The Badminton Benefice

Vicar's Letter April 2014

Easter

St Paul writing to the Asian churches. (Ephesians 1).

‘God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come. And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all’.

 

Dear All,

As Easter approaches, we are reminded annually of the great event which puts everything else into perspective. The death and resurrection of Christ.

Why does the worship of Christ at Easter matter now, two thousand or so years on, have we not learnt its lesson? Many people as we know, would say ‘yes’ to that question and wish to forget all about it. However, in the last century we saw the consequence of a weakened religious culture both in Russia and Germany. Not only in the rampant atheism of the Communist system of the Soviet Republic which led to the Gulag camps, but also the Nazi ideology and the Holocaust. When people tell me that religion has caused all the wars in history, I remind them of Stalin and Hitler.

Believing in God matters. It matters very much. As Karl Rahner (1904-84) the German Theologian put it: ‘The best reason to believe in God is to avoid believing in lesser gods.’ Many of us are tempted to make gods of our children, our status, our personal wealth, our national independence , our personal health, our political creed or whatever.   Whilst it is very good to care about and serve those ends, there is something that is unbalanced about making tin pot gods of them. The reality of Christ on the Cross and his subsequent resurrection, over rides them all, it both encompasses and challenges them. It puts them in their right balance with each other and with our own personal and social life.

St. Paul reminds us that Christ through his death and resurrection, is above all things. He is therefore to be worshipped by Christians, above all else. This puts God at the heart of our life. A struggle for us all, it may be, but one with which Scripture teaches us to engage. And one to which Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and other faith groups would expect and encourage us to be committed.

With every blessing,

Richard Thomson
Vicar

E-mail: r.thomson@live.co.uk
Telephone: 01454 219236

Midweek Services

 

Mattins BCP

 Evensong

Day

Time

Church

Time

Church

Tuesday

8:45am

Hawkesbury

4:30pm

Boxwell

Wednesday

8:45am

Acton Turville

3:30pm

Lasborough (with Radio 3)

Thursday

8:45am

Leighterton

4:30pm

Sopworth

Friday

8:45am

Little Badminton

4:30pm

Great Badminton

‎(On certain weeks Friday and Monday swap. Please call me if you plan on attending a service to confirm the location.)

Vicar's Letter March 2014

Church of England Thoughts On Hearing The Bells Of Magdalen Tower, Oxford

John Betjeman

‘A church of England sound, it tells
Of moderate worship, God and state,
Where matins congregations go
Conservative and good and slow’
To elevations of the plate’
John Betjeman, Church of England thoughts on hearing the bells of Magdalen Tower, Oxford.

 

Dear All,

It is a painful thing to go on about money, and so many of you are giving regularly. Sadly the message has not quite got through to all our members, that the church is no longer supplied on tap by the Church of England Commissioners. The Commissioners are busy trying to keep parishes going in the North East and elsewhere, parishes that have no ability to cover the costs of ministry.

If we do not rise to the challenge and give regularly then country Benefices like ours, will inevitably become even bigger, or be linked to a nearby town. Please, if you have not yet done so, ask your Treasurer/Churchwarden to give you a form to fill out. It would only take a hundred people giving an average of £10 a week, to kick this issue into touch once and for all!

We are also keen to support other charities, and soon we will be thinking about how to tackle some of the issues that exist around us, like the need for food banks and so forth.

As Lent approaches, bear in mind that there are lunches, discussion groups, prayer times and so on going on all around the Benefice, to which you will be welcome.

Have a good March, and let us hope the weather improves,

With my best wishes,

Richard Thomson
Vicar

E-mail: r.thomson@live.co.uk
Telephone: 01454 219236

 

Midweek Services

 

Mattins BCP

 Evensong

Day

Time

Church

Time

Church

Tuesday

8:45am

Hawkesbury

4:30pm

Boxwell

Wednesday

8:45am

Acton Turville

3:30pm

Lasborough (with Radio 3)

Thursday

8:45am

Leighterton

4:30pm

Sopworth

Friday

8:45am

Little Badminton

4:30pm

Great Badminton

‎(On certain weeks Friday and Monday swap. Please call me if you plan on attending a service to confirm the location.)

Vicar's Letter February 2014

Dear Parishioner,

The Bishop is coming in May to conduct a Confirmation service in St Mary’s, Hawkesbury. It is a wonderful experience if you or your children have not yet been confirmed. Preparation for Confirmation involves meeting with Alveen or myself to reflect upon the main areas of Christian life: Christian morality, prayer, belief and Sacraments.

If you had your child Christened as a small child/baby, you might like to consider Confirmation. It really is the most incredibly encouraging thing for a teenager. Not only are the Christian values you have tried to impart, re-enforced by the teaching of the church; but to have your parents, godparents and grandparents with you in church to witness you being confirmed just at a time when confidence is badly needed - is very powerful. It is one of those things that helps to give confidence to a young person. For teenagers, it can feel like a life ritual, bringing that recognition that they are becoming a young adult.

I will never forget my Confirmation. It reminded me just how much I was loved and supported by my family, at a time when pimples, gorgeous but unobtainable girls, and peers who seemed so much more confident than me, were beginning to make me wonder whether the values, love and happiness I had experienced in my childhood had just been some dreamlike fantasy. It was massively important to my development as a young man. It helped me hang on to those values which I now as a parent, try and impart to my children. As parents, we need all the help we can get with our kids, especially as young teenagers, and Confirmation is a big one.

Why else should you consider it? Because at the Last supper, Jesus commanded us to share the bread and wine to remember him. Whether it is twice a year or every week, the spiritual significance/joy of taking Communion, can only be experienced to be believed. Let me know if you, your son, or your daughter might be interested.

With my best wishes,

Richard Thomson
Vicar

E-mail: r.thomson@live.co.uk This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Telephone: 01454 219236

 

Midweek Services

 

Mattins BCP

 Evensong

Day

Time

Church

Time

Church

Tuesday

8:45am

Hawkesbury

4:30pm

Boxwell

Wednesday

8:45am

Acton Turville

3:30pm

Lasborough (with Radio 3)

Thursday

8:45am

Leighterton

4:30pm

Sopworth

Friday

8:45am

Little Badminton

4:30pm

Great Badminton

‎(On certain weeks Friday and Monday swap. Please call me if you plan on attending a service to confirm the location.)

 

Vicar's Letter January 2014

Edgar Fawcett

"January is here, with eyes that keenly glow,
A frost-mailed warrior
striding a shadowy steed of snow."

 

Dear Parishioners,

In years gone by, All Saints, Christmas, Epiphany and Candlemas were the big four winter festivals. They brought to light the cold and wintry spell of weather, and made it shine with light and celebration.

As we put Christmas to bed, we now enter upon the two last winter Feasts of the year. Epiphany (Jan 6th) and Candlemas (Feb 2nd). Epiphany remembers the arrival of the three wise men and the theme of Epiphany is recognising God in Christ. All very well, that a baby has been born, but do you see God in Him? An epiphany of God, you see. Candlemas remembers Mary and Joseph presenting the child to old Simeon in the Temple. He cries out the words of the Nunc Dimittis: ‘Lord now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation….etc’, words said or sung at Evensong. It traditionally became the moment, when candles were brought to church to be blessed by the Priest. And St Lawrence, Didmarton has for some years, had a service and candlelit supper to remember this important Feast.

We can also add to the Christian feasts; Burns night (Jan 25th) if you wish to join our Scottish friends and enjoy a wee spot of Haggis and whisky, with some of Robbie’s poetry. We are putting on two such suppers in the Benefice, one at Hawkesbury and the other at Leighterton, both raising money for the Church.

I love the winter, and enjoying these feasts in the heart of the English countryside, is just the best. Keep safe during this icy month and if you are interested in St Wulfstan (d.1095), who was the Vicar of Hawkesbury Parish for five years, then come to an evening service at St Mary’s (6pm, 19th Jan) followed by a feast in the Beaufort Arms afterwards. After all, the Parish of Hawkesbury in his day, covered Badminton, Didmarton and much else in this varied Benefice.

With my best wishes,

Richard Thomson
Vicar

E-mail: r.thomson@live.co.uk
Telephone: 01454 219236

 

Midweek Services

(After 8th Jan and Weather Permitting)

 

Mattins BCP

 Evensong

Day

Time

Church

Time

Church

Tuesday

8:45am

Hawkesbury

4:30pm

Leighterton

Wednesday

8:45am

Acton Turville

3:30pm

Lasborough (with Radio 3)

Thursday

8:45am

Leighterton Rectory

4:30pm

Great Badminton

Friday

8:45am

Little Badminton

4:30pm

Sopworth

 

 

Vicar's Letter December 2013

An Extract From A Letter To Santa

Gaby Goldsack

On Christmas Eve, when the snow was all white,
I sat on the floor with a letter to write.
Before I began, I thought what to say
I’d like Santa to leave for me on Christmas Day.

 

Dear Parishioners,

Christmas season is almost upon us with its intoxicating concoction of colourful lights, nativity story, carols, turkey, presents and of course Santa Claus.

It is with regard to the last of these that I wish to write today, Santa Claus. The magical story of a present-clad Father Christmas clambering down the chimney on Christmas Eve is one that has always filled me as a child and as an adult with a sense of excitement. Presents are always welcome and especially so when tinged with magic. As a child my Grandmother told us that her garden had a fairy godmother and in the morning we would write our letters and put them under a tree. When we returned a few hours later, there would be little presents addressed to each of us- as if by magic.

Christianity is a physical religion. Bread and wine are at the heart of our religious rituals, churches are placed all around are countryside. These things are physical expressions of an inward and spiritual faith embedded within the soul of the Christian. Without the spiritual part, they are superficial and barren of meaning. As is the story of Father Christmas, carols and all the magic of Christmas without celebrating the gift of the holy child.

And yet, as the Archbishop said recently, giving and sharing at Christmas is not always something that needs to be expensive. Indeed, we should not try to buy love. It can in some cases, lead to debt and family rows. I hope you can find ways to express the joy and magic of what Christmas means, with your children, without spending too much and getting yourself into trouble. At the heart of it is the most sublime story– our maker being born into the world as a small and vulnerable child surrounded by the poverty of a stable. God found an imaginative way to show us that He is with us, can we find magical ways of expressing the Christmas spirit as well?

Have a good festive period and hope to see you at one of our many Christmas services,

With my best wishes for a Happy and special Christmas,

Richard Thomson
Vicar

E-mail: r.thomson@live.co.uk
Telephone: 01454 219236

Daily Services During Term Time

 

Mattins BCP

 Evensong

Day

Time

Church

Time

Church

Tuesday

8:45am

Hawkesbury

4:30pm

Leighterton

Wednesday

8:45am

Acton Turville

3:30pm

Lasborough (with Radio 3)

Thursday

8:45am

Boxwell

4:30pm

Great Badminton

Friday *

8:45am

Little Badminton

4:30pm

Sopworth

 * Friday alternates with Monday, depending upon my day off.