War Memorial Gary Trouton

Northwold and Wretton with Stoke Ferry Parish Newsletter

September 2004

Keith provides details of Septemeber events and takes a refreshing look at the Olympics and current African disasters

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, Ryston Road, West Dereham

(01366 500960) (07766 766 137) (email: keith.macleod@virgin.net)

Diary for September 2004

29th August (12th Sunday after Trinity) 11.00am All Age Worship at St Andrews

5th September (13th Sunday after Trinity) 9.30am Service of the Word at Christchurch

11.00am Holy Communion at St Andrews

12th September (14th Sunday after Trinity)

9.30am Service of The Word at All Saints

11.00am Matins at St Andrews

19th September (15th after Trinity)

8.00am Holy Communion at St Andrews

9.30am Holy Communion by Extension

At Christ Church

26th September (16th after Trinity

9.30am Benefice Holy Communion

At St Andrews

3rd October (17th after Trinity)

9.30am Service of The Word at All Saints

11.00am Holy Communion at St Andrews

Rotas for Church cleaning & flowers

September Christ Church Mrs I Eves & Mrs J Ducklin All Saints Mrs P Willis and Mrs P Durrance

October Christ Church Mrs D Eves & Mrs Jenny Elsie All Saints Mrs P Willis and Mrs H Durrance

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.


As an avid TV sportsman, I could not but refer to The Olympics, which I am taking time out from in order to write this. However, we should all think about what it means, even if we are bored to tears (or worse, as my wife is) by sport. Is it actually immoral to have Greece spending over $3 billion on setting it up? With the money spent by the competing nations, the total must be way over £4billion. What could have been done with that money in that continent in agony - Africa? What about our own local needs - in every country? These are terrible questions, to which there are NO satisfactory short term answers. Could any one raise a moral objection to spending all of that money on just saving one identifiable life, let alone countless thousands?

The only answer is to stand back and not look at the individuals. We all have to live two lives - our minute by minute life, where we do have to pay attention to those we can affect - and our lives as part of a larger whole. Mankind is enough for many of us - for humanists for example. The whole of Nature is the frame for others - environmentalists. Creation in a more special sense for Christians, Jews and Muslims. I do not know enough about Sikhs, Buddhists, Hindus, Confucianists and so on to extend the examples - but you will see what I mean. Christians are taught that they are part of the Body, the Church - all with their own small but essential part in that larger whole.

Look at it another way. Animals do very little planning - they live for the minute and have no choice. Even when they do have strategies for combating the forces opposed to them or to take advantage of opportunities available to them, it is an unthinking reaction that is at work. But we, human beings do think and invent and change our strategies for success all the time. One of the continuing tragedies of the droughts and wars of Africa in the past half century has been the need for people to consume their seed corn and their breeding cattle. To save lives now, it is necessary to condemn the people of next year and years to come to starvation. Breaking that downward heart-breaking spiral depends on the intervention of the outside world.

What has this to do with the Olympics? Well, I like to think that we have a similar example in microcosm in England. We used to have the Wars of the Roses, when Lancastrians killed and were killed by Yorkists. Now we have the Roses match - a game of cricket over a few days in gentle sunshine, with the spectators reclining in deckchairs sipping Pimms. Is there any chance that the Olympics may really emulate that answer to international war? This year, over 200 nations have sent teams to Athens - the largest number ever. They all swore to play the game by the rules and fairly. Serbs, Croats and Bosnians compete together and accept coming second with a good grace, determined to win (within the rules) next time. This year, the Iraqi team is competing with joy, knowing that they do not have to win - it is enough to be there. They are competing with the Iranians and the Americans with good humour.

Back to the money. Does it have to be so much, does it make sense? Well, think of it as the seed corn or the breeding cattle. If we spend it all now (as we so equally can) on causes, which it makes you cry not to be responding to, does it actually give the possibility of a harvest next year which will feed so many more than it can simply consumed now? I believe that is the justification - just as it is important to build the new football stadium or concert hall in the town where there is serious poverty and deprivation.

We repair roads when they deteriorate to a standard, which is still vastly superior to the roads in many (most) parts of the world. That expenditure is an insignificant but vital part of the maintenance of a level of civilised behaviour, which reduces conflict and increases social cohesion so that we minimise (not good enough yet to completely outlaw) deprivation in our midst.

The playing out of The Olympics on the world stage is part of that same process, but on a world society level. The effort is worth it, regardless of the many examples you may find of inefficiency or ineffectiveness in the detailed process, even regardless of the few deaths in the construction (tragic as they were for them and their immediate families). Matters can be handled so badly that they negate the benefits, but that is the exception and has to be avoided. Hitler's Olympics were an example of an effort in that direction, but he did not succeed.

It is interesting to look at the metaphors of the Christian Bible. In the older books, the language is that of war - the story of David and Goliath being the supreme example. In the later books, the metaphor is that of running races.

I must get back to see how the British Olympians are getting on - I am fiercely nationalistic in sport - but I do not hate the Australians for always beating us at cricket or the French for beating us at football or the Americans for being so supreme at Track & Field. My anger at the referees and umpires for finding the faults in our sportsguys but not seeing the terrible failings in everyone else is skin deep and a source of amusement to my family. All these negative feelings are not really negative - they are strategies for maintaining a high pitch of interest, when excellence by my own favourites is not sufficiently evident.

Yes, I will pray for the African disaster; Yes I will put my money into the African disaster relief buckets; But Yes, also I will subscribe to the TV extravaganza, which is necessary for the financial success of modern Olympics. As ever, I have a problem with organising my priorities and disappoint myself often, but overall I know that I have to look to myself, I have to look to others and I have to look towards the continuing development of mankind to a greater and wider sense of society, of comradeship, eventually of love and finally of Godliness.

Keith MacLeod

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