War Memorial Gary Trouton

All Saints Wretton with Stoke Ferry

February 2005

The revised monthly Newsletter from Carol Nicholas-Letch & Keith MacLeod

The Churches of All Saints Wretton with Stoke Ferry,

Christchurch Whittington and St Andrew Northwold

Rector: The Reverend Canon David Kightley 01842 828104

Readers: Ruth Kightley, Keith MacLeod and Brenda Stewart

For information concerning marriage, baptism or funerals please contact:

The Reverend David Kightley in the first instance or then the Churchwardens or Verger

Services for February 2005

6th February Sunday before Lent Quinquagesima

9.30am Wretton Service of the word

11am Northwold Holy Communion

9th February Ash Wednesday

7.30pm Northwold Holy Communion

13th February Lent 1 Quadragesima

9.30am Whittington Service of the Word

11am Northwold Matins

20th February Lent 2

8am Northwold Holy Communion

9.30am Wretton Holy Communion by Extension

27th February Lent 3

9.30am Whittington Benefice Holy Communion

6th March Lent 4 Mothering Sunday

9.30am Whittington Service of the Word

11am Northwold Holy Communion

Christchurch Whittington St Andrew Northwold

Churchwarden: Roger Warner Churchwarden: J Luckman

Verger: Trish Willis 07816 169308 B Ayres

All Saints Wretton with Stoke Ferry

Churchwardens: Keith MacLeod 01366 500960

Carol Nicholas-Letch 01366 500704

Verger: Trish Willis 07816 169308

If you need a lift to church please contact the Churchwardens or the Verger

Cleaning & flower rota: February Mrs Willis and Mrs Russell

March Mrs. Durrance and Mrs Letch

A magical Crib & Carol service was held at All Saints on Christmas Eve afternoon. The service was taken by Brenda Stewart, who invited the children present to place the Nativity figures in the crib as she related the Christmas story. As the three wise men did not appear until after Christ's birth, these were placed under the star of Bethlehem, which in fact was on top of the church Christmas tree! The church was full and looked beautiful many thanks to all who helped decorate the church and for the lovely mulled wine and mince pies we enjoyed after the service.

Readers Letter

Before starting to write this, I looked back at last month's letter and was more than a little disturbed to have written so lightheartedly, when as you read it you will have been reeling from the shock and the anguish of the Indian Ocean catastrophe. Although I could not have foreseen that, when putting the words onto paper before Christmas, nonetheless I feel that the result was unfortunate. But we cannot ensure that all we do has intended consequences and is in the right tone for the moment when those consequences arise.

So, as I write for this month, the papers have dropped the Tsunami presumably because there are no new enough statistics numbers killed and money raised to warrant more space. Instead we are regaled with the story of Germaine Greer's unwise entry into Celebrity Big Brother and her (wise?) sudden departure from it and on the other page with the Punch & Judy pantomime being played out between our Prime Minister and our Chancellor of the Exchequer I won't name names in case they could be embarrassed.

So here I am being lighthearted again. In reality, it is important that we should try to be lighthearted as often as we can so long as that does not mean being cynical and uncaring. The Irish joke (or the Belgian joke in France and the Polish joke in Germany and the English joke in Scotland and . . .) may now be illegal, but it was not antisocial in any damaging way so long as it was delivered affectionately like Billy Connolly's attitude to lavatories. So there may be Bad News, but as Christians, we are also asked to look at and propagate the Good News.

Today there are many thousands of victims of the Tsunami who are and will remain devastated by it for a long time. There are many in Carlisle who still do not know what hit them in early January. There are many private tragedies in our own villages, which have brought people low. But, BUT, for most of us we have to put these tragedies into a proper perspective caring about and for the victims, but also caring for and about those for whom live seems very good. So, also, we must not try too hard to avoid the offence that can be caused by the careless comment, the unfeeling remark. Whether we like it or not there are egg shells before us and we cannot help but tread on them. Those who hate cruelty and pain and cannot stand the business of killing animals for food or because we don't need them around any more, often desist from swotting flies or gratuitously killing vermin. However, they will be very foolish if they cry over the death and destruction they bring to the invisible insects and microbes that inhabit the fields over which they tramp.

This sounds like compromises spelt with a big C. One does not normally preach Compromise as the best way forward, but that is the business that God is in to not just the Christian image of God, but the God of every religion that regards him as merciful. In Christianity, we speak of a God of Grace and Mercy which means that by his Grace, we do not get what we deserve; and that by his Mercy, wd do get what we do not deserve. These are not totally free gifts our God expects something from us first but the last thing he expects is perfection he will accept any behaviour if it is our best effort. He does not actually compromise his standards they have been set for us by Jesus but he does not expect that we can attain them and does not hold that against us if we honestly try and keep trying.

We should be sad with and sympathise with our desperately unhappy friends and do what we can to help and comfort, but, at the same time, we should be happy with our fortunate friends and help them to realise that their good fortune may not be entirely due to them and that they should be prepared to share with those who are not so happy.

I have been so heartened by learning of a friend who has already made three trips to Sri Lanka since Boxing Day, where having started by helping to acquire and deliver urgent medical supplies he has stayed on to help start and fund a co-operative which is buying new fishing boats in partnership with the fisherman who have lost the tools of their trade. The emphasis is not on the past disaster, but on the hopeful future.

Maybe Germaine Greer will be able to look at the world slightly less pontifically and therefore more positively after her embarrassment. Maybe Punch & Judy have been brought to a realisation that there are many, many people relying on them to bring good government to this country and aid to other countries, rather than to pursue personal agendas. Maybe, we can be a little less po-faced and accept that there is a place for the unimportant irreverence and the irreverent irrelevance of bad-mouthed Billy Connolly. Maybe we can all learn that we need to compromise our personal objectives and to put them into a broader perspective, offering Grace and Mercy to those in need instead of insisting on our rights. Maybe, we can learn to be sadder (and happier!) and wiser and, in the process, to aspire to some Godliness.

Keith MacLeod

Licensed Lay Minister (CofE)

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