A Letter from your Vicar

A LETTER FROM YOUR VICAR

My dear Friends,

 

Are you happy with your lot in life? It seems to me that frequently we are being discouraged from being content, with such comments as ‘you should want to better yourself’. What does that mean? It is certainly likely, most of all, to be about material wealth. I have an admiration for people who start with nothing and end up being very comfortably off but I most admire them when they find in their hearts a generosity towards other members of their family or their friends or simply ‘good causes’. I am glad to say that I have known – and know - many such.

 

I have sadly also come across those who have more or less destroyed relationships as they have pursued their own interests to the detriment of others. Jesus says (Mark 8:36 ) “What gain is it for a man to have won the whole world and to have lost or ruined his very self?” How sad this can be? How easily, though, we can relate it to someone else and not to ourselves. I have heard people incorrectly quote the passage from Paul’s first letter to his friend Timothy (6:10) and say that money is the root of all evil but actually Paul says “the love of money is the root of all evil”...which is very different!

 

Shortly before writing this letter it was my privilege to conduct another village funeral and I perceived as I listened to the family and friends that this person was truly contented with her lot in life. I reflected on what a wonderful virtue to celebrate in someone. I quoted from John Bunyan:

I am content with what I have, little it be or much;

And, Lord, contentment still I crave because thou savest such.

 

There is always, of course a real sadness at the time of a funeral but the death provides also, beyond our grief, a chance to reflect on the qualities of the person and an opportunity to learn from them. Perhaps we sometimes take people a little bit for granted and then when we lose them, we begin to think of their qualities. I have noticed occasionally that a person who may have been on the end of their families’ complaints suddenly becomes a saint! ‘Stubborn’ becomes ‘independent’, ‘selfish’ becomes ‘he preferred to keep his own judgement’ and ‘grumpy’ appears as ‘he didn’t always smile’.

 

One of the most wonderful gifts we have as human beings is other people who love us and care about us. How sad it is that we don’t always appreciate them as fully as we might until they are no longer with us! Perhaps it is because we need age and maturity to see all the qualities of others or perhaps just hindsight. It has only been in recent years that I have seen the true and wonderful value of my father. He was an orphan by the age of 13 having also lost his older brother, killed at the end of WW1. He then went to live with an aunt who was single, though he was also at boarding school. How did he learn how to be such a good father, when he was only 10 when his own died? He wouldn’t have claimed to be perfect but I just want to thank him for his many qualities and I was lucky to have a very loving mother too!

 

I honestly believe that I shall be reunited with all our loved ones in time. To speak of the ‘glory of heaven’ is still to use earthly language for something so wonderful beyond our comprehension. It is possible to believe in something that we cannot begin to imagine but we can only do so in absolute trust of the living God. Why are we not satisfied to accept that things beyond our understanding or even our imagining can be possible? Well I’ll leave that to you to ponder as I look forward to our being somehow reunited and able to tell our loved ones how much they meant to us and how much we loved them. Perhaps we can take the opportunity to say the right things while they are still alive.....

 

Thank you all for who you are, with all your qualities, enriching our lives,

Your loving Priest and Friend

 

Charles

 

 Could this be speaking to you?

 

I am happy to start another Confirmation Course (also available for those who were confirmed a while ago) in the next couple of months. If you are interested, please let me know. We usually have 8 sessions which we time to fit in with your availability.  Charles

 

 

A VERY HAPPY EVENT – THE THANKSGIVING SERVCE on JUNE 3RD!

 

The weather was fine and the mood was upbeat when we welcomed Bishop Nicholas of Salisbury to come and share in our service in St John the Baptist’s Church in Bere Regis on June 3rd. The work of the Roof Repair Project was complete and all the money raised! The church had been so well cleaned and the flower arrangements truly stunning.  About 125 people attended. We still have some attractive copies of the service if you were unable to attend and would like to see what happened.

 

The service began with an introduction, outlining the history of the project and we welcomed and thanked our architect, Michael Vaughan and our contractors, Richard and Gilbert Griffin. We were also aware that none of this would have been possible without three grant-making charities, Viridor Credits, Erskine Muton Trust and Dorset Historic Churches Trust, supplying us with wonderful grants; again in welcoming their representatives we were again able to express our sincerest thanks. We also reiterated that without local donations again this would all not have been possible and it was a particular joy to thank the many donors who were present as well as the many who had sent their apologies in not being able to attend(there must have been about 40 of these). It also provided an opportunity on behalf of the Churchwardens and Church Council to thank the School for the use of their lovely Hall for our services while the church was closed and to thank Bob Croom and Richard Smith for their considerable involvement on our behalf.

 

In our service, we thanked God for our Parish Church and all that it means to many people. We heard Readings from both the Old and New Testament and listened attentively to our Bishop encouraging us to continue to value our building and to look after it. He reminded us too that this remarkable church needs to be as well used in our own generation as it has been through the centuries. Following a time of Prayer and Dedication of ourselves, the Bishop re-dedicated the building after its restoration.

 

The second half of the service was the time of Communion, led by Bishop Nicholas and during the distribution of the Sacrament, our augmented choir sang three lovely anthems, O come ye servants of our God(Tye), If ye love me(Tallis) and Deck thyself, my soul, with gladness(Cruger). Our thanks go to all our musicians and especially Paul Martin, our organist and choirmaster. We also sang, at various points in the service, four well known hymns.

 

The service ended with a short blessing sung by the choir (composer??)and a very lovely blessing from the Bishop, based on words by the poet John Donne.

 

Many of us then went to the Scout Hut for pre-lunch Refreshments, served so tastefully (to the eye and the taste-buds!) by Elm Vintage Teas in the Scout Hut and paid for by two couples in our congregation to whom we are very grateful. The Bishop cut the cake, with a super picture of the church on it. We all went home very happy and grateful to God and to all involved for such a wonderful occasion.

 

Food Bank – Update!

Usually every 6 -8 weeks we hand over at least five carrier bags full of your gifts to the Food Bank - so thank you from the people who were very grateful....and please keep your contributions coming!

 

There are boxes in both our churches (yes now back in Bere Regis church) for you to place any goods you would like to donate. This provides a simple way of helping people who have fallen on hard times.

I would ask: Please ensure that your gifts are at least 6 months in date.

You do not have to be a church member to contribute!

The boxes are emptied regularly

and the contents given to the Wareham Food Bank.

The list of what is most appropriate is:

Tinned Soup Fruit Juice(carton)    Pasta Sauces Baked Beans    Rice/Sponge Pudding (Tinned)

Tomatoes (Tinned)    Pasta/Rice (1kg)   Tinned Vegetables  Tea Bags/Coffee    Instant Mash Potato

Tinned Meat/Fish   Tinned Fruit   Sugar (500g)    Biscuits or snack bars

 

The FOOD BANK provides for local individuals and families in crisis -

Thank you for your support!