Pilgrimage to the National Memorial Arboretum
St Mary’s pilgrimage to the National Memorial Arboretum was well attended and took place on a fine day on Saturday 18th May, appropriately just a few weeks before the 75th Anniversary of D-Day. Set in 150 acres of park and woodland, and bordered by the serene River Tame, the Arboretum and its 350 memorials were designed to provide a national focus for Remembrance, not just for the military, but also for all rescue services and many other associated organisations. The visit started with a short service in the chapel and then we dispersed in all directions either to seek out memorials relevant to our own respective families, or simply to admire the beautifully constructed and tended monuments and statues. Some took the internal land train to enjoy a 50 minute tour of the site with an audio commentary whilst others followed recommended tour routes described in the official written guide. Central to the site is the Armed Forces Memorial which is a stunning and captivating piece of architecture listing on Portland stone panels some 16,000 names of those who have been killed on duty since WW2. Sculptures and statues within the large circular construction bear silent witness to the cost and scale of armed conflict in recent years. Particularly heart-wrenching are the memorials dedicated to the Burma Railway, Polish Forces and “Shot at Dawn”. (There are no words to describe the distressing feelings evoked by a visit to the latter memorial). Despite moments of sadness tinged with gratitude to those who had given their lives for us, all in all Alan Newton organised a wonderfully thought-provoking and informative day in the company of good church friends. Individual return journeys are already being planned to visit the numerous monuments still to be seen.
This evening (14th January 2019) Hub in the Pub adopted the form of a humorous interview between Rev John Stopford and Rev Antony Dutton. Antony summarised his journey into ministry. He credits Whitegate Primary School for his basic religious literacy and explained how during a school trip to Rome he was amazed by the amount of religious devotion which he witnessed, but was unable to make it his own experience. He said he went up to university as an angry agnostic searching for answers in both the pub and cathedral.
Still seeking answers, he then returned to Chester to study theology and whilst there he was influenced by one of the Melanesian Brothers. He was also strongly encouraged by Rev Lesley Eden, with whom he often shared the Evening Office. Around that time a chance remark by Bishop Peter encouraged him to take the plunge and train for ordination. This he did at Cuddesdon College, Oxford, where he ‘met people as weird as himself’. During his ordination at Chester Cathedral he had a profound experience when the Bishops laid their hands upon him: he felt ‘he went from terror to bliss’.
Following his Curacy at Malpas and the inspiring lead by his training incumbent, Ian, he moved on to St John the Evangelist, Great Sutton, as Vicar. Asked about the highs and lows of his ministry there, he said that he had a very rewarding funeral ministry, but had mixed views about baptisms, particularly with difficult two-year olds. He thinks sermons are very important, but likes to keep them very focused.
Antony named two challenges he faces: one being the lack of general religious literacy and the other trying to encourage young people into church. He is in the process of writing his PhD in church history whilst enjoying his Parish Ministry. Antony chose the Ankawa Foundation as his chosen charity, which supports Christian Communities in northern Iraq (www.ankawafoundation.org).
Thanks go to David Hughes and his staff for the excellent food.
On Tuesday 4th December 30 people arrived at The Mews for their Advent Lunch. The Mews looked very festive with the tables laid and decorated.
Linda, Chris, Alan and Colin had worked hard all morning preparing a Turkey lunch with all the trimmings. This was followed by Christmas pudding and custard. Coffee and tea with a mince pie was served whilst everyone enjoyed Christmas Carols which were led by Andrew Millinchip.
A gift was also given to everyone who attended.
We had a wonderful day with a super atmosphere and in the process raised £173.84 for church funds. It was good to see so many people enjoying the fellowship and friendship of parish life together.
Linda & Chris would like to thank everyone who attended and helped serve and tidy up after the meal. Special thanks also to Alan and Colin Newton and Andrew Millinchip.
Christmas Hamper Raffle
Tickets for our Christmas Hamper Raffle are now on sale and are available from Carole Sweet for £1 each.
The raffle will be held on the 19th December at the carol singing. So the winner will get the hamper of goodies in time for Christmas.
First prize a Hamper full of Christmas Goodies
Second Prize a Hamper full of pamering goods
Third Prize a Panettone
On Saturday 15 September twelve of us visited Rodington Vineyard, in the beautiful Shropshire countryside where the fabulous Blue Tractor Wines are grown. The wine tasting was organised by the Social & Fundraising Committee as a social event.
Manjit, the owners daughter, welcomed us to the vineyard and in between rain showers explained that the vineyard came into being after her parents bought 10 acres of agricultural land and found the soil was more suited to vines than orchard. On this small farm they grow nine different vine varieties, including Ortega, Solaris, Bacchus, Seyval, Rondo and Pinot Noir. The vines were only planted in 2009 and their first small production run was 2012 (family only) but by 2014 their Solaris white wine was winning a silver International Award.
We were able to taste 8 wines which comprised 3 white, 1 red, 2 rose and 2 sparkling wines. The 'nibbles' turned out to be a full picnic lunch, with their own grapes and apples & pears from the token orchard area - a nod to the original plan. The measures of wine were generous and enabled everyone to get a good taste of the quality of the wine.
The event was fantastic. Manjit didn't hurry the tasting and had plenty of time to chat with us and tell us lots of stories. All in all it was a lovely way to spend a Saturday.