Category Archives: Church

Church Matters March 2020

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

Church Matter Feb. 2020

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

Let there be Light! – and water

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 01579 384617 01579 382863

St Sampson’s Unlocked Project

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 01579 384617 01579 382863

Church Matters December 2019

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

Church Matters – October 2019

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.

Tony Stephens

Church Matters June 2019

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!

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Church Matters June 2109

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.

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April 2019 – Church Matters

So, another quirky news article headline catches my eye – “How smart car technology could help you sleep” (Lifestyle section of The Guardian, 24 February). The article speaks about a new development by engineers at Ford, the car-maker. They have adapted the Lane-Keeping technology that can be found in many new cars so that it can be incorporated into a double bed. At this point I have to add that I did check the date of the news article, and yes it was 24 February, not 1 April.

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