Wednesday, 31 December 2014
As I write this letter we are quickly approaching that mad and frenetic time of year – Christmas. Prior to this we have the lead up period of preparation which in the church is known as Advent. Traditionally at this time we have used imagery of looking for the light, seeking the light of Christ through the darkness of winter.
Winter this year has been slow in coming, the temperature has been slow to drop though the rain certainly hasn’t. The leaves have remained on many of the trees longer than usual despite the winds. So we could say that winter hasn’t really set in as it might. Perhaps we haven’t really noticed the decline in the amount of light around us, or have we?
Light is essential for growth, we can’t do without light. For many people the lack of sunlight causes great emotional distress so in fact light is essential for all of God’s creation to flourish. We use light in many ways in religious practice. We light candles to remember God’s presence with us, we light candles to remind us that Jesus is the light of the world and that he lights our paths, we light candles as a sign of prayer, we light candles to remember our loved ones departed and we light candles in celebration. The bringing of light into a situation is extremely important and uplifting both in its religious significance and its social significance.
At this time of the year as we enter Advent, the preparation period, we are moving towards that great celebration of the birth of Jesus, God in human form, who brought light into a very dark world. We celebrate this season by lighting up our houses with a variety of decorations and as we do so may we think about the lighting up of our world by the baby in the manger, who brought God’s love into the world directly to each one of us and in doing so lights each one of us up with his love. As we dash headlong into this season, with all that it brings, let us just pause for a moment of wonder and be lit up with the reason for the season, Jesus the light of the world.
May I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Joyous New Year.
Every blessing, Rev Cate
Posted by Christine Gibbins at 14:50
Sunday, 14 December 2014
Back in September 2012 the ‘Churches Together in Ottery’ (CTIO) recruited a Youth Worker with a particular emphasis on detached street work.
CTIO also started a charity called The06 to oversee this work. James Ballantyne fulfilled this role until the spring this year when he moved back to the North East.
The06 then began to re-evaluate the role and made some changes to the job description. At the same time Devon County Council was making plans to close most of the Devon youth centres.
As a group concerned with services for young people The06 decided they would do all they could to keep the Ottery Station Youth Centre open.
Although the Ottery Youth Club ceased to operate on October 10th a lot has happened in the past month. It is great news that it will re-open on Wednesday December 17th. This will be a special evening, with the local press present.
The actual building and site is in the process of being transferred to the local community and we plan to establish a community hub at the Station Centre for the wider use of organisations in and around the town.
It is important to know that this youth club is not just for the youth of Ottery but also for the surrounding villages including Feniton and Payhembury.
The acquisition of the building means that when The06 recruits its new youth worker in 2015 he/she will have a facility from which to operate. One of the upstairs offices at the centre is earmarked for our use for church youth work.
The06 have been speaking to all of the churches within Ottery and the surrounding villages seeking their support for the costs of the new Youth Worker.
At the end of November the pledges received amounted to around 15% of what is needed. So we have still some way to go. If church members and others are willing to pledge a sum of money, no matter how much or how little, towards this project please contact Mac Dick, Chair of The06, who is happy to answer any questions you may have. He can be contacted at MacDick1@aol.com and he will send out pledge forms.
In early 2015 the Youth Club will begin meeting regularly again staffed by ex Devon County Council youth workers. It will be wonderful when this is matched by The06 youth work.
Posted by Christine Gibbins at 21:56
Friday, 8 August 2014
None of us I expect have any actual first hand recollection of the WW1, our experiences are though other people. Friends and relations and through the media.
My Personal story- is about my Grandad on HMS Lion, flag ship at the Battle of Jutland. He was, working in the boiler room, it was very hot and he kept a towel handy to mop his brow, well he needed to go to the "heads", a seaman's term for the toilet, while he was away from his post the ship took a direct hit, in the boiler room, if Grandad had not left the area, I would not be here relating this to you, he would have been killed. On his return to what was left of the boiler room he found two large pieces of shrapnel on his towel, and I have them here today to show you.
I heard it said this week that much of our information has come though the War poets and perhaps this has given us a particular perspective on the happenings during the war. World War One caused an outpouring of literature that had never been seen before.
When looking through some the range was amazing from the graphic to the funny written from the frontline or by "canaries" the munition girls, chaplains to foot soldiers, officers to young waiting wives, all with the same theme of pain but encouragement, frustration to desperation.
An enormous emotional response to a horrific loss of life but a sense of the necessity to endure it.
In all the media coverage there has been little about the churches response to WW1, clergy however have been sent from Church House resources for services and the Royal British Legion have also sent resources and we use some of these today. However I wondered at the churches responses at the time, it was easy to find out information about Chaplains, from poetry of Woodbine Willie:
The Spirit by Woodbine Willie
When there ain't no gal to kiss you,
And the postman seems to miss you,
And the fags have skipped an issue,
When ye've got an empty belly,
And the bulley's rotten smelly,
And you're shivering like a jelly,
When the Boche has done your chum in,
And the sergeant's done the rum in,
And there ain't no rations comin',
When the world is red and reeking,
And the shrapnel shells are shrieking,
And your blood is slowly leaking,
When the broken battered trenches,
Are like the bloody butchers' benches,
And the air is thick with stenches,
Though your pals are pale and wan,
And the hope of life is gone,
For to do more than you can,
Is to be a British man,
Not a rotten 'also ran,'
These letters of Rupert Edward Inglis (1863-1916) – A Chaplain’s WW1 to his parish.
His first letter, then many more which describe the horrors he saw and those he supported during injury and death.
I think most of you will understand how I come to be writing from France. I have felt that in this great crisis of our nation’s history, everyone ought to do what he can to help. I have said this both publicly and privately, but it has been hard to tell people that they ought to leave their homes, to go out into strange and new surroundings, to endure discomforts and danger—perhaps to face death—it has been hard to tell people that this was their duty and then to remain comfortably at home myself. So that is why I have left you for an indefinite period.
I am proud, very proud of what Frittenden (his parish) has done. I know how hard it has been for many of the soldiers to leave their homes and their families and occupations; but the harder it has been, the greater the credit and the greater the reward.
I need not tell you that Frittenden will be constantly in my thoughts and that it will make things easier for me here if I hear that everything is going on well in the Parish.
I ask for your prayers. I ask you to pray that I may be a help to those to whom I have to minister out here. That God will bless and keep you all, is the prayer of
Your Affectionate Rector, (Signed) Rupert E. Inglis.
After many letter home came The inevitable:
From the Revd. Neville Talbot, S.C.F. Headquarters, XIV Corps
Wednesday, 20th September, 1916.
On Monday afternoon, about 3.15, whilst searching for wounded who had been lying out for several days, he was hit by a shell and killed instantly.
There followed numerous letter to his family commending his Christian commitment to so many .
These are individual Christian accounts but how did the church respond to the outbreak of war?
In many different ways:
There had been an appeal and criticism of government action by some Christian groups but in the end The arch- bishop of Canterbury, Randall Davidson, together with other Anglican bishops and Free Church leaders, responded at length and with astonish- ment...
It has not been a light thing for us to give our assent to the action of the Government of our country in this matter. But the facts of the case as we know them have made it impossible for us to do otherwise.... It is upon these facts that we rest our assured conviction that, for men who desire to maintain the paramount obligation of fidelity to plighted word, and the duty of defending weaker nations against violence and wrong, no possible course was open but that which our country has taken.
God knows what it means to us to be separated for a time by this great War from many with whom it has been our privilege – with whom we hope it will be our privilege again – to work for the setting forward of the Christian message among men. We unite wholeheartedly with our German brethren in deploring the disastrous consequences of the War, and in particular its effect in diverting the energies and resources of the Christian nations from the great constructive tasks to which they were providentially called on behalf of the peoples of Asia and Africa.
But there must be no mistake about our own position. Eagerly desirous of peace, foremost to the best of our power in furthering it, keen especially to promote the close fellowship of Germany and England, we have nevertheless been driven to declare that, dear to us as peace is, the principles of truth and honour are yet more dear.
This came from a book "We will remember" complied by the CTBI and the chapter on the churches response concludes with this reflection which I would like to share with you:
Bible readings: Isaiah 28:14-21, Jeremiah 21:1-10
From the outbreak of war, Isaac Watts’ paraphrase of Psalm 90 became
one of the most popular hymns in Britain:
O God, our help in ages past, Our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast, And our eternal home.
Under the shadow of thy throne Thy saints have dwelt secure;
Sufficient is thine arm alone, And our defence is sure.
What assumptions lay behind the use of “our” to mean “Britain”?
The prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah (see the above readings) in their day radically questioned the idea that God would always be on the side of Jerusalem in a time of peril. How does this square with “patriotism”?
Both sides – Britain and Germany – appealed to justice, duty and honour. For the British churches in particular, the violation of Belgian neutrality provided a crucial moral imperative. It would therefore be wrong to accuse them of just being flag-waving patriots unthinkingly bowing to the state.
Yet how can we be sure that our appeal to morality is genuine and not just a hypocritical or self-righteous disguise for patriotic impulse?
Both the British and the German churches fell in with the respective policies and justifications of their respective governments. Do you think this was inevitable?
What do you think might have happened if British and German church representatives had been actually able to meet early in the war, and not just exchange appeals and messages?
On a day such as this when we are commemorating and remembering the war to end all wars, they are questions which are worth reflecting on.
One thing which we can also reflect on is these St John's gospels, given to each soldier as they went off to war, there are tales of these being in a breast pocket of a soldier and it prevented a piece of shrapnel entering his chest.
These have been given to children in our church schools, asking them to try to find someone who could talk to them about either war and how they felt, but I know some have just wanted to hold onto them, one lad I know wouldn't let his out of his pocket as it was so special.
What is special to us, are the words of Christ important for us to hold onto? They were certainly thought to be 100 years ago, thought important for encouragement and support. Today as we think about WW1 we should also be like those troops thinking about the words of Christ and perhaps, just perhaps it will encourage us all to live out Christ's commands and work for peace in whatever way we can.
Posted by Christine Gibbins at 08:41
Monday, 21 July 2014
St Andrew's Church Feniton are holding a WW1 Commemoration Service at 11am on 3rd August 2014.
We would like to invite anyone with connection to the village and the men who served in the War.
Feniton History Group will put up a display of our fallen soldiers and serving men and the "Home Front"
Posted by Christine Gibbins at 21:43
Reverend Cate Edmonds
By the time you read this the holiday season will be well under, as I write this the sun is shining so I hope it has continued. The children will have broken up and many people will be either enjoying, or are looking forward to or have enjoyed a period of rest. Rest of course is most important to recharge our batteries and rest can come in many forms, a change of scenery, undertaking different activities or just being still.
Recently I took a group of youngsters on a Quiet Morning, well you may think that’s a bit contradictory, but in fact we all enjoyed it. We explored the concept of calming and looked at the times that Jesus took himself off to be quiet and how he calmed the storms. We did an exercise ourselves on calming ourselves; the youngsters took a little time to get into it but in the end enjoyed a time when they weren't challenged to do anything but be calm and quiet.
How often do we take time to be calm and quiet, many of us lead very busy hectic lives, there is always something that needs to be done, whether it is to do with your family or work, it's social or whatever. There is always a list in our heads of things to do. The trouble is we are often ruled by that list and it prevents us from enjoying the here and now of just being in the moment and then we can miss things around us.
I think holidays, which of course come from the words holy day a time to stop and think particularly about God, are times when we should just be. We don't need to go on expensive trips abroad, we don't have to make great arrangements we can have a holiday in our own spaces even every day. We just need to stop and draw breath and look around us for even a short time in a day and when we do we go back to the jobs and routine refreshed with clearer eyes and a little more energy.
However you are holidaying this year I hope that you can stop for a little while and just be.
Every blessing, Rev Cate
PS Confirmation classes are staring soon if anyone is interested please contact me.
Posted by Christine Gibbins at 21:39
Thursday, 26 June 2014
The Melanesian Mission
Executive Officer: Mrs Katie Drew
21 The Burlands, Feniton, Honiton, EX14 3UN
Tel: +44 (0)845 6081311 Email: email@example.com
Web: www.melanesia.anglican.org Twitter: @MelanesianM
24th June 2014
First UK Associates Admitted
At the weekend the first group of people from the UK were made Associates to the Community of the Sisters of the Church of Melanesia, at a special service at St Andrew’s Church, Ham, led by Revd. Richard Carter from St Martin in the Fields, London.
The Community of the Sisters of Melanesia (CSM) was formed in November 1980 by Nester Tiboe and three other young women of Melanesia. The aim of the religious community is to offer young women in Melanesia the opportunity of training in mission, so that they may serve Christ in the church and society where they live. CSM also provides pastoral care for women and teenage children across Melanesia. The community runs along similar lines to the Melanesian Brotherhood with vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, which can be renewed every five years.
Associates pledge to support the community through regular prayer for the life and work of the community, to support or help the community in times of need, both spiritually and physically, to take care of the Sisters when they are visiting their area and homes and to extend the ministry of the Sisters.
Catherine Duce an ordinand from Westcott was the first person from the UK to be made an Associate when she lived with the Sisters in Melanesia in 2013. Since then Catherine has been committed to helping the Sisters by increasing awareness of the community and by fundraising for water projects. Many church communities were inspired by the Simply Living team which visited the UK last year and comprised of members from each of the four Melanesian religious orders, including the Head Sister of the Community of the Sisters of Melanesia, Collin Wobur.
Canon Brian Macdonald-Milne and Lesley Mackie from Ely Diocese, Katie Drew and Revd Cate Edmonds from Exeter Diocese, Revd Richard Carter, Sarah Crompton and Elizabeth Grande from London Diocese, Canon Barbara Rowe from St Edmundsbury and Ipswich Diocese, Olivia Maxfield-Coote a Westcott ordinand from Truro Diocese and Revd Helen Griffiss from Winchester Diocese, joined Catherine Duce who is from London Diocese, to become the first group of Associates in the UK.
Catherine said: “I am overwhelmed that 10 people have committed themselves to support the Sisters through prayer and giving. Although not as well-known as the Melanesian Brothers, the Melanesian Sisters are undertaking groundbreaking work in the Solomon Islands, with very limited resources.
“Four of these new associates are also planning to visit and work with the community over the course of the next year, to build their understanding and fellowship with the Sisters.
“I am praying that awareness for this religious community increases across the UK and more people are inspired to support the Sisters and Novices,” said Catherine.
Left to right in picture: Top row - Olivia Maxfield-Coote, Elizabeth Grande, Katie Drew, Revd Richard Carter, Canon Brian Macdonald-Milne, Revd Helen Griffiss, Lesley Mackie, Revd Cate Edmonds, bottom row - Canon Barbara Rowe, Catherine Duce, Sarah Crompton.
For more information, please contact Katie Drew on 0845 6081311.
Posted by Christine Gibbins at 13:37
Monday, 2 June 2014
Reverend Cate Edmonds
I was rather saddened recently when listening to people being interviewed on the radio and TV about the elections that were coming up. I heard several comments along the same theme; the people didn’t vote because, “they don’t do anything for me”. The “they” was the politicians and the people interviewed were inferring that they would only vote if they personally got something out of it. I felt really perturbed by this reaction, what about community spirit, what about loving your neighbour?
I really thought what a sad state that some people have moved so far away from the basic Christian values of our society, in fact moved away from basic values of most religions. Are we developing a society of “me” rather than “we”?
I think we are fortunate to live in villages where we do still look out for each other, where we have concern for each other and for our communities. Where we can pull together to support each other in raising funds as in soup lunches, plant sales and the like and coming together for May Day events, Fun Days etc. After occasions like those we may feel exhausted but there is also a sense of satisfaction and enjoyment of people working together for the common good and not just for themselves.
We are also fortunate in our villages that in our Primary Schools there is a heavy emphasis on caring for others, apart from themselves, of looking outwards into the wider world and supporting where they can. All values which we hope and pray they will develop and take into later life so if interviewed they won’t respond in such a negative way as those I heard interviewed.
Whether we hold a religious belief or not if we are to live happily with ourselves and the wider world and not slip into “me” culture we certainly do need to remember to look outward and love our neighbour not just ourselves.
Posted by Christine Gibbins at 21:24
Tuesday, 20 May 2014
A huge thank you to the very many people who helped and supported the Plant Sale on 17th and 18th May. So many people were involved with the preparation, providing plants, setting up, transporting, selling and buying.
The refreshments in the lovely gardens of Feniton Court were delicious – comments on the scones were heard to be ‘perfect’. We ran out of cream and scones on the first day and people were baking again that evening ready for another exceptional day. A very big thank you to Sheila and her team, and to Jonathan and Fiona for opening their garden.
The glorious weather was the icing on the cake and certainly encouraged people to come along and although hard work it was a fun weekend.
Stalls and raffle all made more than the previous plant sale. Thank you to everyone who participated in the raffle and for donating the prizes.
The total raised was a staggering £4,244 with a little more still to come.
The money will be split between church funds and Friends of St Andrew’s Church.
Well done everyone.
Friends of St. Andrews
Posted by Christine Gibbins at 08:50