge solicitor, the theft of an expensive ring at a party and a surprising art forgery….. This book is published by Bloomsbury: ISBN 10:1408825953. For those who like a tale set in south-west France I recommend “Peaches for Monsieur Le Curé” by Joanne Harris, also published in May this year. A few years ago I enjoyed reading her book “Chocolat” (and watching the film while savouring a delicious bar of chocolate in the Barbican cinema). In “Peaches for Monsieur Le Curé” Vianne Rocher, having received a letter from beyond the grave, follows the wind that blows and makes her way back to Lansqueret, where eight years ago she had opened a chocolate shop. She finds a changed community with many incomers from Northern Africa. Father Reynaud, the parish priest, finds himself in difficult and challenging circumstances and finds that Vianne may be the only one to rescue him, and not only when he is trapped in the cellar where the water is rising….. This book is published by Doubleday: ISBN 10 0385619219. If you like a longer and quite dramatic read in a novel where the themes of life and death, religion, philosophy, beauty and music are explored you may wish to choose “The Cunning Man” by Robertson Davies, a favourite Canadian writer. It begins with Father Hobber mysteriously dying at the High Altar on Good Friday….. I first enjoyed “The Deptford Trilogy” by Robertson Davies, which was again a long and interesting read providing much food for thought. “The Cunning Man” is published by Penguin (ISBN 0241952646). All the books are available online or from your local library or Bookshop. Cheryl Corney
Greetings, Mainlanders Our former editor reports from far away Essex Greetings from Mersea, a small island off the coast of Essex, home of the Essex oyster, centre of sailing excellence, cultural capital, haunt of spectral Roman legions and new home of Jones Enterprises. It’s two years since Jill and I closed our front door in Forest Approach, dropped off our keys at Haarts, and embarked on our first trip to our new home along the awful A12. It took a while for it to sink in that we’d left our lovely home town of 42 years. Woodford, where we’d brought up our children, put our roots down, where we’d had the usual crises and enjoyed the happy times that every family has – and where we made our friends. We were saying goodbye to the Green, to the Traveller’s Friend, to the good old Central Line, to the library, to Waitrose, to the paralysing traffic jams, etc. etc. We didn’t realise how difficult it would be; saying
goodbye is never easy, and it’s taken this long to get half-way there. But we’re giving it our best shot. In many ways living in a small community again reminds Jill and me of Wales. Mersea is a sort of big (and getting bigger) village. It’s got two facets: a little community with narrow streets and small houses, its own school and shops, a garage and church; and the sailing side, with a long-established yachting fraternity and a dinghy club. True, there are a lot of retired people here, and there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of local industry. Fishing (in a very small way) and oyster farming appear to be the main jobs providers. There are indications that it may become a honey-pot for foodies, with new restaurants opening now and then -- a bit like George Lane, even to the hard-working East European waitresses. People commute into Colchester and into London (it takes about an hour) but this is dependent on whether the causeway is usable, since around 15 days in every month it’s covered by the tide. The important thing is, Mersea doesn’t go to sleep in winter. The sea is something you have to live with. In addition to the monthly spring tide which sometimes covers the causeway to a depth of two feet or more for up to an hour and a half either side of high water, sometimes the north-easterly winds pile up the water to levels higher than the forecasts in the tide tables. But no matter how much warning is given, there’s always a White Van Man who thinks he can get through nonetheless and who can be seen sitting on top of his flooded vehicle in the middle of the road waiting to be rescued by the fire brigade and the life-boat. And what about the bank robbers who struck during a high tide and had to wait on the island while the local police picked them off. The crime rate on the island is one of the lowest in the country. Everybody seems to know every body else. This was made clear within a few months of our moving here, when total strangers would tell Jill how they’d seen me back on the island after I’d been away on a cruise or choir holiday. And there was the lady on the till in the Co-op, who, on the same Slimming World course as me, sneaked to Jill that I’d bought a sausage roll. It means that wherever you are on the island the chances are you’ll get a friendly greeting. It didn’t happen all that often in the 24 years we lived in Woodford Wells. When we started to find our feet here, we were helped by Graham Sapsford, Jan Benson’s brother. Graham introduced us to the church, took us along to quiz evenings and other social activities and was instrumental in getting me accepted as a member of the West Mersea Yacht Club. Graham is a grand fromage in the island sailing community. I was a member of his crew when he took his boat around Great Britain, my spell being from Mersea to Weymouth. I have joined three choirs: the Tiptree Choral Society (mixed, a straight, up and down sort of choir), Vocalise (pop music and jazz) and the Mersea Island Chorus (formerly the local church choir but which left
when the rector and the chorus master had an issue the year before we arrived and which now gets to sing in some wonderful Essex churches). Jill has joined the island horticultural society and spends a lot of time fending off local worthies intent on getting her to play a part in running the island church (in a moment of madness I let it out that she’d been a church warden). While nothing can compare with singing in St Mary’s, and I do regret not having had the opportunity to sing with Frederick, your wonderful new director of music, I must say I do enjoy the companionship and variety of being a member of the island chorus, which, incidentally, has been joined by Martin Woods, former star of St Mary’s tenor section. There are some lovely old churches in our part of Essex. Our centre of gravity inevitably has shifted slowly over the months and we’ve got to the stage where we look at a different part of the TV weather map when the forecast comes up. Also, whenever we go anywhere we add the hour and a quarter to the journey. And we’re beginning to use the train. We still to some extent regard ourselves as Woodfordians – it takes a lot to change your mindset – and we touch.our old base from time to time. We’ve been happy to have friends from St Mary’s visit us (please feel free to come, everybody welcome). But the challenge of a new home is an enjoyable one. I look forward to the daily walk down to the beach, to seeing a different crowd of people in church on Sundays, and chatting with the shop keepers. We’ve acquired a new companion for Charley our dog after poor old Sooty went to his maker – and a new enemy in Moses, the were-cat from two doors down who was so keen to assert his role of local gang leader that he actually attacked Sara and her cats the last time she stayed. We’ve bought a bike each (only fallen off mine once, so far) and have made friends with the local undertaker (he’s also the mayor and one of the basses in Vocalise). I now live nearer my sisters and take my mum out to lunch every Wednesday, which is a pleasure I didn’t have before. So, on balance, we’re happy we made the break. But the ideal of having more of our time to ourselves is again getting out of reach. And some things don’t change – Reader’s Digest still send us stuff. See you around, Jill and Geoff (and Charley and Jeannie). Thank you to all our contributors to this edition. We would be delighted to hear from you if you have any comments on any of these articles. Please send any contributions to firstname.lastname@example.org Next copy date is 30 November 2012. In order to accommodate everyone’s contributions we reserve the right to edit and cut overlong articles.