Parish magazine

Copy for the Parish magazine should reach the editor Maggie Henderson at ‘The Old School’, Rhystone Lane, Lugwardine, Herefordshire HR1 4AW or emailed to: parishmag@rhystone.co.uk by the 15th of the preceding month.

Vicar’s letter – July / August 2017

This letter was prepared for the Withington News magazine.

Dear Friends,

A few months ago the two parish notice boards in Withington were removed to be repaired—progressive winters had taken their toll, and they had got rather difficult to open and shut.  I was struck by the sight of the two legs standing forlornly by the village shop and the entrance to Veldo Lane and wondered if this meant that, in some strange way, all village events were suspended!  It is amazing how we take signs, noticeboards and advertising for granted: the information they convey ranging from the serious to the absurd.

One man who knew the power of public notices five hundred years ago was Martin Luther, who as legend has it, nailed his protest against the excesses of the Catholic Church to a church door in Wittenburg.  His ideas were to spark the reformation in Germany which spread to much of the rest of the continent.  This year’s anniversary is being marked by a many major events in Germany and throughout the world, and in our small way, we are marking it too with a special Lutheran service at Weston Beggard on 30th July, led Brigitte Malik, a Lutheran pastor currently ministering in Ludlow.  The service will feature the Benefice Choir (more singers always welcome!) and a BBQ afterwards.  Weston Beggard church is a particularly apt for this service as there is a rare survival from the time of the English Reformation hidden away in the wall of the tower.  An instruction went out to churches to destroy stone altars and many were buried in the hope that they could be brought back into use.  At Weston Beggard it appears that the altar stone was set into the wall to form a niche, and carved in the underside can be read the petition Ave Maria (Hail, Mary).

Such historic remnants remain in many of our churches—the niches carved in the base of the preaching crosses in both Withington and Westhide churchyards are another example: have you ever noticed them?  Our churches have been subject to much change over the centuries, and it is a great pleasure to have recently received drawings from our architect at Withington Church for our scheme to install a toilet, servery and other general improvements in the west end of the church.  I’m not sure what our ancestors from 500 years ago would have made of the changes, but I’m sure they would be pleased that their beautiful parish church was still open and available for everyone.

So do come and check out the plans—a good time is between 10-12am on Thursday mornings when you can have a coffee and piece of cake at Pop-up Café.

With every blessing for a glorious summer

Paul