Church Services - Eastwick, Gilston and High Wych
1. On this page you will find the details of Church contacts.
2. Church services for the month within the Benefice.
3. The Priest in Charge monthly news letter.
1.CHURCH CONTACT DETAILS
Rev Anthony Giles 01279 726476
Joy Galliers-Burridge 01279 444870
Roger Burridge 01279 444870
June Denton 01279 723714
Rick George 01279 721875
Sarah Bagnall 01279 441644
Lois Smith 01279 431123
Hazel Scorah 01279 418061
2. BENEFICE OF HIGH WYCH AND GILSTON WITH EASTWICK FOR DECEMBER 2013
|1st December||Advent Sunday||9.30am||st James, High Wych||Parish Euchsrist||Readings: Isaiah 2: 1-5, Romans 13: 11-14, Matthew 24: 36-44|
|11.15am||St Mary's Gilston||Parish Eucharist||Readings - Isaiah 2: 1-5, Romans 13: 11-14, Matthew 24: 36-44|
|3.00pm||St Botolphs Eastwick||Christingle Service|
|5.00pm||St James, High Wych||Christingle Service|
|8th December||2nd Sunday Advent||9.30am||St James, High weych||Parish Eucharist||Readings - Isaiah 11: 1-10, Romans 15: 4-13, Matthw 3: 1-12|
|3.00pm||St James, High Wych||Healing Service|
|10th December||Tuesday||10.00am||6 Falcon Close||House Group|
|11th December||Wednesday||7.30pm||The Rectory||House Group|
|15th December||3rd Sunday in Advent||9.30am||St James, High Wych||Parish Eucharist||Readings - Isaiah 35: 1-10, James 5: 7-10, Matthew 11: 2-11.15am11|
|11.15am||St Botlph, Eastwick||Parish Eucharist||Readings - Isaiah 35: 1-10, James 5: 7-10, Matthew 11: 2-11|
|6.30pm||St James, High Wych||Community Carol Service|
|22nd December||4th Sunday in Advent||8.00am||St James, High Wych||Parish Eucharist||Readings - Isaiah 7: 10-16, Romans 1: 1-7, Matthew 1: 18-25|
|9.30am||St James High Wych||Family Service|
|6.30pm||St Botlph, Eastwick||Community Carol Service|
|24th December||Christmas Eve||3.00pm||St Mary,s Gilston||CRIB SERVICE|
|5.00pm||St James, High Wych||Crib Service|
|11.30pm||St James, High Wych||Midnight Mass||Readings - Isaiah 52: 7-10, Hebrews 1: 1-12, John 1: 1-14|
|25th December||Christmas Day||
|St James, High Wych||Christmas Communion||
Readings - Isaiah 52: 7-10, Hebrews 1: 1-12, John 1: 1-14
|11.15am||St Mary's, Gilston||Christmas Communion||Readins - Isaiah 52: 7-10, Hebrews 1: 1-12, John 1: 1-14|
29th December - Christmas 1 9.30am St James, High Wych - Parish Eucharist
NOT 24TH OR 31ST
|9.00am||St Botolphs, Eastwick||Morning Prayer|
|9.00am||St James, High Wych||Morning Prayer|
|9.00am||St Mary's, Gilston||Morning Prayer|
|9.00am||St James, High Wych||
PRIEST IN CHARGE LETTER FOR DECEMBER
Happy New Year!
The vicar is off his trolley again and starting the new year a month early. Well actually, he isn’t. Advent Sunday, 1st December this year, marks the beginning of a new year in the Christian Calendar. For Christians the year starts on Advent Sunday and our services follow a pattern which goes right through the year and has its last Sunday on the Feast of Christ the King which was on 24th November. Starting the calendar year on 1st January only came in in 1652 when England adopted the Gregorian Calendar. Before that, New Year’s Day was 25th March, Lady Day or the Feast of the Annunciation when the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary. For Christians in the sixth century this seemed the obvious time to start the cycle of Christian festivals. This was when the BC(BCE)/AD(CE) system of year dates was introduced.
Advent has always been seen as a sombre reflective season particularly when most Christians believed that Jesus would physically return to earth in glory and establish his Kingship over the universe. As they prepared to celebrate Jesus’ coming as the baby of Bethlehem they were also preparing for his Second Coming when they would have to answer for kind of lives they had lived. Advent is a time to reflect on the meaning and implications of Christmas for our lives through the rest of the year. One way of doing this would be to consider how we could share the joy of Christmas with others.
Many of us will have done something to raise funds for the Children in Need appeal or sent money to aid the hurricane victims in the Philippines. These needs will be very great for a long time to come and will need our continued support. There may also be other smaller, more local needs that we can help with. There will be people who will be homeless at Christmas who would benefit from a few days of shelter over the festive season. There will be many who would spend Christmas alone unless someone arranges a share Christmas dinner for them. Many organisation undertake these project and would benefit from our help in time or money.
As you plan your Christmas festivities I hope you will take time to reflect on what we are celebrating and perhaps join us for one or more of our Christmas Services.
A Very Happy Christmas to you all.
PRIEST IN CHARGE LETTER FOR NOVEMBER
PRIEST IN CHARGE LETTER FOR OCTOBER
Autumn days when the grass is jewelled
And the silk inside a chestnut shell.
I expect that many of you have walked past St James Church recently wondering when you will see some evidence of the re-roofing work. Well! we are expecting work to start on the 30th September (yes, this year). The first four weeks will be taken up with erecting scaffolding and a false roof so that work can continue throughout the winter. The new roof and other external repairs should be completed by mid-February next year. All the work is external and will not affect the use of the Church. School visits to the church will continue but just to be extra safe we will be asking parents bringing their children to school to use the path along the back of the churchyard rather than walking close to the church building.
The discussions over the internal re-arrangements are going apace and we expect this work to begin in April next year. It will involve installing a toilet and kitchen facilities and clearing some pews to provide open space for tables for coffee mornings, Messy Church etc, etc. Once the details are settled we will organise a display in the church to show what we intend to do.
I hope that you will find time to join us for our Harvest Celebrations on the first weekend of the month (details elsewhere). As usual we welcome non-perishable harvest gifts which will be passed on the Women’s Refuge in Harlow. Collections taken during the services will be sent to the Bishop of St Albans Harvest Appeal which, this year, will be used to help poor farmers in Ethiopia. Perishable gifts will probably be turned into jam or chutney by Doreen Cunningham and sold in aid of the church.
This month we are starting a new monthly series of services designed for anyone who would like to be prayed for because of illness. The first one will be on Sunday 13th October at 3.00 pm at St James Church. The format of the service will be informal and not too long. It will start with tea and coffee and the opportunity to complete a prayer card so that you or a loved one can be prayed for by name (or anonymously). There will also the opportunity to pray individually with experienced Christian helpers.
I hope, by now you will have received our Autumn News Letter giving details of our activities to the end of November. We will then do a new version giving details about Advent and Christmas Services.
Enjoy your autumn.
3. PRIEST IN CHARGE LETTER FOR SEPTEMBER
Part of the Furniture.
I am beginning to feel like part of the furniture. I have been in High Wych for two years now and I have already moved house in that time. We are still working towards the re-roofing and re-ordering of St James the Great High Wych and beginning to address the church’s response to the forthcoming housing development at Terlings Park.
September brings a new set of challenges for our young people with the start of the new school or college year, new schools, new classes, new teachers and new friends to make. Please keep all of them all in your thoughts and prayers as well as the teachers who will be trying to lead them through the maze, which is education today.
We are approaching Harvest Festival season and we start with the Gilston with Eastwick Harvest Festival at St Mary’s Gilston on Sunday 29th September at 6.00 pm followed by refreshments. 29th September is also Back to Church Sunday when many churches hope to welcome back people who have perhaps lost contact over the years. It is a good time to come back to church or to start coming for the first time. It really isn’t as scary as it sounds. Christians are just ordinary human beings with a particular view of life that we would like to share with you.
Then High Wych celebrates with a Harvest Supper in the Memorial Hall on Saturday 5th October (see separate advert) and our Harvest Festival service on Sunday 6th October at 9.30 am. We look forward to seeing at any of these events.
September sees the re-start of our House Groups after the summer break. We meet on Tuesday 10th September at 10.00 am at 6 Falcon Close Sawbridgeworth( contact Jan Dixon on 723557) or on Wednesday 11th September at 7.30 pm at the Rectory (contact me on 726476). We will be continuing our study of Growing as a Christian.
Finally we are going to re-vamp one of our services to make it more family friendly and inclusive. Starting in Sunday 22nd September we will be holding a Family Service at 9.30 am at St James Church on the fourth Sunday of each month. We hope that this will attract families who perhaps find our normal services a bit formal.
I hope everyone will feel able to try out at least one of the opportunities outline above.
4. PRIEST IN CHARGE LETTER FOR AUGUST
Great is the sun, and wide he goes
Through empty heaven with repose;
And in the blue and glowing days
More thick than rain he showers his rays.
Summer Sun by Robert Louis Stevenson
Nothing seems better designed to keep the English moaning about the weather than a cold wet spring followed by a blistering summer. However, by the time you read this the heat wave will probably be over and we could be back to a normal damp cool August that we can continue to moan about. My normal summer attire involves a sun hat and an umbrella in the hope of staving off the two extremes and settling for a happy medium of warm overcast skies.
It is very easy to always see our glass as half empty when in fact it is usually more than half full. We tend to compare our own lot with some idealised notion of what our life should be like and then become aware of where it falls short. If we were to compare ourselves with others in this country and abroad who do not have the freedoms and opportunities we benefit from we might come to a different conclusion and see ourselves as part of the privileged minority. It is easy to see the shortcomings of the education system or the National Health Service and lose sight of the enormous advantages we have in this country over many other places in the world.
Privilege always brings responsibilities. If we have more than others we have a responsibility to see that other people’s basic needs are met, be that education, health care or just clean water to drink. As St Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus, we should all work honestly with our own hands, so as to have something to share with the needy (Eph 4v28). He was actually addressing people who had been thieves before they became Christian but it does applies to us all. When writing to his assistant Timothy he said, “there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment; for we brought nothing into the world, so that we take nothing out of it; but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these.” (1 Tim 6: 6-7)
So, let’s try to stop complaining and exercise the Christian virtues of contentment and charity. I hope you enjoyed the heat while it lasted.
5. PRIEST IN CHARGE LETTER FOR JULY
Sumer is icumen in,
Lhude sing cuccu!
Groweth sed, and bloweth med,
And springeth the wude nu –
Sing cuccu! (anon c 1226)
I knew that summer had come when I got back from my holiday in Spain half away through June and stood at Stansted Airport waiting for my taxi, wearing a straw hat and staring at the pouring rain. I had gone south telling people that the rain was warmer there but in the event the rain in Spain stayed away although their spring had been pretty awful and there was still snow to be seen on the Sierra Nevada. I was quite a beautiful sight.
This is the time of year when we expect to be sitting in our gardens enjoying the sunshine and watching everything grow. If you are younger it is a time of anxiety about exam results and new schools and colleges. Please carry them all in your thoughts and prayers, and all their teachers who are desperate for a well-earned rest – I know, I’ve been there.
The end of July, Thursday 25th, brings the festival of St James the Great, who is the patron saint of High Wych Church. He is called “the Great” to distinguish him St James the Less. James the Great was the Galilean fisherman, brother of John, who become one of the first of Jesus disciples. If you look up at the roof of the chancel of the church you will see that it is decorated with a fishing net. Jesus called him and his fisherman friends to become “fishers of men” who were to preach the Christian Gospel throughout the world. That is what we at St James, St Mary’s, Gilston and St Botolph’s, Eastwick continue to try to do. (By the way, St James the Less was the son of Alpheus and may have been a relative of Jesus. He is celebrated with St Philip on 1st May)
James was one of the first Christians to die for his Christian faith, probably the second after St Stephen. Acts chapter 12 tell us that he was murdered at the instigation of King Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great who tried to do away with the infant Jesus (Matthew ch 2).
Sadly there are still parts of the world where people, not just Christians, suffer because of their religious faith. There are persecuted, driven from their homes or killed just because they are different from the majority. It is the same kind of tribalism that sees people persecuted because of their skin colour, ethnic origin, or sexual orientation. In Tudor times we English did our fair share of religious persecution with Protestants burning Roman Catholics and vise versa.
If we are to live together peaceably in our global village we have to show toleration to people of different beliefs and cultures. Toleration is not agreeing with what they believe. It is giving them the right to be different from the majority and doing what we can to defend that right to be different. It treating others as we would like to be treated, or as the Bible puts it, loving our neighbour as ourselves.
Have a good summer.
6. PRIEST IN CHARGE LETTER FOR JUNE
Because of the relatively early date of Easter we enter June this year in what the Church calls the season of Trinity. This lasts from Trinity Sunday, 26th May, when we recall and celebrate the Christian understanding of what God is, right up to the end of October. It is also part of what is called Ordinary Time. Church hangings and vestments are green except when celebrating the feasts of martyrs, such as St James, when we wear red. After the excitement of Christmas and Easter and all the events of the life of Jesus that are celebrated, Ordinary time is a period of getting on with growing in our faith and putting into practice what we have learned and celebrated in the high points of the Christian year. We all have these dull periods of our lives when what we are and what we believe has to be lived out in our daily existence. This is when the reality of our faith, whatever it is, is proved true or suspect. Mountain top experiences are great but it is what we take back down into the valley of ordinariness that really matters.
Over the next month or so I hope that everyone will begin to see changes at St James’ Church, starting with the scaffolding. He hope to start the long overdue process of re-roofing the church. At time of writing we do not have a start date but we hope that the work will be completed by the end of the summer. Then we will turn our attention to some internal renovations including the provision of toilet and kitchen facilities. I will keep you updated as we progress.
For our younger people this is exam season. Please remember all school pupils and students in your prayers at this time together with their teachers. Many hopes and dreams hang on the outcome of the next few weeks.
7. PRIEST IN CHARGE LETTER FOR MAY
May! Queen of blossoms,
And fulfilling Flowers,
With what pretty music
Shall we charm the hour?
(May by Edward Thurlow)
Crossing all the fingers we can muster and touching wood, it does look like spring has finally arrived in our part of Hertfordshire, at last! The primroses in our churchyards were wonderful and St James’ church is sporting a new notice board. Look out for another notice board at the car park gate to the churchyard in the next few months. These were given in memory of the late Stan Dixon who was a prominent member of our church and community. I also hope that the Rectory will soon be sporting a new notice to replace the temporary one pinned to the fence.
For the next couple of weeks the church is still celebrating Easter with all the symbols of new life that point us to the resurrection of Jesus. On Thursday 9th May we celebrate Ascension Day, when Jesus was taken back into heaven at the end of his earthly ministry. For the early disciples this a very worrying time. They knew what Jesus had taught them but had not worked out what it all meant. Then ten days later we celebrate Pentecost when God sent the Holy Spirit on the disciples and the Christian Church took off and began to preach about Jesus to ends of the earth, a process which still continues today.
The wedding season has already got underway and we look forward to more couples celebrating their love and commitment to each other over the summer.
In the next few months we hope to start work on re-roofing St James’ Church, so I will apologise in advance for any inconvenience this causes. Then we hope to do some re-ordering inside the church to provide a toilet and other facilities. The aim is the make the church a more useful centre for church and community activities.
All of this renewal of life should point us towards the new life that Easter speaks of, that we can all share in the resurrection life of Jesus which will invigorate our lives and take us on into and eternity with God.
8. PRIEST IN CHARGE LETTER FOR APRIL
O to be in England
Now that April’s there,
Home-thoughts, from abroad, Robert Browning.
If you check back you will see that that is how I started last April’s letter. It’s the only poem I know about April. I hope that by the time you read this the weather will be a bit more April and a bit less November. Last year’s letter was about Easter but that was at the end of March this year. We are still in the season of Easter when we continue to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus and the difference that makes to our relationship with God. Easter goes on until we celebrate the Ascension, Jesus’ return to heaven, and then on to Pentecost or Whitsun in mid-May when we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit on the first disciples and the birth of the Christian Church.
I had scour my diary to look for some other high lights for this month to write about. It’s the end of the tax year! – O joy. Also, in the Church of England, April is Annual Parochial Church Meeting season when we chew over the past year, approve our accounts and elect our Church Wardens and new members of the Parochial Church Council. The PCC is the decision making body of the local church and helps to keep the vicar on the straight and narrow.
The APCM is a time to take stock, to review plans and try to see the way our way forward for the next year as any other organisation would do at its AGM. In the coming year we hope to re-roof St James’ Church and re-organise the interior including installing a toilet and kitchen facilities, and removing some of the pews. The aim is to make St James a more flexible space for church and community activities. We have yet to finalise our plans – so look out for more details as they emerge.
The end of the tax year may prompt us to review how we spend your money. Despite the recession and incomes not going up in line with inflation, we are still among the richest people in the world. We have a moral responsibility to care for those in this country and in the developing world who do not enjoy the things we take for granted; clean water, effective sewage treatment, adequate food, education and health care. These are the people who also suffer disproportionately from climate change and natural disasters.
Many of us will have done various silly things to raise money on Red Nose Day, well done if you did. When I was teaching I went to school on one Red Nose day having shaved off my beard and wearing a wig. The poor pupils thought they had a new IT teacher. No such luck, just the old one in disguise. All of the money you raised will, I am sure be put to good use. But, what about making a regular, perhaps monthly, payment to an organisation of your choice that will help somebody less fortunate than yourself. Many charities ask for £2 or £3 per month, but would we really miss £10 or £20 per month or more? Think of how much good that would do.
Finally with our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters we celebrate the start of the ministry of two new leaders of our Christian Communities, Most Reverend Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury and Pope Francis I. Please join with us in praying for them that they will be effective and inspiring leaders in the Church and in the wider world.
10. PRIEST IN CHARGE - FEBRUARY LETTER
Happy Ground Hog Day!!