Outlook - June 2024


The magazine for the people of Hughenden Parish

Dear Readers

I read an article the other day that said I should be aiming to eat 30 different plant foods over a week. This is not remotely as difficult as it may sound as of course coffee and tea count and indeed so does dark chocolate. Anyway, my point is that we are always being encouraged to have a diet that is full of variety. I’m happy with that idea as to me it means that sometimes I can have a breakfast croissant with jam instead of muesli with nuts and seeds and blueberries on top.

Our magazine reflects this outlook(!) and it is always quite exciting to see what has arrived in the inbox when we come to collate each month’s issue.

We are so fortunate to have an arts festival on our doorstep offering top quality music of an amazing diversity, so please read about Chiltern Arts and also dip into several creative writing articles which are certainly thought provoking.

As usual we have news from near and far. There is first hand information about the Middle East situation and a letter from a child in Uganda. There are local activities you could get involved in: walking for Christian Aid and the Rotary ramble or going to Love Wycombe on the Rye. And there is more: read about our church bells, wildlife, our eco-churchyard and some local history.

After all that you could bake a cake for tea, sit down with a generous slice and read Anita Brookner’s book!

Variety is the spice of life, so it is said,

With best wishes

Susan Brice

Editor

From the Vicarage

I wonder, have you heard of Love Wycombe?

Love Wycombe is a registered charity, run by leaders from within the churches of High Wycombe, and its main purposes are to encourage Prayer, Celebration & Social Action in our area. It seeks to bring believers together from different churches and denominations to encourage each another, be a witness to our wonderful town, and arrange special events together to celebrate our faith in Jesus Christ.

Do you have any plans for Sunday 9th June? If not, why not join us down on the Rye in High Wycombe for a town wide celebration, under the banner of Love Wycombe?

Please arrive from 10.30am, with a start time of 11am. A celebration service will launch the event, followed by fellowship, food and fun together with charity stalls, live music and inflatables.  

But why is it important to meet together with Christians from other churches? Because when Christians get together, God changes lives.

I have been privileged enough to be involved in several gatherings of churches together in the various towns I have lived in over the years, from Tunbridge Wells, to Hastings, to Redditch, Chatham and now High Wycombe, and I have always found it such an uplifting experience.

I have marched behind a wooden cross through Chatham on Good Friday, reenacting the stations of the cross, as shopkeepers have come outside to watch and share in this act of witness, I have taken part in early morning prayer meetings, more ambitious town wide missions, and special events where we have invited musicians and speakers to present the Christian Gospel, attract young people to a gig, and lots of other creative ways of reaching our town for Christ.

In the run up to Love Wycombe this year, Christians across the town are being encouraged to prayer walk their local area, asking the Lord to bless their neighbours.

Please do visit the Love Wycombe website for more details: lovewycombe.org.uk

God bless

Rev. Keith Johnson

Vicar

Home: 01494 257569

Mobile: 07772 642393

keith​the​vicar​@gmail​.com

Kevin and Jen Cable’s Visit

Kevin and Jen Cable, our link partners with Church Mission Society in Israel, were able to pay us a brief but inspiring visit recently. They spoke at the Men’s Breakfast on 4 May and then at a coffee morning immediately afterwards. In all, around 40 church members were able to come along to hear about their work and life in the Holy Land. Huge thanks go to all who made that possible at quite short notice.

It was a real privilege to meet them in person at last, after following them by email and on Zoom for three years now. There are three quick points to take away from their all-too-brief time with us: their passion for their work and for the people who live and work there; that things have not gone as planned (!); lastly, the present crisis in the Middle East is complicated and is certainly not reported fully in our media.

Christchurch Jaffa

Kevin and Jen’s ministry in Jaffa centres on the congregation of what is now the Anglican congregation of Christchurch Jaffa. They partner closely with the Immanuel Lutheran church there, using their church building for services. Opposite the Immanuel Church is the CMJ Guest House called “Beit Immanuel’, which is famous in the area as it was built by the grandfather of the late actor Peter Ustinov. Beit Immanuel have plans to develop more worship and ministry space when the site is renovated and redeveloped over the next few years. This would give the Anglican congregation a dedicated worship space and be a base of operations for their ministry. Kevin and Jen have a small and very mixed congregation, where tradition is valued. Part of the congregation consists of foreign students, a significant but not very public part of their ministry. There are restrictions on proselytising in Israel, particularly in relation to children, so all their outreach work is relational, and the Christian faith is shared through actions and conversation. Consequently, coffee is important, a point to meet over! Jen’s work with the Little Lambs toddler group is an important example, allowing parents to come to a safe space to relax and enjoy Christian hospitality. They also partner with another Christian charity in central Tel Aviv, who operate a ministry to homeless people and sex workers, many of them Russian immigrants from the 1990s who have fallen on hard times. Redevelopment in the central area of Tel Aviv means these people are often pushed to the margins as the area they live in is changing rapidly.

Tel Aviv

Historic Jaffa is now part of Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv itself is vibrant, multi-cultural and multi-ethnic, very different from other areas of the Holy Land, notably the West Bank. People get along well together, and it is championed as a place of peaceful coexistence. The Israeli Arab population there is well integrated, with equal opportunities for all regardless of ethnic or faith background. Kevin reported how many of the local Arab population there were surprised to hear of the so-called Israeli “apartheid” that can often be reported in the UK. Tel Aviv has a laid back, hipster/artistic vibe, and the area is known for its liberal attitudes.

Working With Others

The Christian community in Tel Aviv is small (less than 5%): Christians here stand and work together, there are no differences, no competition, people help each other, and speak with a united voice. A priest wearing robes and a cross in public is normal: it is important to be seen and moreover the population culturally expect clergy to be formally dressed and visible.

Plans!

Of course, things have not gone as originally planned for Kevin and Jen. The original plan was to focus on reopening the historic Anglican church of St Peter’s Jaffa. That has been beset by legal problems and the Diocese of Jerusalem has now decided that, while that remains a long-term aim, it is not a priority for now. Fortunately, Kevin and Jen’s ministry has been enabled to continue by the partnership with Beit Immanuel. The Hamas terrorist attacks on 7 October and the subsequent response by Israel then changed plans again. In their talk, they described walking that morning in a countryside area, when they were alerted by the sound of rockets falling nearby. The apps on their phones showed the scale of those attacks across the country. On the spur of the moment, they decided to stop and to pray: soon afterwards they moved on, only to find that one of the rockets had fallen by the car park where they would have been if they had not prayed. (Note - always good advice – stop and pray!). With much of their congregation dispersed soon afterwards as a result of the attacks, Kevin and Jen moved to Jerusalem to minister to traumatised refugees from the south of Israel, eventually returning to Jaffa in early February. Their description of how traumatised children learnt how to play again and how to smile again in the safety of the Christchurch guest house was a moment to be treasured.

Present Situation in the Area

Obviously, the present crisis in and around Gaza dominated the talk and the questions. Kevin and Jen were rightly very careful not to comment on the situation but gave their experiences very fully. They were careful to stress that continuing Hamas attacks on Israeli targets, for instance by rocket, gun, and by car, were largely not reported in our media, which tends, perhaps understandably, to concentrate on Israeli actions and the humanitarian disaster unfolding in Gaza. Life in Israel is currently one of constant awareness and preparation. Many people are just tired of conflict and want an end to it. Days and hours can be spent in “bomb rooms” in houses and apartments, while carrying respirators and the detectors for chemical and biological warfare agents have become part of normal life for them. Kevin asked us to be aware that trust between communities in the south had been destroyed by the attacks. In some instances, people who had been trusted tradesmen, like gardeners, came the next day to kill their Israeli customers.

Vision

In their conclusion, Kevin and Jen’s summarised their vision for the future of their church: to be “part of a community of disciples who worship, work and bear witness in Israel”. Amen to that, may God bless them.

We Can Support Them!

As we finish, there is one very important thing that Kevin and Jen did not mention in their talks to us: that they need more support right now. Along with around a third of CMS mission partners, they are suffering a significant shortfall in the funding needed to sustain them in their ministry. This is partly due to the huge rise in the cost of living in Israel. (Prices there are among the highest in any OECD country.) 

How do we do that? As a church we have increased our support to them significantly already from the start of the year. If you personally support them already, please could you increase your contribution too? If you don’t support them yet, but would like to, then now is a good time to start. Please go to: churchmissionsociety.org to do that. If you need help, advice or further information, please speak to David or Charlotte Tester.

Mission Support Group

200 Miles for Christian Aid

During Lent, Seekers house group studied “Act on Poverty”, a course produced by Christian Aid. We found the course both eye opening and challenging as we learnt not only more about poverty in this country and around the world but also about initiatives people are taking to tackle it. We decided we would like to do something as a group to support Christian Aid.

We set ourselves a challenge, each of us choosing how many miles we would walk or cycle during Christian Aid Week. Some of us have more commitments than others, some of us have health issues to consider, but we all set ourselves a target. The total came to over 100 miles of walking and 100 miles of cycling, and we hoped our church family would be inspired to sponsor us as they made their donations.

As I write this in May, we are in the middle of Christian Aid Week, and things are going well. From “I went for a short stagger” to “I got up Green Hill without stopping”, every step and pedal push is helping. Some people are walking with their dogs, some have been on a birdwatching walk on Otmoor, and a couple of people are off to continue walking in France! On our way in the fresh air and sunshine we’ve enjoyed seeing the last bluebells, meeting people to chat to, and of course being refreshed by tea and cake.

Many thanks to all those who have contributed to Christian Aid this week. It is clear that we shall exceed the total we were aiming for, which is very encouraging and will help Christian Aid continue their vital work around the world.

Charlotte Tester

Ensuring Our Bells Are ‘Bearing Up’

It’s been our practice at Hughenden to have our bells regularly inspected to ensure they continue to be safe to ring and remain in good condition. Whites of Appleton are the UK’s oldest bell hanging company and with an excellent reputation for combining traditional craftsmanship with modern technology, they were appointed to carry out the latest checks and work on our bells. Back in September they spent seven hours in our bell chamber, checking every inch of our bells and fittings to make sure all working parts were in good order. They carried out some adjustments which considerably improved an unevenness in the way some of the bells had been striking, but they also discovered that the bearings on two of the bells were showing signs of wear and would soon need to be replaced. The bearings concerned are inside housings which are labelled E and Q in the illustration.

Quotations were obtained, permissions to carry out the work were applied for and granted, and finances were arranged. he cost would be approximately £1,800 plus VAT with the tax reclaimable under the Listed Places of Worship Grant scheme and the costs were to be covered from our own Tower Fund.

So, on 11 April this year, I met two Engineers from Whites and helped to cart their equipment of block and tackle, ropes and tools up into the bell chamber. My role was to be general dogsbody where possible.

The first obstacle to overcome was to find a way of lifting the bells off the frame. One of the bells had an RSJ above it from which the block and tackle could easily be hung, but the other had no such girder immediately above and I watched open mouthed as they tied a rope horizontally between two RSJs and hung the block and tackle directly from the rope. Note the bell being worked on weighs over a quarter of a ton!

The first photo shows the bearing housing in place, and the second photo is with the housing removed, to allow the bearings to be replaced.

The bearing housings were removed without too much difficulty and the first bell was winched an inch or two off the bell frame. The old bearings were removed and there was a moment of tension whilst they were examined to see if the correct sized replacements had been brought along. Three were readily on hand with just one set needing to be brought from their workshop at a later date. It was interesting seeing where they had been worn – steel available during the post war years when our bells were installed, was not of the best quality and although the working surfaces were hardened, once they had been worn through, the steel below the surface was soft and could deteriorate rapidly. A week later, Whites returned to finish the job. I went back into general dogsbody mode, and in an hour or so the new bearing was installed, the bells tested and all tools, ropes and block and tackle removed from the tower.

Hopefully that will be the end of any major work for some time – although one has to appreciate that what was applicable to these two bells, must surely be the same for the other six in the not-too-distant future!

Cliff Davies

Steeple Keeper

Nature Quest

In the South of France a large bug jumped out of the shady grass onto a shiny perch to bask in the sun. But the perch began to move, first slowly but then gathering speed. The air rushed past the poor bug, but the bug clung on. We don’t know quite what the bug was thinking, but it clearly had an important decision: to jump off the tow-bar of our car, or to cling on. The bug travelled with us as far as Calais (including toilet and meal breaks for us but not for the bug), but the bug then disembarked and we saw it no more. Did it get squished in a Calais car-park? Or hitched a lift home on some other vehicle? Nobody knows!

Travel along roads and pathways has gone on since time immemorial. The Romans were famed for their straight roads, well-paved: we walked on some of those original paving stones last year in Italy. Some roads followed the side of winding rivers. Some roads were short-lived: the sands of time obliterated them. Our roads just accumulate potholes!

Roads are built by humans, but other creatures make their own pathways, and some like the bug use ours. I watched our neighbours’ cat carefully walking along our road: much easier than pushing through the long grass. On the other hand, the same cat, padding softly through our flower border, en route to a gap under the fence probably created by a fox, has trod the same route so often that the soil is compacted into a firm pathway. What a creature of habit!

If you walk along our Chiltern footpaths, every so often you find a small gap in the hedge or fence and if you look carefully, a track where some creature regularly pushes through there: muntjac, fox, badger? Their track might follow our footpath, or cross it, heading to some place more interesting. In the night-time an animal can walk safely and more quietly along a path than scrunching through undergrowth or dried leaves. Don’t want to draw attention to oneself. On the other hand, for a predator, such a path is like a conveyor belt bringing dinner!

Round the back of our church you may have noticed new paths cut into the grass. This is part of an attempt to leave some areas unmown to allow wildlife to flourish, and yet still have access to graves that are regularly visited. (If you think access is difficult to a particular grave you wish to visit, please tell me or the church wardens, and we’ll amend the new path layout). Currently the unmown “grass” is growing vigorously after a mild wet Spring and there are many wild flowers including a large area of green alkanet and of course a good crop of buttercups (haven’t the buttercups done well this year?). Orchids have been seen in the north east corner in recent years, but might be a bit overgrown this year. This first year of unmown areas is experimental and we would value your feedback as to its effectiveness and appropriateness.

Green alkanet with its bright blue flowers

At the first cutting (mowing) of the new paths, the only plants in the pathways were the same as the unmown areas except chopped off, but gradually the tall-growing plants will disappear from the paths and smaller plants will take their place, instead of being smothered by tall plants. Amongst the smaller plants on the pathways will grow an ecosystem quite different to that in the unmown areas: different flowers, insects, mosses, slugs and fungi. These in turn will attract different birds, and animals will travel these paths as well as us humans.

8th - 16th June is the Churches Count on Nature week and also Love Your Burial Ground week: two initiatives encouraging us to look for the wild life in our church grounds, and perhaps record and upload them to national biodiversity databases; an opportunity to delight in the creatures and to give praise to their Creator. So take a stroll along our new paths and see the new ecosystems developing.

Mike Hill

nature@​hughenden​parish​church.org.uk

NQ Challenge

June is time for roses. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. But can you distinguish different roses by their scent? You wine buffs and glue sniffers should do well. Pollen sufferers can be excused this month.

In A Church Near You …

On recent visits to local churches, I spotted some interesting (well, interesting to me, anyway) adornments, which prompted me to a little research.

I also wondered if any of our readers recognised where they could be found?

Firstly, this fairly modern window of Saint Walstan dedicated to the Wooster family. Wikipedia tells me quite firmly not to confuse this saint with Saint Wulfstan, which I initially had! Apparently, the saint in the window was a prince (hence the crown, so I am on the right track) who then renounced his privileges, dedicated his life to prayer and became a farm worker (hence the straw on which he stands, and the fields behind) and performed various miracles and acts of kindness. These include giving his shoes to the poor, which probably account for the odd style of replacement he has. He is the patron saint of farms and farmworkers and is associated with Norfolk where his feast day is celebrated in local churches on 30th May.

Secondly is this depiction of St Dunstan: it is probably easier to guess its location, even if you have not seen it.

Dunstan was variously, Abbot of Glastonbury Abbey, Bishop of Worcester, Bishop of London and Archbishop of Canterbury, and was later canonised, becoming for many years the ‘most popular saint’ in England until this title was usurped by St Thomas a Beckett. Dunstan was a skilled calligrapher and silversmith, though many of the stories about him seem to suggest he was a blacksmith and indeed he is the patron saint of blacksmiths, goldsmiths, silversmiths as well as locksmiths, musicians, and bellringers.

The piece on display refers to one such story about Dunstan’s confrontation with the devil. This is when Dunstan ‘tweaked the devil’s nose’ with a pair of tongs. Certainly, the sculpture suggests a large pair of tongs rather too large for silversmithing. A folk tale states:

St Dunstan, as the story goes,
Once pull'd the devil by the nose
With red-hot tongs, which made him roar,
That he was heard three miles or more

Another story relates how Dunstan nailed a horseshoe to the Devil's cloven hoof when he was asked to re-shoe it. Dunstan only agreed to remove the shoe and release the Devil after he promised never to enter a place where a horseshoe is over the door. This is said to be the origin of the lucky horse-shoe (often formerly hung over doorways).

Incidentally the charity formerly known as St Dunstan’s, and now The Blind Veterans UK, was so called because it occupied premises named after the saint, not because of any inherent connection.

Jane Tyrer

Answers:

The window is in Holy Trinity, Bledlow.

St Dunstan is, not surprisingly, in St Dunstan’s, Monks Risborough.

Holy Day in June

2nd June – Erasmus … a good saint when you’re all at sea

Do you like messing about in boats? If so, then you’ll have heard of St Elmo’s Fire. It is the light that is sometimes seen on mastheads of boats after storms at sea.

St Elmo is another name for St Erasmus, a fourth century Syrian bishop who was not afraid of violent storms. Legend has it that one day when Erasmus was preaching outside, a thunderbolt hit the ground right beside him. That might have distracted many modern bishops, but not Erasmus – he just kept on preaching. His courage won him the respect of sailors, who also had to brave the elements of nature in their daily work. He died about 300AD

But when Erasmus was made the patron saint of sailors, it led to a curious confusion. His emblem became the windlass, a kind of hoist used by many sailors at sea. So far so good, but many medieval Christians, seeing the windlass emblem, assumed it was some sort of torture instrument. They knew that Erasmus had died in the persecution of Diocletian, and so concluded that a windlass had been used to hoist out his intestines (which it hadn’t).

But no matter – Erasmus was still adopted by another set of suffering people. Not only did sailors remember the thunderbolt, and look to him, but soon, anyone with gut ache as well!

From the Parish Pump

The Raindrop

Rain from the grey and leaden sky drizzled steadily down onto the lounge windows of the bungalow known as number fourteen Daisy Avenue. It had been doing this, relentlessly, since the milkman had rattled his way up the pathway to the front door to deposit his usual pint of skimmed milk on the doorstep, something he did every morning, well every morning except Sundays and Bank Holidays. As he watched the milkman shuffle round to number sixteen, the old man continued looking out, witnessing the unfolding of yet another day; another dull and lifeless day which, he thought, even if the sun should appear, would still remain just that, dull and lifeless.,

He continued peering through the gloom and rain of the November morning, barely able to see across the avenue, not that he needed to see for he knew what was there; another bungalow just like his with its pebble-dashed walls, grey slate roof tiles, front garden neatly lawned, edged with borders of shrubs and fronted by the almost mandatory privet hedge. For all he knew old Mrs Lovegrove and the even older Mr Lovegrove who lived there were, even at that moment, peering back at him. The avenue was lined with bungalows just like his and the Lovegroves, all occupied by people whose age entitled them to be euphemistically referred to as senior citizens. How apt, he thought, that those living in Daisy Avenue would shortly be pushing them up!

The old man’s thoughts were interrupted by the chimes of the mantlepiece clock announcing that eight o’clock had arrived, that he had been standing in front of the lounge window for a full hour and that a cup of tea was now due. He turned to make his way to the kitchen but as he did so a flurry of raindrops beat against the lounge window, drawing his attention to the dozens that were now streaming their individual pathways down the glass. One in particular had caught his eye; it had begun at the top of the pane and was descending very slowly, then stopping, then starting again, veering to the left and then to the right. He was intrigued by this single droplet which seemed, he thought, to have acquired a life of its own.

Suddenly a second raindrop appeared and began running adjacent to the first. They travelled down the glass parallel to each other and to the old man’s astonishment as one slowed so did the other, as the first would speed up so did the second; even as one drifted to the side, the other would follow. He watched, fascinated, but as suddenly as it had first appeared, the second raindrop stopped, leaving the first to continue its journey alone.

The old man looked up, his attention now focussed on a distant memory. The day had been much like this day – dull and wet. A police constable and a female colleague had knocked on the door. “Can we come in sir”, he asked. Once inside and after a rather awkward silence, the young constable continued, “The car was travelling too fast and what with the rain and the poor visibility, it couldn’t take the bend, you know, the bend down by the fish and chip shop at the bottom of Pine Lane”. Of course he knew the bend - he had driven round it a million times – but why was the constable speaking so quietly and with such measured thoughtfulness; why did he keep glancing at the woman police constable who was with him anyway? What was the relevance to him of a car travelling fast round a bend by the fish and chip shop at the bottom of Pine Lane? The police constable continued “I’m so sorry sir, she didn’t stand a chance”.

The officer’s voice faded from consciousness as the old man could see her as if it were only yesterday, walking up the stone pathway, opening and closing behind her the wooden front gate, turning, smiling and giving him a wave as she walked down to the bend at the bottom of Primrose Hill.

He remembered the sunny smile and familiar figure of his dear wife, half expecting the only woman he had ever really known and loved to come into view, but knowing all the time that that would never happen.

The old man’s gaze returned to that raindrop. He had witnessed its tortuous progress from beginning to its end. Yes, he concluded, life really is but a raindrop, clinging to a pane of glass until reaching its final resting place.

John Callow

A Message in a Bottle

You didn’t notice each tear falling to the ground, touching and transforming the places where it paused on its journey
No, you were too busy hiding like Eve.
You thought they were to be despised, another sign of failure and loss dripping out of you
You were too busy locked in your grief and fear to notice.

 

But we noticed.
We saw and heard every one leave its stained mark
We have saved them up in secret places
Yes we have secret places of our own.
There is a jar, it has your name on and it is full.

 

Full of your salty teardrops
Salty like the ocean, an ocean of pain outpoured.
But oh what an offering.

 

Just as the ocean, the rivers and streams and springs and rains have a purpose
So do your tears our daughter.
You may have heard it said we will make a river through the desert, a stream in the wastelands.
Know that watery pathway carving its way through the empty barren places
Refreshing, cleansing, painting the world its colours and nurturing new life
Is formed of the sum of your tears.

 

Those stinging drops you saw as merely useless and a symbol of shame
We saw as a valuable droplet on an expensive piece adorning the neck, twinkling as it catches the lamplight
(A treasured gift from your lover)
Because each carries a story,
The inward becoming outward, a form of breathing, a form of prayer.

 

A message in a bottle awaiting the day of recognition, for the lid to be unscrewed and the promises set free.

A while ago the amazingly gifted prayer team at St Michael & All Angels had a word for the congregation. It was a line in Psalm 56, written by a man called David when he was going through a dark and distressing time.

‘You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book’.

We may think of God numbering the hairs on our head. But collecting our tears?

Our tears are seen, noticed. But do they also have a purpose?

Was on a poetry retreat recently and tasked with writing a half-sided conversation. The ‘other side’, the God side! (and the quieter shorter side honestly, too often it is a mainly one-sided conversation…)

Write what God wants to say to you they said and this is it.

By the way, a liberating experience, do try it sometime, you too may be surprised by what you hear.

Sue Newton

A Tribute to Ian Desborough

from the Hughenden Bellringers

We were very sad to hear of the passing of our friend and fellow ringer Ian Desborough, on 24 March, aged 73 years, after a long battle with illness.

Ian was a very popular, well respected and reliable member of our tower and we loved his good humour and the cheerful atmosphere that he helped create in our ringing chamber. His illness unfortunately caused him to make progressively fewer appearances at our practice nights and Sunday ringing, and his final appearance, made with great effort, was to join with us in our special ringing to celebrate the coronation of King Charles III last year.

Ian joined our band in 2011 but he had learned to ring initially as a schoolboy at Kimpton, Hertfordshire. Records in the “Ringing World” show that he rang a number of quarter peals at Kimpton, the first of which was in 1964 (aged just 13) and he also rang a full peal two years later in August 1966, just a few days after a very significant football match! As a dedicated member of our Hughenden band, Ian held the office of Tower Secretary for several years and became a member of the Oxford Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers. He also took part in a number of quarter peals here, the last of which was in October 2015 to celebrate the baptism of his granddaughter Rebecca Grace Ware.

There are always moments in the ringing chamber when we stop ringing and take a short rest and this is when life outside of ringing becomes the topic of conversation. Ian could always be relied upon to discuss, quite loudly, the fortunes and (more often than not) failures of his favoured football team Luton Town. He was also a keen supporter of Wycombe Wanderers and even during his illness, he sometimes managed to accompany our fellow band member Annie to Adams Park and on two occasions they went to Wembley together to watch the Chairboys.

Ian’s funeral took place here on 24 April and we were delighted to be able to mark the occasion by ringing our bells half muffled in honour of our fellow ringer and colleague. The congregation was invited to go outside and listen to the bells being rung in Ian’s memory, and the soulful sound of half muffled ringing on Hughenden’s lovely bells filled the ringing chamber and was carried across the churchyard and over the beautiful surrounding countryside. RIP Ian. You are greatly missed.

Verity Nicholls

Tower Captain

Princes Risborough Rotary Club Charity Ramble

7th July

Registration is open for the Princes Risborough Club Charity Ramble through the Chilterns, in aid of Scannappeal and local charities.

There is an online registration fee of £10 for participants of 16 and over (registration on the day costs £15), all of which will go to charity. For those under 16 registration is free.

There are 2 routes, both starting and finishing in Wades Park in the centre of the town. One is of approximately 6 miles. The second, for the more adventurous, is of about 20 miles, in 3 stages, of which participants can choose to walk all 3, 2 or just 1 stage. Full route instructions will be issued at the Start, and refreshments will be available at the end of each stage. There will also be a shuttle bus service for those who might need it for a small charge.

For more information and to register go to www.prrr.uk

Ask friends and family to sponsor you on our JustGiving page: www.justgiving.com/campaign/prrcramble

Ebenezer Children’s Centre, Uganda

Here is another letter from one of the resident children at The Ebenezer Children’s Centre, Uganda.

My name is Eric and I was born in the year 2006 and grew up in a poor family where they could not even afford to take me to school. At home we couldn’t even afford food since we were many and my mother was a single mother because my Dad had died a few years before and left three children and I was the last born.

We used to suffer working on people’s plantations on low wages in order to get food and money for rent but it was not enough for supporting me in education at the same time. So going to school was still a big problem and we lived such a hard life for many years. This is when I proved and started believing in miracles.

When we had gone to work in a big plantation of Ebenezer and as we were working the Director of Ebenezer came to check on the workers where I was also inclusive. When she saw me suffering she called my mother and asked her about me. I just saw my mother falling into tears of joy.

When I came to ask her she explained to me how Ebenezer had given me sponsorship in my education and I also felt joy deep inside my heart. They adopted me and took me back to school because I had dropped out. I have studied under your sponsorship. I am eating. drinking, sleeping and feeling good because now I am called a son.

I have now parents from Ebenezer Children Centre. God bless you. I love God who brought me from grass to grace and that is why I am saved as a Christian up to date. Thank You. Eric.

I should explain that in Uganda children are called “ orphans” when they still have one parent as it is so hard in Uganda for a single parent there to care for children alone with no one to provide a place to live and to provide food and shelter - as well as education for any children after this was made compulsory some years ago now.

Rita Pulley

If you feel that you are able to help with the ever increasing cost of caring for these children please contact Rita pulley - 01484 563470, ritapulley@talktalk.net, There is no fixed rate to sponsor a child. Any gift will be welcomed. Gifts are transferred to Uganda by the George Muller Charitable Trust.

Dementia

a reflection for Dementia Week

Why do I lose the people I love?

My friends, life partners, love, loss?

What do I know about dementia anyway?

Amyloids; Vascular; Frontal; Restricted blood flow?

I know that half of over 90s will suffer.

I know that nearly one million in our population do suffer.

I know that people who suffer feel shame.

Why is there so little help?

Do doctors understand? Does society care? Or people?

Some understand: many do not.

Some care: many do not.

We need to be understanding, forgiving, supporting.

That comes from caring, providing for, enabling those who suffer to live their lives as we live ours.

And to take nothing for granted:

Only to care for those with whom we come into contact.

Christopher Tyrer

Alzheimer’s Society

Thousands of people in the UK are facing the realities of dementia alone, without access to the vital care and support that having a diagnosis can bring.

A dementia diagnosis may feel daunting, but 9 out of 10 people affected by dementia told us there are clear benefits to getting a diagnosis. It means you can access the crucial treatment, care and support you need.

If you’re worried about yourself, or someone close to you, then check your symptoms today using the symptoms checklist at alzheimers.org.uk

The Lord Is Good

“Whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life”

John 4:14

Water, we’ve had plenty of it falling on us the last few months. Which should make us feel at home, we are after all two thirds water ourselves. But the smallest drop on our head and we reach for the umbrella. Definitely a love hate thing. We long for hot dry summers yet expect unrestricted use of cool, clean water.

Talking of water, I was lucky enough to visit RSPB Ham Wall the other day. What a treat! The site was used for peat digging not long ago, now flooded using sluices cleverly to control levels. It’s set in the middle of the Somerset Levels not far from Glastonbury. The reserve is bursting with life, as you exit your car warblers (up to seven species here, sadly no grasshopper warbler though) serenade you along with blackbirds, song thrush, wren, dunnock, robin… the list goes on. And there overhead is your first great white egret and if you concentrate you can hear bitterns booming and a solitary cuckoo calling. They have good numbers of marsh harrier, the uk’s fifth largest bird of prey (can you name the four that beat it for size?), reed bunting, grey heron, little egret, barn and tawny owls and if you’re lucky otter, water vole, bearded tit, grass snake and adder. A pair of little bitterns bred there recently and osprey, glossy ibis, black-tailed godwits and cattle egrets regularly pass through.

We were lucky and bumped into a single black tern, what a beauty, three european cranes flying overhead in tight formation and a group of seven hobbies hawking through the clouds of recently hatched dragonflies. You never see everything of course but the sheer abundance of life keeps you smiling all day long.

Our town peregrines are doing well, the four fledglings are growing apace and will be flying in six weeks or so.

My allotment is busy with newly emerging plants and flowers setting to fruit on bushes and trees.

Asparagus is currently in mid-season, we can crop until the summer solstice, 21st June (note to self, keep eating and enjoy!)

I often wonder if the Lord grew veg in the Garden of Eden. If so, what? Were plants destined for all corners of the earth there? I suspect Tesco would have been green with envy.

I look forward to finding out how He gardened, after all a garden implies a gardener which in turn means choice and design. I bet He didn’t plant in rows or use espaliers, pinch out side shoots on tomatoes, all things we do to increase yield and quality. And that for me is a real desire that even as I get dirt under my fingernails I operate with ‘Jesus-specs’ on.

I’ll be making loganberry gin again this year, my version of flavoured water, and though it may not be exactly communion wine, I hope the Lord will accept my toast of thanks and worship as I, yet again, wonder at the bounty of His amazing creation.

Cheers!

Michael Bevan

Chiltern Arst Festival 2024

As I write, we are about halfway through the seventh Festival and looking forward to our seventh visit to St Michael & All Angels. It has been another wonderful artistic experience.

We started on the Thames, on Friday the 10th May, with afternoon tea aboard the New Orleans with a riveting talk by Roger McGough, President of the Poetry Society and the “kickstart” for both Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix. In beautiful weather, his talk “Alive and Gigging” given, be reminded, by an 85 year old, was enthralling. Still in Henley on Thames, at St Mary’s, three internationally acclaimed musicians – on saxophone, piano and oboe – performed works by Debussy, Liszt, Gershwin and Bach in the evening.

Saturday was for the amateur singers: a workshop for Faure’s Requiem, later performed by the Festival Chorus beautifully directed by Owain Park and the Gesualdo Six. The performance, which was moving and excellent, was preceded by a concert by the Gesualdo Six, featuring works by Brumel, Josquin, Compere, Mouton, Festa and Gilbert – composers from the 15th and 16th centuries, as well as modern compositions by Owain Park himself and Crutwell-Reade: the modern works reflecting ancient texts. The six singers – two countertenors, two tenors, a baritone and a bass – stunned the audience by the beauty of their singing.

On to the Risboroughs: at Holy Trinity, Bledlow, we heard the exquisite playing of a theorbo and a viola da gamba. Baroque music paired with the fables of Jean de La Fontaine, performed by Kristina Watt and Samuel Ng respectively, mesmerised a capacity audience on a lovely sunny afternoon, supported by The Lions of Bledlow, who managed to feed an army with splendid Sunday lunch.

Then – for me – the highlight so far, at St Mary’s, Princes Risborough. James Runcie, son of the Archbishop of that name and Fenella Humphreys, international violinist on her fourth visit to the Festival, joined together for music and readings. James is an author and his latest novel, The Grand Passion, tells the story of Stefan Silberman, sent to Leipzig to train as a singer under the tutelage of Cantor Johann Sebastian Bach. Based upon true events and commented upon by James Runcie, his readings and commentary was interspersed with Fenella Humphreys playing her own settings of some of J S Bach’s famous works on the solo violin. They included her rendition of the Toccata and Fugue BWV 565, one of the most famous pieces of music written for the organ, which was only saved for posterity because a student, studying with an ex-student of Bach’s, copied the original score as an exercise. The original was then lost.

As the programme notes set out: “Runcie’s narrative weaves a touching meditation on the themes of prayer, pride, sin, grief, sorrow, pain, redemption and salvation.”

At the time of writing, we are off to St Dunstan’s. Monks Risborough, followed later in the week to St Michael & All Angels. I will write about the second half of the week next month.

Christopher Tyrer

Bookends

Hotel du Lac - Anita Brookner

In 1984 bookmakers refused to take further bets on the winner of the Booker Prize. It was a forgone conclusion. The Empire of the Sun by JG Ballard would win … but it didn’t. The winner was a slim book of 140 pages: Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner. Accepting the prize, Anita Brookner said the first thing she would do with her prize money would be to have her shoes repaired. No glamour, no glitz, just sensible and so very English. Did the audience laugh I wonder or were they shell shocked into silence by the result.

Anita Brookner came quite late to fiction writing, having had a very successful career as an art historian in places of high academia; The Courtauld Institute and Cambridge University. However, when her books began to be published she found she had much to say and for a time produced a book a year. Describing this particular piece of writing, the word that comes to mind is crafted. It really is beautifully crafted, understated and written with style and a certain languid elegance.

Edith Hope, our heroine and narrator of the story, written as it is in the first person, lives a single life as a writer of romantic fiction. This is the middle of the 20th century and friends feel themselves incumbent to find her a husband. Edith has a lover whom she sees a few times a month, when he can get away from his wife and family, and she knows the relationship will never become anything more. Eventually, one feels almost because she is browbeaten, Edith accepts a proposal of marriage from a very suitable man. The word ‘suitable’ has all sorts of connotations doesn’t it and most of them are dull. There is a delightful passage where she is in a taxi on her way to the register office where the wedding party are gathered outside. She changes her mind, tells the taxi driver to keep going and waves to her friends, including the bemused, prospective groom.

In a way, the story begins here. Edith has committed an egregious social sin and everyone decides it would be best if she went away for a while. Thus she finds herself in a small Swiss hotel at the tail end of the holiday season. It is the sort of establishment that has a loyal group of visitors that return annually; people who like things to be as they have always been. Edith becomes involved in their hopes and fears and their trifling daily routines. It occurs to me that there is a large group of English writers who write controlled stories where very little seems to happen but actually lives are irrevocably changed and this is an excellent example.

Anita Brookner herself never married, saying that men expected wives to fit into the small spaces that were left available in their husbands’ lives. I have not read all her books but in this one certainly men do come off rather poorly. I had to look up the word for hatred of men and it is misandry. ( Interesting that the word ‘misogyny’ is widely known and used but ‘misandry’ not so. Material there for a long essay I think!) I’m not sure I think this is quite where Anita Brookner stood ( the problem being more with marriage then men in general) but she does raise all sorts of interesting issues between men and women, woven deep within her narrative. I think maybe my head is still full of all the outrageousness of ‘ Lessons in Chemistry’ and I’ve become quite sensitive to how these subjects are played out in fiction.

There is a marriage proposal in Switzerland but don’t get too excited, it contains no passion, romance or really even the suggestion of love. There is however a lot on offer for Edith: status, security, societal acceptance and approval. This brought to mind very quickly Charlotte Lucas in Pride and Prejudice and her marriage to the odious clergyman. ‘Poor Charlotte!’ say Jane and Elizabeth but Charlotte feels she knows exactly what she is doing and why. It might only be in this present century that the state of single women has become totally acceptable and it is hard for us to see the vulnerability of those in earlier times.

The end of this book has a jolting twist to it that is skilfully managed and written. This story is a good read. I recommend it.

Happy reading,

Susan Brice

June Recipe

Fruit and Almond Tray Bake

When you need to make a cake quickly for visitors or take to an event, this is the cake! It is so easy and quick to make, I made it recently for an evening when I had to take a cake and everyone wanted the recipe. The original recipe is from the very popular ‘Mary Berry’s Baking Bible’, but the recipe uses glace cherries which I don’t like that much or stoned fresh cherries, which take ages to prepare and are expensive. I had some blueberries in the fridge and they worked perfectly.

Glace cherries always remind me of a skiing holiday years ago. We were staying in a Chalet in the Alps and the food was terrible. We called it ‘Chalet Baguette’ as the budget was so low that we had baguette for breakfast, afternoon tea, starter and then one evening it turned up as bread and butter pudding with glace cherries in it!

Julia Grant

Ingredients


225g butter, softened

225g caster sugar

5 large eggs

275g self-raising flour

2 tsp baking powder

75g ground almonds

Finely grated rind of 2 lemons

225g soft fruit (blueberries, cherries, raspberries)

25g flaked almonds

Method


  1. Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan, gas 4. Grease and line a 30 x 23cm (12 x 9”) tray bake tin or roasting tin with butter or baking parchment.

  2. If using cherries cut them into quarters, and rinse under running water. Drain well then and dry thoroughly.

  3. Measure all remaining ingredients (except the flakes almonds) into a bowl and either beat by hand or with a food mixer for 1 minute until thoroughly combined and soft. Lightly fold in the fruit and then turn into the prepared tin and sprinkle over the flaked almonds.

  4. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 40 mins until the cake has shrunk from the sides of the tin and springs back when pressed in the centre. Leave to cool in the tin and then cut into pieces to serve.

From the Potting Shed

I can’t believe that this month brings with it the Midsummer Solstice, and then as MacGregor always likes to say, it’s downhill to Christmas. Yes well, I’d prefer not to dwell on that. The older I get, the winter seems longer and harder so I need to enjoy every warm, bright, sunny day that is on offer. There is always something to do in the garden isn’t there? (a good thing too as it keeps my hubby busy and out of the house) but do remember to find time to simply enjoy your garden, however large or small, tidy or ‘natural!’ I like to take a cup of tea outside quite early in the morning and walk around slowly seeing what has grown and changed. Then at some point in the afternoon I like to sit for a while, sometimes with a newspaper or magazine and sometimes just with my thoughts.

I usually finish the day by going outside and closing up my greenhouse. For me the special smell of tomato plants growing inside takes me straight back to childhood. My old mum loved her greenhouse and I was always sent to pick a bowl of warm, red tomatoes to make a salad.

Enjoy, my dears,

Yours

Cecily MacGregor

Jobs for June

  1. Support tall perennials like hollyhocks and delphiniums with canes or tie them to fences. I tie mine to the old rose that rambles over the front of my cottage.

  2. Liquid feed hanging baskets and other containers every few weeks to encourage continued flowering.

  3. Continue to plant summer bedding and water regularly to help them establish quickly.

  4. Lift tulip bulbs and store after flowering.

  5. Pinch out side shoots of tomato plants.

  6. Keep ponds clear of blanket weed. Remember to leave weed on the edge of the pond for a few hours so wildlife can climb back into the pond.

June 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. 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 305020