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Letter from the Rector – April 2016

“Today is the day of salvation for the world…Christ is risen from the dead: arise with him. Christ returns to himself, you must also return to him. Christ has come forth from the tomb – free yourselves from the fetters of evil. The gates of Hell are opened and the power of death is destroyed. The old Adam is superseded, the new perfected. In Christ a new creation is coming to birth – renew yourselves.” (more…)

Letter from the Rector – February 2016

In spite of the excitement of our extra day this leap year, February remains a short month. And yet in terms of the calendar of the Church it is an important moment of transition, of balance between the great Christian themes.

It opens with the underemphasised feast of Candlemas, known variously as that and the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and probably most properly as The Presentation of Christ in the Temple on the 2nd February. The episode upon which it is centred is the passage in Luke 2: 22 – 38, (more…)

Letter from the Curate – November 2015

For many people this is their very favourite time of the year. For me, once summer is over, I look forward to the crisp, cold winter mornings and
thoughts of making sure that there is enough coal and wood to burn on the fire. In fact, as the temperature dropped recently, we made our first fire of the season and it soon attracted our dogs, drawn to the warmth it gave off. (more…)

Letter from the Rector – July/August 2015

A fortnight ago, picking up one child from the end of a university first year in Cardiff, there was hail in the rain as we loaded the car, yesterday, second child picked up from Cardiff, bright summer sunshine… how variable, although rarely extreme is the British climate! It could also have just as easily been the other way around. I sometimes wonder what it must be like to live at the Equator where there is no seasonality and the weather is much the same one day to another, I’m not sure I would like it, variety and uncertainty provide an ever-changing background to our lives as a consequence of living really quite a long way more north than most of the world’s population, yet at the same time having our weather much (more…)

Letter from the Rector – June 2015

As I write, the land of Iraq is being torn apart by war. In one sense this is not surprising, it has a short history as a nation state, one of several cobbled together by Britain and France out of the ruins of the Ottoman Empire at the end of the First World War. It was a land of many ethnic groups, languages and religions. Its Jewish community, perhaps three thousand years old, has been almost completely gone since the foundation of the modern state of Israel; and now disintegration between Kurds, Shia, Sunni is following, with the ancient Christian communities following their Jewish ‘elder brothers in the Faith’ into exile. There is much suffering and little hope. (more…)

Letter from the Rector – May 2015

At the heart of the month of May this year lies the Christian feast of the Ascension.  Now this really is the Cinderella of festivals. There is a kind of stepladder of secular recognition of the Church’s year. Christmas is of coursed balanced on the top rung with massive commercial activity and huge sentimentality and a genuine attempt to gather together with those we love at midwinter; Easter is still hanging in there, and by the way it was lovely to see so many people in our churches this year, our numbers were well up; Pentecost/Whitsunday is noticed if only by people rolling cheeses down hillsides in the Cotswolds or towns staging huge football matches that resemble riots – but Ascension, on a Thursday in late spring, who notices? Well, (more…)

Letter from the Rector – April 2015

“Today is the day of salvation for the world.…Christ is risen from the dead: arise with him. Christ returns to himself, you must also return to him. Christ has come forth from the tomb – free yourselves from the fetters of evil. The gates of Hell are opened and the power of death is destroyed. The old Adam is superseded, the new perfected. In Christ a new creation is coming to birth – renew yourselves.” (more…)

Letter from the Rector – March 2015

The month of March is this year, as usual, entirely contained by Lent. Perhaps this is fitting. March is a bridging month, frequently cold, sometimes indeed bringing late coverings of snow to the fields, yet still, the skies may yet be cold, but they are growing light for longer with a quickening pace; and when snow lies, through it snowdrops and daffodils are rising with the brave defiance of early Spring. The ploughed land, dark still, is touched with green life. (more…)

Letter from the Rector – February 2015

“Because I do not hope to turn again
Because I do not hope
Because I do not hope to turn….”

Thus begins TS Eliot’s great cycle of poems, Ash Wednesday 1930, a work of complex and allusive language that paints a picture of the human spiritual condition both as intricate and stark as an ancient Celtic cross; incised with interfolded patterns and standing naked to the weather’s onslaught. (more…)

Letter from the Rector – Dec / Jan 2015

We know that many of our ‘ancient’ Christmas and New Year traditions are less old than they might appear. The Christmas Tree arrived in Britain with Prince Albert in the middle of the Nineteenth Century, replacing what in larger houses was the Yule Log, known in Shropshire apparently as ‘the Christmas’, turkey on Christmas day is mostly a product of the last century, and even Father Christmas, or Santa Claus owes his modern appearance largely to a Coca-Cola advertising campaign just before the First World War. If you want to know what he really looked like, go and have a look at the icon of St Nicholas in the side chapel on the right in St Mary’s Cleobury, and you will see him as he was, a wonderworking and deeply charitable Greek-speaking Bishop from the Fourth Century after Jesus. (more…)

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