The Vicar Writes

Revd Liz Richardson

Revd Liz Richardson

Below you will find my monthly newsletter which also appears in the Capel & Bearegreen Magazine. If you wish to receive this newsletter by email, please subscribe here.

Bringing in the harvest

Dear all I write this in the wake of the Capel Show and what a wonderful show it was! The weather was kind, we had record numbers of cars, exhibits and visitors and everyone appeared to be having an old fashioned ‘grand day out’! There was also a very special atmosphere in the early morning as exhibitors, volunteers, stall holders, stewards, to name but a few, busied themselves with their tasks in readiness for the day. Coffee Real as ever was there to provide much needed sustenance in coffee and other delicious beverages it seemed to me there was an air of eager anticipation for a wonderful day ahead. That coupled with the village as ever uniting to try to produce the best show ever made me once again so proud to be part of this great community. Well done everyone and particularly to the show’s organisers for giving us this annual opportunity to come together like this and celebrate all the lovely things created by God and humankind. Thank you too to the Car Show committee who generously donate all their proceeds towards the upkeep of our parish church, through the Friends of Capel Church. This month we look… Read More

Rest and Relaxation

Dear all It’s August and hopefully for some a time to rest. School holidays have begun and for us at church we try not to hold any meetings this month! I am taking some leave myself and have some alternative arrangements in place at the beginning of this month as I am not the only one taking some time off. So we have been invited to share a service of traditional Matins or BCP Morning Prayer, with the congregation of St Margaret’s Church Ockley slightly earlier than some are used to at 9.30am. This will be a lovely opportunity to share with our friends there and I know they are looking forward to welcoming everybody. Consequently the published Café Church from the July calendar has been postponed till the beginning of September when I promise it will take place. For those of you who have never been to this type of service, Café Church is a slightly different experience in that we begin in our Café area with coffee provided by Coffee Real along with croissants and other goodies. We have a ‘menu’ for the day instead of an order of service, which gives our guests a small topic to… Read More

Thoughts in difficult times...

Dear all What a heat wave we have had this last month! Our prayers were certainly answered for fine weather for the vicarage fete – it was a scorcher! Thankfully there was plenty of shade toward the end of the garden and it was lovely to see so many children and parents relaxing and enjoying the barbeque and other delights. It was a very happy day and we made a good amount of money for our local schools who provided us with some wonderful stalls, singing for us and country dancing. A big thank you to you all and our theme of Seaside certainly was appropriate for the day! So June was the driest and hottest month since records began but it must surely have been one of the most difficult months for our nation for a long time as well. Last month I wrote as the Manchester terrorist attack took place and since then we have witnessed more terror in London Bridge and the Borough Market area of London and Finsbury Park. Many innocent people lost their lives and were wounded and scarred after these terrible attacks. Sadly that was not the end as many more would lose their… Read More

Sunshine and Shadows

Dear all As I write to you the sun continues to shine and I am tempted to believe that summer has arrived. How shocking it is that dark shadows are cast by those who seek to kill and maim innocent adults and children as has happened in Manchester in recent days. We continue to pray for all those who have been affected and bereaved by this atrocity and as you know our church is always open in the daytime for private prayer and reflection. The human spirit though always manages to rise above these dreadful events and as with other tragedies local and nationally communities come together in a way that supports and upholds the victims. I am left though as you probably are, thinking what the point of these mindless acts of violence is when terrorists will never win in the end. In the meantime we are encouraged to keep on doing the things which ground us, and I would encourage you to put your hope and faith in the God who loves this world so much, who mourns with us in our sorrows and rejoices with us in the goodness of so many acts of kindness and generosity… Read More

Easter thoughts

Dear all Writing this on Easter Sunday I am looking back on a wonderful day as we celebrated Jesus’ resurrection at church this morning. Many joined us today with old friends and new and all ages. It was a real joy and very heart-warming at the end of a very full but at times a challenging year – please see my report below. The church interior was looking particularly beautiful as our flower ladies and their team excelled themselves once again with flowers and greenery literally bursting out everywhere! As we now come to the month of May we will have held our Annual Parochial Church Meeting after the 10 o clock service on April 30th and so this month I felt it appropriate to share my report as PCC Chair as I looked back on the past year. I hope you find it interesting. I hope that you found the leaflet outlining our ‘Giving Programme’ of interest as well. If for any reason you did not receive one please do pick a leaflet up in church just inside the door. With my love and prayers Revd Liz Chair’s report for 2016/17 Parish life has continued to flourish throughout the… Read More

Travelling towards Easter

Dear all I do love the Easter season! I have been busy preparing our Easter programme of events and services and so anticipating the richness and astonishing events of Holy Week and Easter Day. Easter to me resonates so strongly because it is so much like life itself. There is the triumphal entry of Jesus on Palm Sunday where the people wanted to make him their king – one which was based on worldly ideas of freedom from Roman occupation – a situation which changed rapidly once they realised that was not what Jesus was ultimately about; to Jesus’ last supper, a wonderfully reflective occasion in an Upper Room in Jerusalem which we will relive at our Maundy Thursday Service in church; his betrayal by Judas who also was disappointed it seems about the direction Jesus was heading in, to the injustice and unfairness of his trial and the horrors and cruelty of Good Friday. Those who welcomed him on Palm Sunday shouting ‘Hosanna’ just a few days later were rejecting him and shouting instead ‘Crucify!’ Expectations and disappointments abound in this final week of Jesus’ earthly life. How like life is this with many putting others on pedestals only… Read More

Lenten Thoughts

Dear all This month we begin the season of Lent – another reflective time of the year, similar to Advent in the sense that both are times to take stock of our lives. It is a time to look back so we can see where we are, but also a time to look forward. In Advent we looked forward to the birth of Jesus with all the promise that it brings of the long awaited Jewish Messiah, born as a vulnerable baby in an occupied land. In Lent we prepare ourselves in preparation for Easter. During the forty days of this season we are reminded of Jesus’ time in the wilderness following his baptism at the start of his public ministry. It is a time of study and self-examination; a time of penitence and preparation for Easter and of course a time for self-denial. I am sure the latter is very worthy and helpful for healthy eating and so on, but I am more an advocate of including something I would not normally do rather than denial. That’s not to say you now have permission to eat more chocolate than usual! But as usual I like to veer more on… Read More

Thoughts for February

Dear all One of the most interesting but yet possibly controversial facts about the New Testament texts is that the story or accounts of the life of Jesus are told in many different ways. The gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke all tell a similar story, but often place certain events and happenings in different places. They are known as the Synoptic Gospels. They each tell of the life of Jesus and what it means to be his follower in a different way. Each has its own slant or its own take on Jesus’ life and ministry and it is thought that they all took their material from a written or oral source which scholars have named ‘Q’. ‘Q’ itself has never been found and in some circles this idea can also be controversial too! John’s gospel stands alone as being quite different and is often thought of as being the most ‘spiritual’. There is much in John that does not appear in the Synoptic Gospels and vice versa. So we might think, well how can we know which is the true version of what really happened all those years ago? Does this difference mean that the life and story… Read More

Happy New Year

Dear all, Happy New Year! I trust your Christmas celebrations went to plan? As I write this, Christmas has not yet happened and so I am very much trusting that our Christmas services will go well, as planned, and indeed our own family Christmas celebrations. Unexpected things do happen though don’t they and often around Christmas time. It is a very special season, tinged with nostalgia, when everything seems heightened in our hearts and minds as we try to live up to this season of goodwill and bonhomie to all! Not always easy. For some the period between Christmas and New Year will come as a welcome relief from the business of everyday life yet for others it can take on a rather gloomy aspect as the year draws to a close. I don’t know whether it is that the days are short and there is more darkness with the weather generally colder as winter beds itself in. I wonder if it would be different if we lived the other side of the world and it was summer?! As we hear the Christmas story once again we are aware that although the birth of Jesus was the most wonderful sign… Read More

A blessed Christmas

Dear all Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat, please put a penny in the old man’s hat. If you haven’t got a penny, a ha’penny will do, if you haven’t got a ha’penny, then God bless you! The words of this old Christmas rhyme come to mind as I write this letter to you all. First off, ‘Christmas is coming’ – rather fast now – and we have much to offer everyone in the way of our Christmas services and events this December. There are all the usual favourites and I do hope you will join us in one or more of our services. Please do note that the title ‘midnight communion’ is a bit misleading and that due to your vicar needing some sleep we begin at 11 and that by midnight communion has taken place and we will be ready to wish one another a happy Christmas as we sing Silent Night by candlelight. Of course Father Christmas would rather you were all tucked up in bed early too!! Next, ‘the geese are getting fat’ – I do feel a bit sorry for all poultry at this time of the year but I am afraid my… Read More