The Badminton Benefice

Vicar's Letter June 2016

Dear Friends,

Thank you to the many of you who came and said hello at the Horse Trials Chapel. We had a fabulous position next to the Mothers and babies, but unfortunately no Christenings ensued from our favourable position! We were however busy serving teas and coffees and making people welcome, reminding them of God’s love.

This is the season of Pentecost, which is all about the coming of the Holy Spirit. The Prayer Book does not say a huge amount about the Holy Ghost, He barely figures in the Holy Communion service. I guess at that time, the idea that people might be enthused about their faith was overshadowed by the fear of not getting into Heaven. A religion that was based upon fear and a scary deity was hardly going to talk of the joy and happiness that faith in Jesus can bring. Fortunately, faith is now seen in a much more positive light.

I wish you a happy June and a peaceful season of Pentecost.

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 April 2016

Dear Friends,

I very much hope you had a good Easter and are still feeling the spirit of Easter and have some chocolate left over!

This month, I would like to tell you about our church in Didmarton. St Lawrence’s church had been redundant, but was restored about 30 years ago.

The interior of Didmarton church is a fantastic example of the appearance and inside of an 18th century country church: a small sanctuary, box pews and the ‘three-decker’ pulpit, with minister’s pew, clerk’s desk and oak pulpit.

There were two galleries and a row of hat pegs which can still be seen high up on the wall. The galleries would have been used by those who could not afford to rent the box pews, and for the musicians.

The font is of three periods; the circular stem is Norman work of the 12th century, the octagonal bowl dates from the 14th century, and the wooden cover was added in the 18th century.

During the repairs in 1982 the original Commandments tablet were found and returned to the present position behind the altar. In the south wall, to the right of the altar, is a 13th century piscina or drain at which the priest would have washed the communion vessels during Mass ( and sometimes still does).

The painted box pews were previously matched by similar pews on the north side and in the north transept. The wooden staircase in the north transept gives access to the clock and to the bell turret.

On the walls and floor of the church are numerous memorials to the Codringtons and other local families.

It is a very interesting and unusual church and very much loved by its parishioners. Services are two a month: Matins on the 1st Sunday at 11:15am and Holy Communion on the third Sunday at 8.30am.

It is a fabulous reminder of what country churches looked like 300 years ago. You are always made very welcome at this little church.

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 March 2016

Dear Friends,

I am going to break my tour of the churches this month, to tell you about an event that is taking place.

Sometimes the old things are the best. This is true of furniture, paintings , music - and I believe religion. The language of the prayer book may to some be unfathomable and strange, but to others it speaks of a God of awe and wonder in a language which mirrors God’s grandeur, wisdom and glory: 'Oh lord our heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who hast safely brought us to the beginning of this day.....'

However, it doesn't mince words when speaking of temptation and the corruption of human nature: 'We err and stray from thy ways like lost sheep, following too much the devices and desires of our own hearts'. A view which much of modernity wishes to avoid.

People say that when the old language was replaced with the new it lost a good deal of its comfort. The prayer book is packed full of prayers for safety: 'defend us thy humble servants in all assaults of our enemies, that we surely trusting in the defence, may not fear the power of any adversaries'.....

If you love the old prayers then you may be interested to know that we are very lucky to be having the 'Schola Cantorum' of Tewkesbury Abbey coming to sing Evensong on March 17th at 5.30pm, at Great Badminton. I will be conducting the service and the Prayer Book Society will be in attendance.

Easter is at the end of the month, I do hope you will join us for services across the Benefice during Holy Week and Easter, including a ‘First Light of Easter’ service at Leighterton at 6pm on Holy Saturday.

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 2016

Dear Friends,

As promised, I would like to tell you about another of the lovely churches in our Benefice

This month, I would like to tell you a bit about Great Badminton Church, which was built in 1785 to in the style of St Martin-in-the-Fields. It is not open every Sunday for services, but it is used about six times a year for services such as the Sunday of The Horse Trials weekend, Remembrance Sunday and so on. We usually also have a service in the summer at some time, when it is warm! We also have Evening Prayer every Friday afternoon at 4.30pm (but check before coming).

When you walk in, you are immediately struck by the high box pews, which does not suit modern ecclesiological tastes, where the focus is upon the gathered community, rather than individual families (in their own pew), making their private devotions. Having said which, if you have a screaming child, they are great, as no one knows where the noise is coming from!

The chandeliers, enormous ornate monuments, the dominating pulpit and the Duke of Beaufort’s standard flying from the entrance to the chancel – is all very impressive. However, past all this, and beyond the very powerful organ, is the altar with angels flanking it. It is here that I wish to bring you, as this is where I encourage couples to sign their names in marriage registers and where the Sacrament of Holy communion is celebrated. This is the place where the community gathers to receive its Saviour in the bread and wine of the Eucharist. This is the Holy table, the Altar. This is the best part of the whole church, in my view, and it is the main focus of worship.

At the entrance, (I should have said earlier) is the Font, which we use quite regularly for local Christenings, when hundreds of Aunts, Uncles, cousins and friends gather to welcome a new child into the world and into the Church. This is nearly always a separate service as not only do we not have many Sunday services in Great Badminton, but it makes sense to fill the church with a family and their entourage (which can be quite a lot!) as a separate event.

It is an extraordinary Church, and well worth making the effort to coming to one of the services to see and hear it in action (the organ is fantastic!). Next month I will tell you about another of our churches.

Best wishes from your Vicar,

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 2016

Dear Friends,

Happy New Year!

I hope it proves to be a year that brings good things for you and your family. As the inhospitable weather of January and February approaches, I hope that you will keep warm and safe from the icy conditions and slippery walkways.

In Hawkesbury, there is the Feast of St Wulfstan to look forward to on January 19th. There is a meal at the Beaufort Arms which should be fun. All parishes are of course welcome to this event.

I have to confess, I have never had a predecessor before who is a Canonised saint.

Wulfstan (1008 – 1095) was the Vicar at Hawkesbury for five years, and became Prior to the Benedictine Monastery in Worcester, then being elected Bishop of Worcester in 1062. He was made a saint posthumously in 1203 by Pope Innocent.

His life covered the dramatic events of 1066 and all that! And the monastery at Hawkesbury would have been the religious base for ministry across all our parishes. So, it still holds a special place in the hearts of many local people. Next month I shall bringing to your attention another of our fine churches in this Benefice.

                                                                                     

With my best wishes,

Richard

Rev. Richard Thomson, Vicar

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

Please contact me for arranging Christenings, weddings or Confirmation.