War Memorial Gary Trouton

Church Newsletter

October 2003

Is there really a link between Freedom and Democracy? Keith explores this and provides information on church services and activiities in October

The Parishes of St. Andrew, Northwold; All Saints, Wretton with Stoke Ferry;

and Christ Church, Whittington.

For more details contact me, Keith MacLeod at West Barn, Whindrove Farm, West Dereham (07766 766 137) (email: keith.macleod@virgin.net)

Diary for Oct 2003

Sunday 28th September (15th after Trinity)

9.30am Holy Communion at All Saints

11.00 am Harvest Festival at St Andrews

followed by Harvest Lunch

Sunday 5h October (16th after Trinity)

9.30am Service of the Word at All Saints

11.00am Holy Communion at St Andrew's

Sunday 12th October (17th after Trinity)

9.30am Service of the Word at Christ Church

11.00am Matins at St Andrews

Sunday 19th October (18th after Trinity)

8.00am Holy Communion at St Andrews

9.30am Holy Communion by extension

at Christ Church

Sunday 26th October (19th after Trinity)

9.30am Benefice Holy Communion

at St Andrew's

Sunday 4th November (20th after Trinity)

(All Saints)

9.30am Service of the Word at All Saints

11.00am Holy Communion at St Andrew's

Sunday School - All Welcome

There is a Sunday School during the main Sunday services at St. Andrew's Church, Northwold (except for Sunday's with All Age Worship). This is open to any school age child living in the villages of Northwold, Wretton, Stoke Ferry, Whittington and Brookville. If you are not able to stay with your child please drop them off by 10.50 and collect them by 12.15.

Rotas for Church cleaning and flowers

October Christ Church: Mrs I Eves and Mrs J Ducklin All Saints': Mrs E Russell and Mrs P Willis

November Christ Church: Mrs D Eves & Penny All Saints': Mrs E Russell and Mrs P Willis


We hear so much about Freedom nowadays. In fact, we usually hear it bracketed with the word Democracy. So the Western nations and, to a lesser extent, the United Nations spend much energy and, in recent years, have even waged war in order to bring Freedom and Democracy to nations perceived not to have these wondrous gifts. There is, of course, no necessary link between these two ideas. Democratic institutions can mask grievously unfair (un-free!) political and economic states of affairs, sometimes simply due to the inefficiency that Democracy seems bound to engender. On the other hand, the historians among our readers will remember the Benevolent Despotisms of Europe in centuries past, when it is thought that much national well-being was fostered by despotic governments. Today countries like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are despotisms or tyrannies, but the citizens are rich - even if politically frustrated and unfree! Also today, tens of thousand live in misery in rich democracies like the UK!

God is a tyrant, of course! He does not ask for our votes. However, he does ask for our opinions and for our requests, as well as asking for (but never insisting on) our adherence to the rules of behaviour that he lays down. This is called Freewill - which means Freedom with Responsibility.

"I'm free to do whatever I like -

to walk in the road, or ride my bike

which has no working brakes.

But doing that I find has led

to a lengthy stay in a hospital bed

and lots of pain and aches.

I'm free to eat and drink at will -

to 'sup some stuff' and have my fill

from glass or cup or plate.

But doing that has made me poorly

more than once, and surely

too has made me overweight.

I'm free to want more than my quota -

next door's missus, house or motor

took my fancy just.

But doing that has brought me grief

because I found that underneath

there is no joy in lust.

I'm free to have no faith in God -

I'd rather walk a path not trod

by those who have no will.

But doing that has left a void

that reading Marx or Sigmund Freud

just does not seem to fill.

I'm free! I'm free! I'm free!' I shout -

but when I try to work it out

my life seems just a mess.

So maybe rules do have a place:

as long as they're combined with grace

they make for happiness."

(c) Don Tordoff 2003

"A man has freedom to the degree that the master whom he obeys grants it to him in return for obedience. He does well to choose a master in terms of how much freedom he gets for how much obedience.

To obey the law of the land leaves him his constitutional freedom, but not the freedom to follow his own conscience wherever it leads.

To obey the dictates of his own conscience leaves him freedom from the sense of moral guilt but not the freedom to gratify his own strongest appetites.

To obey his strongest appetites for drink, sex, power, revenge, or whatever leaves him the freedom of an animal to take what he wants when he wants it but not the freedom of a man to be human.

The old prayer speaks of God "in whose service is perfect freedom". This paradox is not as opaque as it sounds. It means that to obey Love himself, who above all else wishes us well, leaves us the freedom to be the best and gladdest that we have it in us to become. The only freedom Love denies us is the freedom to destroy ourselves.

People are free in this world to deny Love and live for themselves alone if they want to and let the rest go hang, and they are free to live out the dismal consequences as long as can stand it. The doctrine of Hell proclaims that they retain this same freedom in whatever world comes next. Thus the possibility of making damned fools of ourselves would appear to be limitless."

(c) Frederick Buechner 1973

It is God's offers of Grace and Mercy that make exercising our Freewill worthwhile. Given our weakness in the face of any and every temptation, Freewill is a terrible gift. But God, in his Grace, gives us what we do not deserve and, in his Mercy, does NOT give us what we do deserve!

Keith MacLeod


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