title="Eastwick & Gilston Parish Council in Hertfordshire">
Sat, 1st August 2015

Church Services - Eastwick, Gilston and High Wych

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.




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


4th July Saturday 2.30pm St Botolph, Eastwick Wedding of George Gallamtree & Dahna Howes  
4th July Saturday 4.00pm St James, High Wych Wedding of Richard Patients & Laura Carvin  
5th July Trinity5  8.00am St James, High Wych Parish Eucharist (BCP) Readings - Ezekiel 2: 1-5, 2 Corinthians 12: 2-10, Mark 6: 1-13
    9.30am St James, High Wych Family Servcie  
    3.00pm Gilston Village Hall Family Service  
6th July Monday 12.00noon St James, High Wych Wedding of Robert Wightwick & Sarah Orson  
12th July Trinity 6 9.30am St James, High Wych Easter Eucharist Readings - Amos 7: 7-15, Epjesoams 1: 3-14, Mark 6: 14-29
    11.15am St Mary,s Gilston Easter Eucharist Readings - Amos 7: 7-15, Ephesians 1: 3-14, Mark 6: 14-29
    3.00pm Gilston Village Hall Family Service  
14th July Tuesday 10.00am 6 Falcon Close House Group  
15th July Wednesday 7.30pm The Rectory House Group  
19th July Trinity 7 9.30am St James, High Wych Parish Eucharist Readings - Jeremiah 23L: 1-6, Ephesians 2: 11-22, Mark 6: 30-34, 53-56
    3.00pm Gilston Village Hall Family Service Readings - Mark 6: 30-34, 53-56
26th July Trinity 8 9.30am St James, High Wych Parish Eucharist Readings - 2 Kings 4: 42-44, Eophesians 3: 14-21, John 6: 1-21
    11.15am St Botolph, Eastwick Parish Eucharist Readings - 2 Kings 4: 42-44, Ephesians 3: 14-21, John 6: 1-21
    3.00pm Gilston Village Hall Family Service Reading - John 6: 1-21



Tuesday   not 21st

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

Morning PrayeR


2nd August Trinity 9 8.00am St James, High wych Parish Eucharist (BCP Readings- Exodus 16:2-4,9-10, Ephesians 4: 1-16 John 6 24-35
    9.30am St James, HIgh Wych Family Service  
9th August Trinity 10 9.30am St James, High Wych Easter Eucharist  Readings - 1 Kings 19: 4-8, Ephesians 4: 25-5:2, John 6: 35, 41-51
    11.15am St Mary's, Glston Easter Eucharist Readings - 1Kings 19: 4-8, Ephesians 4: 25- 5:2, John 6: 35,41-51
16th August Trinity 11 9.30am St James, High Wych Easter Eucharist Readings - Proverbs 9:1-6, Ephesians 5: 15-20, John 6: 51-58
23rd August Trinity 12 9.30am St James, High Wych Parish Eucharist Readings - Joshua 24: 1-2a,14, Ephesians 6: 10-20, John 6: 56-69
    11.15am St Botolph, Eastwick Parish Eucharist Readings - Jpshua 24: 1-2a, 14, Ephesians 6: 102-, John 6: 56-69
30th August Trinity 13 9.30am St James, High Wych Parish Eucharist Readings - Dueteronomy 4: 1-2, James 1: 17-27, Mark 7: 1-8. 14-15, 21-23



   The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.

This statement comes the Gospel of Mark chapter 2 where Jesus was criticised for allowing his disciples to pluck heads of grain in a field, rub the husks off and eat the kernels on the Sabbath.  As far as the religious authorities were concerned they reaping, threshing and winnowing on the Sabbath, the Jewish holy day which runs from sunset on Friday to sunset on Saturday when no work should be done.

The point Jesus was making was that the fourth commandment, “Remember the Sabbath, and keep it holy,” was not given as a way of finding favour with God, but as a means of keeping our lives in a proper balance of work and rest.  It was for our benefit, not God’s.  For centuries Christians were against any sort of work being done or shops being open on Sundays.  It was an attempt to force people take one day’s rest each week.  The Church moved the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday, the day of Christ’s Resurrection. 

These days life is too complicated for all work to stop for one day of the week.  Emergency and health services have to function 24/7; but it is still vital for all of us to take proper periods of rest and relaxation on a regular basis.  As a priest, I work every Sunday but I take one day off during the rest of the week when I am free to do what I like without worrying about my parishioners.  The same idea applies to taking annual holidays.  Many with school age children will be heading for the sun (or at least in hope of it) in August.  These periods away from normal life with friends and family are essential to our survival for the rest of the year.  Now my children have grown up I am free to holiday at other times.  Parents, it a good thing to look forward to.

Two news items have focussed on these ideas recently.  He government wants the NHS to function equally seven days a week and for shops to open for longer on Sundays.  I see no basic objections to either of these proposals so long as the people delivering them are allowed proper time off elsewhere in the week.  Also, those who, for religious reason wish to restrict the hours they work on Sunday’s or other days that are sacred to their faith should be free to do so.  Perhaps if you can shop for longer on Sundays you will also be able to find time to come to church.

So, remember the Sabbath and enjoy your holidays.

Anthony Giles

From the Registers





4th July


Dahna Howes & George Gallantree

4th July

High Wych

Laura Carvin & Richard Patient

6th July

High Wych

Sarah Orson & Robert Wightwick






14th July


Parndon Wood

Ann Whitbread

17th July

Interment of Ashes


Audrey Kathleen Violet Rawlinson



School’s Out!

The big event in July is the end of the school year.  Teachers breathe a great sigh of relief.  Parents begin to wonder how to occupy their children through what seems an interminable August and holidays are being prepared for.  For Year 6 children and Year 11 and 13 students there is the uncertainty of moving on to secondary schools, colleges and universities or into the world of work.  Please spare a thought and a prayer for all of our young people who are moving on to a new phase of their lives.  It is very worrying to go from being the oldest in one school to being the youngest in another.

July also brings the feast of one of our Patron Saints, St James the Great on 25th of the month.  James was one of the twelve disciples of Jesus and accompanied him throughout his earthly ministry.  After Jesus had gone he was one of the leaders of the early Church.  About ten years he was murdered at the instigation of King Herod Agrippa who tried unsuccessfully to wipe out the church.  He was the first of the twelve apostles to be martyred and probably the second Christian to die after St Stephen.

In Spain they have a legend that during those ten years of preaching James travelled to Spain where he preached and founded churches.  Later the legend says that his bones were taken back to Spain where they were buried in the town of Compostela in the northwest of the country.  During the medieval period Compostela became a great centre of pilgrimage and even today thousands of pilgrims do the 500 mile walk from the French border to Compostela to pray at St James’ shrine.  It is from Compostela that we get the scallop shells that have become a symbol of St James

St James reminds us of two things.  Firstly some truths are so important that they are worth dying for.  Down the centuries many Christian and members of other faiths have suffered persecution and death because they would not give up their beliefs.  Secondly he reminds us that we live in a world where minorities are still persecuted by powerful forces, sometimes for religious reasons, sometimes for political ones.  We would all like to live in a world where we can hold and practice our own beliefs without fear of persecution.  That will only happen when we strive to protect the rights of all people who hold beliefs different to our own.  Tolerance is not agreeing with everyone.  It is allowing others the freedom to be different from us.

Anthony Giles




A New Bishop and a New Rector.

As I write this I am getting ready to go to St Albans to a service in the cathedral where we will be welcoming the new Bishop of Hertford.  The Right Reverend Michael Beasley was consecrated as bishop at Westminster Abbey on May 14th and the service I am going to will mark him taking up his responsibilities in the diocese.  The bishop of Hertford is Suffragan Bishop who works for the Bishop of St Albans and assists him in overseeing the diocese.  His particular responsibility is for the eastern half of Hertfordshire.  We look forward to welcoming Bishop Michael to the diocese and in time to High Wych and Gilston with Eastwick.

What about this New Rector business?  Well, when I was appointed in September 2011 I was made Priest in Charge of the benefice.  The job of rector was suspended in 2000 so that the bishop would have freedom to make any boundary or other changes if and when the Harlow North Extension project took off.  In early 2011 the way in which parish clergy are appointed changed so that new vicars and rectors do not have the same powers as before.  The bishop can therefore make any changes necessary.  When the suspension of the post lapsed in March this year the bishop decided not to renew it so he now has to appoint a new rector.  I will be installed as the rector of the benefice by the Archdeacon of Hertford on Sunday June 14th at a special service at 6.30 pm at St James Church.  I hope many of you will be able to attend and be part of a new phase in the life of our community.

Anthony Giles.


Here come the sun! (for a few days anyway)

It is beginning to look as if summer is on the way.  The grass is beginning to need mowing and spring flowers are sprouting up everywhere.  The renewal of life is one of the major themes of Easter as we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus.  The season continues well into May.  On 14th May we celebrate Ascension Day when we remember Jesus being taken back into heaven at the end of his sojourn with us on earth.  Then on 24th we celebrate Pentecost (Whitsun if you are my age) when God sent the Holy Spirit on the bewildered disciples.  This resulted in them going out to the ends of the known world to preach the good news about Jesus.

Trinity Sunday, 31st May is the day we think about how Christians learnt to see the divine being as One God in Three Persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Trinity Sunday also marks the start of what the Church calls Ordinary Time.  After all the excitement of Christmas, the sobriety of Lent, the sadness of Holy Week and the celebration of Easter, we now have to get on and live out our faith for the rest of the year until the whole cycle starts again.  Part of living out our faith is to be good citizens.  One of our responsibilities comes to the fore on May 7th.  As good citizens we all have a responsibility to exercise our democratic vote, after all our rights to vote were won by a great deal of effort and sacrifice by people in the past.

I always used to say that we should vote or not complain about the government we end up with.  I have to confess that that principal broke down for me over the election of Police and Crime Commissioners.  No one had fully explained who they were or what they were for.  No one had asked me if I wanted one.  I got no indication of what the policies of the candidate were so I stayed away.  I don’t think that any of us could claim excuses like that for a General Election.  We should all know by now what at least seven of the parties stand for and are offering us.  Whether we believe them or not is another issue.

Whether you are a passionate supporter on one of the parties or just a cynical tactical voter we all have a duty to vote and to understand why we are voting.  That may be for a personality, or a particular policy or for the underlying ideology of a party but we should all place our crosses for a good reason.  It will be interesting to see the result even if, like me you have no intention of staying up all night to hear the results come in.

Have a good May and enjoy the election (if that is possible!).

Anthony Giles

From the Registers.





22nd March

High Wych

Isla Bargery






26th March

Interment of Ashes


Heather Wakeling




  Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia.

These are the opening word of a hymn we will almost certainly sing on Easter Sunday morning at both our services.  It expresses the central belief of Christians down the ages that about thirty six hours after Jesus had died on the cross on the first Good Friday, he was raised from the dead by the power of God.  Forty days later he ascended back to heaven (Ascension Day) and then sent the Holy Spirit at Pentecost to empower and guide his disciples as they set out round the world to spread the Good News of Jesus.

The Resurrection was confirmation that his death had not been in vain.  He died, or allowed himself to be killed, to complete his life’s work of sharing our human existence and bringing us into a new relationship with God that did not depend on our nationality or race or which set of laws we tried to live by.  God’s love for us expressed in Jesus’ life, teaching, death and resurrection is to be received by faith.  What he wants in return is that we echo that love back to him in worship and thanksgiving and then become channels of that love to all around us.  As St Paul puts it Romans 13: 10, “If you love someone, you will never do them wrong; to love, then, is to obey the whole law.”

Leading up to Easter we have a full programme of reflective services which take us through the last week of Jesus life.  We start on Palm Sunday with a procession from the Guide Hut to St James’ Church, starting at 9.15 am.  Each evening in Holy Week up to Maundy Thursday we have a service in the evening and then on Good Friday afternoon we gather at the Foot of the Cross to reflect on Jesus’ last hour before his death.  On Saturday evening we hold a vigil for Easter Eve where we inaugurate a new Easter Candle and celebrate the first Communion of Easter.

Please see elsewhere in the magazine for full details of all our services up to and beyond Easter.  We look forward to welcoming you to any or all of them.

We wish you all a very happy and blessed Easter this year.


Anthony Giles.




Lenten ys come with love to toune,

With blosmen and with briddes roune,

That al this blisse bryngeth;

Dayes-eyes in this dales,

Notes suete of nyhtegales,

Uch foul song singeth;

(anonymous C 1300)

The name of the season of Lent comes from the Latin lentum meaning to lengthen.  It is the season when the days lengthen, ie spring.  I will leave you to decode the rest of the Middle-English poem.  Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, February 18th this year, the day after Shrove Tuesday.  It ends in Holy Week, the week between Palm Sunday and Easter Eve. 

The first of our special services is Mothering Sunday, March 15th.  We have a special service to celebrate and thank all our mothers and to give them flowers to take home.  On Mothering Sunday we are starting a new weekly service in Gilston Village Hall at 3.00 pm.  These will be simple family friendly service were we hope to welcome new people moving in to the area as well as these who have been here for some time.  There will not be an afternoon service on Palm Sunday or Easter Sunday as the main service will be at St Mary’s.

On Palm Sunday, March 29th, we remember Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey being hailed as a king just five days before the people rejected him and he was crucified.  During the first three days of Holy Week we have a quiet reflective service each evening as we think through the events of that last week.

On Maundy Thursday, 2nd April, we have a special communion service where we look back to Jesus’ own founding of the service at the Last Supper.  We also re-enact his washing of his disciples feet as he taught them that to be great one had to be a servant of others.

On Good Friday, 3rd April, we spend an hour reflecting on Jesus last hour on the cross as he gave up his life for humanity.  His death opened the way for all of us to enjoy a new relationship with God.

On Easter Eve, 4th April, we start our celebration of Jesus’ resurrection will an Easter Vigil where we read many of the passages from the Old Testament which point to the coming Saviour and the path of suffering he had to endure.  Then the darkened church is lit up from the new Easter Candle as it is processed and we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus with the first Communion of Easter.  Jesus rising from the tomb was God’s way of showing us that his death had opened the way for us enter into a new relationship with God that will take us through life, through death itself and into the presence of our loving Heavenly Father.

On Easter Sunday we continue the celebrations with two family friendly services at St James and St Mary’s.  We hope that you will be able to join us for some of these events.  Details of times and places are given elsewhere in this magazine.

Anthony Giles.

From the Registers.





29th January


Parndon Wood Crematorium

June Elizabeth Radbourne

11th February


Gr St Mary’s & Parndon Wood

Margaret Hone

21st February


St James High Wych

Helen Olubunmi Olajumoke Awe




Still eating Christmas Cake?!!

Well, yes I am actually, but I have finished the gin.  I now have to decide what to finish off before I go on the wagon for Lent.  We Christians do drag Christmas out longer than most, but it is our festival.  We really don’t stop celebrating until Candlemas or the Feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple.  That is on 2nd February but we celebrate it on Sunday 1st.  It commemorates the time when Jesus was six weeks old and his parents took him to the Temple in Jerusalem and buy him back from God.  Since the time of the Exodus God had claimed the first-born male of every animal including humans.  In modern terms that would have cost Joseph about £250.  No wonder they had to go for the poor folk’s option of two doves for the sacrifice.  This event is recorded in Luke chapter 2 and includes the prayer of the old faithful man Simeon, The Nunc Dimitis, which we still use in the service of Evening Prayer.

According to Luke’s Gospel, Joseph, Mary and Jesus then returned to Nazareth where Jesus was brought up.  The only information we get about Jesus from then on until he started his public ministry occurs when he is twelve.  He had probably had his Bar mitzvah in Nazareth and this was his first trip to Jerusalem as an adult (as far as Jewish law was concerned).  Jesus got so engrossed talking to the learned men there that forgot to go home and Mary and Joseph had to spend three days searching for him.  When they remonstrated with him he told them that they should have known that he had to be about his “father’s business.”  Even then he had a clear sense that he had a special mission in life.

It’s about another eighteen years before we hear of Jesus again.  His cousin, John the Baptist, had been preaching that people had to get ready for the coming King and he baptised to show their sincerity in turning away from sin.  Jesus came to John and was baptised by him.  All the gospels record that the Holy Spirit came on him in the form of a dove and God spoke from heaven saying, “This is my beloved son with whom I am pleased.”  John and the voice from heaven announced that Jesus was the coming Messiah and the Holy Spirit gave Jesus the power to teach God’s message do his healing and other miracles.

Jesus then went out in to the Judean wilderness where he fasted for forty days and nights and suffered his temptations.  We mark this by the season of Lent starting on Ash Wednesday, 18th February, this year.  Traditionally the day before, Shrove Tuesday, was the day to use up any luxury food, hence pancakes, and to be shriven, to confess ones sins to the priest and be forgiven ready for the start of Lent.  Our Ash Wednesday Communion Service includes marking people on the forehead with ash as a sign of their sorrow for sin and their resolve to use Lent as a time of reflection and preparation for Easter.

Many Christians give up some luxury such as chocolate or alcohol to remind themselves of Jesus fasting in the desert.  Many also use it as a time of extra study and prayer.  We will be running two Lent Study Groups each week during Lent.  Please see details below.

What will you do to prepare for Easter?

Anthony Giles

Lent Study Groups


Starting Tuesday 24th February at 10.00 am at 6 Falcon Close (723557) or

Wednesday 25th February at 7.30 pm at the Rectory, 1 Dovedale (726476)


“A Step Closer –Discover how much God loves you.”

Recorded talks by Bishop Jack Nicholls.




What!  Not another January ???

Christmas is over.  The freezer is full of leftover turkey.  I am searching the internet for soup recipes to use up the stock I made with the bones.  The boys have left me a pile of mince pies and other food and drink to use up and gone back to their ordinary lives elsewhere in the county and winter has set in.  I think it is time to hibernate until Easter.


But I’m the vicar so I’m supposed to look on the bright side of life.  The first thing to remember is that Christmas isn’t over yet.  The season ends with the celebration of the visit of the Wise Men at Epiphany – 6th January.  The Wise Men described in the Gospel of Matthew chapter 2 represent the non-Jewish world and their visit speaks of Jesus being revealed as the Saviour of the whole of humanity not just the Jewish nation.  It took a long time for that message to sink in to even his closest followers  The gifts the Wise Men brought speak of what they saw in that helpless baby in Bethlehem.  Gold speaks of wealth and kingly power, the child was destined to rule a kingdom, but not one of this world.  Frankincense speaks of prayer and worship.  This child would become a priest bringing God to his people and the people to God.  Myrrh was a perfume used in funerary rites and speaks of the suffering that Jesus would have to undergo to achieve his kingdom.

Then, on January 11th we celebration of the Baptism of Christ in the River Jordan by John the Baptism.  Here Jesus was publicly proclaimed as “The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the World.”  The lamb imagery refers to the Jewish sacrificial rites where animals were killed to cover the sins and offences of the people.  For Christians, Jesus offered himself as the complete sacrifices to cover all the wrongs that we have done so that we can come back into full fellowship with God.  It was at Jesus’ baptism that the Holy Spirit descended on him in the form of a dove to empower him for his public ministry.  A voice from heaven announced, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”  Later in the year we will celebrate Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came on the whole church.  The Holy Spirit is given to all who are followers of Jesus and enables us to live lives that are pleasing to God and to show God’s love to others.

So perhaps January is a time to look forward in hope to a New Year of God’s grace and not just a collective Christmas Hangover.

Whatever the New Year bring for you, have a good one.

Anthony Giles.


What Christmas Again – Already!!

Yes it’s Christmas again.  It does happen once every year at about this time.  By the end of November we will be in Advent when we prepare for the coming of Jesus at Christmas.  It is also a time when, traditionally, Christians also look forward to the Second Coming of Christ and think about whether they will be ready to receive Jesus when returns to judge all of humanity.  Whether we take this literally or metaphorically, Advent is a time of sober reflection about our relationship with God, hence our altars and clergy dress in purple, the traditional colour of mourning.  Maintaining a period of sombre reflection while preparing for the festivities that follow is a bit of a struggle but it will do us good.

During our Advent services we celebrate the people in the Bible who helped to prepare the world for the coming of Jesus and we light the candles each week on our Advent Wreath.  On Advent Sunday, 30th November, we celebrate the Old Testament Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses who founded the nation of the Jews from which Jesus came.  On the Second Sunday in Advent we celebrate the Old Testament prophets like Isaiah who looked forward to the coming of a Saviour.  Then we celebrate John the Baptist, the cousin of Jesus who announced his arrival to the people of Palestine.  On the fourth Sunday we celebrate the Virgin Mary, Jesus’ mother who brought the Son of God into the world.  Finally at Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day we light the central candle on the Advent Wreath to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

I hope that among all the preparations you will find time to join us in one of our services particularly the Community Carol Services on 21st December, The Christingle Crib Services or Mid-Night Mass on Christmas Eve (see details elsewhere).

Do have a very Happy Christmas.

Anthony Giles




The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month.

That is how we remember when the First World War ended.  This year we are remembering the one hundredth anniversary of the start of the war.  In August we held as service that, as far as we could tell, reproduced the service that would have taken place in St James High Wych on that fateful Sunday in 1914 between the war starting and Britain declaring war on Germany.  These remembrances will find their focus in Remembrance Sunday ceremonies at War Memorial throughout the country.

November brings a more person time of remembrance for many people on All Soul’s Day, Sunday 2nd November.  We will be celebrating All Saints Sunday in the morning when we look back and give thanks to God for all the people throughout the ages who been faithful witnesses to faith.  In the evening we will hold our annual All Soul’s Service at 6.30 pm at St James’ Church, High Wych.  We invite people to come and remember love ones they have lost in recent years.  A list of the departed is read out and this includes people for whom we have had the privilege of conducting funerals for over the past eighteen months or so as well as folk remembered by others from longer ago.  Everyone is very welcome to attend and if you would like to add a name to the list to be read out please contact me. (01279 726476)

On Remembrance Sunday, 9th November we will be marking the centenary of the war by holding Remembrance Ceremonies at each of the War Memorials in the benefice.  These will take place at 10.45 am in St James’ churchyard, at Pye Corner and at Eastwick.  We are adjusting the times of our services that day to accommodate the ceremonies.  The service at High Wych will be at 9.45 am and at Gilston at 11.30 am, for this Sunday only.

The saga of the rejuvenation of St James church continues but we are hoping to finalise the plans for the interior in the next month or so and then we can get on with completing the work.  We are all looking forward to enjoying and using the new facilities.

Anthony Giles


All good gifts around us are sent from heaven above,
then thank the Lord, O thank the Lord, for all his love.

We are all very familiar with the refrain from one our best known Harvest hymns, “We plough the fields and scatter.”  Late September and early October is when we as a church celebrate the harvest that has just been brought in.  We started on 28th September with a Harvest Festival service at St Mary’s Church, Gilston.  We continue into the October with our harvest celebrations at High Wych.  Please see the details elsewhere in this magazine.

The ancient Israelites, the people of the Old Testament, had some very strict laws about how to conduct the harvest so that the poor people in the community were looked after.  Whether you were reaping wheat or barley, picking grapes or harvesting figs, you could only go through your field or vineyard once.  You could not go back to see if you had missed any of the crop.  Anything left was for the poor, the widows, orphans or landless aliens.  That was their answer to the welfare state.  As the harvesters worked across a field or vineyard they would be followed at a respectful distance by those less fortunate than themselves gleaning what was left.  The Book of Ruth tells the lovely story a foreign widow, Ruth, gleaning in the fields of her mother in law’s relative Boaz.  He instructed his workers to deliberately leave some of the harvest behind for people like Ruth.  The story ends with Boaz marrying Ruth. She became the great-grandmother of King David, the iconic king of the ancient Jews.

Today there may not be much left to glean after a field of wheat has been vacuumed up by a combine harvester but the world is still full of people who need our help.  There are refugees who have had to leave everything behind to escape war or persecution.  There are children in developing countries in desperate need the bare essential of life, wholesome food, clean water and sewage facilities, education and the hope of employment.  As citizens of the world we have a duty to end poverty and destitution where ever it occurs.  We may feel that we are poorer than we used to be but compared with most of the world’s population we are unbelievably rich.

During our harvest celebrations any non-perishable gift brought to our churches will be sent to help women in this country who have had to seek refuge from domestic violence.  Any money donated will go to the Bishop of St Alban’s Harvest Appeal which this years is working with the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church to bring literacy skills to the 40% of women in Egypt who cannot read or write.  Literacy brings employability and economic self-sufficiency.  It can open doors to new prosperity for the whole family.

We look forward to welcoming you to one of our Harvest Services.

Anthony Giles


   September – a Time of New Beginnings

It was good to see the turn out on 3rd August for our Commemorative Service to mark the start of World War 1.  Many appreciated the Book of Common Prayer Evensong which is not a service we do very often.  If there is sufficient interest we could make it a regular feature of our programme on, say one Sunday evening each month.  Let us know what you think – email addresses and phone numbers are given elsewhere in the Link.

Our commemoration of the war will be highlighted in November when we will hold a Remembrance Ceremony at each of the War Memorials in the Benefice.  We do not normally have ceremony at the Gilston memorial because it is on such a busy road.  We will see how it goes this year and review for future years.  We will also be changing the times of our services at High Wych and Gilston on that Sunday – more details next month.

September is a month of new starts for many of our young people, new schools, new classes and teacher or new colleges.  It is a lot to take in when you are young and all our children of whatever age need our help and support at this time, and our prayers.  I will be taking up a new role as Rural Dean of Bishop’s Stortford.  I have been doing the job on an interim basis for several months but I will be formally commissioned in September.  I will give me a wider perspective on what is going on in the churches and communities in the area and maybe I will be able to find some useful ideas to bring back to High Wych, Gilston and Eastwick.

Our House Groups will be restarting after their summer break.  Up to now we have concentrated on developing our understanding of the Christian Faith.  We are now going to take a look at some of the wider ethical and religious issues that confront all of us today.  We look forward to welcoming you to join us on Tuesday 9th September at 10.00 am at 6 Falcon Close or on Wednesday 10th at 7.30 pm at the Rectory.

At the end of the month we start our harvest celebration at St Mary’s Gilston with our Harvest Festival on Sunday 28th September at 6.00 pm, followed by refreshments.  The following week we have the school Harvest Service on Wednesday morning at 9.30 am.  On Saturday 4th October we have our Harvest Supper in the High Wych Memorial Hall and on Sunday 5th our Harvest Services at St James.  Please see the separate advert for details.  We look forward to welcoming you to any of these events.

Anthony Giles.


War is Declared!!

What would it have been like on that first weekend of August 1914?  The European powers were shaping up for a fight but not much had happened except for the anti-Serb riots in Bosnia.  War had been declared between Austro-Hungary and Serbia and between Germany and Russia.  Germany had attacked Luxembourg but, as yet, Britain was not involved and would not be until Tuesday 4th August.  What would it have been like on that Sunday, 2nd August, perhaps sitting in church for the evening service and wondering how it would all end.

I haven’t managed to prove that there was an evening service at St James’ Church on Sunday 2nd August 1914 but this year on Sunday 3rd August we will be holding a World War I Commemorative Service of Evensong at the church in High Wych.  The aim will be to reproduce the service that might have taken place that first weekend of August 1914.  The order of service will be Evensong according the Book of Common Prayer with Bible readings from the Authorised Version (King James Version as we tend to call it now).  The readings, psalm and some of the prayers will be those set for the eighth Sunday after Trinity which is where that Sunday in 1914 fell in the church’s calendar.  The hymns will be taken from a contemporaneous edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern, the traditional C of E hymnbook although the words in our modern books may vary slightly.  I look forward to seeing you there.

People of my generation will probably remember relatives who served in the First World War.  My grandfather volunteered at the start of the war but was refused because he had lost the end of his trigger finger in a farming accident and couldn’t therefore fire a rifle (they thought).  He was actually a very good shot and a bit of a poacher.  He joined up later and being a farm horseman spent the rest of the war touring northern England requisitioning hay stacks to feed the thousands of horses in France.  He was promoted to sergeant for saving a horse which the veterinary officers had condemned.  The details of the remedy do not bear repetition in an article like this but he used the knowledge he had gained from contact with travellers when he was younger.

There seems to be something in human nature that makes us far too willing to go to war without thinking through the consequences.  We assume that it can be done at nominal cost and be got over quickly – always by Christmas – but then war after war after war we are proved wrong.  For me, there may be times when in this sinful world we have no choice but to take up arms to defend ourselves and others from unlawful oppression and violence.  Some people joke that marriage is like war.  I don’t agree but war does match the description given of Marriage Service in the Book of Common Prayer, “not by any to be enterprised, nor taken in hand, unadvisedly, lightly, or wantonly, to satisfy men’s carnal lusts and appetites, like brute beasts that have no understanding; but reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly, and in the fear of God;”

Have a good summer!

Anthony Giles


 To err is human, but to really make a mess you need a computer!

Apologies to those who read the recent Parish News Letter and found the non-deliberate mistakes in the table of Services and Activities on the back.  As you probably worked out all of July comes in July, not June, and Lent Groups only occur in Lent.  At other times, particularly 11th June, we call them House Groups.  I am very sorry and ask for your forgiveness.  I must try harder next time.

The heading is, of course, a misquotation.  It should read, “To err is human, to forgive, divine.”  We are all very good at fouling up from time to time.  That is why in Church we start almost all our services by saying sorry to God for the wrongs we have committed or the thing we should have done and haven’t.  We do so in the belief that if we are truly sorry then God will forgive us because Jesus died for our sins.  The Bible tells us that when God forgives he chooses to “remember no more” all the sins we have committed.  He restarts our relationship with him as if nothing bad had happened.  He gives us a clean sheet.  We know we will make a mess of it again but God treats us as if we won’t, until we do.  Then if we “repent”, as the Bible calls it, he gives us a new clean sheet, again and again and again.  God’s forgiveness allows us to move on from our mistakes, to learn from them and to grow as people and as Christians.

For us to forgive each other like that is almost impossible.  We can probably manage a level of forgiveness, which says, “I will not seek revenge”, but to carry on as if nothing had happened is very much harder.  We all have memories, particularly about hurt feelings.  We cannot often “forgive and forget” however sincere an apology might be.  Forgiving someone who has hurt or offended us is very hard but it is the only way for relationships to develop and grow.  It is the only way that both sides can move on and grow.  Forgiveness is a fundamental part of any meaningful relationship.  It is something we must all try to do.

Most of us will know the lines from the Lord’s Pray, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.  If God forgives us he expects us to forgive others.  Perhaps it is only when we have felt the full power of God’s forgiveness that we can begin to forgive others in a way that approaches how He forgives.

Have a good July.

Anthony Giles


Sumer is icumen in,

Lhude sing cuccu!

Groweth sed, and bloweth med,

And springeth the wude nu –

Sing cuccu! (anon c 1226)

I used this poem to start my letter in July last year.  Let’s hope that summer has come a little earlier this year.  If you haven’t seen St James church recently come and have a look.  The scaffolding has gone and the church is resplendent in its new roof.  The vest