Outlook - February 2022


The magazine for the people of Hughenden Parish

Dear Readers

How are your New Year’s Resolutions going? Did you make any? Or like me, didn’t you bother because you always have difficulty in keeping them! I was listening to Woman’s Hour on Radio 4 a couple of weeks ago when the subject of New Year’s Resolutions was discussed. It was suggested that we actually give ourselves some gifts or graces, perhaps things which would make our lives and those of other people a little better? Listeners were invited to phone in to make suggestions.

There were a number of replies: ‘I will send myself flowers every two weeks; I would like the gift of compassion; I will gift myself forgiveness.’ I wonder what you would give yourself: grace, patience, hope? We have been given many gifts. In his sermon last Sunday (16th January) Keith preached on this subject – see next pages. Do we always use our gifts?

Recently Helen preached about the unconditional love of God for us and read an alternative Prayer of Serenity which she had seen on Facebook that morning:

God, grant me the serenity to stop beating myself for not doing things perfectly, the courage to forgive myself because I am working on doing better, and the wisdom to know that you already love me just the way I am. Amen.

Lent starts on 2nd March. Perhaps, rather than giving things up, we could work on putting more of our gifts into practice for the benefit of others – maybe just drop a bunch of flowers into someone living on their own, or telephone them for a chat. Let’s use our gifts.

Valentine’s Day is on the 14th February. Cards? Flowers? Chocolates?

Sylvia Clark

Editor

The editor for the March edition will be Christopher and Jane Tyrer.

From the Vicarage

A group of tools once came together for a meeting with Mr. Hammer presiding. Sister Screwdriver said, "Brother Hammer must go, because he is always making noise, always knocking." Hammer said, "Sister Screwdriver has to go, because you have to turn her around all the time to get her to do her job."

Someone else said, "Sister Plane has to go, because she always wants to just touch the surface. She never goes deep." Plane said, "Brother Sandpaper has to go then, because he is always rubbing people up the wrong way." Sandpaper spoke up, "Then Brother Saw must go, because he is always cutting things up and leaving sawdust all over the place."

Then the Carpenter from Nazareth came in and said, "I need all of you. We have a job to do. Put yourselves in my hand. Let me use you."

I recently preached in Church about gifts, inspired by Saint Paul’s letter 1 Corinthians chapter 12, which has a lot to say about our gifts and talents.

If I were to ask you over a cup of coffee in one of our local Cafes – “what do you think are your gifts and talents”, how do you think you would respond?

When St Paul wrote this letter, he was speaking especially about spiritual gifts, but of course, we cannot put God in a box, and as a Christian I firmly believe that God blesses and equips us all to do good and make a positive contribution to society, both within the Church and in every area of our lives, our work, our voluntary service, our relationships, and our families.

Spiritual gifts are given by God, as he determines in the Church, for the common good, and the same applies to our local community as well. What a wonderful range of different talents we are blessed with as a parish, and how dull it would be if we were all the same.

We are stronger together as a society, and as a Church, when we each work together

Some of us make good teachers, are great with children and young people, others are useful with their hands, building, as architects, structural engineers, musicians and gardeners. Some are blessed with a compassionate nature which makes them ideal to be nurses or carers, others are right at home working with figures, computer programming, in retail, driving or flying for a living, or working with animals.

We are stronger together as a society, and as a Church, when we each work together for the common good, using our God given talents.

That brings me back to my previous question – what do you think are your gifts and talents? If you have discovered the answer to that question, then well done! If not, whether you are 8 or 88 years old, you are unique, made by God in his image, and treasured beyond measure. If you are unsure where your own gifts lie, why not ask someone who knows you well, I am sure they will be able to tell you.

Affirming one another’s gifts is also important – a small word of encouragement can go a long way – don’t be like Sister Screwdriver and Brother Hammer who criticised the other tools – and remember that Jesus the Carpenter always has a plan to put your talents to good use.

Rev. Keith Johnson

Vicar

Home: 01494 257569

Mobile: 07772 642393

keith​the​vicar​@gmail​.com

Belltower Progress Report

It is exciting to be able to report that the repairs to the Belltower are now well underway and that the end is in sight. Grateful thanks are due to the National Churches Trust who have generously provided the funds to enable this substantial task to take place. We have been extremely fortunate in having the services of Derek Brown, who initially undertook a temporary fix before working with the architect to bring about a restoration of the tower that is intended to last for generations.

Many people have been involved in enabling this major repair to come to fruition: Brian Clark and Christopher Tyrer who initially worked through the legal and ecclesiastical obstacles, Brian Morley who skilfully liaised with charities and organisations who could provide financial aid and Richard Peters who has been the consummate project manager, overseeing the actual building works.

Timbers, rotten due to water ingress, were of great concern due to the possibility of structural failures. These have been replaced and the pyramid roof is now ready for retiling, replacing the previous tiles that were very worn.

The box gutters around the side of the pyramid roof were leaking and the water was pooling and not draining away properly. New lead has now been added so that the water drains away well and a new, larger gutter overflow added to the side of the original hole that was sometimes getting blocked. This will ensure there is no standing water.

It was hoped that the finial could be repaired but it was found to be too corroded to save, so a duplicate copy is being made in stainless steel which will avoid this problem in the future.

Taking advantage of the scaffolding being up, some necessary repairs to the stonework around the tower are also taking place.

The Humorous Side of a Sidesman

To be politically correct, I guess I should really say ‘Sidesperson’, but in this case we will ignore it!

You arrive in ample time for the 9.00 am service, then it’s ‘What books do we need?’ Ah, it’s mattins, that’s straightforward, just the three books, red, green, brown, unless at the last minute the hymns are from Mission Praise! Must not forget that some people don’t take the brown psalter book for the psalms; they know they are all at the back of the red book! And must try to remember those who prefer the large print green hymn book!

If it is sung communion, now what time of year is it in the church calendar? Must check that you have the correct printed service booklet for the season. Thank goodness Arthur is always hovering around to help the struggling! And it is vital to do a head count, so that you can ‘whisper’ to a server as they process on their way through.

Store the offertory plates under your seat ready for that big moment when you perform! If you are on mattins you need to place the prayer desk in the aisle during the hymn after the sermon, not too far forward for the prayers. And check the number of verses in the last hymn to give you time to return the prayer desk to the back of the church and still have time to collect the offertory. Ah, that’s good, Neil has chosen a good lengthy hymn we should cope. Taking the offertory can be a problem if members of the congregation don’t hear the words ‘offertory hymn’ before you start. A sedate walk to the front of the church and you are off. Now that lady obviously did not hear, hence the look of panic as she searches for the ‘black hole’, the hand bag! I bet it’s on the floor, valuable seconds lost there. That gentleman is patting his pockets unsure of where he put his envelope, at least there are only two pockets in his jacket! At last, you reach your colleague at the back waiting patiently for your return with a look of ‘What kept you?’ You raise your eyes to heaven meaning ‘I got held up’. Now it’s just a short wait for Arthur to come forward to lead the clergy to the table ready for the blessing. As he moves to the right you anticipate he will return with the brass offertory plate. Here he is, off you go!

You return to your seat and relax for a few moments of meditation, then you remember that all those books you gave out before the service, must be packed away again. Count the collection, enter it in the register, then it’s off to Church House for a well-earned coffee and a chat, another job well done. Then you remember that you might be on again next week!

Perhaps there is a lot to be said for the 10.30 am service, no books, easy. I must try it sometime!

Keith Dean

Elieen Dean

Sadly, we said goodbye to Eileen last month. Nine-o’clockers will have been familiar with Eileen’s smiling face and friendly greetings as she accompanied Keith to church each week. Eileen and Keith were married in 1954 at the parish church in Wycombe, with their reception held in a long shed in Gordon Road which was used for social occasions. Keith had said that if Jesus didn’t mind being born in a stable, he didn’t mind having their reception in a shed!

Eileen, a native of High Wycombe, had a great love of music and singing. Once their daughter had grown up, Eileen spent 28 years working at Percy Prior’s music shop. Sadly, in recent years she developed dementia and lived in a care home in Cressex but she continued to join in with any singing.

Songs from her favourite show, ‘The Sound of Music’ were played at her funeral and their grand daughter, Karen gave a moving tribute, remembering how she and her brother were encouraged by Eileen to take up musical instruments and to keep taking part in performing arts. Lately, when Eileen said goodbye to Karen, she would hold her hand and say ‘Enjoy your life’. An encouragement to us all.

Sylvia Clark

Flower Arrangers Needed

As a couple of our regulars have had to step down for a while, we now need a few more people willing to do this very satisfying and rewarding ministry. Gentlemen or ladies are most welcome and some basic instruction can be given if necessary. You do not have to be a professional. As was once said, some flowers placed in church with love are all that is needed.

Could YOU help with flower arranging in the church?

Even if you can only do this from time to time, that would help. Expenses are available from the Flower Fund.

Please talk to me in church or contact me on 01494 562801 or sylviaclark919@ btinternet.com.

Sylvia Clark

Nature Quest

Another uninvited guest busily crossed the kitchen floor! With one deft flick I sent him (maybe her?) straight under the kickboard, out of sight and out of mind. But a tiny ball rolled back out again, and after a few moments uncurled and continued on his (her?) way across the kitchen, oblivious to the prospect of being flicked again under the kickboard, or just squished, or being ejected into the cold dark night. And that’s where he/she went.

Now before all you softies cry “Ooh, what a mean person”, let me say I did have some pangs of conscience. One solitary woodlouse had done me no harm and was only sheltering from the harsh world outside. Well, it was too late to go outside and find him/her. But it set me thinking about these smaller creatures for February’s NQ.

Common woodlouse

Oh, why didn’t I take a photo of him/her? A little bit of internet searching told me this was not just a woodlouse, but one of 40 or more different kinds of woodlouse in UK, of the family Armadillidiidae (like miniature armadillos). (Can you read that word out loud? How many attempts before you think you can say it properly: armadillidiidae!) Of course I can’t now remember the details of my woodlouse to compare with 40 online pictures, of which some are very small (2 or 3mm), some are patterned, some unpigmented, some roll into a perfect ball, some don’t, some are immigrants only found in Kew hothouses, some are rare, others are not. Mine was, well, ordinary! 18mm long, slate grey, lacking the dark patch on the 7th epimera (what?!) but having the characteristic truncated urapods* flush with the body. Yes I’ll settle for a common pill woodlouse, armadillidium vulgare, like the one in the picture (photo above).

* Woodlouse tail-end shows either (a) elongated or (b) truncated urapods

I had my information from the wonderful website of the British Myriapod and Isopod Group BMIG. You can see the rolled up woodlouse in the middle of their symbol/icon alongside a centipede and a millipede. They have detailed info about every kind of these creepy crawlies. I have to say I’m now taking a bit more notice of God’s smaller creatures. Just tonight another creature in our kitchen, not trespassing but brought in on some herbs (see photo below): a ladybird pale ginger coloured with 16 bright white spots. Woodland Trust website says it’s an orange ladybird (halyzia sedecimguttata) which feeds on mildew, (doesn’t say much for our herb garden!)

Orange ladybird

I’ve always been taught that centipedes have one hundred legs and millipedes have a thousand, and that’s how they got their names. I confess I’ve never counted the legs on a live (or dead) specimen. Certainly the orange millipedes in our compost have a got a lot of legs! Have a look at the BMIG symbol: that shows a lot less than 100 or 1,000 legs. Recently some millipedes have been found in Australia with as many as 1,306 legs (Yes, some sad soul did count them!) and these are declared to be the only ones ever seen which genuinely have a thousand legs or more. The previous world record was 750. And most have a lot less.

Myriapods include millipedes and centipedes. Isopods include woodlice. All of them are Arthropods: animals with segmented bodies bearing jointed legs, a hard exoskeleton and no inner skeleton.

The world record holder for number of legs (1,306); this is a female nearly 10cm long. I know it’s a female because the scientist said so! How else would one tell?!

The 1,306-legged millipedes are quite special: they live deep under ground, and were caught by dangling some compost down a 60m borehole and pulling it up after a couple of days to see if anything fancied this bait. They live in total darkness and have no eyes and no pigment, but long sensitive feelers. Less than 10cm long and a mm wide; in contrast with a recently found fossil millipede 50cm wide and estimated 2.5m long, thankfully now extinct.

All modern millipedes are detritivores, eating detritus or rubbish (rotting leaves, compost, etc). Not very splendid, but ecologically essential.

Maybe in the summertime we’ll have a NQ event in the churchyard and see what tiny creatures live there. Until then keep your eyes open and a magnifier at hand and admire God’s less famous creatures.

Mike Hill

nature@hughendenparishchurch.org.uk

One Can Trust

After the busy Christmas period, our stock levels have reached an almost critical level. We really need your help. Are you able to implement a food drive in your local area or in your place of work? Can you plan a leaflet door drop to all your neighbours? If you are able to collect from your local community, then please feel free to contact Lyn Watterston (lyn.watterston@btinternet.com), who can get leaflets for you from One Can and your details can be added as appropriate.

Mission Support Group

Wants and Needs

If you are collecting food as a Street Hero or donating in one of our supermarket drop off cages or into our box at church, please be reassured that we use all items donated. However it helps us enormously if you could focus on the 'green tick' items that we are in short supply of.

  • Pasta and rice

  • Baked beans

  • Fish

  • Tinned tomatoes

  • Cooking sauces

  • UHT milk

  • Tinned meat meals

  • Tinned fruit

  • Tinned mixed veg

  • Baby food

  • Toilet rolls

  • Cereals

  • Biscuits

Food Parcel Facts

December was very busy and saw a significant increase in the number of new referrals. In total, we received 108 new referrals in December (compared with 67 in September 2021).

Since Once Can was closed between Christmas and New Year, most clients received double parcels week commencing 20th December (2 weeks' worth of food), thus explaining the high numbers below.

  • Week commencing 20th December, we supported 1,380 people. 701 of which were children (51%).

  • Week commencing 3rd January, we supported 542 people, 272 of which were children (50%). 

  • In the week commencing 3rd January, parcels were delivered to 216 homes.

  • The total number of parcels distributed in December 2021 was 1,236 with a retail value of £54,361

The main reason for new referrals in December was benefits being insufficient to afford food.

Developing the One Can Trust Service

The Insight Programme started as a food parcel feedback process and has since been developed over the last year. It's now a tool to identify where we can support our clients with links to funding for winter heating bills, rent arrears, household emergencies like broken ovens and fridges as well as courses in debt management, employability skills, cookery classes and life skills. We are building really good relationships with other agencies in the High Wycombe area that support vulnerable families and people to source areas of help and support. It is amazing how much support there is for our clients and we are helping them to access this support. 

One of the shelves in the warehouse before Christmas with all the Christmas parcels ready to be delivered alongside the normal food parcels to every client. It is your donations that made this possible.

Currently, we have a small team of volunteers that make phone calls to our clients and discuss their needs and ways that we can help them. Would you be interested in offering a hour or so of your time each week to help? Our current volunteers have experience as teachers, researchers, social workers and Citizens Advice volunteers but I am happy to have a chat with anyone who is interested to see if it is a role that could suit you. If you are interested, please email me on kim.starkey@onecantrust.org.uk.

Thank you so much to everybody who continues to support One Can.

Sibling Seasons

Spring rings
Summer hums
Autumn tumbles to
Winter.
That full stop on the year...
Until
Spring brings
Summer fun
Then autumn nudges back in
That kaleidoscopic curtain fall
Leaving winter bare.
That's how they must be judged
Not one without the other
For how can we fully appreciate the summer sun
Without the memory of winter's woollen shroud
Each the backdrop for the next
The bareness of field and tree
That blank canvas
Impatient to herald budding blossoms
Welcomed with the hint of warmth
In that hazy low slung sun
A prelude
To lazy heat drenched days
Blazing warmth sucking dry
Youth's brazen vitality
Until coiled mists nip finger tips
And toes
With a deluge of days to come
So that winter arrives with its mantle of dull todays
But even she wears her raiment of wonders
Her trunk of seasonal haunts
Full of icy fun and for afters
Sit snug by fireside
As winter waits with expectation
The coming of her brothers.

Andy Hyde

Azalea

We have received this message from Joanna at Azalea thanking us for the gifts donated before Christmas:

A huge thank you to everyone who donated the beautiful gifts for Azalea before Christmas. These were a real blessing to the women, as well as a joy for our volunteers to give out.

We held our first ever Azalea High Wycombe Christmas party on 21st December, and it went really well, praise the Lord! We were so grateful for the peaceful, relaxed and festive atmosphere. Three ladies came in to eat with us, which was wonderful, and went away laden with presents and more food. Over the last three Tuesdays we have met around ten women and have been able to bless them with gifts as well – thank you so much for demonstrating the love of God to these ladies in such a tangible way.

We will continue to distribute gifts during our weekly outreach and drop-in sessions. Please do continue to pray for the women and for Azalea. If you would like to receive updates (or do the frontline training!) please contact joanna@azalea.org.uk, or have a look at our website: azaleahighwycombe.org

Mission Support Group

Growing Hope

If you read the article about Growing Hope in last month’s Outlook, you may remember that Naomi Graham, founder and CEO of the charity, will be speaking at both our morning services on Sunday 6th February. It’s a great opportunity to hear about the organisation’s much needed work with children with additional needs and about the new clinic which will serve the High Wycombe area.

If you are unable to be in church that day, you can watch on the church YouTube channel either live or later. You can also visit Growing Hope’s website, www.growinghope.org.uk to learn more about it, or talk to Heather Morley, Charlee Thompson or me.

Charlotte Tester

Holy Days in February

2nd February - Candlemas

In bygone centuries, Christians said their last farewells to the Christmas season on Candlemas, 2nd February. This is exactly 40 days after Christmas Day itself.

In New Testament times 40 days old was an important age for a baby boy: it was when they made their first ‘public appearance’. Mary, like all good Jewish mothers, went to the Temple with Jesus, her first male child - to ‘present Him to the Lord’. At the same time, she, as a new mother, was ‘purified’. Thus, we have the Festival of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple.

So, where does the Candlemas bit come in? Jesus is described in the New Testament as the Light of the World, and early Christians developed the tradition of lighting many candles in celebration of this day. The Church also fell into the custom of blessing the year’s supply of candles for the church on this day - hence the name, Candlemas.

The story of how Candlemas began can be found in Luke 2:22-40. Simeon’s great declaration of faith and recognition of who Jesus was is of course found in the Nunc Dimittis, which is embedded in the Office of Evening Prayer in the West. But in medieval times, the Nunc Dimittis was mostly used just on this day, during the distribution of candles before the Eucharist. Only gradually did it win a place in the daily prayer life of the Church.

8th February - St Kew (… and the wild boar)

St Kew has nothing to do with gardens or the ‘Q’ of James Bond fame. This Kew was a girl who lived in Cornwall in the 5th century, and who should be the patron saint of girls with difficult older brothers.

Kew’s older brother was a hermit who felt his younger sister was not worthy to even visit his cell. But big brothers often underestimate their younger sisters, and he was no exception. One day Big Brother saw a wild boar charge out of the woods towards his sister. Kew spoke to it kindly in tones of such purity and sweetness that it immediately slowed down to a peaceful walk.

Big Brother was so shaken by this that he repented of his superior attitude. When he then bothered to spend time talking with young Kew, Big Brother discovered her nature to be of “rare virtue and holiness”. Other people thought so too, and after her death they decided Kew had been a saint, and so should have the parish church named after her.

Perhaps the moral of all this is that if you want to win over a difficult older brother, you should first practise on wild boars.

From the Parish Pump

This rather tongue-in-cheek story about St Kew differs from the Wikipedia version which says Kew and her brother Docca came from Wales and founded a religious centre in Cornwall called Lan Docco. However, legend reports that Kew vowed to build a church at the spot where a bear that had been troubling the area was killed, this being considered to be the location of the current church which is dedicated to St James and is in the Cornish village of St Kew.

Ed.

Bookends

I am reading Mary Wesley. On my bookshelves there are the 10 novels written by this author in the 1980s and 90s, written by her and published late in life. Having just worked my way through Penelope Fitzgerald, it occurred to me that there are many writers who were not published until at least middle age and often later, particularly women. Beatrix Potter, PD James and Edith Wharton all fit this profile and are indeed a random list. Ian Fleming, Frank McCourt and Kenneth Grahame also took their time to be published authors.

A survey I found stated that the average age for authors to be first published was 42. According to Douglas Adams in the ‘Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy’, the answer to Life, the Universe and everything else is also 42. Maybe you feel I’ve lost my way with this but possibly most people simply need to have lived a goodly portion of their lives before they have anything to say.

Beatrix Potter, Penelope Fitzgerald and Mary Wesley all had obstacles in their lives to overcome before they felt free to write and of course there are times when financial pressures are a useful constraint as well.

Mary Wesley led a wild life which must have given her a wealth of ideas and material for her stories. Some of her books are somewhat funny and some are almost shocking. Her family was outraged by her writing, feeling that much of it was autobiographical and showed her relatives in a poor light. A claim that Wesley always denied … but I am not convinced!

In ‘A Sensible Life’ we are between the wars as we travel with prosperous middle class families to Dinard in Brittany. A group of hotels designed to cater for English families on long Easter and summer vacations provides the perfect setting for eavesdropping on the social interactions between bored wives, and their civil service husbands who have to return to India. Also we can watch the goings on of the tentative, uncomfortable adolescents, all desperate to learn the secrets of dealing with the opposite sex and thinking that they continually fail in this endeavour. The writing is confident and funny, whilst tinged with pathos.

In the middle of this promising scenario is Flora. She is a misfit, an outsider, too much of a child for the young people who surround her. However, she watches, she listens and she notices. Flora falls in love but it will be several decades into the future before these desires can be played out and resolved in various ways. A satisfying read.

‘The Camomile Lawn’ is probably my favourite novel of this group and more typical of Wesley’s output than the previous book. It begins as the storm clouds are gathering over Europe and is set within the years of the Second World War, moving between London and Cornwall and back again. Five cousins meet to remember and share memories, of their intertwined lives but also of a world that will never be the same again. War changes people, I can understand that, despite being spared the trauma of having lived through one. Wesley also shows the reader how people, particularly in retrospect, could have a certain relish for the heightened tension of those years, as long as they weren’t in imminent physical danger. The cousins, years later, reminisce about the games played on the camomile lawn, running down to the cliff edge from the old Cornish house.

Mary Wesley seems to suggest that everyone’s behaviour and attitudes became extreme within the war years. The possibility of doom and destruction would understandably concentrate the mind. Grab time whilst you have it. Having read the story of her life, it is difficult here not to see her looming large amongst her characters.

I also like the television mini series made of this book. It is still quite widely available if you navigate the streaming channels and has Toby Stephens, Jennifer Ehle and Tara Fitzgerald within a strong cast.

‘Harnessing Peacocks’ is a novel of manners turned upon its head and contains much humour, some of it quite risqué. It is I suppose the most lighthearted of the novels with a classical reference as a title. The main character is called Hebe and in Greek mythology she was the goddess of youth and beauty. Her reputation was for entrapping lovers, hence harnessing peacocks. Decades ago at my Cheltenham teacher training college, the principal’s apartment looked out onto extensive lawns and lush gardens and she kept peacocks! Very decorative but oh my gosh, so startlingly noisy if you were in a hall of residence nearby, particularly if you wanted a lie in on a Saturday morning.

Hebe is written delightfully. Maybe some would cast her as amoral whilst others would simply see her as kind, giving and loving. Mary Wesley takes a sizeable swipe at the English class system as Hebe confronts her past and decides maybe it is time to change her lifestyle somewhat.

This is a quirky novel that makes me smile. It is set in Cornwall as indeed most of her work is placed within the West Country. This is a light but intelligent read. If any of these three books work for you then you are fortunate that there are are many more to be explored.

Susan Brice

The Parish Church of St Mary, Old Hunstanton, Norfolk

This recent visit, in November 2021, was a return occasion. The father of a friend of mine, who was formerly an assistant organist at this church and local head teacher and where my friend was brought up, is buried in the churchyard. We last visited in May 2016 to clean and restore the grave. Unsurprisingly, we found that the intervening years had not been kind.

St Mary’s, Old Hunstanton, is one church in a benefice of six churches, the others being St Mary the Virgin, Titchwell, St Mary’s, Brancaster, St Mary’s, Burnham Deepdale, St Mary’s, Holme Next The Sea and All Saints, Thornham. They were built from the Anglo Saxon period, through to the 11th, 13th and 14th Centuries. All are wondrous and well worth visiting but I shall concentrate on St Mary’s, Old Hunstanton. They are all to be found across the north east of Norfolk, adjacent to the Wash.

There has been a church at Old Hunstanton for almost 1,000 years. The village itself has been inhabited since the Stone Age. The future St Edmund landed at Old Hunstanton from Germany, became King of East Anglia and died defending his kingdom against the Danes at a battle near Thetford. He predated St George as patron saint of England and his shrine is now in the cathedral named after him at Bury St Edmunds.

As with many churches, St Mary’s benefitted from the generosity of a family – the Le Strange family, who lived at Hunstanton Hall, now converted into apartments. The family came from Brittany soon after the first church was built in 1038 and remained through succeeding generations into the 20th century. The present church is much the same as that rebuilt by Sir Hamon Le Strange in 1300 and restored by his successor Henry in 1853. It is solid, constructed of flint and stone and large, as so many Norfolk churches are. It has a stunning altar window (above) at the east end and the organ, at which my friend is pictured, as a boy, sitting next to his father who was playing for a service (below), is in good condition and plays well.

The roof is worthy of note. Rebuilt in 1853, as the congregation then were worshipping with the support of their own umbrellas, 500 year old oak trees, planted by Sir Hamon, were felled and used. When rot was found in the rafters in 1997, the same oak trees were unaffected.

In the Churchyard are the graves of fourteen members of the Le Strange family. But what is more interesting still is two other monuments to William Green, a Customs Officer and William Webb of the 15th Light Dragoons – both shot dead by smugglers in 1784:

“I am not dead but sleepeth here. And when the trumpet Sound I will appear. Four balls thro’ me Pierced there [sic] way. Hard it was I’d no time to pray. This stone that you Do see My comrades Erected for the sake of me.”

Christopher Tyrer

God in the Arts

Waiting is a common human experience. Our lives are made up of waiting that leads to encounter, and the waiting requires patience and humility. Milton wrote in his blindness, ‘They also serve who only stand and wait’ as he wondered what he could do for God’s kingdom now that his sight had gone.

Simeon in this month’s painting of the ‘Presentation of Christ’ had been waiting. He belonged to a people who had been waiting for centuries. He was heir to the hopes and dreams of a nation waiting for a better world now that the holy city was in the hands of Roman invaders. With his people he clung to the hope that God would come to bring freedom and a new life. God’s chosen one, the Messiah, would bring this about. When it came, there was no fanfare, no warning, just an ordinary family from faraway Nazareth in the Temple, performing the religious duties for the firstborn son. But the waiting led to encounter, and the sight of the new-born child led to insight as Simeon recognised that light and salvation had at last come.

‘Simeon in the Temple’ - Rembrandt

Rembrandt has captured all this in his painting, ‘Simeon with the Christ Child in the Temple’: the faith and patience, the hope and humility of an old man, a priest, who takes the babe into his arms and blesses God. It was the artist’s last painting and left unfinished at his death in 1669. The figure of Mary by Simeon’s side may have been painted by another artist at a later stage. It is the aged priest and the new-born babe that impress us as we look: Simeon with his venerable beard and eyes half closed, and the tiny child cradled in his strong arms, looking up intently with his eyes open.

As Rembrandt painted this canvas, was he saying something about his own life? He had not been afraid to paint his portrait at various stages - at 21, at 35, at 53 - a total of 60 portraits covering the span of years.

In this final painting the years have moved on as we see Simeon, mouthing ‘Nunc dimittis’ with his eyes half closed. Is the waiting over and the journey coming to an end, so that his eyes will fully close? Or will he open them to see that with the babe in his arms, God has more in store: the promise of a future as they step out together on a new journey?

Revd Michael Burgess

From the Parish Pump

God in the Sciences

Some time ago a scientist was invited to speak at the Dewsbury Women’s Institute. He spoke about his research on polymers, hoping that the women of this Yorkshire mill town would connect with his desire to develop new fibres.

One person in particular, a woman called Betty who had worked in a mill since the age of 15, listened as if her life depended on it, and peppered him with questions afterwards. She had always been interested in how things work, but until that day had not found anyone to answer her questions. Whenever she had asked about the processes that they were using in the mill, she was just told to get on with her job.

From the outside, science can seem a closed speciality, hemmed in by intimidating jargon. When McLeish described science as ‘the love of wisdom of natural things’, however, he realised he was opening a door. He was moved to see that Betty was not the only person who shed a tear when her questions were finally taken seriously, confirming that her enquiring mind was indeed probing in the right direction – only fifty years too late.

Hearing about people like Betty reminds me that science is a very natural activity for anyone to be involved in. McLeish is convinced that there is a future in ‘science therapy’. In his book Faith and Wisdom in Science, where this story appears, he asks the question “If a reintroduction to the activity of representing both inner and outer worlds in paint, music and drama can help to heal minds, what hope might there be for a participation in a gentle and contemplative science in restoring a broken or misunderstood relationship with the physical world?”

This story inspired me to run a number of hands-on science activities with adult audiences in churches. I have extracted DNA from strawberries with a midweek group for older people, organised hands-on exhibits to liven up lecture or discussion events, and even had groups extracting DNA from their own cheek cells.

Every time I lead activities like these, I find that grown-ups are grateful for the opportunity to have a go at science themselves. I love helping church-based groups, in particular, to reconnect with science and celebrate what they find. Science is not just for children and professionals – it is for everyone to enjoy and explore the world God made.

Dr Ruth M Bancewicz

Church Engagement Director at The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion in Cambridge (From the Parish Pump)

February Recipe

Lamb with coconut and black pepper

A lovely warming recipe for February and one I have prepared for many years. Winter seems to be going on for ever and it is good to have comforting food. This is a good recipe if you are entertaining as it keeps very well once cooked. Serve with rice and if you want it a bit more special you could also have a green salad.

Julia Grant

Ingredients


740g / 1lb 10oz cubed lamb

2 onions chopped

2 tbsp coriander seeds

2 tsp black peppercorns

4 tbsp flavourless oil

4 cloves garlic finely chopped

1¾in (3cm) fresh ginger peeled and shredded

4 medium tomatoes chopped (can use a tin of tomatoes)

1 tsp turmeric

2 medium sized chillies

1 400g tin of coconut milk

1 15g pack of coriander

Method


  1. Toast the coriander seeds over a moderate heat for a couple of minutes, then grind finely in a pestle and mortar. Repeat with the black peppercorns.

  2. Pour the oil into a casserole and heat, put in the lamb cubes and brown lightly. You may need to do this in batches, then remove from the heat.

  3. Add the onions, garlic and ginger to the pan, reduce the heat and cook gently for 15-20 mins until the onions are translucent. Add the tomatoes and cook gently.

  4. Stir in the lamb, coriander, pepper, turmeric and red chillies.

  5. Pour in the coconut milk and a teaspoon of salt. Simmer gently for about 30 mins until the lamb is tender. This time will depend on what type of lamb you have used as some cuts may need longer.

  6. Just before serving stir in the coriander and season if needed.

February Edition


VIEW

Outlook is published monthly and contains information about our church services and activities, local events, news from the vicarage, pages for children plus a variety of articles sent in by individuals ranging from wildlife, cookery, poems, thoughts, humour and observations about this and that – in fact there is a mixture of the spiritual and secular which is right and appropriate, all being part of God’s world.

‘Outlook’ goes to many homes where sermons do not, so it is to be hoped that as well as being informative and entertaining it will always show something of God’s love and compassion, forever constant in this rapidly changing world.

It has been remarked that the magazine reflects the loving relationship that exists in our congregations, and we do so warmly welcome you to share in this.

The magazine can always be found on the shelves to the left of the font. Please do pick one up every month as it will contain all the up to date information you need as well as useful telephone numbers and administrative information.

Outlook Editorial Team


Sylvia Clark

01494 562801

Jane Tyrer

01844 344650

Chris Tyrer

01844 344650

Susan Brice

01494 445899

The magazine is published monthly, except for August and January. Articles for the magazine can be sent to mag​@hughenden​parish​church​.org​.uk. The deadline is the 15th of the month. If you would like one delivered then please contact Andrew Cole.

Andrew Cole

Magazine Distribution & Delivery

01494 442191

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