Dear friends at St Sampson’s, You have probably seen this news, so in summary: –
all Church services are suspended until further notice – churches are encouraged to remain open during the day as a place of sanctuary – churches encouraged to continue to pray – church communities are encouraged to continue to support food bank, homeless etc – church members encouraged to support individuals in their local community.
I enclose Bishop Phillip’s letter at the end of this e mail, which is very encouraging The letter finishes by saying: “We have called, along with our fellow church leaders, for a day of prayer and action this coming Sunday – Mothering Sunday (22nd March). Mothering Sunday has always been both a day of celebration for many and a sensitive and emotional day for some. Wherever you are this Sunday please do join in this day of prayer and action and remember especially those who are sick or anxious, and all involved in our Health Service. As one action, we are calling on everyone to place a lighted candle in their window at 7.00 p.m. as a sign of solidarity and hope in the light of Christ that can never be extinguished.”
St Sampson’s church will remain open for prayer. Their are sanitising wipes and gel on the table at the back. On Sunday mornings at 9.30am a Reader and/or worship leader will say the morning worship service on behalf of everyone. Please use the service booklet you have, to be united in prayer. If you don’t have one and would like one, please let me know. Tuesday morning prayer gathering will continue in church at 9.30am. (we can do this because we are small in number) Keeping our distance of course. I will soon be sending everyone a sheet with prayers for you to use and suggestions of online resources. The church of England website is very good and updated daily at the moment. Please continue to pray in whatever way you can. South Hill has an emergency support plan set up for us all to use. If you are able, think about volunteering to help the vulnerable, or if you need help in any way, contact them. Mark and Mandy Haxby are co-ordinating this 07543062251. They are also liaising with volunteer Cornwall. Or make contact via the South Hill Facebook page. As a church my name is the main contact point. Keep looking at South Hill parish website, their is lots of local news and information on what is happening.
There will be regular phone calls made to our congregation who are self isolating to check all is well. Please let me know if you are self isolating. We will all need phone calls and e mail contact to keep in touch, please keep in touch with each other and your neighbours. If you would like prayer support or a listening ear please let me know.
Please continue to give financially. Church bills still need to be paid. Either arrange a direct debit, or put your offering aside and then it can be collected. Things seem to be changing rapidly, so these provisions may change. I will try and keep you updated. We are a community of believers, have faith, love God and love one another. Blessings to you all and keep safe in this very strange time. Judith 07748773416 On behalf of St Sampson’s Church
Pastoral statement by the Rt Revd Philip Mounstephen, Bishop of Truro 17.3.2020 My friends, I’m sharing this message today not just with the clergy and people of the Diocese of Truro, but with everyone here in Cornwall at what is a very challenging time for us all. You’ll be aware of how much has changed in just a few short days. By now you will probably have heard too the call of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to suspend public worship for a season. That will come as a shock and challenge to many of you, but in the circumstances, and following the best medical advice, I’m sure it’s right. But I want to say very clearly to you that does not mean the Church is shutting up shop! Far from it. Now is the time for the Church of God to rise to this great challenge of our times. I cannot help but feel that this crisis challenges us deeply to be just the kind of Church our God is a calling us to be. And I believe too that that this crisis challenges Cornwall to be its very best: to express in heart and soul the spirit of One and All. So to us all in Cornwall I would say – let us be the very best we can be. This is the opportunity we all have to shine, to be our better selves. It’s a great challenge: but let’s rise to it. And if you are feeling isolated and fearful, remember you are not alone. There are many people standing by you, even if you can’t see them – and our God has not changed: he remains good and faithful and we can trust him and rely upon him. He won’t let us down. And if you’re working in the public services, our NHS, the emergency services and the caring professions, planning and working to respond in the best way possible to the many challenges we face and who may be very stretched in the days to come: do know that we are cheering you on. We’re deeply thankful for you and are praying for you – and for your families too. For the Church – whilst our pattern of worship will change significantly I think our church buildings need to be more open, not less, providing space for people to come and pray and be and socially interact (at an appropriate distance of course). We should use digital media creatively wherever we can and we are working on identifying a few churches in the diocese where live streaming of worship might be possible. And we need to be the feet on the ground in our communities – identifying those who are lonely and isolated, fearful and grieving and doing all we can, within the constraints that are placed up on us, and without exposing people to unnecessary risk, to show in word and in deed the love of Christ. Likewise there will be others who will find these times very challenging economically: again we need to do all we can to meet their needs. Let’s keep the foodbanks well stocked up. So for us as a church this will not be business as usual. But it will NOT be no business, it will be ‘business unusual’. We’ll still be about the business of the Kingdom of God, but in new, different, committed, creative and deeply caring ways. The big question this crisis asks of us as a Church is this: will we meet its challenge to love and serve and give as Jesus did, for we are nothing less than his Body here on earth? I pray we will and will not be found wanting at this great hour of need. And to all of us I would say, across Cornwall, in this crisis, let’s be people of prayer. This crisis is bigger than any of us. But God is greater. So we need not be fearful – in the end we can be people of hope, as we become people of prayer: because there is a good future for us, beyond this, a good future that God holds out for us all. And as this virus is no respecter of borders, I’m going to close with a prayer written by our neighbour, Bishop Robert, Bishop of Exeter. If you’d like to, do pray with me now: Keep us good Lord under the shadow of your mercy, in this time of uncertainty and distress. Sustain and support the anxious and fearful, and lift up all who are brought low; that we may rejoice in your comfort, knowing that nothing can separate us from your love in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen And may God bless us all.
On Saturday 25th April, the Callington Singers will be giving a free concert in Stoke Climsland Church. The concert will incorporate lots of joyful music under the general theme of the coming of summer. The programme will include Vivaldi’s Magnificat, along with some madrigals, the Hallelujah Chorus and an original setting of the Jubilate, composed by our new Musical Director, Andrew Wilson. The Callington Singers has a long tradition of making music freely accessible to the community. It is our policy to strive, wherever possible, to give concerts completely free of charge. This is not always practical, as there are many expenses to cover, such as venue hire, publicity and the fees of hired musicians. The choir rely on a retiring collection after each concert to cover these costs. We are very pleased to be working again with Stoke Climsland Parish Church. The Callington Cluster (incorporating churches in Stoke Climsland, Linkinhorne, Callington and South Hill) have the admirable policy of hiring out these churches free of charge, which makes our job of providing free music very much easier.
The free venue and delightful surroundings are not the only reason we are pleased to be performing in Stoke Climsland church again. We also enjoy performing there as an unofficial honour to an important character from Stoke Climsland’s past, who strived as we do, to provide music in his community and who would be familiar with most of the music we are to perform on this occasion; namely Thomas Calvert, gentleman of Stoke Climsland. The impressive memorial to Thomas Calvert appears prominently in the foyer of Stoke Climsland Church: In Memory of Mr Thomas Calvert Late of this parish who in the year 1746 First introduced into this Church four part Psalmody and with Indefatigable Pains and perseverance not only encouraged but in a great measure supported it with great Reputation upwards of 30 years He Was an Honest Man a Kind Master a Sincere Friend And a good Christian He departed this life at Plymouth on June 3rd 1781 in the 71st year of his Age. Although described as being ‘of the parish of Stoke Climsland’, Thomas Calvert was born in Moor Monkton, just outside of York. He was the firstborn son of Joseph and Elizabeth Calvert (née Hunter) and was baptised on the 18th August 1710. How he came to be a pillar of the Stoke Climsland community is a complete mystery. He married a local girl, but had no children. He was employed as Coroner for Cornwall in 1756 and retired from this post in 1776. He spent his last months living in St. Germans (where he made his will) and he was buried in Stoke Climsland churchyard.
His contribution to village life is undeniable. Mr. Calvert’s promotion of four part psalmody singing reflects the growing popularity, at this period, of incorporating music into church services and we owe him a debt of gratitude for the continuing tradition of choral singing which is enjoyed in this country. The ‘Indefatigable Pains and Perseverance’ which are quoted on Thomas Calvert’s memorial stone are aptly illustrated here in a transcript of an extract from the Vestry minutes of Stoke Climsland. Any modern Musical Director will doubtless recognise the inherent challenges facing him. Vestry Minutes from 28th of November 1773: A Letter was read from Mr Thomas Calvert, setting forth the disappointments he has meet [sic] with in his frequent Attendance on the Singing owing to irregularity & Refractioness of many of the numbers, and Declaring that he wou’d not think of Attending many more unless the whole Body wou’d enter into an Obligation Consisting of Several Conditions which he propos’d for the better keeping up & bringing to perfec[ti]on & carrying on with Psalmody to the promotion of Religion and Harmony [in] the Performers; Observing at the same time however that the Parishioners who were the Singers had been at much trouble in Learning & many of them were put to Inconvenience by their Attendance & moreover that few or none has Books & others in general very bad; Proposing therefore as an Encouragement & Countenance to those who wou’d enter into & sign an Association to continue & practice the singing for three years, that the Parish at Large should contribute something towards purchasing proper Books, & defraying other Expenses, in which He, Mr Calvert wou’d also contribute & Mr & Mrs Call had also promis’d. The Members of the Vestry taking the premises with Consideration & being sensible of Mr Calverts Obliging Attendance & Trouble for many years, in promoting & assisting the singing & in doing many other Beneficial Acts to the Church, Do unanimously Agree, that the sum of Six Guineas out of the Church Rates be allow’d from Xmas 1773 to Xmas 1774 to be paid to Mr Calvert by the Churchwardens & laid out by him as he judges may best promote the good order, regularity & continuation of Psalmody, provided that the singers will all enter into such a Bond as he proposes, this contribution to be for one year only at this expiration of which the Parishioners will Continue or revoke it as they See it has Promoted, or Disappointed the End Propos’d.
We sincerely hope that Thomas Calvert would approve and enjoy this upcoming concert, as we also hope you will. Stoke Climsland church will shortly undergo a major refurbishment of the church roof, which we hope will go forward without a hitch. Come and help us raise the roof before it is repaired by joining us for a splendid evening of music on 25th April at 7pm.
As I write this article the UK has just left the European Union and entered a period of transition during which all sorts of negotiations and changes will take place. Transition is often difficult and challenging as many things we have become familiar and comfortable with are replaced by the new and unfamiliar. Locally, the Anglican Church is also in a state of transition following Tony’s retirement at the end of January. The year 2020, and indeed the decade of the 2020’s, seems set to be one of transitions.
In addition to local and national transitions there is a global transition on the horizon. We have dire warnings from scientists and environmental pressure groups that there needs to be an urgent transition from our present way of life to a carbon neutral and then on to a carbon negative lifestyle. This will involve radical and sometimes difficult changes at all levels from personal right up to national and international action.
This call to change the way we are living is not at all new and was present in both John the Baptist’s and Jesus messages some 2000 years ago: Repent (change the way you are living) if you want everything to be well (the Jews of the time were looking forward to an age of peace, justice and prosperity which they called ‘the Kingdom’), Not a million miles away from the message of scientists and environmental activists of the 21st century!
The context of these two appeals for a change to the way of life are very different, one was a call to prepare for the coming of the long awaited Jewish Messiah, the other is from scientists and others who can see a massive problem developing. Our western 21st century way of life needs to change, not only to address global environmental problems, but also to ensure a fairer distribution of the planets resources. We need to live in a way that treats our fellow human beings in the way we would wish to be treated – ‘to love our neighbour as ourselves’ as Jesus put it once, quoting a much older principle.
For an individual’s commitment to live this way to realise it’s full potential, however, there needs to be a transformation in government and co-operation globally. Christians still look forward to the coming of the Messiah (more commonly referred to as the return of Jesus) to establish a global government of peace and justice in which the individual commitment to ‘love our neighbour as ourselves can be fully realised.
Good news indeed!
Brian Norris CONTACT: During the transition all contacts which would have gone to the rector should be made to: Vanessa Whitting: Tel: 01579 382484 Email: vwhitting @outlook.com
Church Matters – February 2020 How hard do we find it to cross the threshold of the Church? This is a question that works both ways. For those who are not regular Church goers it can be difficult to step across the threshold and enter a Church building – for many and varied reasons. And for those who do regularly attend Church services it is not always easy to take the things which they find so valuable within across the threshold and out of the building. If the Church is to have any relevance in society then this sense of division – of there being a visible or invisible barrier between the worlds inside and outside of Church – needs to be broken down. When Jesus walked this earth, even before there were such things as Church buildings, he was aware of this potential problem. In the Sermon on the Mount he told his disciples to “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). Followers of Jesus were not to hide their light under a bowl, they were to let it shine for all to see. Unless light is allowed to shine out it cannot achieve its function – which is to lighten dark places. So, for those of you who do regularly go to Church, don’t keep the light you find there to yourselves, but share it with the world outside; by what you do, how you act and what you say. There is a danger, though, that our Church buildings themselves can appear to be dark places. The following is a set of lyrics from a song by the secular group Snow Patrol:- Slowly the day breaks apart in our hands And soft hallelujahs flow in from the church The one on the corner you said frightened you It was too dark and too large to find yourself in. (from ‘The Lighting Strike’ on the album ‘A Hundred Million Suns’) Of course this is only a song lyric and we cannot read too much into it. However, returning to our old Church in London over New Year reminded me what a transformation was made to that building when the solid wood entrance doors were replaced with fully glazed doors. What happened inside the building was no longer a mystery and to step across the threshold was not to step into the unknown. And on dark winter evenings the warm glow of light spilling out from within issued an unspoken welcome. Now this sort of action isn’t suitable for all Churches – particularly our older historic buildings. But the principle of our Churches being filled with light, and warmth, does apply. It’s all very well us trying to save energy, but if in doing so we make our buildings dark and cold then no-one will wish to enter and find the true light within. And if you are amongst those who rarely enters a Church building, then please don’t wait until the next Christening, Wedding or Funeral to go again. Ask someone you know who does go to give you a tour round their Church, and discover what you are missing. Churches are places where God can be encountered and where the light of Jesus shines. They are almost always places filled too with a sense of peace – a commodity we can all value. I wish you light and peace during this winter month. Keith Browne
St Sampson’s Church awaits the final Church of England faculty approval after receiving no objections to our plans for bringing mains water to the entrance of the church and installing lights along the path. The works should start soon. No more carrying of heavy water containers to provide drinks and no more stumbling in the dark. Hooray! This feels like a major step forward in our St Sampson’s Unlocked project: to make the church an easier place and to provide a twenty first century welcome in our medieval building, with a kitchen, a toilet, removal of draughts and installation of new heating.
Update on progress Four short pews at the back of church have been removed, (they will be offered for sale dreckly!), creating an immediate increased space for hospitality, which was very welcome at Carols by Candlelight, which attracted over 90 people. That was a very special evening and we were delighted that the new Bishop of Truro, Bishop Philip, could be with us. He said he had “never been to such an inventive and creative carol service” and he must have been to quite a few! To complete the work to make more space, the plans to re locate the Font from the back to the front of the church are progressing well.
We have recently secured a grant of £15,000 towards the total project cost (of approx. £450,000). We have also been awarded £350 towards a window conservation report in preparation for seeking funding for the major window repairs. The cost of these is likely to be about £63,000. It sounds a lot, but on an ancient building like St Sampson’s all the work has to be done by specialist stonemasons and glass conservators to meet heritage standards. Once completed, the cold draughts through the windows will be eliminated. Ongoing conversations are happening with the architect, specialist contractors and various funders.
Letters of support from you and the organisations you represent, stating how using St Sampson’s would benefit you, would be very welcome to include in our funding applications. Funders need to see evidence of community support. We might be a small community, but we are mighty in what we can achieve, as proven by the wonderful Parish Hall committee, the Parish Council, SHARE, WI and Hort. Show, JAMM and all the organisations which are so active in our parish. If you look at our parish boundaries on a map, we are diamond shaped. That’s because we are a treasured jewel of a community. We have much to be thankful for in South Hill Parish, blessings to you all. Keep in touch by following St Sampson’s Unlocked on Facebook. If you have any suggestions or would like to get involved in any aspect of this project, please do get in touch with Judith or Miranda
firstname.lastname@example.org 01579 384617 email@example.com 01579 382863
The Sampson’s Unlocked Project CRUX (Cherished, Restored, Unlocked, Church) team would like to thank you all for helping to make this first year of its fundraising activities more successful than we ever imagined possible. Almost £8,000 has been raised so far and is being put to good use preparing St Sampson’s pathway for both lighting and a mains water connection. This should be started in the new year. Many thanks to Baker Estates who have donated five dumpy bags of sand and 100m of water pipe. We feel very encouraged.
Some of the highlights: To help the major funding applications, everyone in the community was invited to a ’Community Meeting’ at South Hill Parish Hall, Golberdon in November 2018, to discuss ways our communty could use the church.
An Information Open Day was held at St Sampson’s at the beginning of December where people could come in, chat and find out what the funding need was all about. CRUX then having distilled the results of these, formed an action plan for the year.
First of all on 25 March 2019, a ‘Toddle Waddle’ for JAMM (Just another manic Monday) families was held at South Hill Parish Hall on the theme of St Sampson’s adventures in Cornwall. This was followed in May by an adult equivalent called ‘Beating (walking) the Bounds’ which involved a 3 to 11 mile circuit around the parish. That evening, the Bulls Head hosted a Quiz night for St Sampson’s Unlocked. Then, after a perfect ‘Open Gardens’ event in part of what was the Old Rectory garden at South Hill, in mid June we decamped to the Old Rectory garden in Stoke Climsland for a Vintage Fête, the high point of the year’s activities and which so many people helped to make a great success. A new ‘Open Garden’ in Callington quickly followed this, and then in August a Painting event for young and old was held on the grounds of St Sampson’s. Half a pig was roasted at the South Hill Horticultural show and finally, bringing us up to the present, a fun games night was on order in October at South Hill Parish Hall, Golberdon. Lots of events are being planned for 2020, starting in January when it is our turn to organise the monthly quiz night. We will also be holding a meeting early in the New Year about the suggested community project to manage the churchyard for wild flowers and wildlife.
Conversations with our architect and specialist advisors are ongoing concerning the installation of toilet and kitchen facilities, window and ceiling repairs, heating and flooring. In addition lots of funding applications are being written. Keep in touch by following St Sampson’s Unlocked on Face book. If you have any suggestions or would like to get involved in any aspect of this project, please do get in touch with Judith or Miranda firstname.lastname@example.org 01579 384617 email@example.com 01579 382863
So, we’re back into the Christmas season again, and one that might prove just a little different from recent years. As I write this article I have yet to see the 2019 John Lewis TV advert, or indeed any promise that it will arrive this year (a quick scan of their website is remarkably lacking in any information), so that may be different. But perhaps TV may not be so dominated by the retail sector this year.
It will of course have an air-time rival – the General Election called for 12 December. And I don’t think that it will be just air-time that is challenged, but perhaps the thinking capacity of many people across the nation. We have become so conditioned to think about Christmas from Halloween and Fireworks Night onwards, I suspect that having a General Election placed in its path may delay any thoughts of Christmas preparations. Perhaps John Lewis are playing a canny hand. If you’ve followed the political debate, perhaps wearily, over the past months and years then there’s no doubt that an Election offers some hope of a new form of government that might move beyond the division, wrangling and unpleasantness that we now experience at Westminster. I’m sure that those who are closely involved in political parties are convinced that success in the Election will bring a decisive break-through, but I’m not so sure.
I recognise that in all my voting life there has always been an element of favourable presentation of statistics and political spin, but it now seems to be a valued art-form, with clarity and truth hard to come by. To me, from an earthly and human perspective there are no obvious answers to the challenges this country faces, irrespective of which party wins. If you’ve ever been to a carol service you may have heard the following: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.” This comes from the Old Testament prophet Isaiah, who himself was writing in troubled times. He was speaking about the birth of Jesus, and how his birth will bring something new into the world. I find it intriguing that amongst the many things that Isaiah could have said about the birth of a child, he was prompted by God to speak of government and peace. Many Christians will understand exactly what Isaiah was saying. When someone accepts the gift into their lives that Jesus is, then often what happens is a gradual change from chaos to peace – a sense of earthly affairs coming under the beneficial governance of God. I think it’s a gift that’s available to individuals, organisations, counties and nations – and to neglect the gift courts problems. To paraphrase one of the Psalms – unless the Lord builds it, the builders build in vain. My closing prayer for us all at the end of 2019 is that the light of Jesus Christ may truly dawn in our lives, homes and this nation. May you have a blessed and peaceful Christmas.
Tony Stephens 01579-371496 firstname.lastname@example.org
The three words that can save your life – so ran the BBC news headline that recently caught my eye. Reading through the corresponding article I learned of a group of friends who had got lost in a forest on a dark wet night. They had no idea where they were and so, finding a spot with mobile signal, they dialled 999. On answer one of the first things they were asked to do was to download a smartphone app called “what3words”. Having downloaded the app they were able to give three words that precisely gave their location such that they were swiftly found by a search and rescue team.
Having read the article I promptly downloaded the what3words app onto my iPhone to see what it did. The developers of the app have divided the world into 57 trillion squares, each measuring 3 metres by 3 metres, with each square having a unique, randomly assigned three-word address. When you open the app on your phone you’re presented with a grid of squares with your location identified by a blue dot in one of the squares. You can also view the grid superimposed on a satellite picture so you can see exactly where you are in relation to your surroundings. For instance, as I sit here at my desk in the Rectory typing this article, my three-word location is jumps.rationed.nearly. From the satellite picture I can see that the whole Rectory has around 30 squares, and so if I moved to the kitchen I could find myself at refilled.factor.fights. If I were to head over to the Church and stand in the porch I’d be at crop.ballots.drifters.
It’s fascinating to explore the app, and not just to see the sometimes playful combination of words that have been randomly generated (there’s a location within the Stoke Climsland Old School that is executive.dime.agreed). You can see just how powerful it is and why the emergency services can be keen to see it installed on people’s phones. It is far more accurate in pinpointing a location compared with postal codes, and hence in an emergency situation it could literally be a life-saver.
This idea that three words can save your life got me thinking – within the Christian faith we also have three words the can save your life, and those same three words work wherever you are in the world. The words are “Lord Jesus Christ”. Lord – the acknowledgement that there is a God over and above us. Jesus – the earthly embodiment of God who shows us what God is like. Christ – the anointed one, the Messiah, who died for all sins, was resurrected and now waits for us to join him in heaven. For those who have come to understand the full significance of those three words it is not only a life-saver here in our earthly days as we see our lives transformed, but it is a life-saver for the whole of eternity.
Anytime, anywhere, the same three words apply. Lord Jesus Christ.
At this time of year the Church has two festivals – Ascension and Pentecost. Pentecost is the better known of the two, although it is also known as Whitsun. What is now known as the Spring, or late May, Bank Holiday used to be known as Whit Monday as it was associated with Whitsun. Pentecost (Whitsun) moves around in the calendar as it occurs 50 days after Easter which is itself a moveable feast. This year Easter was late and so Whitsun is also late, with Whit Sunday falling on 9th June. Having a Bank Holiday in June would be difficult for a number of reasons and so the Spring holiday is two weeks beforehand on 27th May. So the association between this holiday and the Christian festival is lost. I wonder if already the festival of Pentecost (Whitsun) is as little known as Ascension. Whilst society in general may be less and less aware of these two Christian festivals, in the Church they are still well known – or at least Pentecost is!Continue reading