May and June

May and June

The past few weeks have given us a mixture of sorrow and joy.  Phil Beaver died in early May and her funeral service was a mix of sadness but proud reflection and admiration for all that she, with the wonderful support of her husband Don, achieved during her long life  -  as a Churchwarden, choir member, friend, mother, and member of the community, setting a wonderful example to all of us. 

Liz Castle wrote a marvellous tribute in the recent edition of Spectrum which is just one example of Phil’s legacy:

“Phil was a founder member of the St Martin’s Kneeler Group when it was started by Miss Irene Gordon in 1979.  She was a most accomplished needlewoman and produced beautiful work. She completed nineteen kneelers, designing most of them herself.  The first one was an oak tree followed by flowers and birds in our flora and fauna scheme.  Phil loved to design commemorative kneelers so she did one for the Millennium, the Queen’s Jubilee, the Women’s’ Institute, St Martin’s Guild Centenary and another for 175 years of St Martin’s School. When we started our pew seat project Phil was the first to complete one. She suggested that we should have a design of various crosses and we have followed this on subsequent seats.  She was working on her fifth seat when she died – they are 1.5 metres long, so no mean feat.  What a wonderful legacy Phil has left for St Martin’s church and we will miss her at our meetings with her wise words and sense of humour.  If ever she or anyone else made a little mistake in their needlework she always said the same thing – ‘a blind man would be happy to see it’; so don’t bother to unpick it!”

Phil was an active participant in the annual St Martin’s Guild Fete, as treasurer, tea tent supervisor and numerous other roles over the years. I think she would have loved to have attended this year’s event, held at Stargroves for the first time for more than thirty years. Many thanks to Mr and Mrs Dalrymple for allowing us to use their magnificent grounds and to everyone who made the fete such a success.

Thank you also to all those involved in today’s Open Gardens event, particularly the five families who allowed us to enjoy their beautiful gardens and the many volunteers who helped organise the day.

Celebrating Easter

Celebrating Easter

It was great to see so many in church yesterday.   Thank you to everyone who attended. My fellow churchwarden, Andrew Colville, and I had a few anxious moments when 11 o’clock arrived and there was no sign of Canon Marvin who was due to take the service.  But we need not have worried as he had been slightly delayed after the 0930 service at St James’, Ashmansworth where there was also a large congregation.

It was well worth the wait!  Thank you, Marvin, for leading us in our celebration of Easter Day.  Thank you also to all those others who contributed to the service, particularly our fabulous flower team whose decorations in the church created a wonderful atmosphere and also to our organist, Hugh, and choir for leading the singing.

Celebrating Mothering Sunday

Celebrating Mothering Sunday

Thank you to everyone who attended our service this morning and helped to make it such a fitting tribute to the work, love and achievements of mothers and others who care for us. Special thanks to our wonderful flower team and the pupils from St Martin's School for making the posies, which the children then distributed to all the mothers present in the congregation.

Thank you also for giving generously to the collection which raised more than £100, which will be further boosted by the Gift Aid envelopes, to the Children’s Society.

Candlemas, and All Together at St Thomas'

Candlemas, and All Together at St Thomas'

It was a shame that we had to cancel today’s Parish Communion service.  Although the church would have looked lovely in the sunshine and snow, sadly the approach roads were icy and probably impassable for cars.  Nevertheless it gave some of us the opportunity to attend the ‘All Together’ service at St Thomas’ Woolton Hill.  Similar in structure to the St Martin’s Family Service, it was led by the inspirational Jayne Roch who, as well as referring to Mary and Joseph’s presenting Jesus in the Temple and witnessing Simeon’s recognition of Jesus as the Messiah, also reminded us that we are celebrating Candlemas  -  the midway point between the shortest day and the vernal equinox.  Yes, despite the cold weather, the days are getting longer and spring will soon be here!

 

Epiphany

Epiphany

Thank you to all those who attended this morning's parish communion and to Christine for leading our service and introducing us to Malcolm Guite's wonderful sonnet about the visit of the Magi / three kings.

Although we took down the Christmas tree after the service (thanks again to the Reis family for decorating it), as Christine pointed out, the kings have now arrived at our model of the stable and crib which will remain in place until Candlemas.

Preparing for Christmas

Preparing for Christmas

Thank you to everyone who joined the work party on 1st December both inside and outside the church. Despite the drizzle we were able to clear the churchyard of most of the leaves. Special thanks to Nick who was willing to climb the ladder inside the church to replace three light bulbs one of which was particularly high up! The church is now looking great as we travel through Advent towards Christmas Day.

Next Sunday (16th) our annual carol service takes place at 11am. Then on Christmas Eve our annual midnight mass service is at 1130pm preceded by carols from 1115.

Please come and help us celebrate Christmas!

Remembrance weekend

Remembrance weekend

Thank you to everyone who participated in the events to commemorate the end of the First World War this weekend. The East Woodhay Local History Society organised an exhibition in the Woolton Hill Church Hall and took part in the evening of music and readings at St Thomas's Church on Saturday evening. The East Woodhay Silver Band produced their customary high standard of performance which included community songs as well as two stunning pieces composed by Peter Stanley, a member of the band, but also well known to us at St Martin's as he occasionally plays the organ when Hugh is away.

We were very lucky with the weather this morning when Christine led the Act of Remembrance at the East End War Memorial, supported by the Band and children from St Martin's and St Thomas' Schools. It was wonderful to see so many people and special thanks go to the Chipchase, Clifton and Brunsden families who provided coffee, mulled wine and snacks afterwards.

PS Since writing this, I can report that the book presented by the Local History Society with biographical details of those local people who were killed in the two world wars is now in the Church, under the two memorials on the north wall. Please click here for a link to the digital version.

A busy week..

A busy week..

Welcome to Marvin and thank you for helping us celebrate harvest

The August pilgrimage

The August pilgrimage

.. and a revised service pattern from September, and a new Associate Priest

Trinity Sunday

Trinity Sunday

Celebrating the Trinity and remembering Simon Carter

Celebrating Easter

Celebrating Easter

Even though Easter Sunday was a week ago when we had a wonderful attendance at our celebratory Communion service, including a baptism of our newest member, we continued our celebrations this morning.   It was great to have Rev Raymond Obin back with us and thank you Raymond for leading us while Christine is away.    Thank you also to Diana Marlow, Richard Foster and Peter Stanley who have played the organ in Hugh's absence during the past few weeks.  A big thank you to our fantastic flower team whose decoration of the church has greatly added to the festal atmosphere.

Mothering Sunday

Mothering Sunday

Lovely to see so many families at today's service.  Thank you to Christine for leading us and using the story of Moses to illustrate the love of our respective mothers and the debt we owe them.  Thank you also to St Martin's School, children and staff, for joining us, preparing the posies (with the help of our wonderful flower team), leading us in prayer and singing.   We are also very grateful to Richard Foster who has ably filled in as our organist whilst Hugh is away.

2018 so far...

2018 so far...

It was great to be able to welcome Christine back this morning from her short break;  and thank you, Christine, for your guidance and interpretation of the Transfiguration.  Thank you also to Rev Raymond Obin took our communion service last Sunday and Mike Sarson who once again led Evensong.
Lent starts on Wednesday with a communion service at St Martin's 8pm and Benefice communion at Highclere on Sunday.
It was a shock to us all that Lucy Barber died suddenly at the end of December.  She was a generous and faithful member of our community and will be greatly missed.  The large attendance at her funeral on 11 January was testament to just how much she was loved and respected.   

Happy Christmas!

Happy Christmas!

A very happy Christmas to everyone and thank you to all those who attended our Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve.   Particular thanks to Rev Raymond Obin who took the service, whilst Christine was at Highclere.  We are also especially grateful to those who prepared the church and took part in the service:  flower arrangers, the family who prepared the tree, candle lighters, bell ringers, the choir and our wonderful organist.
We received a request last year that the service be brought forward from the current 1130 start time to 1115 or 1100.  Thank you to those who gave us your views last night but please keep the comments coming in, by speaking to any PCC member, using the contact form or commenting on this post.   Midnight Mass is a highlight of our year and we are committed to making sure that it meets all your expectations!

Christine's installation as Honorary Canon

Christine's installation as Honorary Canon

On Sunday 26 November our rector, Christine Dale, was installed as an Honorary Canon of Winchester Cathedral.  The ceremony, conducted by the Bishop, was included in the Choral Evensong service and well attended, including a party of around thirty-five from the Benefice (thank you, Margaret, for organising the coach!)    It was a wonderful occasion and opportunity to celebrate the recognition of Christine’s work.

As most people are aware, Christine is on special leave until 10th December, but in her absence we are very lucky to be able to rely on the skills of our lay ministry team and are also most grateful to the Archdeacon, Ven Richard Brand, and Area Dean, Rev Craig Marshall, who have been taking services of Christine’s behalf.

Finally may I say a big thank you to those who contributed to the ‘work party’ at the church on Saturday 25th (as well as those who look after the church the rest of the year).  Both the inside and outside are looking very tidy and well prepared for the forthcoming journey to Christmas.

Farewell to a wonderful lady

Farewell to a wonderful lady

The first half of November has been a busy time and a mixture of joyous celebration and thoughtful remembrance.   On 6th November we gave thanks for the wonderful and long life of Doris Webb.  The fact that some six people now perform Doris’ former duties in the church best illustrates her tireless and committed service to St Martin’s over many years.  We all miss her, and our thoughts are with her family, but she has left an amazing and inspiring example to all of us.

Her funeral was two days after Antonia Ede and Archie Sebag-Montefiore’s wedding.   This was a magnificent occasion.  The church was full and not even a rogue ‘cipher’ on the organ could dull the superb singing of the congregation and celebrations!

On 12th, we met at the East End war memorial for the annual service of remembrance.  Luckily the rain held off.  Thank you to Mike Sarson, who led the service in Christine’s absence at Highclere, and everyone else involved.   Special thanks to the Chipchase family for once more organising refreshments.

October

October

A busy month so far ...