A Letter from your Vicar


My dear Friends,

Well the time has come! On October 28th I announced in church that Felicity and I will be leaving these two lovely parishes at the end of January. Many of you knew that we had been looking to buy a house in Devon and you have been so supportive and loving through these months and we would like to thank you very warmly. I have written to the Bishops (and others) to tell them that the resignation will be as from January 31st, though my last Sunday, and therefore active ministry, will be on 27th.  Leaving a particular role of ministry always has its sadness, as we will be saying goodbye to many people who have become good friends, but of course, there is always the excitement too of a new chapter of our lives.


For me this will be a big change – retirement! After over 46 years in parish ministry, yes it all began in 1972 when I was a mere 23, it will mean a real change of life-style. I have plans of what I might do, including possibly some writing based on my life and my experiences...but don’t expect it too soon!! However I had some of those plans when we moved here and the life in these villages has been so rich, fruitful and enjoyable, that there has been little opportunity! I can honestly say that as I look back through my years of active ministry I have had a wonderful life up to now and could recommend it as a great way to live one’s life. I have every expectation that I will be, after a while, asked to continue to conduct services and I will always be very happy to do so. My wonderful life will continue in a different form!


As you may know, we are moving to a house in a largish village, called South Brent on the southern tip of the Dartmoor National Park. I hope that in a future magazine we will be able to give you details of our new address. We will always be happy to see any of our Dorset friends. Next month, we will also hope to explain how things will be working out in the parishes and who will be responsible for what. The hope, too, is to try and keep most of our regular services in place, but please do support!


Meanwhile, there is Christmas and I am very happy to share this wonderful festival with you once again. It is a time of course for family and friends getting together; a time for sending cards to people you may not have seen in the past year; a time for giving and receiving presents from loved ones. You do not need me to remind you that right at its heart is the celebration of the birth of Jesus – or do you?!


It is the saddest thing when we are so busy that we begin to take so much for granted. The arrival of Jesus, born at Bethlehem, brought to this earth the most amazing and influential human being of all time. He showed us through his life and teaching how we could live our lives and if you only see him as a great teacher (the greatest?) then surely you want to celebrate his birth. For those of us as Christians, who believe that he is uniquely the Son of God, then of course that makes our celebration even more wonderful. How can you doubt him when the miracles that he performed are well beyond the ability of any of us? Can you feed 5,000 from one small lunch or turn water into wine or heal people miraculously?


Our services will be following the usual pattern (and indicated in this magazine) and I would ask you please to join us, in whichever church is yours, to celebrate the birth of Jesus and to take time to think whether his life and words might bring a new meaning to your life as we move into 2019.


Felicity joins me in wishing you all a very happy Christmas and a bright New Year with many positives!


Your sincere and loving Priest and Friend,   









Remembrance Sunday

This year our observance of Remembrance Sunday was particularly poignant as it was the centenary of the end of the Great War. In Bere Regis, the attendance at the War memorial and at the service following was absolutely wonderful. Yes, it poured as we observed the two minutes silence, but what a minor inconvenience compared to the terrible conditions in the trenches...... It was so good to see so many of the various sections of the Scout Group taking part with such dignity. The Roll of honour and the details of each soldier so well documented and read was accompanied this year with a Beaver coming forward to plant a poppy.

In Affpuddle, before the 9:15 Communion we held an Act of Remembrance at the Peace Shrine in our churchyard at 9am, which seemed very appropriate and I gather the attendance and observance at the Village Act of Remembrance at Bladen Valley at 11am was truly moving too. I am grateful to Jonathan Haigh, our local Licensed Lay Minister, who led that in my absence, my not being able to be in two places at once.

In Bere Regis in the evening the Commemoration continued with the Lighting of the Beacon on Souls Moor, and our thanks to Eddie Butterfield and Tony King for that, with another short ceremony. The final event in the Scout Hut was a time for rolls and soup provided by the WI and singing of WW1 songs led by Paul Martin and others. It was such a privilege to be part of it all.


Advent Carol Service

December 2nd is Advent Sunday, when in the Church we begin a season of preparation for Christmas...even if in the secular and commercial world that preparation has been going on since August in some places!! In addition to our morning services in both churches, we have a special Advent Carol Service at 6pm. The singing will be led by an extended choir as in the past. Last year it was different because we were holding our services in the School Hall but it will be back to usual this year so please come and join us!


Advent Courses

These will have begun at the end of November but you are always welcome to join them. They will be based on well-known Christmas carols. On Monday evenings (7:15 for7:30pm) at Bladentye in Briantspuddle and on Thursday mornings in Bere Regis. Please ask me for more details but know that you will be very welcome.


Your help required, please! We put this in last month but sadly no takers and so we try again!!


Richard Smith has been our Bere Regis PCC Treasurer for the last 10 years and he feels that now is the right time to hand over the day-to-day maintenance of the accounts. We are very grateful for all that he does, and has done, in keeping us on the right path financially.


What we are looking for, please, is someone to take over that day –to- day maintenance of the accounts. There must be various people in our parish community who could do this very efficiently and we are simply asking you to consider if one of those may be you! You would not need to be a member of the Church Council and indeed not even a member of the Church, but someone with the necessary skills and a willingness to use them.


Richard will ensure that all aspects of the Treasurer position are properly explained to the new person and is prepared to use his knowledge to maintain an overview of financial matters for the immediate period after the new treasurer is in place.


 We cannot actually pay you for undertaking such work but would certainly be prepared to give an ‘honorarium’ as a sign of our gratitude.


I will refrain from going into any more detail but please speak to me or to Richard or either of the Churchwardens, for more detailed information.                                                 Charles