Keith MacLeod Newsletter
The monthly newsletter from St. Andrew, Northwold; All Saints, Wretton with Stoke Ferry;
and Christ Church, Whittington
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: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Diary for January 2005
2nd January (2nd Sunday of Christmas)
9.30am Service of The Word at Whittington
11.00am Holy Communion at Northwold
9th January (Epiphany 1; Baptism of Christ;
9.30am Service of The Word at Wretton
11.00am Matins at Northwold
16th January (Epiphany 2)
8.00am Holy Communion at Northwold
9.30 am Holy Communion by Extension
23rd January (Epiphany 3; Septuagesima)
9.30am Benefice Holy Communion
30th January (Epiphany 4; Sexagesima)
11.00am All Age Worship at Whittington
6th February (Sunday before Lent;
9.30am Service of The Word at Wretton
11.00am Holy Communion at Northwold
Rotas for Church cleaning & flowers
January Christ Church Mrs D Eves & Penny All Saints Mrs P Willis and Mrs H Durrance
February Christ Church Mrs Pat Voutt & Angie 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.
NEW YEAR's RESOLUTIONS
Inevitably we look at the New Year full of hope and positive anticipation. Some among us, of course, have bad things to look forward to - things they know are going to happen - those with inoperable cancers, those who are have terminal illness, those who having been found guilt in Court await their sentences. For some of these are hearts bleed. For some, we may feel merely sad - and 'merely' should not be regarded as in any way dismissive - I am using it comparatively. I find myself using the word 'we' in an exclusive way - much as most of us do most of the time. I mean 'we' fortunate ones who have been born and brought up in a civilised and friendly society, where we can, as in a Rugby or Cricket crowd, enjoy the company of those with whom we disagree. The fact that increasingly, as in a Soccer crowd, we sometimes find that we cannot behave decently towards those with whom we disagree is an awful shame - and I mean that it is shameful - but is not yet an overwhelming feature of our country or culture. We can still take great comfort in knowing that we are most of us for most of the time benevolent to our fellows and expect that benevolence to be returned. Although there is great poverty in our land, what is now regarded as poverty might not have been so regarded 50 years ago.
Nor would it be in most countries outside Western Europe and North America. So, as 'we' look forward with eager anticipation to a New Year, perhaps we should remember that greater 'we' of which we are a part - the whole body of humankind worldwide, which is itself only a part of that greater Creation of which humankind is a part. Can even most people in the world look forward to a good year or are they condemned to yet another year of deprivation and worse? Are African mothers still condemned to see their children dying of starvation and SE Asian mothers still condemned to see their children taken away to become child prostitutes? Is the only way for Afghans and Colombians to make a decent life to be the continued growing of drug crops to feed the insane desires of a few rich members of The First World? Do the peoples of the Middle East have to continue their lives of hatred and bombing?
Who is going to stop it all? So long as we in the West continue to simply supply arms and money, instead of love and understanding, then it will all continue for ever. It is our responsibility. Instead of sending money and expertise to assist in grandiose projects, why can we not simply send people who will help to plant trees and help to find and control water supplies? Instead of selling them bombs, why do we not buy their produce at a fair price? Instead of complaining about the exploitation of children and the poor, why do we not give (not just fair, but) generous terms of trade and let them sort their own societies out?
You will not have to be a very observant reader to notice that I continue to use the word 'we'. But now I mean something much more particular. I mean you and me. Every single one of us CAN do something useful - even if it is only to give some money to one of the Charities which uses it to help local people to help themselves; even if it is only to occasionally buy Fair Trade goods.
Here is a possible conversation between God and some of his Saints about how well we run our (his!) world.
GOD: St Francis, you know all about gardens and nature. What is going on down there in the West? What happened to the dandelions, violets, thistles and stuff I planted aeons ago? I had a perfect no-maintenance garden plan. Those plants grow in any sort of soil, withstand drought and multiply with abandon. The nectar from the long lasting blossoms attracts butterflies, honey bees and flocks of songbirds. I expected to see a vast garden of colours by now - but all I see are green rectangles.
ST FRANCIS: It's the tribes that settled there, Lord. The Suburbanites. They started calling your flowers weeds and went to great lengths to kill them and replace them with grass.
GOD: Grass? But it's so boring. It's not colourful, it doesn't attract butterflies, birds or bees, just grubs and earth worms. Its temperamental with temperatures. Do these Suburbanites really want all that grass growing there?
ST FRANCIS: Apparently so, Lord. They go to great pains to grow it and keep it green. They begin each spring by fertilizing grass and poisoning any other plant that grows up in the lawn.
GOD: The spring rains and warm weather probably make grass grow really fast. That should make them happy.
ST FRANCIS: Apparently not, Lord. As soon as it grows a little they cut it, sometimes twice a week.
GOD: They cut it? Do they then bale it like hay?
ST FRANCIS: Not exactly, Lord. They bag it. GOD: Why? Is it a cash crop? Do they sell it?
ST FRANCIS: No, Lord - just the opposite - they pay to throw it away.
GOD: Let me get this straight. They fertilize the grass so it will grow, and then when it does they cut it off and pay to throw it away* ST FRANCIS: Yes, Lord.
GOD: These Suburbanites must be relieved in the summer when we cut back on the rain and turn up the heat. That surely slows the growth and saves a lot of work
ST FRANCIS: You aren't going to believe this Lord. When the grass stops growing so fast, they drag out hoses and pay more money to water it so they can continue to mow it and pay to get rid of it.
GOD: What nonsense. At least they kept some of the trees. That was a stroke of sheer genius, even if I do say so myself. The trees grow leaves in the spring to provide beauty and shade in the summer. In the autumn they fall to the ground and form a natural blanket to keep moisture in the soil and protect the plants and bushes. Plus, as they rot, they form compost to enhance the soil. It's the natural cycle of life.
ST FRANCIS: You'd better sit down, Lord. The Suburbanites have drawn up a new cycle. As soon as the leaves fall, they rake them into great piles and pay to have them hauled away.
GOD: No! What do they do to protect the shrubs and tree roots in the winter and to keep the soil moist and loose?
ST FRANCIS: After throwing away the leaves, they go out and buy something they call mulch. They pay to have it hauled home and spread it around in place of the leaves.
GOD: And where do they get this mulch?
ST FRANCIS: They cut down trees and grind them up to make mulch.
GOD: Enough! I don't want to hear any more. St Catherine, you're in charge of the Arts. What film have you scheduled for us tonight?
ST CATHERINE: 'Dumb and Dumber', Lord. It's a real stupid movie about . . .
GOD: Never mind, I think I already heard the whole stupid story from St Francis.
Before we do anything or make any promises to ourselves or to God, we should pray (or if you are not that way inclined) meditate. Remember that the Cold War did not end due to the actions or activities of any of the activists or planners, but due to the factors (secretly?) put in place decades earlier by ? (God?) and, I would say, due to the prayers of good people.
Licensed Lay Minister
Keith Mac Leod