The Badminton Benefice

Vicar's Letter March 2017

Dear Friends, 

We have come to that time of year when we prepare for Easter; the season of Lent.  Many of us try to give something up for Lent and fail. Sometimes if we are very strong we succeed. Of course it depends how difficult the challenge is.  This year I want to suggest a new approach. Instead of giving something up my suggestion is that we take something up.

I would like to suggest that each day during Lent you light a candle and say a prayer for those in your family or friends or someone you know.  Just one or two minutes thinking of a few people and praying for them.  The action of lighting the candle gives focus and intentionality to the prayer.  You might also say the Lord's prayer at the end, to help bring your thoughts together before the Lord.

Lent begins on March 1 and continues through till Good Friday 14 April. If you manage to do this for even a third of the days, you will have created a new pathway for conversation with God.

With my very best wishes,

Richard

Rev. Richard Thomson, Vicar

Telephone: 01454 219236
E-mail: revrichardthomson@gmail.com

Please contact me for arranging Christenings, Weddings or Confirmation.

Vicar's Letter February 2017

Dear Friends, 

We have just said farewell officially to Rev Alveen Thoresen who has served in these parishes for six years with great care and devotion. It is both sad to lose Alveen but also an opportunity for us. She is not being replaced so we are more than ever dependent on the kind support given by our Readers and Retired clergy.

 If you would like the involvement of any of our Ministers in a pastoral office (funeral or wedding) then you only have to ask. It may be that I wish to conduct the service, but a sermon or prayer given by someone who is special to you, is sometimes a great comfort.

I am hoping we can avoid reducing services in the Benefice. There is now more than ever, opportunities for lay members to get more involved. Churchwardens can if necessary, read Morning and Evening Prayer, (though they are not permitted to preach). It is even possible for lay members of the church to go on a short course to learn how to lead worship. I am therefore hoping that we will not have to cut services but rather that our worship will be enhanced by greater participation over time.

With my very best wishes,

Richard

Rev. Richard Thomson, Vicar

Telephone: 01454 219236
E-mail: revrichardthomson@gmail.com

Please contact me for arranging Christenings, Weddings or Confirmation.

Vicar's Letter December 2016

Dear Friends,

Whilst the rest of the world was commenting upon the advent of the new President-elect of the United states, I was attending a course called ‘Understanding Christianity’, after 28 years in the ministry. About time!

Since becoming a school governor again after 14 years out of the loop, much has changed. The ways in which Church of England schools understand their own distinctiveness has sharpened and the response of the national church to the education of little minds has also crystallised.

The most important change is that ethos and religious affiliation used to be very much a background thing. Now it is in the foreground and values based upon Christianity are named. Things like compassion, hope, dignity, community, forgiveness etc. are spoken of, and taught. This is in my opinion is brilliant. Faith is not just about belief, but about how we live our lives and what our values are.

In a recent stat. Religious Education came out as the worst taught subject, and teaching Christianity as the worst taught part of RE! Isn’t that shocking?

So the national church has hit back with a fantastic course called ‘Understanding Christianity’, which actually teaches Christianity in a structured way.

Christians believe in Creation, Salvation, God, Jesus, the people of God and so forth. And soon children will know what we mean by those words.

We have a way to go, but we can all help, by bringing children to church to experience what our faith is and by talking with children about our beliefs and their implications on the way we live and the values we hold.

With my very best wishes,

Richard

Rev. Richard Thomson, Vicar

Telephone: 01454 219236
E-mail: revrichardthomson@gmail.com

Please contact me for arranging Christenings, Weddings or Confirmation.

Vicar's Letter January 2017

Dear Friends,

May I begin by wishing you a very Happy Epiphany and New Year. January 6th is the day on which many churches in the East celebrate the birth of Christ, with presents and celebration. It is the Epiphany, the day when the arrival of the three wise men at the stable is celebrated.

In modern culture, we have a tendency to truncate the story of the birth of Christ and put the Annunciation, the story of the birth in the stable, the arrival of the wise men and the flight into Egypt all into one event. Not unlike our jam-packing the meal and the presents into one day, unlike our European neighbours who open presents one day and eat the next!

The church has separated out these elements in its traditional form. March 25th is the Annuniciation, 28th Dec the flight into Egypt, and Jan 6th (the Epiphany) the arrival of the wise men. And those who have used a Rosary traditionally might remember that meditation on the five joyful mysteries includes: The annunciation, the visit of the Virgin Mary to her cousin Elizabeth, the birth of Our Lord, the Presentation of the child in the temple and the child at the age of 12 in the Temple.

All these elements of the Nativity story are rich with spiritual insights, and worth thinking about and pondering on. I encourage you to drink deeply of the rich tradition we have inherited.

With my very best wishes for a very happy New Year,

Richard

Rev. Richard Thomson, Vicar

Telephone: 01454 219236
E-mail: revrichardthomson@gmail.com

Please contact me for arranging Christenings, Weddings or Confirmation.

Vicar's Letter October 2016

Dear Friends,

Some parishes still have their Harvest Festivals this month, so I hope they are enjoyable. Otherwise, it is the beginning of Autumn for us all and making sure the home fires are well stocked. September brought some sad news from around the parishes with a couple of untimely deaths. It goes without saying that families of the bereaved are always in the prayers of the church. This brings me to All Souls' Day: Every year, Mary Beresford puts on a special service for the bereaved at Hawkesbury on or very near All Souls Day (2nd November). It is worth pencilling it in the diary, and more details will be on the website nearer the time, or by emailing Mary herself or me. It is important to be able to bereave our loved ones, and the church is there to help us come through these life-changing events.

We now know that Alveen is leaving us in January, though we still have to fix the date of her last service. So, we will be organising a leaving bash in which we can thank Alveen for all that she has given to the parishes over the past six years. She is retiring to Dorset and will no doubt be an asset for the local clergy there, as the Vicar of Cerne Abbas has four parishes, I believe to cover.

The good news is that Chris Andrew was Licensed as a Reader in this Benefice on 25th Sept. This means we will be well-staffed for once.

With my very best wishes,

Richard

Rev. Richard Thomson, Vicar

Telephone: 01454 219236
E-mail: revrichardthomson@gmail.com

Please contact me for arranging Christenings, Weddings or Confirmation.