War Memorial Gary Trouton

Northwold and Wretton with Stoke Ferry Parish Newsletter

December 2004

December Parish Newsletter

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 December 2004

5th December (Sunday after Advent)

9.30am Service of The Word at Wretton

11.00am Holy Communion at Northwold

12th December (2nd Sunday after Advent)

9.30am Service of The Word at Whittington

6.30pm Carol Service at Northwold

19th December (3rd Sunday after Advent)

8.00am Holy Communion at Northwold

9.30am Holy Communion by Extension at


4.00pm Crib & Christingle Service at


6.30pm Carol Service (jt with Methodists)

at Wretton

24th December (Christmas Eve)

2.00pm Crib Service at Wretton

11.30pm Holy Communion at Northwold

25th December (Christmas Day)

9.30am Service of The Word at Whittington

11.00am Mattins at Northwold

26th December (Sunday after Christmas

9.30am Service of The Word at Wretton

11.00am Mattins at Northwold

2nd January (2nd Sunday of Christmas)

9.30am Service of The Word at Whittington

11.00am Holy Communion at Northwold

Rotas for Church cleaning & flowers

December Christ Church Mrs S Warner & Mrs J Elsie All Saints Mrs P Willis and Mrs H Durrance

January Christ Church Mrs D Eves & Penny 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.


Christmas is coming and the geese are getting fat! You must be as fed up as I am with the inevitable cries from Church leaders to ignore the commercial aspects of Christmas and discover its real meaning. Perhaps we all need to take some lessons from King Canute. So let me simply say (before I move on to something different) that I personally am pleased that the whole of the educated world (and a lot more) know the basic story of the miracle of God's incarnation as the baby Jesus and count the years on their calendars by reference to the date of that historical event - even if as much because of commercialisation as missionary zeal. So let's Remember that story when we can and apply its meaning to our own lives and leave God to deal with how the whizzbang of the modern Christmas affects everyone else.

These months are months of remembrance. 'Remember, remember the 5th of November', we used to chant as children. We remember the date and have great fun, although the reasons for the celebration are almost forgotten. Our remembering has matured and is harmless.

On Remembrance Sunday, I angered a few people with the comments in my Address during the Remembrance Service. I can understand their anger; I believe that I said I had to say; but I am also aware that my words were, as ever, inadequate to say properly what I wanted to convey. I am proud of the sacrifice made by members of my own family while wearing the uniforms of the armed services of this country of Britain. My heart is stirred by Rule Britannia, the National Anthem, the Pomp & Circumstance Marches, a massed Band of Pipers and so much more. I am an avid reader of War Stories and used to be especially drawn to the Second World War escape stories - all based on truth. I believe it is right and proper to Remember these heroes and what they did and why they did it.

The Cenotaph Service does just that and no more and is moving, coherent and sufficient in so far as it does do just that. But if all we do every year is to have such a service and then put it behind us for another year, then that is not sufficient. It is no good extolling the virtues of soldiers, sailors and airman doing their duty and more, without also questioning if their sacrifice was and is sensible - which involves no criticism of the heroes themselves or their achievements. One of the glories of being British is that we have an almost unique ability to celebrate heroism for its own sake, without looking necessarily at the outcome. So we celebrate the way we handled, at Dunkirk, the consequences of a massive defeat. We remember fondly the disaster of the Charge of the Light Brigade in the Crimea (the fact that recent research suggests that it was nothing like the disaster that the poem records is not now relevant, except to historians).

My prayer is that as we Remember what we all try to remember and what we have been asked to remember for so many years now, we also bring to mind the circumstances of the events in which the sacrifices that we Remember arose. A war in which hundreds of thousands, indeed millions, died, is evil, even though none of the participants may have been evil. We have an absolute responsibility to make sure that the two Great (what a wrong adjective!) Wars of the Twentieth Century are not (indeed cannot) be repeated. That would be the greatest and most worthy possible gift we could make to those who suffered through them.

One of the prayers that we said began with the words - 'Eternal God, in whose perfect realm no sword is drawn but the sword of justice' - This reflects the Church's teaching that even as God will insist on justice, so must we be ready to seek justice, if necessary with the sword. Armed protection against terrorists is, we believe, justifiable and right. I personally, as those who know me have heard me say many times, believe that it was right to attack Iraq last year. That is a point of view, which is contested by many and I have considerable sympathy with those different views. Moreover, whether going in was right in principle has nothing to do with the good or bad conduct of the war or the good or bad handling of the aftermath. Clearly much of that conduct has been less than perfect. But God judges us on our motives, not on our actions - on our hearts, not on our hands. Jesus said that it is thoughts that make the adulterer, before any action. I do not think that the poor handling of Iraq since the war was won early in 2003 has yet created an irremediable situation, such that we should get out regardless of the rights or wrongs of the original action - although we could reach that position.

I am probably trying too hard to be all things to all people, but my wish is to ask everyone to Remember, Remember, Remember those who have gone before, but at the same time to remember also the terrible circumstances in which our loved ones have suffered, to remember that glorious as armies may be, we should strive to make them redundant, that however badly someone else may behave, our God calls on us to love them, even if, from time to time, we have to apply to apply restraints to them.

The words of Bill, an ex-soldier living in Luton, were read out in our local Churches. I reproduce them here.

A Veteran's Lament

So, here we stand again. A year has passed. Once more our sorrow turns to millions killed.

What have we learned? What do you say to us, dear soldier, from your eternal silence? Do you implore us to improve our killing efficiency, to make bigger and better bombs, condemning more millions to your sad fate?

Do you cheer us on in our blindness? How many thousands have we added to your number this past year?

'No' - I hear you plead now. I hear you cry across the years: 'Weep not for me, but for those yet unborn. Go! - save your own children from my fate. Go! - thank me, by walking away today to reject the futility, the waste, and the lie that you have repeated over and over - even as you stand - for where do your billions go, if not to ensure that far more will know the hell I knew?'

'It is too late for me. I have no voice but yours. Please - speak for me. So, when you stand here again, when this next year has passed, come here in certainty - certainty that you have taken some small step along a different road.'

Keith MacLeod

Licensed Lay Minister

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