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. The following Sunday there will be a 6 pm evensong service and 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.

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 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 ...

September Family service

September Family service

Thank you to everybody who attended this morning's service. It was wonderful to see you all and to welcome Christine back after her holiday.  Thank you, Christine, for leading us and for your interpretation of the parable of the workers in the vineyard.  (The picture above is Rembrandt's painting showing the workers being paid -  a somewhat different image from those who took the parts of the workers this morning!) 
As always, thank you to those who arranged coffee, juice, biscuits etc after the service and we were particularly grateful to Richard Foster for playing the organ in Hugh's absence.

September Parish Communion

September Parish Communion

A big thank you to Rev Mark Christian who returned to St Martin's this morning to lead our Parish Communion service, whilst Christine is taking a very well earned holiday.  All of us could associate with his supermarket story, the need to try and avoid confrontation and how difficult that can be sometimes!   
Thank you, Mark, and we all look forward to welcoming you back in the future.  We also look forward to Christine's return to lead our Family service in two weeks' time.